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Finding a home for your creative work

Whatever your reasons for writing, you are likely to want someone to read your work, even if it’s just family or friends or colleagues. More likely, you’ll want to see it published somewhere, in print or online.

These days it’s easy to have your work in the public domain. You can just put it up on your website, or as a blog post, or even on your Facebook page. But by being published we generally mean that our work appears in a recognized magazine, journal, or newspaper, or as a book, whether on paper or as an e-book, with an ISBN.

Publications and publishers

If you are writing short forms - short stories, flash fiction, poetry, essays, articles - try to familiarize yourself with the journals and magazines that publish them. You can find lists of them in the annual Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and on some websites. You can also find useful information in publications like Writing Magazine or at your writers’ group or creative writing class.

Submission guidelines

A literary magazine’s website or Facebook page will usually tell you how to submit your work; in the 21st century, poems, short stories, and essays will usually be sent by email or by online submission software, although there are some that still accept or even encourage postal submissions. Make sure that you follow all the requirements of the outlet - for example, if they specify a particular font, font size, and line spacing, make sure that you do as they ask. Your typescript or text file should be neatly presented with plenty of marginal space and be carefully edited before you submit it to public gaze.

If you have a full-length publication ready, or in preparation, you should be aware that there are some publishers which do not accept submissions direct from authors but only from literary agents on behalf of authors. If they do accept submissions, make sure that your work is suitable for the list of the publisher you are approaching; don’t send novels to a publisher that doesn’t accept fiction, for example.

 

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