Publishing Your Writing Study Guide (page 2)
Publishing Your Writing
You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success—but only if you persist. - ISAAC ASIMOV (1920–1992) AMERICAN NOVELIST AND ESSAYIST
Have you ever thought of publishing your writing? Perhaps not, but this lesson encourages you to reconsider. It's fun to see your name in print, and your teachers and parents will be so proud!
The advice that Isaac Asimov offers here to writers seeking to publish their work may not seem advice you want to take at this point in your writing life, but in fact it is excellent advice, even for a writer with modest ambitions. Asimov, who is most famous as a science fiction novelist, published more than 500 books. While you may not have dreams of building a writing career as extensive as Asimov's, publishing your work, right now, is a very real possibility, and one that you should seriously consider.
For most of Asimov's writing life, publishing meant having his writings appear printed on paper—in newspapers, magazines, and books. And of course we usually think of published works as those appearing on paper. However, the actual definition of to publish provides a much wider meaning of the term. Take a look at the dictionary definition:
|1.||to make information available and distribute it to the public|
|2.||to send forth, as a book, newspaper, musical piece, or other printed work, either for sale or for general distribution; to print, and issue from the press|
Publishing, then, is the sending forth of ideas. And that's something you do practically every day of your life. Think about your own use of text messaging, e-mail, and blogs. Every time you use one of those media, you are in fact publishing your ideas, often in very informal ways of course. The ready availability of various electronic media, most notably the Internet, has created amazing new opportunities for writers (and artists) seeking to make their ideas available to others.
Have You Ever Thought of Publishing Your Writing?
The answer is probably No, never! (Showing your essays to your parents doesn't exactly count as publishing.) Like you, most students think of writing as something they do only for class assignments. Do you think this way? Do you consider that once your essay is written and graded by the teacher, its life is over? Well, think again. You might want to take a bit of Isaac Asimov's advice and try to get something you've written published. Here are some publication ideas to consider.
Local Print Media
|1. Submit your best essay (or write a new one) to your school newspaper or to your local community newspaper.|
|2. Contribute a short story, essay, or poem to a school magazine or to your school's website. If there isn't already a school magazine of student writing, maybe you should start one.|
|3. Establish a bulletin board in your school hallway where you and other students can post samples of your work.|
National Print Media
There are numerous magazines that publish kids' writings; some even sponsor contests with cash prizes. All have websites where you can find the details about how to submit your work. Here's a sampling of some of the best of these print magazines.
- Stone Soup is a magazine made up entirely of the creative work of kids. Young people ages 8 to 13 contribute stories, poems, book reviews, and artwork.
- Bookworm, a magazine by and for kids, was started in 2004 by 11-yearold Sophie McKibben, who wanted to give kids a place to have their writing and art published and shared.
- Cricket offers readers cartoons, crossword puzzles, crafts, and recipes created by professional writers. In addition, the magazine runs contests for kids' stories, poetry, art, and photography.
- New Moon is a bimonthly magazine created by girls 8 to 12. The magazine, which is free of advertising, is committed to showing girls how to grow into proud, independent women.
- The Claremont Review, subtitled The International Magazine for Young Writers, is a Canadian magazine that sponsors monthly trivia contests and annual poetry and short story contests for kids. Contest winners have their works published in book form.
The Internet offers innumerable opportunities for publishing your own work. Here are some great places to start.
|1.||Kid Pub announces itself as the world's largest online collection of stories written by kids for kids. As members of the site's Authors Club ($12.95 a year), kids are allowed to post new stories, add to a Never-Ending Story, and leave comments for other authors.|
|2.||At Kids.com you can enter the Write a Story contest immediately. You write your story right there online, and you and other kids vote on the week's submissions.|
|3.||Kids Are Authors is an annual competition open to grades K through 8. Under the guidance of a project coordinator, kids work in teams of three or more students to write and illustrate their own book.|
|4.||At Merlyn's Pen, you can submit your writing and actually track your submission as it moves from the e-mail inbox to an editor's desk. Contests include cash prizes and publication on the website. The site publishes fiction, essays, and poems by teens.|
|5.||The Write Source, a division of a textbook publisher, accepts submissions of your writing projects (paragraphs, essays, reports, research papers, book reviews, essay-test answers, and other types of nonfiction writing) for possible use in their textbooks. If your work is accepted, you'll receive a $50 savings bond and—if it is published in a handbook or sourcebook—five copies of the book in which your work appears. (Just think, your work could appear in a book just like the one you are reading right now.)|
Student Writing Contests
|1.||The National Council of Teachers of English is an organization committed to helping students as well as teachers. Go to their website to find out if your state teachers' association sponsors a contest for student writers.|
|2.||A Utah company called Creative Communication sponsors writing contests for students across the United States and Canada. Multiple contests for different age groups award savings bonds and cash prizes to the winners.|
Are You Inspired?
Most likely, publishing your writing is a completely new idea for you, but maybe a real possibility now that you've read this list. Remember Isaac Asimov's advice: Keep submitting your work, don't take no for an answer—and sooner or later, you too will be a published author. Good luck!
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