Update from last week’s post: It seems Elance is back to normal again. Thanks, Elance team!
It’s been a fairly busy week in my corner of the internet. I’ve presented an upcoming e-book to a test audience.
I’ll discuss that a bit more when I’m ready to release it, but for now, I just want to talk about getting work published. This is part 1 of a short series on turning your writing into full-fledged, published work.
Part 1: Newspaper Articles
Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, wild and weird or straightforward and precise, magazines or newspapers are a good place to start when it comes to publishing your writing.
Speaking as a former managing editor, when it comes to getting published in a local newspaper, ask yourself what I ask myself with every article I write or consider publishing: “Who cares?”
If the answer isn’t “my community and the readers in it,” I’m not going to waste my time.
I realize that sounds harsh, but it’s true. I made it very much a point to stay at home – writing stories about the community and for the community, no matter how small – because there will always be people demanding local news.
This ever-present demand tells me two things:
1 – People care about their community and the happenings therin. They turn to me as an information source on what’s happening even just down the road from them.
2 – These same people generally aren’t going pay as much attention to stories in your paper concerning areas outside of their city, state/province, etc.
If I’m a writer in Wyoming, for example, and the story I’m reading is all about a “maverick” matchmaker living in California (I must have received something from them every week) and she’s has no connections to the Cowboy State at all…Oh, good gracious, I must have hit that Mark as Spam button by accident!
When you’re writing a story for a newspaper, fiction or non-fiction, I can’t stress these two words enough: THINK LOCAL! Think about what your community cares about, and write about it!
Are there any local legends or tall tales you know? Maybe there’s new information out there, or maybe the kids nowadays don’t know what the legend even is (perhaps a timely anniversary is coming up). Whatever happened to the landmarks you knew as a kid? Perhaps you could talk to the owners, research the history, find out what led to their current state. No matter how small your community is, there are at least dozens of stories out there if you know where to dig.
The closer to home you can bring your story, the better off you’ll be winning an editor’s approval and the closer you’ll be to adding a fine piece to your work portfolio. So get out there, talk to people and make your voice (and theirs!) heard!
Until next week, Happy Writing!
What are some story ideas that apply to YOUR community? Have you ever written to or for a local newspaper? What was your experience? Discuss in the comments below! Also, remember to check out the next part of the series here!