Years ago, a knew a woman (we’ll call her Amanda) who wrote romances, but never actually submitted one. At a writers’ meeting, a mutual published author friend was talking about making money as a writer, and Amanda kind of snorted and said, “C’mon, you can’t make real money writing.”
To which the author said, promptly and firmly, “Well, I make ‘real’ money writing.”
It was an interesting moment, because, probably for the first time, Amanda sat back and asked herself what she was doing, what her plans were with this writing thing, and what she actually wanted to accomplish.
A few weeks later, Amanda and I had lunch, and the topic came up again. “But it’s crazy to think I could actually get published.”
“I’m sure I’m not good enough.”
“What if you are?”
That day we made a plan. We set up deadlines. We decided whom she’d send to. We worked on queries and a synopsis. Once, as a deadline approached, Amanda panicked. “The woman’s a demon. Every knows she’s mean. I’m too scared to send it to her!”
“Then don’t. Send it to someone else.”
Flummoxed, she stared at me. “But that’s the plan.”
“If you don’t like the plan, if you’re not comfortable with something about it, adjust. The one thing you can’t do, is do nothing.”
She picked a different editor. She sent it in on deadline.
Now, I’m not going to tell you how the story ended, because we’re focusing on the moral of the story – which is, you have to move forward. Editors – either publishing house or magazine – are scary. Queries are scary. Having faith in your work, your talent, your ability to meet deadlines – it’s all scary. But if you don’t do something, you’re destined to fail. (Okay, okay, yes, she got published. By a huge NY publisher. Yay, Amanda!)
If you’re talented, motivated, and disciplined, you’ll make money. You’ll make money more quickly when you move toward your goals. That means you have to actually send a pitch to an editor.
So RIGHT NOW, pick a magazine you’d like to try, and brainstorm three potential stories for that market. Keep in mind that most magazines are two to six months ahead of us for their editorial calendar – exactly how far ahead depends on the individual magazine, so look them up before you pitch a Christmas story to an editor who has her sights on Valentine’s Day.
Okay, you have a couple of ideas? You know the calendar of the magazine you have in mind? Start writing a query (aka a pitch).
Wait, you’re not ready yet? Haven’t done enough research? Not sure if the magazine is really the right market? You’d like a little guidance on how to actually write a pitch?
Here are some links to some good articles I’ve found that might help:
Now get going – happy writing![author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://howtowriteshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/bobbiColumn.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Bobbi Dumas loves good writing. Of all kinds. She also loves romance, a mesmerizing story and the company of friends. When she’s not in the virtual world or one of her own making, she can usually be found in Madison, WI with her husband, two boys, and a clan of great writers she feels grateful and honored to know (some of whom you get to meet here, too). Lucky you! [/author_info] [/author]