Thursday, July 13, 2006

When Opportunity Knocks

I constantly get asked advice by aspiring writers about the best way to go about getting published. I honestly don't know what to tell them. All I can do is share my own experience, which may or may not be helpful. But one piece of advice I can give is that whether you approach a publisher directly, or decide to try and get a literary agent to represent you, it always looks good to have some writing credits to your name. Whether it be from having contributed to an anthology, or winning a writing contest, or writing a column for an online publication, writing credits are writing credits and you need to let any editor or agent you approach know about them.

I was shopping for a publisher I was able to list the honorable mention I won in Ebony magazine's annual writing contest, a short story I contributed to an anthology, and a column I wrote for a writing newsletter as my writing credits in my query letter. Ultimately, it was the chapters I sent that sold my editor on my book. But I believe listing those writing credits made me sound a bit more legitimate and piqued her curiosity enough to make her want to take a look at my chapters and not pitch them in the recyling bin. So, I've listed some excellent writing opportunities below that I hope some of you will be able to take advantage of.

St. Martin's Press Malice Domestic Contest-This is a great contest. The winner receives a book contract!

African-American Romance Anthology-Don't be thrown by the romance element. The guidelines state you can mix romance with many types of elements. So, dust off that sci-fi romance and send it in!

Writer's Digest Writing Contests-Writer's Digest magazine sponsors several annual writing contests. Currently they are seeking submissions for short stories and popular fiction.

Holiday Crime Fiction Anthology-Proceeds for this go to charity. No monetary compensation but you get a byline and a copy of the anthology.

Good luck and happy hunting!


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