I thought you might like to hear a story. Not a make-believe story, but a real story. A story about something that started about ten years ago or so.
You see, at that time I was trying to get published on a regular basis. Most of my stuff was getting rejected. It was the typical fiction for kids that is so hard to sell in this saturated market (not to mention how hard it is to write!).
So I was writing puzzles and crafts and recipes and things like that to send in to the no-pay/low-pay market. I was learning how to improve my writing skills and learning how to submit things and learning how to work in this industry.
And places like Sunday School take-home papers and very small magazines and even well-known kids’ magazines were buying these for $15 a pop or maybe $30 a pop or even sometimes for $50 if I remember correctly. And so I was getting published credits–even Better Homes and Gardens purchased a few of my “ideas” for crafts for kids.
I kept up a steady stream of these submissions to the no-pay/low-pay market while I kept learning how to write picture books and fiction stories and nonfiction for kids.
Gradually, my writing skills improved and I started to sell some of my fiction stories to some of these magazines, too. And of course in the meantime, as many of you know who have read about my “Triple Crown of Success,” I was always trying to land book contracts, both work-for-hire and royalty-based along the way. Since I’d been selling puzzles and crafts and recipes to magazines, I pitched ideas for puzzle books and craft books and recipe books and landed those contracts and was earning a nice income each year from those.
So why am I telling you this little story?
Because I had to smile this last week when one of the contracts arrived at my desk. It was a contract from a publisher who is an imprint of one of the biggest publishing houses in America.
I don’t know if you know this or not, but usually when you sign a contract, right next to your signature is the publisher’s signature.
And there, right next to where I was supposed to sign on the contract, was the place for the Senior Vice President of this big-time publisher to sign.
…And she was one of my editors way back when that I used to submit puzzles and crafts and recipes and eventually fiction stories to.
I smiled when I saw her name right next to mine.
You see, she had climbed the corporate ladder in the publishing world and had made it up to one of the highest spots in the industry.
And she had brought me along with her.
How do I know?
Because when an editor I had never worked with before contacted me a few weeks ago for an offer to write for her, this editor told me that her Senior Vice President had recommended my name to her for the project.
So why am I telling you this? I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to submit on a regular basis to the no-pay/low-pay market so that you are getting published all throughout the year, every year. I still do it! In fact I have a deadline in 10 days to submit an article and I won’t get any money for it.
The benefits are sooooo many…too many to even count! But I’ll list a few:
1) You learn how to submit items and work with editors
2) You get published and build your published credits and build your resume
3) You gain more confidence in yourself as a writer
4) You learn valuable writing skills
5) And because the editors you work with don’t want to stay in the no-pay/low-pay market, they often rise up the corporate ladder…and if you were reliable, dependable, and pleasant to work with, they often will take you with them.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. I’ve had at least a dozen book contracts from times I’ve been called by editors I don’t know and from publishers I’ve never worked with and offered book contracts because their new top editor recommended my name and it was the same editor I’d worked with in little stuff.
What’s that Scripture that comes to mind?
Luke 16:10: Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.
So if you don’t already, start today. Write something that you know how to write whether it’s a devotion or an interview or a recipe or a prayer. Then submit it to any magazine or online website or newspaper that’s open to submissions but doesn’t pay very much.
And do that again next month. And the next. Until you have a steady stream of published credits and several editors who count on you.
Then keep on keeping on and wait and see what’s in store. It’s an exciting journey, each step of the way!