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Getting Published on the
By Gregory A. Knollenberg
Internet for Beginners
Whether you want to get published for fun or for profit,
aiming to get published online is a worthwhile endeavor.
For beginners, Internet publications offer a chance to get
published in small niche publications with a worldwide audience.
You Have an Advantage
If you have a computer and Internet access, you already have a big
advantage. You don't even have to worry about rushing; you
already are a step ahead of those who will come online later. There are
plenty of markets online. Many of them focus on small niches,
which makes your chances of getting published even greater if you
have a speciality. You are not going to find a richer resource of
publications anywhere that is easier to access than on the Web.
However, you do need to approach submitting to online publications
a little differently than you would submitting to offline publications.
Why Should I?
When pursuing writing as a career, it is crucial to establish yourself.
The more people that read your work, the better.
The Internet is growing. More people are spending more
time reading online, which increases the chances of your work being read.
According to a report by Price
Waterhouse in June 1997, more people are spending time reading online in
place of time they used to spend offline reading books and magazines.
A third of the people surveyed use the Internet in place of reading
a book, newspaper or magazine. Say you are published in a small
ezine that only 100 people read a month, but a few months later that
publication is being read by 1000 people a month. Your poem, article
or short story will be in the archives which people can access. On
your bio you can mention this publication, which will be more renowned now
then it was when you originally were published. This requires
some foresight because you have to decide which ones are going to stay
around and continue to grow in readership. Remember that this is the
World Wide Web; people often forget that. If your work is published
online, it easily could be read by someone from another country
who might never have read your work offline.
"A third of the people surveyed use the Internet in place of reading
a book, newspaper or magazine."
What About The Risks?
There are risks with publishing your work online just as there are
with print publications, probably even more so. The biggest fear of
beginning writers is plagiarism of their work. The Internet expands
this fear because a bilingual person in another country could
possibly reprint your work in another language as his or her own --
without you ever knowing about it. Furthermore, not all countries
respect the copyright laws of other countries, so your remedies may
be limited. However, are your concerns any different then the large
commercial companies, newspapers and publications that have gone
ahead and taken this risk themselves? You have to decide for
yourself if the rewards outweigh the risks. I believe that they do.
You may also be concerned about
the privacy of email. Several software tools currently allow
encryption of email content until delivery to the other party including
Eudora and Pegasus. Crackers and thieves looking for information in
email are more likely to be interested in credit card numbers, social
security numbers and other personal information rather than
articles, poetry and short stories, but the software is available
if you are concerned.
How do I Start?
Study the markets. You need to research and
find the markets that print the kind of articles or stories you
write. Make lists of the publications you like and don't like.
Check them periodically, checking the ones you like more often. Note
how often a publication updates its site, how long it has been
in existence and if it lists what is coming in the next issue.
These are indicators that the publication has staying power and
will not suddenly disappear or fail to update its site for five months.
Whether it has advertisements or not is not a good
indicator of viability, because there are free online services for
swapping or running advertisements on web sites. How often a publication
updates and archives its content is a much better indicator.
Where Do I Find Out About the Online Markets?
The Writers Write® database is a great place to start. The publications
listed in this database are actively seeking writers. However, not
every publication is listed here. You need to know how to search for
additional markets and opportunities. Learn how to use the search engines and
Use more than one search engine and learn how they work. If you are
a beginning fantasy writer and you are looking for a publication to
submit your short story to, first run a search on Writers Write® for
fantasy. Start making a list of the publications you like and
which you see as
possibilities for submissions. You also can try searches on the
search engines. Try
keywords like "writers guidelines fantasy", "submissions fantasy",
"submissions guidelines fantasy" and other combinations. You will
find many publications that print stories and articles related to
your area of writing. Check your resources frequently so that you have
an updated list of the places where you can submit your work for
keywords like 'writers guidelines fantasy' or 'submissions fantasy'
or 'submissions guidelines fantasy' and other combinations."
The Internet also provides a great way to network with other writers
around the world through email, mailing lists, newsletters and online
chat. New writers' groups have formed that are solely Internet
based. These connections and contacts are great ways to
stay informed of policies and the likes and dislikes of editors at
specific publications. Establish contacts with other writers with whom
you can share information. Find information outlets that provide
directly you with the information you need about online markets,
and about changes and opportunities on the Internet.
Submit and Then Keep Writing
Once you have submitted an article or story by email, do not sit back
and wait for a response. Continue writing and researching. Work on
your next story or poem. You most likely will finish another piece
before you have heard back from the last place to which you submitted.
This way even if your work is rejected, you will now have two pieces
to submit instead of one. You also should keep track of your
submissions. There is a
described on Writers Write®
which tells you how to do so with pen and
paper or by using spreadsheet software on your computer.
By tracking your submissions you will be able to stay
organized and focused on your goals.
Eventually you will have a more developed bio. You also can
promote yourself by creating a homepage on which you can list your
publications. You never know who might drop by to visit. Some
publications will give a link to your homepage if they publish your
work. This allows readers who like your work to find more of it.
Homepages can be created on all levels -- from pages created using
free services found on the Web to complete web sites with your
own domain name. However you decide to do it, it is nice to be
able to have a place where your readers can learn more about you
and your work. If you get enough visitors to your site, you could
even run a mailing list informing your readers of your new work as
it gets published.
The Opportunity is Yours to Take
Finding a niche is the way to
start. Once you have some work published in two or three
publications that are well grounded, you should have a solid source of
loyal readers. If you pick a niche which is in a growing field of
interest, you might even
find yourself considered an expert in that particular field. Getting
is important, especially now. It is the continued growth of the
Internet worldwide that you are betting on as you begin to
establish yourself. With all the online activity, the picture
for online writing looks very
promising -- and you still have a chance to get in on the ground
**Greg Knollenberg is the CEO of Writers Write, Inc.