Tips for Getting Online Sites to Publish Your Work
So, you want to get published online. You’re in good company. According to some estimates, nearly 200 million people want to publish. The chances of publishing a book seem like they’re one-in-a-million, but those odds are substantially better for those looking to publish your writing to online sites or portals.
The difference between a successful online writer and an aspiring one can involve a few very simple tips. Here are some tips that could give you a fighting chance in the submission and online publication process.
Follow the submission guidelines
One of the easiest ways for online publishers to weed through the onslaught of submissions is to quickly verify whether the writers have followed the publishers’ submission guidelines. The guidelines often encourage you to download a sample of the publication to see the type of articles it publishes, but the publication might also request you to incorporate specific formatting and stylistic features.
Note if the publication only accepts submissions during certain times of the year, or if it’s requesting submissions based on scheduled themes throughout the year. For example, if the publication is accepting submissions about inpatient alcohol rehab, the editor will not accept submissions covering other topics or subject areas.
Another common reason why editors reject work is that the submissions have problems with grammar, spelling, and/or usage. When a submission is riddled with errors, the editor or reviewer may assume that there are deeper, more systemic problems with the submission.
Beyond accuracy, the submission could have issues with clarity or coherence. The messy work could point to lapses in understanding or judgment and could hint at a relationship that could be thorny and unproductive from an editorial point of view. If it’s impossible for you to proofread your own work, ask a friend or colleague who can honestly and thoroughly review your work prior to submission or hire the services of a professional editor.
Target Your Audience
Yet another important part of reviewing the submission guidelines is determining your audience. Who are you writing for and to?
Your target audience may be a person in his or her forties who is planning a great adventure. Or it could be a 20-year-old individual who is looking for addiction treatment options or other medical assistance. The audience you’re writing for could be your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s essential to know your audience so that you can craft your writing style in a way that will meet the needs and desires of that demographic.
Polish Your Query
For many submissions, your query letter is the first impression the editor or reviewer will receive regarding your writing. Until they read your query, you are just one of the many writers who are hoping to capture their attention. So, try to do that.
You need to carefully incorporate tidbits from the submission guidelines to demonstrate that you know what editors and reviewers want, but then you must show them that you have the level of expertise that makes you the best person who can deliver on the topic.
Hook Your Reader
Hooking your reader is part of the query, but you must take that compelling force of words through to the submission. You must inspire your reader to sit up and take notice, but you also need to make your case so intriguing that he or she is enticed to read to the very end.
It’s like hooking a fish. After you’ve caught it, you have it where you want it. Then, you have to reel it in and close the deal with your words.
Make the Organization Clear
You’ve probably seen all sorts of clever techniques that relate to organizing your writing. That might be great when you’re an established writer with a string of editors who are waiting for your next submission. But when you’re making your first submission, the organization has to be clear and concise.
Instead, focus on making sense. Yes, the editor and reviewer might guess what you’re up to when you take poetic/creative license, but to make your submission stand out, make your organization clear. Your editors will thank you.
Speak with Your Own Voice.
Here, too, you might have a wonderful sense of mimicry and inspired creative diction, but when you’re submitting a piece for publication, write it in a straightforward way. Let your own voice shine.
Let your editors know that you have something to say and say it. Don’t leave the editor or reviewer guessing what you’re trying to do. Worse yet, don’t let them think that you’re trying to steal another’s voice.
Be Honest with Yourself
How would you assess your article? It’s sometimes easy to be so relieved when you’ve finished a submission that you send it in right away. You don’t let it sit for a while. You don’t review the guidelines. You might even neglect another round of proofreading.
Remember, though, that writing is not something that can be rushed. It takes time and effort. Sometimes you need to take a step back and be honest with yourself. Is this submission something that you’d like to read? Is it good, maybe even great? How could it be better?
If you were the only person in the world who was submitting your work for publication, you might not really have to worry about quality. You may not even care what people think. You’d be a shoo-in.
But, you’re facing steep competition to have your work published. You’re competing against some of the most brilliant and creative minds in the world. Your work can’t just be good. It has to be great. Is your submission up to par?