Today I had a nice long chat with a friend and fellow writer. He was feeling a little down about this business of ours and I gave him a completely unsolicited pep talk. Halfway through my speech about sending work to editors, I realized it sounded like I was giving him dating advice. So I went looking for a little more.
Here it is, my dating advice for writers (with translations):
- Put yourself out there. Translation: Don’t be afraid of rejection. Maybe your piece isn’t the best fit for a particular editor, but let them tell you that. Don’t reject them before they can reject you.
- Always look great, even if you don’t expect to meet anyone. Translation: Proofread your work. Revise it until it’s perfect. Send your best copy regardless of what you think your chances are of getting published in that particular market.
- Don’t play hard to get. Translation: Send your work out as soon as it’s ready and keep sending (revising as necessary) until somebody takes it. If you think editors are going to knock on your door looking for new work, you’ve got another thing coming.
- Keep dates brief, but your men interested. Less is always more. Translation: Always think about efficiency in your writing. Cut ruthlessly in service of the story. And keep your cover letters brief and to the point.
- Never ever talk about previous boyfriends. Translation: Don’t mention other rejections when sending out your work. No one wants to feel like they’re your fallback plan.
- Start listening and stop talking. Translation: Read the magazines you want to submit to. Learn what they like. Extrapolate what they don’t like.
- Don’t be afraid of internet dating. Translation: Don’t be afraid of online journals. Many of them have excellent editors and high quality content. Most of them have exponentially more readers than their print counterparts.
- Be patient. Translation: Be patient. Even if you’ve got talent and know-how, it takes time.
Now get out there and get going! The perfect market is out there, just waiting to take your story in its arms and never let it go. So go find it! You don’t want your story to be single forever, do you?