Getting Published – Writer’s Workshop

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Getting published, sharing your work, is the goal.

getting publishedGetting published provides ample motivation for attending a writer’s conference. The Willamette Writer’s Conference ended more than two days ago, yet I can still hear the echoes of conference speak in my sleep.

Some faculty member needs a white board in the Garden room.

Rolls of bar room laughter.

A lucky writer got a request from their agent of choice.

This is all a kind of lovely and cacophonous music to my ears. Once the conference weekend has come to close though, it is critical to understand that the experience is not over.

Now is the business of following up. Getting published requires it.

As a ghostwriter, I have made most of my ground following up on leads. Whether it’s a colleague or an editor, it doesn’t matter.  If someone gives me a business card, even in passing at the baked potato bar, I will send them a follow up email.

Woody Allen says that 80% of life is showing up. I tend to agree with him. The writers that I see succeed on a regular basis in whatever their chosen platform (whether that is ghostwriting, memoir, fiction, non-fiction, journalism, it does not matter) showing up is a critical link in their chain.

I went to the Great American Pitch Fest in 2015. That conference organizes itself differently than the Willamette Writers. Down there, classes take place all on day one and pitches are the entire day two. On that second morning under the hot LA sun, all the writers sat in a bullpen rehearsing their pitch.

Talk about the smell of desperation.

I clearly recall looking up from my pitch to listen to one writer boasting at a nearby table.

“I got thirty-seven requests for my script last year,” he said.

Those who didn’t resort to cursing him under their coffee breath asked the obvious:

“What came of those?”

The guy shrugged. “Nothing,” he said. “I didn’t send any of them.”

You put a lot into this with hopes of getting published. Do the math. A conference sign up. Travel. Time off of work. The sheer mass of stomach turning hotel food and coffee.

If the end result is thirty-seven requests, why not send them?

I talked about helping each other. I talked about participation. The last step may be the easiest. Pick up that stack of dog eared business cards and follow up with an email.

Do you have ideas on this topic? If so, leave it in the comments below or drop me a line. I am always curious to know what people think about the writing life.

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Erick Mertz 

Writer, Editor

Erick MertzGetting Published – Writer’s Workshop

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