"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

All Publishing Credits Are Not Considered Equally!

Remember back in college days how some classes were assessed as having greater “weight” or value than others?

Sometimes that designation depended on the number of hours and days it was offered, the complexity of the class, whether or not the class had a “lab” component, and whether it was advanced level or basic.

Ultimately, the more credits you accumulated the quicker you graduated.
Well, a similar system applies in the field of publishing. Beware---all publishing credits are not created equally. This unwritten rule seems to be unknown by many new or “unsavvy” scribes who crank out work on the regular without the recognition or monetary rewards they desire.

Take for instance by friend “Valeria”. Every month or so she floods my Email inbox with articles she’s had published by the online content mills or small blogs that virtually have neither screening process nor credibility.

I don’t know for certain, but if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that she devotes hours that would almost be the equivalent of a work week on
a 9 to 5 gig.
This all in the hopes of being validated and seeing her byline.
There’s an easier way.

As a veteran professional writer and editor, I can attest that publishing success is just as much about strategy as ability. With this in mind, here are some pointers on how to elevate your status, get paid, and make the most of your submission strategy.

1.Have a game plan---What are your short and long term goals? Would you like to one day publish a book? Pen a column? Freelance full time? Your goals will determine your goal plan.

2.Diversify your portfolio---There’s nothing wrong with the occasional article to free article directories or small niche Blogs, particularly when starting out. But keep in mind that your career should show the ability to write about different topics, in different publications, and should show some progression and versatility.

3.Research before you submit—Increase your odds of success by doing your homework. No matter how eloquent your writing, if it’s sent to a publication that is a mismatch in terms of editorial content, you’ve wasted your time and theirs.

4.Keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity in the publishing business. Though there are exceptions to the rule, here are some general guidelines:

•A publishing credit in a paid publication trumps that of a non-paying.
•A national publication credit is generally more impressive than a local one.
•Publication in a non-paying, but well regarded magazine is better than that of a content mill. A good example would be Small Business CEO Magazine, (which at the time of this writing was a non-paying publication), but very well written by industry experts and offers a good degree of visibility for your efforts.
•Publication in an anthology is more valuable than self-publishing.

5.Whenever possible, maximize your efforts by sending out simultaneous submissions. This allows for less waiting time and more exposure for your work.

Keep these five tips in mind and you’ll make more money and move forward faster in 2010!

Do you consider all publishing credits the same, or do you value some more than others? Is this new information for you or old news?

This (my) article was previously published at Funds for Writers website.
Image Credit: Renjith Krishnan


  1. I agree with you; I think that they aren't all the same. Writing mills may provide practice, but, you're right, they take valuable time that could be used in other directions.

    I wrote for a content mill some years ago. One plus was that it taught me to write a little more quickly, and taught me a bit about SEO. But the pay was minimal, and the editing department butchered some of my articles. Horribly. I still shudder to think that my name is associated with those particular pieces. I doubt that real writers edited them. Anyway, while I found a few perks, I learned that my time was better spent elsewhere.

    This is great advice, for it is hard to know where to start and how to order priorities. I didn't think about an anthology holding more weight than self publishing. Good stuff, thanks!

    Happy Monday,

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 25, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    Thanks for weighing in today, Karen.
    Sometimes this message is not as clear to folks as it should be. Having been on both sides of the proverbial fence, (as an editor and a writer), I can definitely attest that it's true.

    Knowing the difference helps the "savvy" scribe to work smarter not harder. :-)

  3. Thank you for excellent information and tips! I feel lost at times and your suggestions and inpute are very helpful to me.

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 25, 2010 at 6:50 PM


    I always appreciate your very kind comments. I'm glad you find value in my posts.

    Thanks for your time. :-)

  5. I wish your articles came with a "like" button. :-)

  6. P.S. I just bookmarked your blog on my iPad's home screen.

  7. Janette,

    How wonderful to hear! You have made my day.:-) B/T/W/ I didn't even know you could do that with an iPad. Cool!

    Also, if you'd like to share my posts with others, you can do so by clicking on the various social media icons located under each entry. Thanks so much. I appreciate you.

  8. Five excellent tips, thank you!

  9. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 27, 2010 at 8:51 PM


    You're welcome. Thanks for your time and input!

  10. Thank you for the great info. Would recognition as an editor be considered a worthwhile "publishing credit"? Especially in academia, books are credited to authors and also editors. If the editor's name/credit is printed on the book cover does it become a "publishing credit"?


  11. Good question, Alexandra.
    Yes, recognition as an editor would be noteworthy.

    Yes, I believe it would.

    Thanks for stopping by.