Getting Published: First Steps

How can I get published? It’s a question we writers ask often because no matter how altruistic a writer is, we all get excited to see our words in print or on screen.

At the July BWG meeting I was reminded of the most important aspect of publishing.

At the meeting members read samples of their work. Those who didn’t attend missed some fun: murderous violin makers, questionable van renovations, space pirates threatening to hijack the meeting, intimate glimpses of life in poetry and prose.

Member Readings: David Chang, Linda Lenoards, Beth Savoie (me!), Linda Todd, Lena Roach Georgia Downer, and Mark Allen
Member Readings: David Chang, Linda Lenoards, Beth Savoie (me!), Linda Todd, Lena Roach Georgia Downer, and Mark Allen

Seven members read. Seven different styles and genres.

The motto of BWG is to educate, encourage, and inspire. We educate through speakers and our conference, but I for one enjoy the encouragement and inspiration from hearing that others are writing. Also the encouragement from sharing my work with others is so important to me.

So what does this all have to do with publishing?

From all I’ve studied, if a writer wants to be published, there are three critical first steps:

  1. Believe in yourself.
  2. Start writing.
  3. Finish what you write.

Because whether you go traditional or self-publish, you can’t send out something that isn’t complete.

Attend workshops and conferences. Read writing books and websites. Research publishing opportunities. But, don’t forget: we are writers. Facebook and solitaire don’t get the job done. Eventually we have to put words on the paper.

In a writing group, it’s nice sometimes to hear evidence that members are doing exactly that.