Somewhere to Start
It can be difficult to know where to send your writing. The ‘Writers and Artists’ Year Book’ is full of agents, publishers and mainstream magazines and newsagents’ shelves are growing to fit the plethora of magazines published weekly, monthly and so on. Yet, it isn’t just a case of sending work off be it poetry, a short story, article or book and waiting for it to be accepted. It seems everyone wants to be a writer and the well-known and well-paid markets are becoming all the more competitive, with top writers competing against one another.
Publishers are frequently being quoted as saying that stories, books etc that would have been accepted ten, twenty years ago, no longer have a place in today’s market. So where does a writer start?
You could do worse than to start with the small press market. They often accept work, which other markets don’t. There is also a better chance of having your work accepted as top writers are more likely to be writing for top publications.
Getting published brings confidence and there’s nothing like seeing your name in print.
Encouragement and Advice
The main publishing houses and mainstream magazine editors don’t usually have time to help budding writers. They are inundated with manuscripts, whereas a small press editor may well receive many submissions, but most take the time to reply to the writer. Small press magazines are about giving writers a voice and they are all about encouragement. They often give struggling writers guidance and tell them where they are going wrong. Put such advice into practice and you are well on your way.
Make a Name for Yourself
Regularly having work published in small press magazines can lead to having a fan-base amongst the readers and requests for more of that writer’s work to appear in the magazine. What could be more rewarding and encouraging than that? It can also lead to bigger and better things. Some small press magazines are distributed in doctors’ waiting rooms, vets surgeries etc and you never know who is reading them and what may come of it.
Money, Money, Money!
Some small press magazines do offer a small payment, say £5 for a piece of work published. This isn’t much, but it is something. Others pay in copy only. Many of the magazines also offer prizes for the best story in each issue, with prize money of up to £50 for the best story. A few hold regular competitions with prize money and some have annual competitions, with bigger prize money, up to £1000. Entering competitions gives you experience, confidence and a real chance to win some money and if you win, it looks great on your writing CV.
Most small press magazines operate by way of subscription. Some cost as little as £6 a year for a quarterly magazine.
Go on, get writing for the small press. After all, what have you got to lose?
Here’s a useful link to some small press magazines: http://www.jbwb.co.uk/smpress.html