local Springfield-area writer I know enters many writing contests
every year, and has
built an impressive list of “wins” as
she improved her writing skills by studying contest guidelines and
entering many contests. These “wins” provide her with
writing credentials to show potential editors when she wants to query
them about an article idea she has to sell them, or to submit a poem
for one of their magazines. Leslie studies the Writer’s Digest
Market Guide, which you can see at a library, to find contests she
wants to enter. Then she copied their contest guidelines from their
web sites (given in Writer’s Digest), writes, and submits.
writer I know received her “big break” into becoming
a published writer by writing book reviews. She studied Sally
Writer’s Market Guide” to find publishers who want
book reviewers. She contacts the publishers of types of book
to read, such as children’s fiction, and sends them a sample
of her writing. To break into book reviews, simply follow their
guidelines and be prompt about submitting your reviews.
book reviews has several benefits.
- You practice your writing skills; such as grammar, punctuation,
and sentence structure.
- You develop relationships with editors, who often edit more
than one magazine. So if you deliver good manuscripts
they may offer you other writing assignments.
- You build your library. Perhaps you’d like to collect
some theology books; then write an editor requesting to review
of a specific topic that they would like you to review.
Usually, the editors choose what books they would like reviewed.
We don’t just write a review of any book we enjoyed, then send
off a review to them. Book reviews are not articles. You don’t
generally query to review a specific book. Often editors will send
you the books they’d like reviewed; other times they’ll
send you to the nearest Christian bookstore or library.
For our OCACW Spring writing contest, we’ll be “marrying” these
two approaches to breaking into print: to enter the contest, you’ll
write a review of a book about writing. It can be:
- inspirational for writers, such as “The Artist Within” or “Write
His Answer” or
- instruction for writers, such as “How to Sell Every Magazine
Article You Write” or
- a reference book for writers, such as “How to Write Tight” but
not a market guide.
So, let’s see everyone enter our Spring 2010 writer’s
contest. The critique group will learn from reading and pre-ranking
the reviews for the board. Plus winning reviews, and honorable
mentions, can be published on our OCACW web site or in future newsletter