The Quest for Publishing Credits

I have heard (and read) for as long as I’ve been paying attention that publishing credits are important, especially for the fledgling writer. Now this might sound like a catch-22. You know the one: we can’t hire you for the job because you don’t have enough experience, but you can’t get experience without the job?

Yes, it most certainly feels like that to me too.

But why do editors and publishers and agents care if you have any publishing credits? Essentially (and this is based on what I have been told by editors, and publishers) publishing credits mean that someone has read your stuff and has considered it to be of a high enough quality to print. Before you say, “Well duh!” let me finish.

If one person who is in the industry considers your work to be of a high caliber, maybe another will too. In theory this allows the aforementioned editors and publishers and agents to move your work up the chain more quickly. Simply put, it is a means to separate the wheat from the chaff.

That much makes sense to me (and I hope you too), but how do you get publishing credits? There are lots of ways and, here is a quick tip: the publishing credits don’t necessarily need to be in the genre your submitting in.

That little tip may sound odd, but a credit is a credit. Any accepted writing proves that you CAN write at a certain level of quality. Granted, non-fiction writing is not the same as genre fiction typically, but the credit infers a level of professionalism.

But back to how/where you can get publishing credits. Let’s start in our local neighbourhood. Does you community have a newsletter or newspaper? Do you belong to any groups or associations? All of these can yield publishing credits. There are also always the eZines ,small press anthologies, and contests not to mention conventional publishing too. EZines in particular always seem to be starving for content. Even if you’re not getting paid, the exposure is a good thing for you.

All of this was really brought home to me a couple nights ago. I went to a gathering of the local SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators) chapter where my friend Simon Rose, published author of six, going on 7+ books was presiding (he runs our local chapter and is the number 2 in the district).

Simon was talking about some non-fiction books he had been asked to do along with a few of the various websites he contributes articles to. He looks at all of that as publishing credits with equal importance to his published fiction.

I am in complete agreement with him which is why I have been submitting articles to non-fiction magazines and fiction alike. I know that the more I can buff up my own writing resume the better I will be. And as I mentioned a couple weeks ago, it is starting to pay dividends. My first published work will be out in August of this year.

Personal Update

Finished another Flash Fiction piece which I have submitted. I will hear about that one by June 15th. I am also waiting to hear if one of my YA series is a go or not. Have I mentioned lately how much I HATE waiting? 🙂

Oh yeah, and Balticon is in fifteen days. Woot!


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