Seek, Ask, Tell

If you’re considering writing as a career or as an extra side job to your daily grind, you have a few things to consider before you set off into your new adventure:

  1. Who do you want to write for? (This can be viewed in terms of both audience and publishing company.)
  2. What do you want to write about?
  3. How often do you plan on writing?
  4. Are you expecting to make a career out of it and what is the market like out there for writers?

These are just a few questions to consider when you’re about to start writing. Starting a blog, such as this one, is an easy task because it’s free, you can write about whatever you want, and you don’t have to really worry about making money off of it, unless you want to.

So what if you are considering writing as a career option? What should you start to look at when you’re in your beginning planning stages? I’m going to break down each section to help you better understand what to look for, though I do want to put the disclaimer here that I am an amateur and that these are explicitly my opinions based on classes and other research.

Seek

Who do you want to write for? There are many large publishing companies out there, such as Random House, Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, and more. But there are also smaller publishing companies, including magazines, that are just itching to get their hands on new material such as Jersey Devil Press, Orion, as well as local newpapers looking for stories from outside sources. Yes, some of these companies may not be able to compensate you for your work, but you’re still able to get yourself out there and build your portfolio.

So what are you looking to write? Are you currently working on your first novel consisting over over 50,000 words with chapters and a very active plot? Or are you looking at writing a poetic prose piece that barely fits a full page and can easily be posted online? These are a few questions to think about when looking for companies to publish your work to.

Also, don’t forget that many companies don’t take previously published work, so make sure it’s original!

Ask

There are probably many questions that you have about the publishing industry and how to get yourself out there, and you can easily look up many places that will give you advice on how to publish and where to go. Knowing the information ahead of time can help you to look better to a potential client as well as advancing your own know-how of a given situation.

One of the ways to do this is to ask those smaller publishing companies what they are specifically looking for, but not before you look at their submission guidelines page for further information (example from damselfly press). Always check around the publishing company’s website before asking questions because there might be a FAQs page or a submissions guideline page.

You can also ask other writers in forums about how they got their start, who they wrote for, what they wrote about, etc. It’s a great way to connect with other people who have the same passion and potentially learn something along the way, as well.

Tell

This is probably the easiest step of all: tell someone of what you’re doing! You never know if it could lead to someone who knows an editor of a magazine or knows someone who is looking for pieces of writing in your area of expertise. Networking is a great way to get know what’s out there, who’s looking, and grab some potential clients if you’re able to.

You don’t have to tell the whole world, though, and you don’t have to say anything about your idea. Let it be something precious to you and take care of it so you can potentially sell it or get it out there someday.

There are many ways in which you can approach publishing and writing, you just need to know where to start. Look at trends for what’s in now, what kinds of characters and stories people are reading, and what kinds of markets are growing and expanding. You’d be surprised with what you can find, just remember the risks and the potential of being rejected, but don’t let it get you down. Keep trying and you may find that you succeed.

 

Have you published anything outside of WordPress? If so, what were your methods and what/where did you get published? Let me know in the comments!

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