Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Articles and Columns

One of the hardest things to do as an 'Independent Author' is to keep yourself in the public eye, but there are two relatively easy ways to do so: articles and columns.

Writing articles on publishing isn't too difficult, especially if you do something that others don't, but getting them published is. So how? Ask. Email editors with a proposal and see if they bite.

Some time ago I approached the ACW magazine with an idea for an article. I planned to write about converting a book to the Kindle format and uploading it to Amazon. The editor liked the idea and asked me to write it and after submitting it, said she'd publish it.

Since the book launch I've written a piece for the local newspaper, and I'm waiting to hear back from another magazine about an article on the launch. Small bites, but it all helps.

Columns are more problematic as they require an editor to agree to publish several articles over an extended period of time. As it happens, I proposed an idea for a monthly column about self-publishing to and they jumped at a nice way of course and it goes out on the first of the month.

How did I get these openings? I asked. I am also a member of ACW and have been reading WritingRaw for a couple of years which made it easier for me to propose the ideas as I had a good idea of what they wanted. Do you have any magazines about writing that you read on a regular basis that you could submit an idea to? A website you go to on a regular basis, an online magazine?

Just ask. Editors are used to people submitting ideas on spec, for most of them it's how they fill each issue, and if they are interested and publish the article, then it'll be easier the next time as you'll be a known quantity.

I've yet to have anything commissioned for payment, but every article keeps my name in the public eye, not to mention the writing experience it gives me.

Go email a friendly editor...or even an unfriendly one, and surprise yourself.


Lisa Shafer said...

Publicity is good. :)

Martin Willoughby said...

Lisa: Most publisity is good. Getting caught naked in public isn't.

E. Arroyo said...

Such a great idea! The "just ask" part stumps me but you never know until you try. =)

Nick Wilford said...

Good ideas, Martin. I've got two years' worth of journalism training and it'd be a shame for it to go to waste, but I think I'd need some product out there first. Food for thought anyway! Good luck with the new book.

Martin Willoughby said...

EA: Asking is easier by email.

Nick: You don't need product before you write articles, they can be used to generate interest in what you are currently writing.

Holly said...

Thanks for the advice. I've got better at asking when I adopted the attitude "What's the worst they can say? NO? Then I'm back where I started. No loss."

Milo James Fowler said...

Good advice, sir! I always ask editors if they'd be up for an interview @ Write1Sub1 whenever they publish my work. So far, so good; only 1 never responded.

Martin Willoughby said...

Holly: The worst doesn't always happen either.

Milo: Things always seem to be easier once you've done them a couple of times. And congratulations on the continued success.