Sunday, March 16, 2008

WORD: Using That First Clip

by Gabrielle Linnell

It's happened: the editor emailed and you're in the next issue of Small Town Teendom. Or Metropolitan Mania. Or something. You are IN! You are getting PUBLISHED! How EXCITING! But don't let your screams of joy overwhelm your good sense. You've transitioned from amateur to newbie, and if you're serious about getting good at this writing gig, don't stop.

Here are three things you should do to make sure your first clip is not your last.

1. Research the competitive magazines or e-zines in this genre. If you've written for Gals Love Horses, make sure you get the information on Pony Pals and Giddy-Up. Your first clip has proved that you can write for this particular genre, and this proves to competing editors that you're worth something. Of course, NEVER submit the same idea or story to more than one magazine, ESPECIALLY if it's been accepted elsewhere.

2. Blab about it! Tell your English teacher, your grandmother, your best friends, everybody! Your acceptance is a huge deal. Most importantly, tell editors that you are querying even if it's in a different genre.

This takes a bit of explaining. If you've been published in a nonfiction magazine and are submitting to other nonfiction magazines, put "My work will appear shortly in ...." in your bio paragraph. If you have been published in a nonfiction magazine and are submitting to a fiction zine, don't mention. This works both ways EXCEPT for when you are writing for writing mags. If you've penned a how-to on selling fiction, prove to the editors that you have sold fiction.

3. Print out your acceptance email. Keep it as a reminder of what you've accomplished, and a vision of where you want to go. I'm warning you that this is the best part of getting published, not the actual seeing-your-name-in-print thing (so anteclimatic.) It's also a great time to re-evaluate what you liked or didn't like about working with one particular magazine or e-zine. Some great questions to ask are

Did I like how the editor changed my piece?
Was s/he good about telling me necessary information?
Did I like how the magazine presented my piece?
Is the payback (money, clip, self-actualization) worth the work?

Based on your answers, decide whether you'll write for that magazine again. Because, of course, you'll be writing again.

1 comment:

Xenia said...

People should read this.