The first thing to do before you submit your manuscript for publication is to have it proofed and edited. Publishers demand it.
I’ve heard publishers say that they send their authors’ books out seven times just to be proofread. So proofread everything before you submit. Of course this can be costly. So first ask a couple of friends to proofread. Then send to a professional proofreader. It’s worth doing. So many publishers won’t even look at your manuscript if it has grammatical errors in it.
The second thing is patience. Yes, I know I’ve said this before but one must have a great deal of patience. Patience in finding the right publisher and patience in waiting to hear from the publishers. Most magazine editors tell you it takes 3 to 6 months to hear back from them. If you don’t have patience, you’ll never get published.
It’s okay to multiple submit, as long as you tell the magazines that you’re withdrawing your story because one magazine has accepted it.
Where to Submit:
I use Poets & Writers (a good investment which also happens to be deducible), both the physical magazine and their online database. I use the online database most of the time. It offers many options. However, their online database can be frustrating. Often, the magazines want something very specific or their word count doesn’t match what you want to submit. Still, it’s good database, one that every writer should invest in.
If you want to submit your book, it has a database of agents and publishers. If you are submitting your memoir, it has a database for that too. And of course if you’re submitting your fiction, there’s a database for that. In fact, it has a database for almost any kind of writing.
I suggest you keep a record of where you’ve submitted your manuscript, especially if you have more than one. If you have more than document submitted, name each by where you sent it (ex: 13 Rules_ New Millennium Writings.) Otherwise, it can be very confusing.
Here’s an example of why you should keep good records of what you submit: Once I had a publisher asked for the copy of the story I sent them to be sent back to them. I had no idea which version I’d sent them. Caused many sleepless night. But eventually, it all got straightened out.
I keep my records in various ways in one Excel document. One workbook for stories by name and where I’ve submitted them; one by the name of the publication and the cost to submit (most charge a small fee), and another with stories that have been published.
Once you’ve submitted, you will likely get rejections. This is something every writer experiences, thus writers need a really tough skin. Once you’re manuscript has been rejected, say more than once, go back and see if you need to edit it. Have someone else look at it too.
This all takes a great deal of patience and tenacity, as does the writing. So now that you know how to get published and what qualities you need, start submitting!
Sue Powers has a dazzling array of publishing credits. Among her favorites are Facets, StoryQuarterly, Another Chicago Magazine, Happy, The Writer’s Place, New Millennium Writings, Funny in Five Hundred, Samizdada, Blue Earth Review and Microfiction Monday. She’s won some writing awards and been nominated for others. She now has 17 stories published. Her most current published story can be found here: https://microfictionmondaymagazine.com