Do Your Homework (and you'll make good impression rather than a bad one)

So you want to get published? Great! Let's get started.

It will require a little homework.

That's where I typically lose people.

Many people come to me as a literary agent and want to hand me there book and say, "Tag you're it!" I can literally feel their inward sigh of relief. They're done. 

Unfortunately it really doesn't work that way. The work has really just begun. 

Unless you have a tremendous platform or audience that you are bringing with you, then trust me, I will give you a homework assignment. This assignment is important for any writer...even those who are published, because it will continue to expand your audience.

Write short articles on a regular basis and submit them for publication. It will build your audience and your resume. (I know I've addressed this before, but how many have done it? It is one of the single best pieces of advice I can give you. And so I'm saying it again.)

I've had several writers ask me, "Why? Is it really worth my time to do this?" Decide for yourself. Here are the results of an article I submitted for one of my authors last week as part of their publicity campaign. I submitted it to five publications. Two accepted it. The first one published it in their e-zine within five days of submission. The article was well received and the readers responded. So the following day they published it again, but this time as their lead story. Now almost a week later the story has received 22.3 thousand shares on Facebook and 7.8 thousand likes. It has yet to be released by the 2nd publication. So when that happens a new audience will be reached and more growth will happen. So far, One short article expanded the author's reach by 22.3 thousand shares. When was the last time one of your publications was read by that many people?

My point exactly. 

But it all starts with some research...your homework. If you have a computer and wifi connection, then it isn't hard. This is what you're looking for:

1. Choose 2-3 magazines (I recommend e-zines) that you like. Does their audience, their readers, fit the audience for your message? Perhaps you're not sure where to start or how to determine their audience. That's where you begin your research. Google: Topic + Magazine. Just start somewhere. Most mags and e-zines list on their website information about their readers, content they are looking for and submission guidelines. If the readers of their magazine are the same readers who will read your book, then bingo. Add them to your list.

2. After you find 2-3 then study them. What type articles do they publish? What word count do they want? What topics work? What theological, business or personal slant are they looking for?

3. Who is the person in the organization you submit to? They will usually provide a generic email address for submissions. Find it.

4. Finally, read articles that they publish on a regular basis. Get a feel for who they are. Don't submit blindly.  

5. Tip: You can use the Literary Marketplace or theChristian Writer's Market Guide for assistance on locating magazines and editors who are open to article submissions. It will provide their up-to-date contact information, writer's guidelines and if they pay. Payment isn't your primary goal here. Getting published is. But payment doesn't hurt!

The point? Do your homework first. (This same rule applies when you are looking for a program to interview you about your book. Don't waste their time and make a bad impression by creating a generic list of ezines and blasting off your next article to anyone and everyone. Strategically choose 2-3 who fit your message and get to know them. Really get to know them. Develop relationships and send thoughtful and well-placed, relevant articles.

More than likely you'll get published. You will also find you made a good impression simply because you did your homework.