A long look back

by MARCELLA SIMMONS
(Logansport LA USA)

After months of submitting manuscripts to magazines such as Redbook and Glamour, receiving rejection slip after rejection slip, I started researching the small press publications in hopes of finding a home for some of my material. The result was that I finally started receiving acceptance slips instead of rejection slips – the only difference – there was little or no pay for my hard work.

Looking back to my very first piece is almost embarrassing – why would any editor take the time to read that piece of garbage? It was not one of my better pieces of work, I can assure you.

But that first piece, as bad as it was, has served as my inspiration more than once, giving me the confidence and boost that I needed to continue writing. When I read it now, full of room for change and improvement (it was worthy of being trashed!), I am thankful that someone took the time to publish my first piece and give me a chance as a published writer and help me on my journey to succeed as a professional writer. We all have to start somewhere.

Small press editors (some of them) take the time to read your material – some give you tips and edit your story and help you with rewrites. Others tell you where your story went wrong and why it doesn’t work for that particular publication. Some small press editors welcome new writers like a nursery welcomes new babies.

Without having learned to write for small press publications years ago, I would not have succeeded as a writer, and I am thankful for getting my foot in the door where and when I did. I would have given up long ago, and my dreams of being a successful writer would be gone forever.

If you’re having trouble breaking into print with the larger paying markets, try the small press publications. firstwriter.com is updated continually and includes small presses in its publishers section, and small press magazines in its magazines section. Go to www.firstwriter.com/publishers and www.firstwriter.com/magazines to make trial searches for free. If you find markets matching your needs you can get the full details for a low monthly subscription fee by going to www.firstwriter.com/subscribe. You can also ask to receive daily email alerts about new and updated listings matching your interests.
Get familiar with some of the smaller markets – SASE for writer’s guidelines and request a sample copy or two before submitting your manuscript. Get a feel for the market – know and understand what is needed and write accordingly.

Keep writing and keep sending out manuscripts. Someone will read your manuscript – keep trying until they do!

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