Getting published has been hard since the age of content dawned. But 2020’s shitshow has only made things worse. There’s so much noise out there, and cutting through it can at times seem an impossible task; the coronavirus pandemic is the only thing some outlets are covering. Want to know how to get published in a pandemic? Read on…
Find a niche: If you love to write for the sake of writing, you might be running into a brick wall. Getting a niche that you’re passionate about can put you above the competition. Like craft beer and music culture? Combine the two, the tighter your niche, the more likely it is that an editor will call on you for your opinion piece.
Stand out from the crowd: Be bold when pitching ideas to editors. They see the same mundane pitch lines day in, day out; if yours is radically different (even if it’s not the one that ends up getting picked), then it will jump out, ensuring your pitches were memorable. What’s the wildest thing you’ve done? If you can write about it from an individual perspective, then you’ve potentially got your winning pitch.
Have a voice: If you want to show an editor that you’re worth taking a punt on, then show them that people are already listening. Use a platform like Medium to publish your own opinion pieces; engage with other users by commenting constructively on their writing; promote your articles through your own social media; share with friends and family. If you’ve got more writing under your belt, consider self-publishing an ebook with a platform like PublishDrive. Getting published is easier if you’re already ‘out there’, with editors more likely to take note.
Have a coronavirus tie-in: You might want to distance yourself from what’s going on, but it’s an unavoidable topic of conversation, and the reality is that most still want to read about something that is having such great impact on their lives. If you want to write about music, think about the effects of lockdowns and restrictions on musicians and promoters. Talking about café culture, consider the impact of long closures and restricted international travel.
Have an opinion: The world is more divided than ever, with culture wars raging in practically every country. Much as these don’t need further stoking, it’s also not the time to sit on the fence; having an option——positive or negative——means an editor will be more likely to consider your work.
Don’t make mistakes: It sounds obvious, but many writers cutting their teeth think too quickly and don’t go back to check for errors. You don’t need to be told how bad it looks for someone pitching their work to have grammatical errors or typos. Double check. Triple check. You can even look to companies like CustomWritings, who offer proofreading services and much more.
Be relatable: On that note, readers want to feel that you’re ‘one of them’. Be approachable and affable in your writing, don’t be overly studious or snobby, and never look down on a certain set of readers. Editors are looking for writers that have, or can create, a following of their own; it helps their figures if your articles bring their own hits.
Don’t be an expert: Particularly so in these times, we don’t need another ‘authority’ that doesn’t know a thing. Be humble and prepared to learn, study your subject but ask questions, too. Be clear on your research and link to sources. You can be honest in your opinions, but be mindful that somebody will know better. (Or at least think they do.)
Be kind and patient: We’re all stressed at levels higher than ever before, especially so those who are receiving 100s of pitches. Your editor is probably working at home juggling work with Amazon deliveries and childcare. Be thoughtful in your initial approach, and don’t be pushy afterwards. They’ve seen your email, and don’t need a snarky reminder after five days.
Self-publish in print: If you’ve got a body of work building up, think about using a platform like Kickstarter or Patreon to help fund a physical copy of your writing; be it a hip fanzine or a simple paperback. Crowdfunding investment to publish your own work can show future editors that you have something about you; a ‘get up and go’ spark that is worth their time and commitment.
Be the best version of yourself, work hard, and use current affairs to your advantage. It might be more difficult than ever to get your work published, but the added effort that you go to will see you and your work better recognised. Bad situations are opportunities for self-growth.