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Self-Advocacy and Publishing

Writing Tips #10 in the Series

Once you have written that story what do you do with it? Obviously you are going to head over to the submit page for Writers of the Future, but after that, what?

If the goal is to make your mom proud, odds are you can sweet talk her into posting it on the fridge next to your fingerpaintings. However, if you want to be a professional writer, you will have to enter the scary realm of submission land.

To understand publishing, you first have to understand the different markets.

Token: You receive no money for your story, but you get your work out there
Semi-Pro: Almost a professional sale, you receive between 1 and 5.9 cents per word
Pro: A professional sale means you receive a minimum of 6 cents per word.

Sometimes it is good to publish token short stories to generate relationships with editors of anthologies, and the other authors who appear alongside you. It is a great conversation starter, and by networking you can compare notes, and possibly create critique groups out of these newfound relationships.

That being said, successful writers hold their work to the highest standard, and always keep trying.

As an artist, it is difficult to feel satisfied with your work. However, ‘getting’ your work is not only dependent on the editors with all different styles and preferences, it is absolutely dependent on your effort to put your work into their inbox. As Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, says, “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” So it is best to keep putting your work out into the universe for consideration as you continue to write and improve. Though rejection will be a part of any submission process, but you must stay positive and value your work. Otherwise, no one else will.

One method of holding your work to high standards is by only sending it out to professional markets. As soon as that rejection hits your inbox, send it right back out to another professional market. Repeat this until you have run out of appropriate professional markets (make sure you fit the guidelines of what they are looking for, or it is the instant kiss of death) then kick it to the rung below, semi-pro. Start sending your story out laterally into the semi-pro market and then to token publications until your story finds a home.

Robert Silverberg a judge of WotF and winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards says, “My temperament is not inclined toward more self-promotion than is absolutely necessary for my professional well-being.” As a writer it can be a struggle to emerge from the dark safe writing holes, but it is necessary. Though Silverberg implies he is not an aggressive self-advocate, he understands he still must do so in order to reach his publishing goals.

This absolutely includes submitting pieces to Writers of the Future contest. Make sure your writing is appropriate according to the specifications and then go for it! Even, no especially, if you have never submitted anything before. There should be no shame in being a self-advocate for yourself.


Peter Wacks

Peter Wacks

Guest blogger Peter J. Wacks is a bestselling cross-genre writer. He has worked across the creative fields in gaming, television, film, comics, and most recently, when not busy editing, he spends his time writing novels and there are over 3.5 million copies of his stories in circulation.

Holly Roberds

Holly Roberds

Co-author Holly Roberds wrote a science fiction/romance trilogy before being told to scrap the lot of it. Since then, she has hunted for all information about the craft of writing, honing and evolving her skills. Roberds is currently applying all hard-won knowledge to rewriting her novels, and getting her short stories published. She is also a professional freelance article/blog writer, singer/songwriter, and never has less than five jobs at one time.

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