Five Quick Tips
for Getting Your Story Published

Absolute Blank

By Erin L. Nappe (Billiard)

The slush pile. It’s where no writer wants to be, and where no editor wants to go. As an editor at Toasted Cheese, I’ve had to wade into the slush pile on many occasions. As a writer, I’ve tried my hardest to keep out of it.

I recently had the good fortune to have one of my short stories published in the national-circulation women’s magazine Woman’s World. In light of this success, I thought I would share a few quick tips for keeping out of the slush pile, a vital first step toward seeing your name in print.

  1. Know your market!

It’s no mistake that the magazine that published my story is one that I’ve read. My mom has been picking up Woman’s World and reading it since I was a kid. And because I read just about anything you put in front of me, I’ve been reading it for about that long. As I got older, I started looking at the fiction with a writer’s eye, and truly believed this was a market I could succeed in. The stories that I’ve submitted to Woman’s World were written specifically with this market in mind.

Woman’s World publishes two types of stories; short romances and mini mysteries. Knowing this, I wouldn’t send them, oh, say a science fiction story. I was writing a short romance, and I know that Woman’s World‘s readers want uplifting, character-driven stories with endings that hint at the possibility of true love. With that in mind, I wouldn’t send them my angst-ridden piece about a young woman in love with a musician who keeps breaking her heart. You need to understand the magazine or journal’s readership, and you need to be aware of what the editors are looking for. If you don’t think your story will fit in, it probably won’t.

Read the publication before submitting. At the very least, send for a sample copy or spend some time online or at a bookstore looking at examples of what’s been published by this market. Getting published is kind of like dating or job hunting… it’s all about finding the right match!

  1. Follow submission guidelines carefully.

Always, always, be sure that you’re following the most recent submission guidelines. When I first submitted to Woman’s World, the maximum word count for short romances was 1,500 words. Sometime between when I submitted the story and when it reached the editor’s hands, that word count was cut to 1,100 words. Fortunately for me, the editor liked my story and gave me a chance to cut it down to fit their guidelines. But the bottom line is this; if you’re given a maximum word count, don’t go over.

Make sure you submit your manuscript in the correct format. If the magazine or journal wants a hard copy of your story, don’t send an e-mail (and vice versa). If the online journal asks for submissions in the text of an e-mail, don’t send an attachment. Check the most recent copy of the Writer’s Market for guidelines, or check to see if guidelines are listed on a web page. Don’t let your manuscript be thrown out over something you could have avoided!

  1. Submit only your best work (editing and proofreading are your friends!).

I cannot stress this enough—before submitting, make sure your manuscript is clean and error-free. Once, I submitted a story that had a punctuation error in the first sentence. It was immediately rejected (with the error circled), and I’ll never know if it was thrown out because of the story’s content or because of my mistake. Don’t let this happen to you! Post your story at one of our online forums for critique before sending it in. You want to be completely happy with what you’re submitting. Have a meticulous friend check your spelling and grammar. (Even the best of us make mistakes—trust me!)

  1. Be professional.

When submitting your work, always do so in a professional manner. Manuscripts should always be typed, and you should make sure to include all requested information such as address, telephone number, e-mail address, etc. When submitting manuscripts through regular mail, you should always include a SASE to help the editor keep you informed of the status of your submission.

DO NOT inquire about the status of your submission until after the time designated in the submission guidelines. If the publication’s guidelines state that they normally respond within three months from submission, don’t write an inquiry letter after two. Editors are busy, and bothering them unnecessarily is not recommended. After the designated four-month period had passed, I sent an inquiry to Woman’s World with another SASE, and heard of my acceptance via e-mail within a couple of weeks.

Be sure to keep good records of what you submitted, when and where. You don’t want to embarrass yourself and forever be tagged as an amateur by sending an inquiry letter to the wrong publication!

  1. Keep your cover letter and bio brief.

Brevity should be the soul of your cover letter. The editors don’t need to know your life story. My cover letter looks something like this:

Dear Ms. Granger:

Enclosed is my short story “A Mother Knows” (1,089 words). You are the first editor I am soliciting with this story, as I believe Woman’s World is the ideal place for it. [Your introduction. Name the story, give the word count, maybe say something nice about the publication. You might possibly also include a brief synopsis.]

I am a part-time college writing instructor and substitute teacher in Buffalo, New York. I am also a contributing editor at Toasted-Cheese.com, an online writing community and literary magazine. I have had short stories published in the online magazine NoNounsense.com and in Journal of the Blue Planet. [Your bio. Keep it simple. List any publications… if you don’t have any publications, leave this part out. Don’t draw attention to it!]

I will wait four months for your reply before approaching another publication. Please notify me of your decision by using my enclosed SASE. Thank you for considering “A Mother Knows”. [Your closing.]

Sincerely,

[signature]

That’s it. Simple and to-the-point.

Of course, I can’t guarantee that following these guidelines will get your story published. What I can guarantee you is that not following these guidelines will get your manuscript thrown out before anyone even reads it! Of course, submitting your work will always be hard, but knowing your market and following the rules of the game will make it a little bit easier. I know; I’ve been there.

Final Poll Results

The short, sweet guide
to writing query letters

Absolute Blank

By Stephanie Lenz (Baker)

Updated April 2009

Ah those blissful days when you first finish your novel. You might take a little time to bask in your own glory or you might dive into rewrites. In any case, sooner or later, you have to do it: find an agent to sell your novel to a publisher, so that others will bask in your glory for you.

Maybe you don’t write fiction at all. Maybe you had an idea for an article for your favorite magazine so you decided to give it a try and darned if it doesn’t look pretty good. Maybe they’d buy it from you, if only you knew how to get it into an editor’s hands.

If you write for publication, you have to query. If you write short stories, creative non-fiction or certain kinds of non-fiction, you might never have to write a full-blown query letter. A few lines to introduce yourself and your story could be all you’ll ever need to send to an editor.

Some of you have a novel finished or a collection of short stories. Some of you have a few how-to or “personal experience” articles rattling around in your mind or collecting dust on your hard drive. You want people to read your work, right? So introduce yourself and your work to the right people with a query letter.

What’s a query letter?

A query letter is used to approach editors or agents about manuscripts. You’re saying “here’s what I have” and “does it interest you?” There are two possible responses: “yes” and “no.”

The agents I’ve queried have been cordial and professional. Some have asked for more based on my query. Some have said, “Not for me, thanks.” Some have sent back a form letter that they are not taking on new clients. No agent has ever sent back something like, “Are you serious?” They won’t do it to you either.

The worst response you’ll get is no response at all and, so long as you’ve included an SASE, anyone who doesn’t have the courtesy to reply is not someone with whom you’d want to work anyway.

Who to query

Send your novel’s query to an agent, not a publishing house. Reputable agents may be researched online at http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/pubagent.htm or in books like the annual Writer’s Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents. More information about how to choose an editor is available at http://www.sfwa.org/Beware/agents.html

If you are querying an article, contact the publication directly. Make sure the editor you’re writing to is the right person to read your article and make sure that the person you’re contacting is still with the magazine.

For novels, novellas and short story collections

Many authors admit that writing a query is more difficult than writing a novel. Approach your query as though you were selling the story to the reader, not to an agent. Make every sentence count. If you bore the agent in a query, he might fear being bored by your novel.

Be general about the story. Don’t delve into your themes and symbolism and subplots. Leave them for the agent to discover. However, don’t be so general that the agent has no idea if the book is for his agency or not. Your summary should read more like the inside flap of a dust jacket than the back cover.

In writing the synopsis paragraphs, be vivid and economical with your word choice. Identify your intended audience or genre, if it’s not obvious. If you believe your book has an element that will make it stand out from others in the genre, tell the agent.

Some agents like an outline instead of a plot synopsis. In this case, your outline may be included on a second sheet of paper, separate from the query letter itself. Don’t get fancy; just write a tight outline and follow any suggestions laid out in the agent’s guidelines.

One way to structure your letter is as follows:

  • Paragraph 1: Begin with the reason you’re writing, the name of the book, the word count, the genre, etc. (example: “I am seeking representation for my mainstream novel, WHITHER THE EMU, complete at 80,000 words.”) For your word count, round to the nearest 1000.

Begin your synopsis by focusing on your main character and his predicament. Describe some other important characters. What is at stake? Where is the conflict? If you have room, you may want to make this a separate paragraph.

  • Paragraph 2: Continue your synopsis by getting into the book itself. Stay factual and open. Don’t try to rouse the agent’s curiosity by keeping plot twists to yourself. What’s the action? How do the characters interact? How does your main character change during the novel? How does the conflict manifest itself and how is it resolved? Remember: characters + problem = conflict and conflict + action = resolution and change.
  • Paragraph 3: This is where you get to introduce yourself as a writer. Include a line or two about why you wrote the story. Tell the agent about your qualifications, publishing history and any other relevant information. Following the guidelines you read when researching this agent, let her know that chapter samples, the first fifty pages or whatever samples she requests in her listing are available.

Stay professional, not personal. Don’t include information like what kind of dog you own or how many kids you have unless it’s relevant to the book or the market. Don’t confess that you’ve never been published.

Close professionally, with your contact information (phone number, e-mail address, etc.), and thank the agent for her consideration. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply.

For articles

If you use a formal query for your article, you will have an advantage over 90% of the writers submitting pieces for publication. Even if you submit electronically, follow the query letter format.

Follow the same basic structure of the novel query. For your word count, round to the nearest 100 words if your article is under 2000 words; round to the nearest 500 if the article is over 2000 words. Identify what section of the magazine you believe is best suited to your article. This will have the added benefit of showing the editor that you are familiar with the publication.

For your opening paragraph, present the idea up front (example: “Rumors abound as to the best way to get pregnant. Could some fertility myths be true?”). Be specific and persuasive. Use these paragraphs to showcase your writing style.

For your middle paragraphs, give an idea of how the article unfolds. Include bullet points, sidebars and any other information relevant to the layout and presentation of the article once it is in print. If you have illustrations or ideas for illustrations, some editors want to hear it and some don’t. The best thing you can do is to follow the editorial guidelines. If you have illustrations or photographs to include with the article, mention that. The editor’s reply will include whether or not she is interested in the illustrations or if the magazine will use its own art department or freelance artists in this capacity.

You may also want to include a paragraph about why you have chosen this magazine for your article. How will the two compliment each other?

For your closing paragraph, include previous relevant publishing experience. If your work has been printed in similar “rival” magazines, mention it. It shows that your work is suited to this type of publication. Let the editor know why you are qualified to write this article. You have a little more leeway here than writers submitting novel queries. Mentioning personal experience can be a boon and do so, if it has bearing on the subject.

Don’t…

  • Use unusual fonts, colored paper or other “tricks” to stand out. Let your professionalism and writing ability create the “stand-out” quality you want
  • Call your novel a “fiction novel”
  • Send samples with your query unless the guidelines say you should
  • Send more than the agent asks for as a sample
  • Use pseudonyms. If the agent is interested in your work and takes you on as a client, you can discuss pseudonyms later
  • Mention how often your work has been rejected and/or by whom
  • Mention that you’ve never been published or are an “amateur” or that you write as a “hobby”
  • Tell the editor or agent that the piece “needs work” or ask for any upfront editing advice.
  • Discuss copyrights or payment
  • Query more than one piece of work per letter
  • Query the same agent or editor repeatedly after being rejected

Do…

  • Be professional from beginning to end
  • Limit your query letter to a single page, using a formal business letter format
  • Let your tone should reflect the piece. If it’s funny, have a lighter tone. If it’s serious, stay serious
  • Hook the reader in the first paragraph. Keep this paragraph 100% about your work, not about you. You’ll have the opportunity to talk about yourself at the end of the query
  • Spelling, grammar and punctuation must be perfect. Don’t leave it up to Word; ask someone to give it a once-over or come back to it after a cup of tea
  • Make sure the market matches the piece. Query relevant magazines. Query agents who specialize in your genre
  • Get to the point and stick to it
  • Research the agent or editor. Her guidelines supersede any advice in this article. Editors like to work with professional, respectful writers. Your query illustrates that you fall into that category
  • Respond quickly when an editor or agent shows interest

One more bit of advice

  • I believe the best rule of thumb is this: if your query sounds anything like the lyrics of “Paperback Writer,” start again from scratch.

Final Poll Results


[ April 2009 Update ]

In the six years since publishing our Absolute Blank article “The short, sweet guide to writing query letters,” the way in which we query has changed.

These days, agents accept more electronic queries (some take e-queries exclusively) and this means they want your hook right up front. Why? So that when the opening of your query shows in the agent’s inbox, they will see your hook. Agents, like anyone, love to be thrilled and they like to see a hook that compels them to open an e-query immediately.

So here’s how to structure an electronically-submitted query (e-query):

Paragraph 1: Your first or only line should be your hook. A hook is a single line meant to intrigue the reader. Agent Colleen Lindsay writes, “A strong hook in your initial query is going be the most effective tool you’ll have to help all of these other publishing and bookselling professionals sell your book.” Here are some examples of hooks from agent Nathan Bransford’s blog:

  • A man goes into the jungle to search for a missing general (HEART OF DARKNESS)
  • A reclusive chocolatier opens up his factory to the lucky children who find golden tickets (CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY)
  • A monomaniacal sea captain forces his crew to search for an elusive white whale (MOBY DICK)
  • A train engine thinks it can make it up a hill (THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD)

AgentQuery also provides guidance on how to craft your hook.

You can segue into your synopsis from here or leave your hook as a single-line paragraph. I recommend going into the synopsis, since some of that might show in the agent’s “preview” of the content of your e-mail as well.

Begin your synopsis by focusing on your main character and his predicament. Describe some other important characters. What is at stake? Where is the conflict? Talk about the action of the story without mentioning every plot point. Remember: you have one paragraph and one entire page to accomplish your query.

Paragraph 2: This information is unchanged from the original query formula we presented in 2003.

Paragraph 3: Here’s where you give the title of your novel, the word count (rounded to the nearest 1000 words), the genre and the fact that the novel is complete. If it’s not, you’ll need to hold off on your query.

You should also put your writer’s biography here. Include your credits (if any), and any personal data that’s relevant to your novel. For example, if your book is set on a horse ranch in Montana and you spent your college summers cooking toasted cheese sandwiches for ranchers in Wyoming, you might want to include it—or not. At a minimum, you’ll want to include your contact information: Name (Pen Name, if applicable), e-mail address, mailing address and phone numbers.

Thank the agent for her consideration and say that you look forward to hearing from her.

For land mail queries, you can follow this structure or the structure we presented in 2003. The trend is toward this structure but some agents might prefer the older style.

Additional resources:

-Stephanie Lenz

Editing and Abandoning

Absolute Blank

By Stephanie Lenz (Baker)

Poet Paul Valery said, “An artist never really finishes his work. He merely abandons it.” Once the creating is over, the editing begins. It doesn’t end until you bring yourself to “abandon” your work. And sometimes not even then.

First Offense

There are some basic editing “tricks” you can use to strengthen your work and reduce the chances of rejection. There are exceptions to each of these. At this point, it’s the writer’s choice as to how to edit the story.

  • Correct typos

Running your document through Word’s spell check is a good step, but it isn’t enough. Print yourself a hard copy and give it a once-over with a red pen, if necessary. Make sure names are spelled consistently. Check your punctuation.

  • Read aloud

It might seem silly, but it helps. If you’re too embarrassed to read it aloud, mouth it. Doing so forces you to slow down. It also lets you listen to the cadences of your work and the music of your words. If you must stop to take a breath, your sentence is too long. Anything that makes you cringe should be changed.

  • “Pay yourself by the period”

In Sin and Syntax, Constance Hale relates a story about newspaper editors telling green reporters they are “paid by the period.” What does this mean for prose and poetry writers? Get rid of your conjunctions. Simple, straightforward sentences are more powerful than several ideas strung together.

  • Passives

Search and destroy “was” “were” “am” “are” “is” “be” “been” wherever possible. Use your “find” feature to do this.

Maintain your sentence structure variation while making your writing as active as possible. I had a newspaper editor once tell me, “A headline is a subject and a verb. Anything else is extra. But you have to have those elements and in that order.” For example, “Noise ordinance passed by council” is not as active a headline as “Council passes noise ordinance.”

Word can also check for passive sentences. Make sure the “check grammar” box is ticked on your spell check. One of the stats you get at the end of your spell check is “percent of passive sentences.” If you just want to check a single sentence, highlight it, then do a spell/grammar check. It’ll ask you if you want to check the rest of the document. Choose “no” and you’ll get the stats just for that one sentence.

  • Trim fat

If it has no bearing on the plot, remove it. Dump asides to the reader and superfluous information. If you have a grandiose word, consider replacing it with something simpler. You don’t want to send readers looking for their dictionaries mid-story.

We all put things in our first drafts that are just for us. It could be background that never goes anywhere or a character we meant to make more interesting. Remember: it’s easier to cut than write more. When faced with the dilemma, chop it.

  • Hook

Does the first line make you want to read the second? Does the opening paragraph put out promises that the story delivers? Are characters from the hook relevant or will the reader wonder throughout the piece “what happened to Skip from the bait shop?” Grab your reader from the start and refuse to let her go until the ending.

  • Ending

Have you tied up some loose ends but not all? Have you raised new, unanswered questions in the closing paragraph? Endings should be satisfying but they need not be neat.


Hand It Over

Have your eyes gone blurry from editing? Are you sick of your characters? Good. This means you’ve been working hard and your deserve a break. Whether you’re staring down a twelve-line poem or a 120,000-word novel, how do you know when you’re ready to abandon it?

You don’t. You hand it over to a willing party for shredding, even while you hope they’ll say, “It’s gold!”

This person doesn’t need to write; she only needs to read. Once published, your work will be seen by people who don’t write as well as those who do. So any second opinion will do at this point. Her job is to “proofread,” not to edit; editing is for you and for the editors. That’s how they get the title after all. A friend who simply enjoys reading can point out flaws in timeline or motive. Friends are wary of hurting a writer’s feelings and will give you the praise you’re looking for.

Another writer will probably alternate commiseration and brutality. “I like the main character,” he might say, “but her dialogue stinks.” He understands that you need a little criticism along with a dose of praise. If you want to get the piece published, he understands and has an understanding of what it will take to get your work to that point.

How do you find other writers to give you feedback? Check the bulletin board or schedule of activities at local bookstores, colleges or libraries. Sometimes the same critique group meets at Borders one weekend and at Barnes and Noble the next. Meeting in public places and posting notices indicate they are willing to accept new members. Hide in the “personal growth” section and pretend to read while listening to the group. Listen to their feedback and interaction; decide if you might want attend.

Maybe face-to-face critique isn’t for you. Or maybe it’s inconvenient to get to the meetings. Toasted Cheese offers critique boards and a writing buddy exchange. You can give and receive feedback when it’s convenient for you. Weigh your available choices for critique and get as many opinions as you can.


Repeat Offenders

Now that you’ve had a break from the piece, go through the steps again. Look at it with fresh eyes. There’s more editing afoot.

  • Get rid of adverbs

Good reasons for an adverb are few and far between. Sometimes one must stay, for clarity. Use the “find” feature in Word and do a “search and destroy” on “-ly.” Pick the best possible verbs and let the adverbs fall away.

  • Trim adjectives

Like adverbs, some adjectives have their place, but imagine how much more compelling your work would be with better-chosen nouns. Watch out for participles, where an -ing makes the word look like a verb. “Galloping horse” is an example. “Galloping” is an adjective, not a verb, and it’s a predictable word choice anyway. A gerund is an -ing word functioning as a noun, like “incessant nagging” or “constant editing.”

  • Metaphor, simile and metonyms, oh my!

Similes are comparisons using “like” or “as” (“She’s pretty as a picture” “I’m as corny as Kansas in August”).

Metaphors have the same function but do so in a more direct way, usually using a form of “is” to link the two ideas (“He’s hitting his head against a brick wall” “The landscape was a blanket of snow” “They’re a pimple on the face of humanity”). Be careful not to mix metaphors, like “I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it” or “If you let that sort of thing go on, your bread and butter will be cut right out from under your feet.”

Metonyms are comparisons that substitute one idea for another to which it is closely related. (“The pen is mightier than the sword”). One kind of metonym is the synecdoche, which substitutes a part for a whole or vice versa (“our daily bread”)

When using a simile, metaphor or metonym, be as original with them as possible. If you’ve heard it before, it’s not original. Use them sparingly, increasing the power of the ones you keep.

  • Detail

With all this cutting, you have wiggle room to add some detail. Take a moment to show us what else is going on, physically and emotionally, with your characters. Have you forgotten to add anything that could be important to the story or to the reader’s mental picture?

  • Symbol

If you use symbolism, keep your symbol constant. If you use circles as a symbol for entrapment, take note of every circle in your story. If the symbol isn’t appropriate, remove or change it. Assume your reader will pick up the symbolism on his own and don’t be too obvious or beat him over the head with it.

Have someone proof it again. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the original reader or someone new. At last the story is cleaning up and turning into something you can abandon.


Round Up the Usual Suspects

Ah. It’s finally edited, polished and ready to go. Now what?

If you write for publication, editing is a fact of life. The fun of creating is only a tiny step toward your finished, printed piece. If you’re lucky enough to have an editor accept your work, you might get a note back with some editing suggestions. Some go ahead and edit the piece themselves. You might even read it over and wish you’d changed a bit of dialogue or come up with a more original metaphor.

The worst thing you can do for yourself is to submit a great story in an unprofessional manner.

  • Know the publication

Research the journals you’re interested in. Read their current and archived issues. If your story is “genre,” make sure that it fits with the publication (example: don’t send erotica to Reader’s Digest).

If the stories seem heavy and long, consider sending that snappy flash fiction somewhere else. There are many journals that “subspecialize” in genre, length and so forth. A good place to begin scouting for possibilities is at Mustard and Cress.

  • Include a professional cover letter, even when electronically submitting.

An electronic submission should get the same respect as a hard copy submission. Address the editor(s) by name when available. In lieu of a street address, include the submission e-mail.

Open your letter with the name of the story and your intention for it (publication, a contest entry, etc.). Give the story name, word count and a brief bio, including any writing credits. If you don’t have any writing credits, don’t bring up the fact. Tailor your bio to fit with the story and the publication. Don’t write a funny bio to go with your death poem or a 200-word biography to accompany your flash fiction.

Some writers also like to add how they heard about the publication or contest (newsletter, search engine, workshop, someone’s website, etc.). Depending on your style, you might also want to include a two or three sentence story synopsis.

Include your email address in your signature or in the body of the letter. If you use a pen name, sign your real name and add a parenthetical (writing as “___”) or include the information on a new line below your name.

Do not suck up; editors have a great b.s. detector. They don’t care if you’re a lifelong reader or a fan of their own work. They care about what you’re sending them for their publication.

Example of an e-submission cover letter:

George Langadoon, fiction editor
Electric Mayhem
silkie@esmack.org

Dear Mr. Langadoon,

I am submitting my short story “Yes Dear” (1000 words) for publication consideration in “Electric Mayhem.”

My most recent fiction has been published in Toasted Cheese and Frank’s Little E-Zine of Joy. I live in Brisbane, Australia with my two maladjusted cats.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Erma McThirsty
Writing as “Max McHungry”
emc@whatever.com

An example of what not to do:

Hi! My name is Erma McThirsty and I’ve been writing all my life. I’m not published yet but I’ve dreamed of seeing my work in print. My story is called “Yes Dear” (attached).

I think it would be perfect in “Electric Mayhem.” I’m a real fan of your magazine and would love to be a part of it. I’ve read it for years and I love the stories you choose.

Let me know what you think!
“Max McHungry” (wink)

  • Follow submission guidelines

If a journal does not take simultaneous submissions, do not assume your story is so wonderful that they will make an exception.

Do not send your story in an attachment unless the guidelines deem it acceptable. Because of virus concerns, attachments almost always go unopened.

Many journals allow more than one poem per submission but only one prose or non-fiction piece. If the magazine wants only one piece per submission, comply with that request.

Put your story in a standard font face and size. For safety’s sake, stick with 12 point Courier, Arial or Times New Roman. If the guidelines are specific, respect that. A cute font will not get you noticed; it will get you sent to the slush pile.

  • Respect the reply time

Some editors reply to a submission on the same day. Some take up to three months. The site or auto-reply should tell you when to expect to hear about the story. Do not write to the editors and pester them about it. If you are in the “maybe” pile, doing so could put you in the “no” pile.

However, if an unreasonable amount of time goes by and you still haven’t heard, you have every right to ask, “What’s up?” Submissions do get misplaced, so inquire in a professional, courteous manner.

The same holds true when a story has been accepted but not yet published. You have the right to update your writing credits in a timely fashion. Go ahead and list the credit; you might consider adding a note that the publication is “pending.”


Case closed

If you write for publication, editing is a fact of life. The fun of creating is only a tiny step toward your finished, printed piece. If you’re lucky enough to have an editor accept your work, you might get a note back with some editing suggestions. Some go ahead and edit the piece themselves.

After it’s sent or published, you might even read it over and wish you’d changed a bit of dialogue or come up with a more original metaphor. This is natural. The important thing was that you sent out the best work possible at the moment. You were brave enough to abandon the project and send it into the world. Many who write don’t get that far. Be proud of your work and yourself.

Final Poll Results