Monday, May 17, 2010

Want to Locate those Writers' Guidelines?

You’re busy writing your heart out, but you know deep down that sooner or later you’re going to have to actually find a place to submit your writing to. You may have bounced into a website or two, looked for guidelines and found nothing. Well here are a few tips to help you find that information and do a professional submission that might actually get your work sold.

You're going to need a few things to pursue the elusive guidelines. A bit of time, some determination, logic, both straight-forward and twisted, maybe a few bucks and research abilities.

For starters yes, visit the publisher's website. Poke around a bit. They call their guidelines a variety of things. Sometimes they’re located under “Write for Us” or “Submissions”, or “Submit a Story”. These are the easy ones. If you don’t see an out and out link to guidelines, visit the ‘about us’ section and see what you can dig up there. That’s where I’ve frequently found the submission information link.

Beyond that it’s amazing the kind of wild goose hunt publishers seem intent on sending you upon just to locate their contact information. Now, some writers claim they’re testing us, trying to see if we’re lazy or not and if we actually locate their information then, wow!, we’re not lazy afterall. Or, some say, the publishers are testing us, trying to find out if we’re persistent enough to uncover the guidelines and if we are then we can research assignments. I’m not sure I buy that, but the fact remains, it can be a real headache to locate them.

So here’s another approach. You can subscribe to It’s about $3.99/mo. Last time I looked and it’s very handy, online, at-your-fingertips information. If you prefer the actual Writer's Market book you can peruse that at your library or purchase a copy. Amazon usually has it at a good discount. It’s probably worth your while to plunk down that money for a while.

Remember to do this when you have some time to spare, not when trying to beat a deadline. Pressure makes it all the more frustrating. Remember to bookmark your sources when you find them and to read the guidelines carefully once you get them so you can follow them to the letter.

Those are the basics. Get out there and start tracking them down.

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