Monday, June 1, 2009

Buried Treasure

"Grr, where are my keys? Can anyone tell me why they make purses that swallow everthing like a black hole?"

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!

10 comments:

Jessica said...

Great example Susan! Highlighting is a good idea. I usually print stuff up (like for contests) and highlight or check the pertinent stuff. Like you said, it's easy to get lost in all the words.
Congrats on your sales! Publishers DO want to buy stuff, but they've got specific qualifications and it's up to us to meet them. You were smart!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Good Morning, Jess -

With so many publishers, the amount of guidelines staggers the imagination. I've had to learn how to pull out the important points or it becomes overwhelming.

Have a great day!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Susan:
Great analogy of the bottomless purse! I like oraange highlighters, to match my hair!! LOL!
Jen

quietspirit said...

Susan:
I understand your point. I read those pages and still am unsure of what they want. Highliting is good. Sometimes I grab a red pen and underline. Some publications have theme lists for upcoming issues. But they aren't up-to-date.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Orange highlighters? What no purple? I thought purple was your favorite color. :)

Hope you enjoy your writers conference.

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

Underlining is another good method to find those critical instructions. It's helpful when they give you a theme list.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the thoughts, Susan. It's so easy to get caught up in writing and overlook these important details.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

I've heard it said, "It's all in the details." Paying attention to all the little things can set us apart from the crowd. (I think there's a post in here somewhere. LOL!)

Blessings,
Susan :)

Terri Tiffany said...

Good good advice! It takes a little more work, but is so worth the effort!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

It's easy to get lost in all the verbiage. I'm glad my suggestion hit the mark. :)

Blessings,
Susan