When I first began writing, I used http://www.duotrope.com to discover new publications. I submitted every piece of writing to the editors of the publications I found there. To stay organized, I created three folders in my email for their replies to my submissions: a) rejections, b) rejections that requested additional writing, and c) acceptances. Of course, the rejections folder was filling up the fastest. Although the number of rejections was disappointing, it drove me to learn more about the publishing industry. In particular, I wanted to know: What do editors consider “good” writing? As a more experienced author and editor, I now understand the most important factors of good writing.
- Good writing is subjective. Even though my writing was rejected by one editor, eventually some other editor would love it and publish that same rejected piece of writing. This led me to conclude what we all know but (as writers) cannot hear often enough. As individuals, we all have different opinions of what is good. If you have a piece of writing you love, keep submitting it. You just haven’t found the right editor yet—or maybe the right publication.
- Good writing should uphold the mission of the publishing company and fit the theme of the publication. The mission statement of the publishing company is usually stated plainly on the website. Reading the mission and considering it can provide you with the necessary insight to submit the most fitting piece of writing to that particular publication. (Draw Near’s mission is clearly stated on the MISSION & CONTACT page, and the most recent theme appears on the CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS page.)
- Good writing follows the rules of punctuation and contains no spelling errors. Although some writers might think breaking some punctuation rules or making a spelling error is no big deal, it actually is problematic to editors. I strongly recommend regularly reviewing guide books on punctuation and researching every questionable rule of punctuation that surfaces as you write. Additionally, read your writing several times for spelling errors prior to submitting. The competition in the writing industry is fierce. Do not let yourself lose an opportunity based on technical errors.
I hope these tips I learned during my writing journey will help you to get more of your writing published. Don’t let rejection letters steal your hope to become a successful writer. Instead, use those rejections to drive you to hone your skills and to become a more savvy writer. Have a great day and God bless!