OK, I’ll admit it. Sometimes I’m a chicken. I prefer the tried and true to going out on a limb and experiencing something new any day. I shop in the same stores, vacation at the same resort and order the same entree at my usual restaurant. I never even crack open the menu. It works for me, so why change?
But, how does this translate into my writing life? Is it wise to submit only to those publishers and periodicals with which I’ve had a successful track record? Wouldn’t it be wiser—and more lucrative—to spread my writer’s wings and submit farther and wider? Is it really smart business to be a chicken who puts all her eggs in one basket?
Well, as I said, it works for me. Allow me to me explain.
Several years ago, when I first took an unusually brave leap from a career in business to one in the writing life, I allowed my conservative ways to lead my choices when deciding where to submit work. After I found several publications that seemed to be a good fit for me, I practiced due diligence by researching each one with several questions in mind. I asked, is this publication well-established? Do they reach a large readership? Do they pay competitively? Do they pay on time? Do they respond to their freelancers? In order to reach my writing goals, those were concerns that were important to me.
From this research, I created my “basket,” a core group of about five periodicals that I considered to have a dependable track record. Now here’s a secret: I did and still occasionally do float out submissions to other places—and get published. Yet, I always keep my core group top priority by making sure to submit well within deadlines, staying abreast of their themes and being aware of any changes in tone or style they may implement.
Soon I noticed something interesting happening. Two editors were reaching out to me for extra work and one even gave me suggestions on how to bump-up my writing so I could be published with them more frequently. Yet another editor e-mailed me to say she had gotten a few requests from readers for more stories by—you guessed it—yours truly! Yet the most gratifying experience happened just the other day: I received a payment for double the contracted amount with a hand-written note from the head honcho herself thanking me for “another great piece.”
As a writer, you may have much different goals than mine and a set of concerns all your own. Take inventory of them. Find out what works for you and, from that, create your own “basket.” Then go ahead and place all your eggs into it because putting all your eggs into one basket really can pay. Sometimes it even pays double!
Monica A. Andermann is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. When not submitting to
her “basket” of publications, she is hard at work on her novel about a fictional beach resort
town and its quirky cast of characters.
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