Getting your work published is probably the biggest challenge facing a beginner writer. Here are some suggestions for making the process more straightforward, and ultimately we hope, more rewarding.
The first thing to remember is that there are
only a small number of publishers in Ireland and lots of writers trying to get published.
A journal might, for example, only publish 2 or 3 per cent of material received. A book publisher might produce less. Don’t let the odds put you off. If your work is good enough you have a shot at getting published. Make your writing so good that the publisher can’t turn it down.
You might, however, help yourself by coming to the attention of publishers or agents in advance of sending them a manuscript – winning a competition helps, but the most tried and trusted is to build up a track record of publication in poetry magazines or journals. The magazines and journals that are the hardest to get into are generally the ones with the highest standards and thus the ones with the most impact.
How to Make a Submission to a Publisher or Journal
The following is a list of guidelines for submitting original writing for publication:
- Find out what kind of kind or genre of book each publisher produces, e.g. fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, sci-fi, historical fiction, short stories. Get a copy of the magazine or book produced by that publisher and read it. It is much easier to put together a submission when you have some idea of the editor’s taste, what the general standard of material published is like etc.
- Read the submission guidelines for each publisher carefully. For example, some publishers will only want to see the first three chapters (but they will want you to have finished the book at the time of sending those chapters), or six poems, or a few stories.
- Most publishers will have specific requirements regarding typeface size, layout, etc. In general, editors prefer not to receive fancy typefaces, handwritten work or work with illustrations.
- Send copies of your work, not the originals, and always keep copies of whatever you send.
- Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope or an International Reply Coupon for a response. Most magazines and journals cannot afford to return manuscripts, which don’t have an SAE/IRC.
- Give the editor time to reply. As previously mentioned, editors receive a lot of material: you can reasonably expect to hear in 6 months at the latest.
- With established magazines it is usual to receive a copy of the magazine in which your work appears (you should not normally have to pay for this). Some magazines also offer payment for material, but the sums are usually small. It is not standard practice to pay to have your work published.
List of Publishers in Ireland
Other Publishing Resources
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