Gina Holmes is a freelance writer, whose work has appeared in Woman's Day, The Roanoker and Epiphany's magazine. She also co-runs the popular fiction blogs: Novel Journey and Novel Reviews, where she has interviewed Frank Peretti, Karen Kingsbury, Ted Dekker and more than a hundred others. She makes her home in Roanoke, Virginia, where she types her third novel with one hand, vacuums with the other, and listens to incessant knock-knock jokes from her two boys.
Reprinted from Novel Journey Feb. 19, 2005
I chose the title of this post because I knew countless of hopeful authors will type those two words into Google and maybe my site would get a hit or two.
How do I know that? Eight years ago, I ran the same search and what did I come up with? Mostly scams and e-books I could buy. I also came up with many good web-sites that offered free information. But no advice no matter how good, will get you published. The heiney to seat ratio,(time spent actually writing),combined with a bit of talent, lots and lots and lots of stamps and most importantly: teachability--is what will.
If you want to get published to be read--start your own blog. Easy enough to do.
If you want to get published to see your name in print: write for your church newsletter or a letter to the editor. Also easy to do.
If you want to get published for the above reasons AND insist on earning a check for it, not as easy to do,but still doable: Find a couple of local magazines and pitch the editor a story with a local slant.
My first publishing credit came when I pitched an article on Accupuncture in the Roanoke Valley to The Roanoker's kind hearted editor. He suggested I have a tighter angle and write the article on 'spec'.
That means I do the work and he can buy it or not. Gina wasn't happy about writing for free, but with the rejection letters piling up, I didn't have a whole lot of other options. So, away I wrote.
The kind hearted editor wrote back that my story read more like an encyclopedia entry. He suggested I begin the story with a "hook" (A human interest story.) Eg. When Martha could no longer feel her fingers, she knew it was time to try something drastic...
Okay. I called a couple of local accupuncturists who were happy to provide me with a human of interest (and to have their names mentioned in said article). I wrote it and sent it in.
A couple of months later I received a check in the mail for $150.00.
I jumped up and down, made everyone call me "published author" and refused to spend my check. Of course, it needed to be framed.
Ten minutes later, I cashed it, deciding the article itself would be nicer to frame (and cheaper).
Several months after receiving the check, I called editor and asked him when my article would be published. He said it had, didn't I get a copy?
He graciously left two copies of the magazine on the stairs for me.
There was nothing quite like seeing my name in print,knowing I got paid to do it.
I can imagine how overwhelming it will be to see my name on the cover of a book. And since I'm dreaming, let's make it a hard cover.