I have taught for many years now that there is a certain set of guidelines to follow upon submitting a piece of writing. Upon the recent publication of my beau, I had to rethink the rules and guidelines.
You see, he is not a ‘writer’ per se, but he does have TWO blogs that would say otherwise. Me, I’m a writer! I claim to be a writer and my only published works received no commission, and I haven’t been submitting like I should be. I’ve been on the learning/ teaching end.
So what made his submission so different? He wrote a blog post called Children of the Corn. Now mind you, he grew up in the country, a farm here in Gibbon Nebraska. He has many stories of growing up out here in the cornfields, tractors and such. I remember asking him recently, “You’ve never seen a sand castle?” His response was, “Have you ever seen a tractor pull?” Well I can honestly say, being a city gal from the east coast, no, no I have never seen a tractor pull. Touché!
He has no idea where he got the idea of submitting the story. But being on the internet many hours of his day, he came across, Country Living, a magazine, and thought that the Corn story would be a good fit for his Children of the Corn tale. He submitted.
He tells me he sent a request for guidelines, but he also said he didn’t wait for the guidelines, he just sent a word document and didn’t think about it again. As a matter of fact he never even told me that he had sent it. He probably just shrugged it off. He’s like that, just lets things roll off his shoulders, as for me, I would have been waiting month after month for a response/ rejection letter.
Not him, he just let it roll. No fear, no anxiety, nothing. Then when the ‘complimentary copy’ of the magazine came in August and the letter said, “Thank you for contributing.” THAT is when he told me, showed me actually, the publication of his story. He then said, “Oh I sent it way back in January. Didn’t think nothing of it.”
Well la di da! I have been writing all my life, the past ten years I have been really learning the ropes and teaching other writer’s the ropes, and here he is, just sends it off, and poof, published!
My friend said, “He must have had a good teacher.” Wink wink, thinking I showed him? Ha! No Sue, I can’t take credit for that. His high school teacher can and his wonderful upbringing but I feel all I did was inspire him to WRITE.
When I met him ten years ago, he was wrapped up in his work as an Administrative Assistant for UPS and surfing the web but did he write? No, he never did. But as he was going blind, as you can imagine, his internet surfing was getting harder and harder and that is when I told him to maybe try a blog.
Reluctantly, I believe, he tried it. Little by little he wrote more and more and thus were born, Audio book Heaven, an audio book blog where he reviews audio books for the readers, and his Drums in the Deep blog where he tells of his life.
He was blind for three years of his writing his blogs and imagine his excitement when he had a chance to SEE them and reshape and format them the way he wanted and that what you see now, is the finished product. To this day he is still writing! He requests audio books from publishers and now, he doesn’t even need to request, they send them to him!
And on his Drums in the Deep blog, he’s had enough blessings and miracles in his life to keep him busy as an active writer. And now a PUBLISHED author! Way to go!!!
So now my advice is going to change for the entire up and coming community of writer’s. If any thing, HE has taught ME!
Just send it and forget it.
Keep it a secret that you’ve submitted (I don’t advocate keeping secrets because to me, that is a form of lying, but in this instance, when it comes to submitting your work, TELL NO ONE!)
Keep in mind, you might send a thousand words, and they are at liberty to chop your work to pieces. Steven’s was chopped from 803 words down to 250, but get this, he didn’t know it was $1 a word!!! And as you can imagine his surprise by the $250 dollar check he got in the mail!
I think the number one thing I learned was to market your work to a magazine that fits your story. Don’t submit a Children of the Corn Story to City Living. It won’t sell. Country Living was a perfect place for his story, THAT is why they took it.
He had received a letter that said he could order additional copies but it only said, “IF the submission qualified for payment, a check would be in the mail.” They never informed him IF it qualified but apparently it did. What qualified it? More than likely it was because it was an original story, not a reprint, or previously submitted work and it fit right in the magazine. Just a guess.