Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I'd Like to Buy a Vowel

"Of course the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you--if you don't play, you can't win."
- Robert Heinlein, science fiction author (1907 - 1988)

Okay. I want to encourage each of you to enter a contest or submit a piece of work to a market. I often err on the side of encouraging folks to access wild mind and write, write, write. But there's another part of the equation as well. Once we've written our buns off, we need to let the world see what we've done!

There are so many opportunities. Check the back pages of Poets & Writers Magazine. Flip through Writers Digest. Pick up a copy of last year's Writers Market at Half Price Books or splurge and get the current one at Liberty Books & News. And don't forget all the on-line markets popping up. Google "submission guidelines" or "writing guidelines" and see what you get. Double dare your friends to submit something if you do. Send off your best work, forget you sent it, and get back to writing.

This month I vow to send out three things. I know which pieces I'm going to send and where they're going. It's a long shot, but the effort of putting a manuscript in the mail makes me feel even more like a "real" writer. I bet you'll feel the same.

The main tip I can give you is to read the publication and follow the guidelines. If the magazine is filled with short fiction, don't send your poetry. If a contest says no simultaneous submissions, only send your submission to that magazine until you hear otherwise. Chances are you wouldn't get caught, but this is a small world. We need to avoid pissing people off. If a literary publication says it does not accept email submissions, pay the postage and put it in the mail. If a contest limits submissions to 5,000 words, don't send them your 27,538 word novella. Don't even send them 6,000 words. Read the rules. Read the writing guidelines. Follow them.

So send, send, send this month. Let's show the publishers of the world that central Ohio writers are alive and well. And let me know how it's going.

On a final note, thanks to the many who sent condolences concerning the death of my niece. Your support means more than you will ever know. Jamey was in it to play hard and, for the short time she spent on the planet, that's exactly what she did.

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