Aini sent this email question last week, "I love creative writing and had sent a few short stories to the local magazines.But none got published. I'm dissapointed. Not sure whether it's because my simple english or because i don't use bombastic words. I hope you could give some useful tips."
This email reminded me that I sold some short stories a few years ago and I forgot to put that on my writing credits. I sold 2 short stories to Singapore Womens Weekly and Malaysia Women's Weekly. And I have some more to sell so maybe this is the time to go looking for some new clients. Thanks, Aini!
Anyways...This is the 6th of a series of pieces talking about publicity issues facing bloggers. Funnily enough I was going to write about ways and means of talking print publications into mentioning your blog. Apart from the short story issue, the two topics have quite a lot in common. So here goes...
1. The market for short stories is tiny so editors tend to work with people they know. To get known you need to sell a story. Yes, chicken and egg. If you write an excellent story, you will probably get published. Write one that's OK and you won't, because there are thousands of others out there who will do better.
The same goes for press releases or approaches for publicity by bloggers! Everyone has a blog, so you need to stand out.
To get the attention of the editor, your story idea about your blog (or your short story) has to be original, fun, different. And it must suit the style of the publication and the audience that publication woos; if you run a fashion blog, write to a fashion magazine. If you write romance, don't waste your time writing to a sci-fi mag.
2. Check your spelling and grammar. What you write on your blog is your thing. You can go for the absolutely proper styles, grammar, spelling etc or you can be like me and just write it down and shove it out. It's up to you.
BUT submitting stories and press releases is a different ballgame alltogether. Editors don't want to waste their time with people who don't fine tune their work. They think "sloppy language = sloppy work". As there are others out there who are painstaking and enthusiastic, make sure you avoid "dissapointed" and write "disappointed", ensure English has a capital E etc.
3. Style choices. Short story telling is creative but if you want to get published, you need to think in a businesslike way; same goes for getting someone to write about your blog.
When writing a story or press release, the easiest thing is to develop the tone that works for you or the story, and sell it to someone suitable. What's harder but more profitable is to look at a publication, analyse the style they want, look at the sort of stories they like, and then write something to suit.
Next week: how to get over stage fright and that "oh god, my English sucks" feeling when presenting your work.
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