I don't think there's a woman reading this blog, who hasn't experienced this frustration. You know your keys, pens, business cards, or glasses are in your purse, but can you put your hand on them? No. If you're a guy, you find yourself digging through every pocket or your briefcase. At this point, I resort to removing everything until I find that elusive item.
Pouring over Writers Guidelines and conference brochures can be like searching through my handbag. I know the keys to publication are there, but I can't seem to locate them. Sometimes I have to pull everything out before isolating the buried treasure.
A highlighter can be an effective tool for unearthing these nuggets. What information is critical to my submission? 1. Contact person and method of submission. 2. Target audience. 3. The type of material they want, including upcoming themes. 4. The type of material they DON'T want. 5. The overall tone of the publication.
By separating the important nugggets, we get a more focused view of the publication's needs. A couple of years ago, a devotional magazine editor attended a writers conference. I read through her bio and determined what type of pieces she wanted. I wrote specific devotionals relating to Christmas and Advent. Two of those devotionals were accepted and published.
On the other side of the coin, I made an appointment with an agent. She liked my writing, but didn't handle my genre. Oops, my mistake. I didn't do my homework.
With conference time upon us, let's dig for those gems that will bring us closer to our goals, and keep us from wasting precious appointment time. Happy hunting!