As I wrote in my last post I Taught a College Class!, I taught a class full of screenwriters how to get internships, freelance and become bloggers. However, another one of their questions was about how I recently got a poem published in [PANK] Magazine. I was published in their online magazine at the beginning of October for my poem, “Elegy Above the Oyster House.” I was very excited, and I think getting published is a great thing to add to a resume or to a grad school application. Especially for writers who want to market themselves as freelancers, it’s a leg up to be a published writer. I don’t think there is EVER a guarantee that you will get your work published, but I can at least tell you how I did it.

I am applying for graduate school for fall 2014. (I am FREAKING out by the way–applications are due in November!) It’s been a really long process that I started in March this year. My decision to try and get my poem published sparked when I started getting really worried that I wouldn’t be accepted. I thought that if I would just get a rejection letter from something, it would soften the blow of grad school rejections. However, I miraculously got my poem published! You can read it here.

So, how did I do it? Well first I bought this amazing book:


This book has literally every place that you can get published in 2014. It’s really amazing to try the random method of getting published. Just send your piece to any and every publisher you can find, and maybe one of them will say yes. Also, with technology these days, it doesn’t cost any money to send your manuscript or short piece–it’s all uploaded online. There might be a small application fee for some publishers, but there are hundreds of free submissions too.

Other good sites to look at:

Rutger’s List

The Nation’s Guidelines for getting published

Poets and Writers Grants, Awards and Contests

Two things to remember:

  1. I cant say this enough to people who ask why I obsess over my writing, and it holds true for all types of work; writing, business, website design etc: DO NOT STOP REVISING. Yes, nothing will ever be perfect, but if you have the time, why not keep revising, editing and polishing until the work looks the best it can?
  2. Send your piece to The New Yorker. This is some advice that my favorite professor has given me time and time again. If you’re scared of rejection, submit here. It’s a place that will place you in the same caliber as some of the most amazing writers in the world. If you don’t get in, that makes sense and you can work yourself through the pain. If you do get in, it will be the best moment of your life.

When I was selected for [PANK], I was asked to edit my piece. The editor only had a few changes to a couple of lines, but my biggest suggestion to people if they get asked to do this by the editor is, do it. There will be many versions of your piece all over the place, and it’s at risk of not getting your work out there if you are picky about what the editor says. Never be so attached to any piece of your writing that you can’t see how somebody might not view it in the same way as you do. In other words, don’t think that just because it’s clear in your head, it will be clear in others’.

What are your hopes for your writing? Does anyone have experience with publishing?

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