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Friday, May 28, 2010

They Accepted My Work!

Part I - Rights

After waiting and waiting, and maybe receiving a few rejection notices, the day finally arrives when someone accepts your work. Wow! This is exciting! So, what's next?

There are responsibilities that you and the editor both need to meet. The use of your work is finalized with a contract. When you receive a contract, it will appear to have a lot of big legal words and may be confusing. The main thing you need to know is what the magazine will use your work for and how long you are "selling" it to them.

There are several different kinds of rights. Here are some of the most common ones:

First rights or First North American Serial Rights. This gives the magazine the right to publish your work for the first time. In other words, when you sell these rights, you are telling the publication that your work has not appeared in print anywhere else. Let the editor know when you submit your work if it has appeared in print anywhere else, including on a blog or as a school assignment. It is always best to be honest if your work has appeared anywhere else in any form. A contract will usually tell you how long a period of time the magazine "owns" your work. After that period of time expires, you are free to sell your work elsewhere.

Second Rights or Reprint Rights. Once your work has appeared in print, it can never be sold as "first rights" again. . However, several publications accept reprinted work. You must tell the editor that only second or reprints rights are available and include what magazine, newspaper, or other publication the work appeared in. It's like putting on a new pair of shoes for the first time. Once you've worn them once, you can wear them again and again, but never again for the "first time"

Exclusive reprint rights.This may sound the same as the paragraph above except for that word "exclusive". This means the magazine wishes to buy and reprint your work, but you have sold that right to that magazine only. You can never sell that particular poem, story, article, artwork, etc. to another publication.

All rights. Just like it sounds, all rights means that you no longer have a right to do anything with this particular work ever again. It totally belongs to the publication you have sold it to.What was once yours now belongs to them and you can never use it anywhere again. This usually applies to larger publications that is read by a lot of people, called circulation.

Let's look at why this makes sense. If you sell a poem to two magazines in two different areas of the country that only two thousand people read, what are the chances that the same person would read both magazines? Not very good. However, if you could sell your poem to two magazines that are available all across the country and fifty million people read each of them, the chances are higher that many of the same people read both magazines. Each magazine wants to give their readers "new" material their readers have not seen before.

For further information about rights, go to this web site from where this information was taken.

Happy writing!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rejection - Oh, How It Hurts!

It's happened to all of us. When you were little, your mom was less than thrilled with the bug-infested weeds you dragged into the house. You thought they would make a nice table bouquet. You didn't get picked for the soccer, basketball, or football team, and it seemed like the end of the world.. That girl (or boy) you wanted to go for an ice cream with said no, then waltzed off down the street with your best friend.

Now, you've been waiting for weeks to hear from an editor and all you get is a form letter saying they don't want your work. You're heartbroken! You've worked so hard! You don't deserve this!

Okay, shed a few tears, then take an honest look at what may have gone wrong. First and most important of all, a rejection of your work is not a rejection of you. Do not think of yourself as a bad person, a failure, or a lousy writer.

Even best selling authors get rejected. Despite the fact that you have studied the market and sent your work to what you thought was the right magazine, your particular piece may not be quite what the editor is looking for. Perhaps a similar subject was covered in a recent edition of the magazine. Maybe you failed to follow guidelines with what you considered a small infraction, like shorting or stretching the word count.

Sometimes, but not always, you are fortunate enough to have an editor provide comments about your work. Take their advice! If an editor has offered a suggestion that will make your submission more suitable for their publication, by all means, make the changes and resubmit it with the suggested corrections.

If you use the social networking sites, such as My space, keep any negative comments you may have about an editor off the web. Call your best friend and tell him/her how you feel, but anything placed on the web in any form can be found. You don't want those negative thoughts out there in public.Editors will find it, and they talk to each other all the time. Nothing you post on the Internet is totally private - not ever!

You can soften the sting of rejection by seeking ways to improve your work if it is recommended. If you are sure you have done your best, send it right back out to the next possible market. Persistence leads to success!

Happy writing!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Before You Submit - Part IV - Sending and Stamping

Okay, you have edited and polished your work to the point where it shines like a full moon on the prairie. Now it's time to take a deep breath and propel your "baby" out of your house and into the hands of an editor.

Most magazines accept electronic submissions. Be sure to check the guidelines for the magazine you are submitting to in order to verify that this is an acceptable means of presenting your work. Guidelines should also tell you if the work should be sent as an attachment or if the editor prefers the work to be included in the body of an email.

Just a reminder to address the email to the appropriate editor and be sure to spell their name right! Introduce yourself in the body of the email and give a brief description of your work. For example, are you offering a poem, short story, or piece of artwork? For a short story, you might mention word count.

For the markets that still accept hard copy manuscripts through the mail, be sure, as mentioned before, to address your envelope to the appropriate editor with name correctly spelled. Be sure to affix enough postage to cover the cost of the content. If you wish to have your work returned to you, you must send a self-addressed, stamped envelope (known as an SASE) with your submission. Remember to apply the required amount of postage to the return envelope. Work that is sent without an SASE will seldom be returned.

Now that you have dropped your submission in the mail box or hit "send" on your computer, what's next?

You wait!

Most magazines guidelines will address the length of time it takes for them to respond. An electronic submission publication will sometimes send an automatic email informing you that the submission was received. Response time can vary from 4-6 weeks to 6-8 months, depending on the publication.

If a long period of time elapses after the expected response date and you have not heard from the publication, it is appropriate to send a follow-up email or letter inquiring about your submission. Be polite! A rude and demanding attitude will destroy your chances of having your work accepted.

In the meantime, while you wait, stay busy! Keep writing and keep submitting. It is all right to submit the same work to different publications. This is called simultaneous submission. Again, consult guidelines, as some magazines object to this practice. Also, show courtesy and inform the editor that the work you are sending is a simultaneous submission.

Happy writing!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Before You Submit - Part III - Do Your Homework

Take a look at your story, poem, or article and visualize your readers. Are they children, young adults, college students, or older? Men or women? What economic, religious, and cultural background do they have? What kind of lifestyle do they lead?

An article about learning one's way around the New York City subway system would probably not appeal to a reader who lives in rural Colorado. Yet, a short story about that same experience might prove exciting to someone who has never been to a city.

Become familiar with the magazine you wish to target before sending your work. A publication that represents outdoor sports may accept articles or stories about fishing and tennis, since both are outdoor activities. However, a magazine that specializes in fishing alone would not welcome a tennis story. Even more specific, one magazine may be interested only in deep sea or commercial fishing while others address the sport of back country fishing.

Go to your local library and ask to the see The Writer's Market Guide. It is printed every year and lists hundreds of magazines. For those interested in writing for the Christian market, there is also The Christian Writer's Market Guide. Send a simple request or email to the magazines that interest you and ask for their guidelines.

Stick to those guidelines! Don't send fiction work or poetry to a magazine that specifically states it does not publish fiction. Stay within the specified word count. Editors allow a certain amount of space for each article, poem, etc that they print. If they ask for a 250-500 word story, don't send them 750 words! They don't have time to remove those 250 extra words.

Keep in mind that magazines plan their editions several months in advance. If you are writing to a specific season or holiday, send your work well in advance of that time. Most magazines are three to six months ahead and some as much as nine months.

Last but certainly not least, be sure to address your email or postal envelope properly. Double check the spelling of the editor's name. Many magazines have more than one editor, so be sure you are submitting your work to the proper person.

Happy writing!
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