7 Tips to Getting Published

Meeting famous authors like Tracie Petersen offers chance to ask writing questions. Tracie is in middle.

Meeting famous authors like Tracie Petersen offers chance to ask writing questions. Tracie is in middle.

These are tips I’ve shared with beginning writers at workshops I’ve conducted. There are other facets to establishing yourself as a writer, but these are good to start with.

1. Decide what you want to write
I loved reading fiction and thought that was what I sh write. But I don’t have any people talking in my head. That’s how I’ve heard fiction writers describe their lives – characters are up there just screaming to get their dialogue on a page!
I prefer writing non-fiction since while a few fiction writers are well-known and have thousands of fan, non-fiction sells better – always has and always will.
Look at magazine racks – nearly all filled with non-fiction articles—essays, how-to’s, research.
Decide what you like to read and study those publications to help develop your own style of writing.

My two good writing friends Cathy Shouse, Shirley Jump & me at Shirley's former writing club meetings.

My two good writing friends Cathy Shouse, Shirley Jump & me at Shirley’s former writing club meetings.

2. Learn everything you can about the craft of writing.
Read writing books (your public library probably has many!), also The Writer and Writer’s Digest Magazines.
Take online writing courses. Sign up for writing ezines. Join writers groups. Ask about them at your public library, watch for signs posted on bulletin boards around town, check online for Meetups. I host two writing clubs which meet monthly.
Attend conferences—this can be an expense, but by putting yourself out there, you’ll meet people that will encourage you and help you discover the joys of writing, especially for publication.

It was fun meeting writing friend Maura Oprisko at a writing conference.

It was fun meeting writing friend Maura Oprisko at a writing conference.


3. Network with other writers. I touched on this in the previous point but I find this is the most helpful aspect of writing today. Writing can be a lonely occupation. By working with other writers you’ll be more inclined to stick with a tricky project.
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you’ll feel more inclined to continue writing when you’re in touch with other writers.

4. Get your name out there!
Look for places that will publish your work. Newspapers will publish editorials and columns on Faith/Religion pages for viewpoints. This can be a good experience and exposure for friends and family to understand your determination and talent.

Women’s magazines are another source. My first sale was two paragraphs to a religious publication I read regularly about our daughter’s wonderful, effective Sunday School teacher. I’ve also sold recipe tips, kids’ sayings, travel tips, holiday tips. The pay would not finance my vacation, but it’s pretty fun to show my family my name in Ladies Home Journal!

5. Develop a thick skin.
You will get rejected- every writer does. It’s not personal. Don’t quit! Keep writing and seek encouragement from other writers. It’s a bold move to write for publication. I tend to dwell on negative comments (though rare) instead of dwelling on the compliments I receive. I’ve posted thank you notes from people I’ve written about around my writing area so I can focus on them when I’m stuck emotionally or mentally.

6. Write regularly.
Make writing a habit. Try to fit it into your daily schedule. The more you write, the more your subconscious will help you! If writing is important to you, you will find time to write! I like to write in the morning when I’m fresh so I’ll often write before going to my school job. I’m writing this now at 6:40a.m.

7. Call yourself a writer.
If you practice all of the above, you are a writer! Be proud!

Are you starting out on this marvelous road of writing? What is your goal as a writer?

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference in Fort Wayne was Fab!

Jane Yolen and me at SCBWI conference in Ft Wayne.

Jane Yolen and me at SCBWI conference in Ft Wayne.


I recently attended a regional conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). It was held in Fort Wayne and was well attended with 300+ in Hotel Fort Wayne.
Author during book signing-- Franny Billingsly, author of new novel, Chime.

Author during book signing– Franny Billingsly, author of new novel, Chime.


The speakers were top notch – Lin Oliver, Jane Yolen, Kirsten Cappy, Alice McGinty, Caldecott Finalist Peter Brown.
Caldecott finalist and author of Creepy Carrots, Peter Brown, during book signing

Caldecott finalist and author of Creepy Carrots, Peter Brown, during book signing


There were many others—too many for me to mention—but special thanks to one of the people in charge – Kristi Valiant
Indiana SCBWI Regional Advisor
http://www.indianascbwi.com
http://kristivaliant.blogspot.com
Author/Illustrator of: Penguin Cha-Cha (Random House, 2013)
Illustrator of: Pretty Minnie in Paris (Random House), The Little Wings Series (Random House), The Goodbye Cancer Garden (Albert Whitman)

She answered a myriad of questions prior to the conference for those of us who had never attended. I’ve posted photos of the conference. A highlight was meeting Jane Yolen, author of 300+ books and even has an award named for her!
Her son, whom she writes with, Adam Stemple, was also there and they were so easy to chat with about their writing lives.

Another highlight was listening to marketing ideas from Kirsten Cappy of Curious City.

Curious City children's book publicist Kirsten Cappy.

Curious City children’s book publicist Kirsten Cappy.

I’m planning to implement some of them for my 9 non-fiction Middle Grade books.

I also met other writers like Pat McCarthy whom I exchanged my Taylor Swift book for her Friends of the Earth title to add to my school library.

Author Pat McCarthy holding her books.

Author Pat McCarthy holding her books.

Lastly, a pic of the Wild West (theme for conference) costume contest. Check out Baby Bump’s tiny hat– he may have made an appearance by now!

Members of the Ft Wayne SCBWI club.

Members of the Ft Wayne SCBWI club.


If you can attend a SCBWI conference, please do so. It will give you ideas, encouragement, motivation and
contacts.

Have you attended a recent writing conference? Which one and what did you glean from it? Do you know of an upcoming conference you would recommend? Please share.