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Getting Work Published Where do I Start?

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 31 Oct 2015 | comments*Discuss
Essays Getting Published Published


I have written a few essays and I would like to publish them in a newspaper or literature site. How can I publish them? Where do I start?

(Mr Recep Iseri, 11 December 2008)


First of all, congratulations on your accomplishment! Many people say they’re going to write, but most never complete the works that are within their hearts and minds. You, however, have made a great leap and are ready to tackle another—getting published.

There’s no one way to get published, but here’s a tried-and-true method that will get you started:

1. Determine the Niche for Your Essay

From your question, it’s not obvious whether you’ve written a fiction or non-fiction essay. If the essay is fiction, you’ll probably be limited to submitting it to literary journals, some printed magazines and websites. If it’s non-fiction, you have a few more options to consider, such as newspapers (online or print) and non-fiction magazines.

2. Target a Few Publications or Sites

After you’ve determined whether your essay is fiction or non-fiction, put together a compilation of publication and website names where you feel your work would be a good match. For instance, if you wrote a humorous piece about parenting, you would want to target websites and magazines primarily read by parents-to-be and parents.

3. Research Your Target Publications

After you have compiled a decent-sized list of target publications, do some research on each one. Find out (either by looking at their site or contacting their offices):

a) If they accept unsolicited simultaneous submissions from unpublished authors (and if they do, where to send them);b) What topics they are open to reviewing (they might not be interested in your essay if they are looking for something different or specific); andc) Whether they pay for essays (even if this isn’t your top consideration and you’d be happy with a byline instead of a byline AND a paycheck, it’s good information to know.)

4. Send a Query to Your Chosen Publications

Once you’ve completed your research and have narrowed your publications and sites down to a manageable number, it’s time to compose yet another piece of writing—a query letter. (If you’re not certain how to write a query letter, never fear… there’s an article on query writing at this very site!) Make certain your query letter is flawless; triple-check it from top to bottom. Then—fingers crossed—send it away.

5. Wait for a Response

This is probably the most difficult part of getting published! Most authors hate the “waiting game”, and for good reason. However, because you indicated that you have more than one essay on hand, perhaps you can spend your “waiting time” researching and querying a whole other group of publications or sites. Or, better yet, you can write more essays in the meantime.

6. Evaluate your Responses

As your responses come back, you’ll need to evaluate each one, especially if you get feedback from an editor (which is unusual, but does occasionally occur.) If you get an acceptance letter, that’s wonderful! But if you don’t, do not assume it’s because you’re a bad writer. It may just be that you weren’t a good fit with the publication. Dust yourself off and try again!

7. Never Give Up

One last note: NEVER GIVE UP! It’s easy to become discouraged when you’re eager to be published, but it takes a great deal of time for most writers to see their names “in print”. Keep putting your thoughts and ideas onto paper and push forward. Every “no” really does get you one step closer to “yes”!

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