Being a good writer with a dynamite article you would like to get published is only half the battle. You must comply with editorial rules and protocol of the publications you’re trying to reach, if you will have any chance at all of getting that best ever written tome published.
So, whether you are the next Hemingway, J.K. Rowling or whomever, follow these simple tips from writing guru Joan Feldman in an article on Attorney at Work to improve your chances of success:
- Don’t be lazy. Know the publication, as in READ it, and also its website and the writer guidelines, before calling with questions (e.g., like how long should an article be when the guidelines spell that out). Feldman advises that it is best to avoid “dimwitted” questions by doing some basic research. Don’t just throw articles at publications thinking something may stick, because if it is off target for that publication’s audience it will be deleted, and could endanger your reputation for any future articles;
- Think ahead. Make it simple to open and read your article (no weird formats, graphics, fonts, headers/footers, etc.); spell out important notes about your article in your email AND in the article itself; your name (Duh) and contact info should be included within the article also; your bio as you would like it to read at the end of the article; and working links to website(s); keywords at end of article; and additional resources on the topic (including by materials written by others in your firm);
- Avoid “glaring errors." That means proofreading your article. Don’t expect the editor to catch your errors, which is pretty much of a given, of course. Consider asking a colleague to also proof it, and try using an online spelling/grammar checking software, such as spellchecker.net or spellcheckplus.com (both free); and
- Finally, throw some BS at the editor. Actually, don’t do that. But according to Feldman, flattering the editor on the quality of the publication and past articles could be helpful as “compliments are always appreciated.” (However, I would recommend strongly that if you are going to do this, you cite specific examples).
Since authoring articles is still a powerful business development tool, following the above tips is more likely to reap success. Turning editors on to the quality of both your writing product and your approach to getting it publish sure beats the alternative.