By Rhiannon Reintjens, Junior Editor of Non-Fiction jaBlog!
Being Junior Editor for Non-fiction at jaBlog! has been one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had in the publishing industry. Each month I receive articles from many talented writers. Some months it can be difficult to choose what to publish and it often comes down to little things. If you find that your submissions are missing out, here are a few do’s and don’ts to increase your chances of publication.
DON’T go over the word limit. It may not seem like much, but this is one of the major reasons why a submission is not published. Even if your article is well-written and thought provoking, there’s not a lot I can do if you haven’t followed the guidelines. This is something you’ll find in the industry all the time, so it’s important that you learn to follow guidelines now. I love that you feel you have a lot to say, but I love it more when submission guidelines are followed.
DON’T use complicated language. We’re a blog, not an academic journal, so simple is always best. Otherwise, your article could sound like you’ve swallowed a thesaurus. You’re more likely to impress me by the way you write, not by how many fancy words you use.
DO proofread! Most of you are pretty good with this, but I have received articles with many spelling mistakes, missing words and sentences that run together. One or two little mistakes are fine, but if you can proofread it’ll make my job a little easier and prepare you for bigger projects.
DO be different and creative. I receive a lot of articles about writing tips and while these are great, when the same type of article is published month after month, it can quickly go stale. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I love reading about your personal experiences, how to write particular genres and interviews. Take a look through our archives and see what sorts of things we have published. If I haven’t seen your topic before, then you stand a good chance of being accepted.
DO follow the guidelines. I often receive articles that haven’t been formatted correctly or don’t include a biography. When it’s not formatted correctly, it means that I have to spend extra time on the article, time that I don’t always have. And if there’s no biography, how can I give you credit when I don’t know who to credit? The guidelines are outlined in detail in the submit section so make sure you read them thoroughly before submitting.
DO be positive and encouraging. This is a tough industry and we all need plenty of support. That’s why jaBlog! is so fantastic; it supports people like you and me. When you submit to jaBlog! you become a part of that support network because writers are reading your ideas and advice. That’s why we try to be positive with what we say. We don’t want our readers to feel worthless, we want them to feel that they can write and be successful.
So there are just a few things that you can do to increase your chances of publication and to maintain the quality of jaBlog! I hope these will encourage you to keep writing and keep submitting. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below and we’ll try to answer them.