Tag Archives | guest posts

How to Submit Your Work to Publishers (A Review of the Process)

Magazines_volume_perspektive_227795_lSo, this blog has been around for awhile, like seven years, and because of that I've amassed a lot of posts (over a thousand of them) which is something the Google loves and thus I get some traffic through here. Because I get traffic, I also get people pitching ideas to me for the blog.  These are for ads, for posts, and sometimes for links.  

I also get tons of requests for guest posts.  Most of these are thinly disguised ads or link bait and the articles are so poorly written I won't run them.  Not only that, they are completely off topic!  They'll be on real estate or automotive stuff or raising children.  Clearly, these people have not read this blog, they are just working off a list somewhere.

(Do let me be clear that I love running guest posts and if you have an idea for one that is related to writing or creativity, don't be afraid to pitch me. Most posts that I accept are from readers who know the topics I cover here well.)

And then, a few days ago, I got a lovely, long submission from a writer who was an expert in a classic literary figure.  This person wanted to come present her lecture at my workshop.  Yeah, that's right–the workshop where eight people sit around a table in the south of France and talk about their writing. Not a lecture hall in sight.  Clearly no research had been done for this request.

All this reminds me of the tried and true guidelines we've read over and over again about submitting your work.  Let's review:

–Do your research and make sure you are submitting to a publication that runs work on your topic.  If you're submitting to a literary agent, read their website and ascertain that they actually represent fiction if you want them to rep your novel, or non-fiction if you're sending a book proposal.

–If you can, take it a step farther and read the publication you're submitting to.  Peruse the blog's archives.  Look through a few issues of the magazine. Read a book repped by the agent you're pitching.  Or at least leaf through it at the bookstore!  This is the biggest problem I see.  I get these requests from people who clearly have never laid eyes on the blog and have no idea what I write about.  

–Do not send out a blanket email without personalization.  I get emails from people who are obviously just working from a list (like the literary expert mentioned above).  I especially love the ones who compliment me on my wonderful blog and then go on to suggest a story about animal care.

If you just follow those three simple guidelines as a starting point, you'll at least get your query read. Oh, and here's one more piece of advice:

–If you have a recommendation from a fellow author, as when querying an agent, put that author's name in the subject line.  As in, "Recommendation From Famous Author."  That will get you read much faster.  Come to think of it, this applies to other submissions, too.  Always write why you are emailing them in the subject line, as in "Guest Post Submission," or "Article Query," or whatever.

And, as mentioned above, the guest posts I accept are often from regular readers.  I don't have a formal policy for accepting or rejecting, just that the post be well-written, vibrant, fun, perfect in every way–kidding!  But I do like to run lively pieces that will be of value to my readers, and I also run author interviews and the occasional cover reveal.  So hit me up.  Just please don't ask me to run a piece about mortgages.

What are your experiences with submitting to publishers and agents?  Please share the good, the bad, and the hilarious!

Photo by mgelinski.

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Call For Guest Posts

I'm going to be away the last week in April (at the Diamond writing retreat I'm co-leading) and the first week of May (in Maui, for a spiritual retreat with the women of my church.)

The Diamond retreat is at an old hotel that was once a stagecoach stop that does not have Wi-Fi or cell phone service, but the good news is that there 's a traveler's stop a few miles away that does.

The Maui retreat has no Wi-Fi.  Gulp.  I'll be without my computer for a week.  This is like saying I'll be without my arm for a week. 

But the point of all this is that I am going to have two weeks away from blogging.  And so I have had an idea.  I'm calling for guest posts.  I'm really interested in anything you have to say, but I'd especially like it if you wrote on this topic:

A Day in the Life of A Writer (or if you're an artist or creative, that's fine, too). 

Here's an example of what I mean in this post I wrote a few years ago.

I'm fascinated when I get to peek into the daily lives of other writers, and I think my readers will be, too. 

If you'd like to participate, email me at charlotte@charlotterainsdixon.com, putting GUEST POST in the subject line and I'll fill you in on the details.

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More Friday Fun: Mini-Critiques

So, last Friday I wrote about the death of Festive Fridays and invited guest posts.  I also invited comment on what my Friday feature should be and it turns out a fair number of you wanted examples of good and bad writing.
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But I can't do that.

I can't do that because I don't look at writing in terms of good and bad.  I look at it in terms of where it is now, what it is currently accomplishing, and how it could accomplish more. 

So, if you would like some illumination on your writing along those lines, I'm inviting you to send in your work for critique.  I'll alternate critiquing Fridays with guest post Fridays.  Here are the rules, such as they are:

1.  Send ONE paragraph of your work.  I repeat, ONE.  The original idea of having a consistent Friday theme was to make it easier for me to post and if you send more I'll get overwhelmed and have to quit.

2. Put FRIDAY MINI-CRITIQUE in the subject line. Okay, it doesn't have to be in all caps, I just did that for emphasis.  (See below, please.)

3. Tell me a tiny bit about it–ie, its from a novel, a non-fiction piece, etc.

4.  Tell me if you want your name used (and a link) or if you wish to be anonymous.

5.  I will point out 1 to 3 things that are working well, and 1-3 things that could work a bit better.

Okay?  Okay.  I'm excited.  Thanks to all of you who suggested something along these lines, including Ledger, Derek, and Susan.

Did I miss anyone?  If so, forgive me.

ADDENDUM:  The paragraph should be a maximum of 250 words and in case it wasn't obvious from the above, email it to me at wordstrumpet@gmail.com.

**The photo is of a 17th century Commonplace Book from the Beinecke Library.

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The Party’s Over

The last few weeks, I've been running a feature called Festive Fridays on, well, Fridays.
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But, I have to say, the party has been a bit of a dud.  Or at least it seems so to me.  The posts don't get any comments and I'm certainly not receiving breathless emails urging me to keep them up.  So I'm making like the police and shutting the party down.

Which returns me to my original problem of what to post on Fridays.  I often have appointments on Fridays which make it difficult to post.  And, since I've made a solemn vow to post every weekday, this is a problem.

But, never fear, I have come up with a new solution.  Are you ready?

Drum roll, please….

Guest posts!

Yes, I'm inviting you, my loyal readers to write me a guest post.  Here are the guidelines:

1.  They can be in the 500-word range, but if you write longer, I'll probably go for it, too.

2.  Topics can be on any aspect of writing, coaching, motivation, inspiration, spirituality, or the writer's life.

3.  Keep it clean and positive, as I'm on an anti-negativity kick.

Interested?  Email me at wordstrumpet@gmail.com with your idea or your finished piece and we'll talk.

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