Innovative: A Word for the WriTeen
An E-Zine for Teens who Write and Those who Support Them
January 13th, 2007
Edited by Gabrielle Linnell
The Driver's Manual to Publication, Part I of VI
Research and Planning "Small"
by Gabrielle Linnell
Sports analogies are so overused. So the non-gender-specific analogy/theme that I've chosen for our six-part series on publication planning is "Driver's Manual"! As a disclaimer, I can barely handle our car in a parking lot. I have yet to drive on a road. I have about five excuses for why I'm not driving yet, but I won't list them here.
Isn't that analagous enough?
The emphasis of this series will be on how to plan your way to publication. Plans are emphasized everywhere in writing books, such as the new release Time to Write by Kelly L. Stone, which I'm reading (and enjoying!) myself. Teens are bipolar on the issue of planning. Some of us are super-planners and have our lives outlined until we kick the bucket. Others deem the term "procrastinator" a term of praise.
So, as we are learning how to get published, my personal approach is quite simple. We will identify Motivation (why the heck do you want to go there?), Location (where the heck you want to be published), Directions (how the heck do you get there?) and Maps (resources that heck, will get you there.) In our research & planning segments, we'll focus on Motivation and Location, and the rest will fit in somewhere else.
See? Driving analogies are so not overused.
1. Identify Motivation for being published "small."
Small (Definition): Nonpaying markets that a) have a circulation of under 2,000 or b) are web-only.
The motivation for driving is so that you can get places, and control large pieces of machinery while blasting rock 'n roll.
I can't tell you your motivation for publication. I can't make you become motivated. But I can tell you my motivations, and other common motivations, for wanting to be published in magazines that probably nobody has heard of, and that you won't get paid for.
Getting Experience. You can get experience working with an editor, so that you don't freak when you work with the high-class snooty tooty editors.
Being Encouraged. "Small" publications often have a really small lead time (time between planning an issue and publishing an issue) so you get to see your name in print fairly soon. And besides being a great milestone (first time I got published, etc) it's also a milestone for when you attempt at the "Medium" markets. You are no longer just a newbie, but an encouraged and experienced newbie.
2. Identify the Location of where you want to go.
As you are planning your next several months, you want to have goals. Goals are: I want to be published in X, Y, Z and Zed magazines. Goals are: I want to submit 25 times in 25 weeks. How many times (or which publications) do you want to conquer before you're done with small stuff? It may seem hard to decide. Here's a few guidelines:
I would suggest between four and ten clips from unique magazines. I know it's a big gap, but if you've been published less than four times in nonpaying markets, keep going. However, if you've been published more than ten, it's really time to start looking for $$ for your words. If you're in the middle, continue with your "small stuff" while keeping your eyes out for paying or highly visible markets (the definition of "medium" will come in a few weeks.)
Next week, we'll look at the Directions (how to outline your projects) and Maps (places to find such markets) for these small markets. Until then, start a file for keeping track of your Publication Plan. You wouldn't want to get lost on the road.*
Gabrielle Linnell is the editor of Innovative: A Word for the WriTeen. She has written for publications such as New Moon, FACES, Cobblestone, Library Sparks, ByLine and a few other "smalls" that have helped her along the way. Her personal website & writing blog is www.storytellermag.com.
What I Meant... by Marie Lamba
Sangeet is the sometimes awkward, always funny narrator of this story about the difference between what you say and what you mean. Sang's biracial family, complete with thieving aunt and secretive mother, is just part of her problems-- add an alienated best friend, a guy who's sending mixed signals and another whose signals are unfortunately too clear, a crazy concert and-- well, you see what I mean.
NEXTWEEK: we meet Judy Gregerson, debut author of Bad Girls Club.
Email me if you have questions, comments or want to see our writing guidelines at firstname.lastname@example.org