1. Marie Churchman
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    Marie Churchman New Member

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    Being published in magazines: important for cred.?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Marie Churchman, Dec 11, 2013.

    :) I'm a new writer, dealing with rejection for the first time. I've sent short stories (mostly flash fiction) in to several online magazines, and although I knew to expect an uphill road, the word "declined" does sting a bit when you see it so often. I can persevere, but what I want to know is this: how important is it to be published in a literary magazine? My thinking has been that it would be wise to establish credibility in this way before attempting something greater, like publishing an ebook. What path has worked for those of you that are many steps ahead of me? Also, how long does it usually seem to take before you see the magical word "accepted"? Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.
     
  2. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    For getting more magazine work, probably. You're building a portfolio. Connections won't hurt either.

    For "bigger stuff" I'm not sure it'll help. If you want to publish a book, it's just going to have to be a good, good story, regardless of what you've done before.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Getting published in reputable magazines can potentially make it easier for you to get an agent and a publisher. It means you probably have an established audience that would recognize your name on a book cover. I've always believed that getting stories published in magazines before trying to publish a novel is a good way to go. In fact, I know a lot of contemporary novelists who did this. However, it certainly isn't a necessary way of doing things.

    It depends. For some writers it may take 5 rejections before their piece is accepted. For others it might be 10 rejections. Or 100 rejections. It's really hard to measure this sort of thing. Your best bet is to keep sending your work out there. Good luck.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    What Thirdwind said.

    Added to that, the more recognized the magazine/ezine, the greater potential impact it might have. Also, if you're sending to literary magazines, the successes there will have the most influence if you're attempting to have a 'literary' novel published.

    There are a number of things a writer can learn through the process, of getting short fiction published, from finding appropriate markets, contacting markets, to working with editors and learning about contracts, etc. But, in the end it, will be the quality of the novel that determines if it will be offered a contract for publication (or representation by an agent).

    A piece may ultimately never find a publisher...but that's okay. Just keep writing and improving and submitting work for publication.
     
  5. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just take a look at your favorite writers' bibliographies. Or any bibliography for that matter. The more, the marrier ;)

    If you were an editor in a pub.house, and you'd have to choose between reading a manuscript from an author who's work was already read and published by professionals, versus someone with no credentials: which one would you pick? Sure, you'd say: I'd give equal chances to everybody, and Who says this first-timer isn't better than this award-winning veteran... But I don't think you'd still say that after a few days as an editor :)

    Also, when sending out your stories to magazines, take your time to read previous issues and get to know what kind of stories they publish, what styles prevail, how do they deal with stories from new authors, etc. No need to mention genre-restrictions and submission guidelines and text-formatting... And one thing that I noticed: submission fees. Some are ridiculously high. Paying 15$ for a half-literate guy NOT to publish your story in his e-zine - don't fall for that scam.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've just got to keep plugging away. One woman in my writer's group had a great New Year's goal last year: To get 100 rejections. You're not going to get acceptances without them -- that is, you need to keep trying.

    As far as how important it is -- well, it's not quite a direct ladder to a novel success, but all that writing helps you develop as a writer, and of course when you do get accepted, it's nice encouragement and an acknowledgement that you can write. When agents are looking at query letters, what they really want to know (in addition to 'can I sell this') is: Can this person write? The best evidence is, of course, a fantastic excerpt and sample chapters, and eventually the whole m/s. But, it's hard to really know just from the small samples that are sent in queries, and agents don't have a lot of time to contemplate each query -- if they're on the fence, they're likely not going to ask for more from you. So, any additional evidence you can give them that you are a good writer, and any imprimatur you have from an outside source is very helpful to put in a query letter -- if you have an M.F.A., that's helpful. If you can list a bunch of lit mags that have published your work, that's helpful. If you've won any prizes, that's helpful. Of course, the more prestigious and well-known the magazines and prizes are, the better. Joe's Tavern's Literary Short Story Contest isn't likely to carry a whole lot of weight, but hey, if you won that, there's no harm in putting it in.

    Publication in a magazine is helpful, but certainly neither a prerequisite nor a guarantee of success in getting a novel published.
     
  7. Marie Churchman
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    Marie Churchman New Member

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    Thank you to all who have answered. I can see now that I should keep pursuing the magazine market and that I should keep my chin up. Strangely, I'm especially encouraged by chicagoliz' friend who had the goal of 100 rejections. Facing it with such courage is inspiring and makes me feel not so alone. Funny, I've been writing awhile, but only just started to send things out and become serious this year, thinking I'm ready to face rejections... but, after getting three in two days... well, ouchy!
    So, thank you for the guidance. I shall march ahead bravely and re-submit!
     
  8. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Yeah, sometimes it just feels like a depressing, uphill battle. It took me five years and I don't know how many rejections before I got my first article printed in Finescale Modeler. You just have to keep at it.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think being published in any paying market would boost your cred. I certainly don't think magazine sales would harm your chances of publishing a novel. It could only help, or not affect your chances at all.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Welllll...

    It doesn't help much to have published in the blood and gore horror mags if you're submitting your first novel, a world-spanning political thriller.

    Creds typically apply to writing in the same or related genre, and in a comparable quality range.
     
  11. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Let's assume that you somehow end up on the Amazon page for a self-published writer's novel. Do you look to see what s/he had published in the way of short stories or do you look at the sample to see if you like the writing? You look at the writing, of course. And if you like it you read the book. If not you turn away. So who cares if they have credits in an online magazine?

    But let's assume you do sell a story or two to an online publication. How many of them do you personally read? I ask because we have to assume that you're typical.

    But assuming you do read them regularly: of those you read, how often, months you read the story, did you check their name on Amazon to see if they published a novel? That's how helpful being published in an online venue is toward increasing sales.

    In the case of printed work in magazines and books in the local bookstore, we may see and recognize the person's name on the bookstore shelves because we're scanning book covers. But on Amazon, how will anyone even know you published a novel if you don't send them to that specific page? There are, literally millions of self published books and all of them are shouting, "Read me, I'm the best," and they tend to blend together

    See the problem?
     
  12. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you go to a job interview, do you:
    a)show an empty curicullum saying "Just let me do the job, I'll show you how good I am!"; or
    b)try to put as much relevant info on former, relevant, employment (even if you have to make up some)?

    Of course, you still have to perform the best you can during the trial period. But you first have to convince them to give you a trial period in the first place. So of course you are going to do everything you can to actually get there.

    Doing anything that HELPS is not going NOT to help.

    Second thing: for most people it is an important feedback to see their work accepted, published, printed by others. Seeing your words on paper, smelling the fresh print: it's a PRECIOUS moment. You'll going to remember that moment. You're going to hate that particular story, of course, for the rest of your life - it's probably going to be the WEAKEST piece you ever published. But it'll give you a push in the right direction.

    "I can do this!" the little voice says. Listen to that little voice in your head (or change your medication, it's up to you) :p
     
  13. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    You can type their name into the search box.

    I tend to agree that random web sites may not lead to much, though they're likely to have a link to the author's web site, where readers can find links to their books. But, if I see a story I like by a new writer in a major magazine, I'm probably going to check to see what else they've written.

    I can't see how anything bad can come from having your story in front of tens of thousands (or more) of dedicated readers in your genre. And getting paid a few hundred dollars to do so.

    The hard part is learning how to write stories that will get there.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    do NOT 'make up' writing credits, unless you want to be blacklisted, after some agent checks up on your claim and finds out you lied...
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Falsifying creds - in any field other than undercover work or espionage - is just plain stupid. And even in those fields, it's a known and necessary risk in an already risky business.
     
  16. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Jesus and all 12 Apostles! - it was a sarcasm! - Is there really anyone idiotic enough to bring in an empty CV to a job interview and really say-- ... oh forget it...
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You don't follow the news much, do you? It happens all the time, and it makes the news when they get caught in a way that exposes a public threat.
     
  18. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Spies, you mean? Not mid-school teachers with fake CVs?
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No. I mean like the chemist in the state laboratory who claimed a degree in chemistry she didn't have. She faked results to appear to perform better at her job. When she was caught, hundreds of convictions had to be overturned, releasing convicted criminals into the population, and costing millions in retrials. Also, the entire lab was shut down as a result.

    Her name is Annie Dookhan. She'll be lucky to get a job now in fast food.
     
  20. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    a) I couldn't care less for Massachusetts (I don't even know how to spell it - double 't'? why!?);

    b) I don't think her fake CV is her worst crime - certainly it's not one of 27 crimes she's been put on trial for;

    c) in what dimension does Annie Dookhan have anything to do with getting or not getting your prose published in magazines?!
     
  21. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is amazing how frequently this does seem to happen. I mean, it's not like it's expected, which is why it makes the news when it does. But the news stories are not as uncommon as you think. I would have thought that today it would be even more difficult, with everything electronic, but that doesn't seem to have eradicated it. In fact, the fear of fake credentials has sometimes gone too far -- I know of someone who had a job offer rescinded because the company couldn't verify a job he held over 15 years ago. The company had been bought by another, which then merged with another company, and there were no consistent records, and no one who could be found to verify his employment at that time. It didn't matter that he'd had other verifiable jobs since then.
     
  22. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    But the question was if we should sell before we try to publish. So that search would lead nowhere.
     
  23. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    The agent who took them on as a client in the first place, knowing that they'd previously had some acceptances among "all the rejections".

    Nobody's suggesting it's helpful toward increasing sales. The question is whether it's helpful toward getting your book published. And sometimes it is.

    It may not always be relevant. It may not always be helpful. But overall, it's better to have it than not to have it.
     
  24. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @lex why write if not to publish? why publish if not to sell? why sell if not to make money? thus: why write if not for money? :)
     
  25. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    I don't disagree with you at all. ;)

    I'm simply making the point that without getting your work accepted by an agent and/or publisher, there aren't going to be any sales at all (unless you self-publish, admittedly). Therefore anything that might help to encourage an agent/publisher to take a chance on you, perhaps partly because you've had some previous acceptances among all the rejections, can only help rather than hinder. It seems a fairly incontrovertible assertion, to me. I was just pointing out that Jay's comment that "it won't help sales" is hardly a reason not to do it, nor even very relevant at all to the original question.
     

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