Friday, February 5, 2010

Timeliness is Everything

Many beginning writers get frustrated when they get rejections from publishers for their work. While the writing skills of some may be lacking, the reason for the rejection could be one of timing. Many think they can send any article, short story, or book idea in at any time and the publisher will just love it. But it all comes down to timeliness.

To market your writing successfully, you have to think like a retailer. Department and discount stores would never think of putting out winter clothes in January. Winter is already here. Instead, they put out their winter collections in October or November, several months ahead of when the clothing might actually be worn. Ads for back-to-school clothing and other items now begin to appear in July, barely a month after most kids have just gotten out of school for summer vacation.

So to get your writing to an editor at the right time, you have to think ahead. Whatever you’re sending out now–except articles to newspapers if you can find any to take them–should  be on topics that will appeal to editors three to six months from now. This works especially well with seasonal subject matter.

However, you may write about subjects that are what I call “evergreens.” These are ones that could appeal to an editor any time of year. Even so, you still have to get things out ahead–at least 2-3 months for short stories and magazine articles, and perhaps a year ahead for a book idea. It’s not what readers are reading now, but what they will read in the future that counts.

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