Thus far in our blog series, we’ve covered the basics for creating a story and have discussed different elements that create story. We’ve even talked about how being in community with other writers is essential to the growth and development of the craft. Yet, none of this really matters in the end if you have no plans for putting your writing “out there” (unless you’re just solely writing for yourself, which is fine, too). What we’d like to do with you right now, is have a real-talk session:
TLM: “What exactly are your plans for your work?”
You: “Well, I was thinking that __________.”
TLM: “Yes, but how are going to go about this? What’s your actual plan...?”
You: *silent thinking
If the above conversation strikes a chord with you, then we highly recommend that you begin to formulate a plan. It’s easy to say that you’re going to try and get an agent. For some, that may be a logical step. However, in today’s writing world, that may not be enough. For every one agent, there are a gajillion writers vying for that one person’s attention. We’re not saying give up and don’t try, but we are saying that you may be missing out entirely on another avenue to get your writing “out there”. But where is “out there”? Where it’s not is only saved on your device, in the cloud, or on your desk or jump drive. It also is not necessarily a self-published outlet (though it most certainly could be). What we want you to do is consider other spaces such as contests, anthologies, and reviews. Here are some brief descriptions:
Contests—free or fee based competitions, usually involving a specific genre, style, and/or theme; they can have cash rewards attached, but likely will provide, at minimum, the opportunity to give you and your work exposure (which could potentially lead to a literary agent).
Anthologies—a books of works surrounding a specific genre, style, and or theme in which you could contribute your work, giving you exposure and the opportunity to say that your work is published.
Reviews—websites or paper publications that not unlike an anthology will publish your work in a given issue. Again, you will receive exposure and be able to claim that your work was published.
While you’re waiting for your big breakthrough, don’t forget that you could be in the process of the smaller milestones. All of these accomplishments should go on your writing resume. And yes, you should have one of those (a future blog will address that. Know that as you send out your query letters, literary agents may take notice that someone else has already taken a chance on your writing. And if others have done it...
Some staff at TLM have expressed that they personally like to put pieces of their novels (storylines/chapters) and compilations that don’t make the final draft as smaller works to be submitted to contests, anthologies, and reviews.
Whatever you choose to do, be sure that you go back to your publishing plan and see where you fall currently. Check out some of these other opportunities. Test the waters. Be bold and get “out there”!
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