Getting Published for the First Time

Updated on December 7, 2016
NicholasMTaylor profile image

Nicholas is a freelance writer working in London. He mostly writes about the outdoors: walking, cycle touring, climbing and lots of others!

How to get your name in print

Getting published can seem like an uphill battle. Approaching publishers, editors and agents with your work is daunting and often leads to rejections. This can lead the aspiring writer to feel dejected and worthless, but that is simply not the case. If you have something to say, make sure you say it. And get it heard!


Newspapers & Magazines

One of the easiest, and often the quickest, ways to getting published is to write a letter to a newspaper or magazine. Although you might not get paid for such submissions (some do have a star letter prize you can aim at), it will give you the opportunity to write and get noticed. Your name appearing in print is fantastic motivation for completing the other writing projects you are currently working on.

Pick a good article, one that you are knowledgeable of and have some insight or experience of. Choose a unique angle that other people might not be writing about and submit a letter to the publication. For instance, I saw an article about a science education programme being introduced. As a former teacher, I had some insight in the subject that other writers might not have and so I submitted a letter. It was published the very next day. If it's a daily newspaper, turnarounds on letters are very quick. Magazines, naturally, have a slightly longer turnaround time but these often offer 'prizes' for the best letter, so it may even pay off!

Blog

A lot has been written about blogging, so I won't go into huge detail.

Blogging is one of the best ways to build an audience. It will also help refine your writing, and can offer the chance for you to interact with your readers directly. Few other forms of writing can offer that. There are many free blog hosting sites, the famous ones being BlogSpot and WordPress. Explore and see what's right for you and your writing style. One of the hardest things to do is to keep blogging. When I'm in the mood, I'll often write three or four posts, but schedule them to publish in the future, thereby keeping my audience engaged, without having to constantly update the blog!

Diary

The art of writing is one that can be constantly improved and refined. By writing a daily log of your life you will have a record of things that can be used later on. Remember that conversation you overheard? Or the funny sign in the coffee shop? Write it down! Keep everything!

Whilst out on my bike one day I overhead a young lady on the phone. I heard only one sentence of what was clearly a very deep debate into the Trump election. It was such a poignant sentence that I immediately wrote it down and it later became a strap line for an article I published.

When you're writing, the whole world is your inspiration!

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction is very, very short fiction. Usually under 500 words, some stories can be as short as a single tweet!

My favourite is Paragraph Planet (http://www.paragraphplanet.com/) which publishes 75 word paragraphs daily. By writing very short tales, you are forced to really concentrate on selecting only the best words. Moods and feelings have to be conveyed in such a short space that you quickly become an expert at reaching for your Thesaurus!

Other website calling for submissions incluce:

  • http://flashfictionmagazine.com/
  • http://dailysciencefiction.com/
  • http://everydayfiction.com/
  • https://www.101words.org/flash-fiction-daily/

There are so many more - a quick search will turn up lots of places for you to publish your short story!

Whatever you do...Keep writing!

However you choose to write, you will only ever get published if you keep writing. What ever it is that you choose to write...write it!

It's so easy to procrastinate as a writer. Research, inspiration finding, reading, walking, whatever it is that stops you writing might be good, but if you are not putting pen to paper you won't ever get published!

Make some time and put it into your daily route. If you have a set time for writing, make sure other people respect this. Don't get distracted by TV, YouTube, Phones, etc. but dedicate that time to making sure you are published.

Remember, all writers have something to say. Make sure you are saying it.

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