Where you publish and why

Where your work is published matters. Period. Anyone who tells you differently is wrong.

With the prominence of media and self-publishing as options, it can be daunting to know exactly where to publish your work. There are a few easy rules to remember.

Discover Magazine April 2014

Self Publishing

This is when you pay for your book to be printed on paper and bound together into a book. This is also when you pay to have your text published in an online form such as an eBook. Any form of publishing which you do not pay to appear on the page yourself is not self publishing.

1. Don’t self publish if you intend to be the next Stephen King.

2. Self publishing can be done by anyone anywhere.

3. No publisher means little or no marketing. It also means poor distribution.

4. No agent could mean no one to guide your writing to the proper form.

5. No editor means that you may produce a piece of work with several errors.

6. Paying for your own work to be printed isn’t a career.

7. Be wary. Self publishing is for those who want a personal accomplishment not a professional one.

Online Publishing

1. This included blogs, website, etc.

2. Publishing online without a strong company behind you (like Time) can be risky.

3. Anything online can be immediately distributed.

4. Serious offers may not want to publish your work if they know it is already online somewhere.

5. Online publishing is a great way to get your opinion out. It is also a great way to break into journalism or to become a critic.

Publishing Houses

1.These exist for a reason. Because they are a business and have made money for a very long time.

2. Publishers have the funding to market your work.

3. They also have the funding to pay you.

4. This is the route most commercial authors go – with an agent sometimes included.

5. They have professional editing services.

6. They are willing to work with you to craft your work if you are already someone they feel has promise.

7. Their interest is an investment in you.

8. Having a finished piece is best to present to a publisher.


This isn’t a publishing avenue, but agents are important.

1. They have special relationships with publishers.

2. They understand the legal aspects of a contract – or they’re supposed to at least.

3. They only make money if you make money – and if they ask for anything otherwise, walk away.



Firstly, revising is not editing.

Secondly, revising means you must forgo your ego. Untie it, let it slip away like a stray balloon.

Thirdly, revising doesn’t mean making minor, syntactic changes.

Now, I can go on and on about what revising is for hours. But instead I’m going to share with you steps to help you revise. This will mean being truly critical of your work.

How to revise:

1. Print your work. Having paper makes it easier to see where your changes are being made and how your work functions on a printed page.

2. Have a pen – or pencil if you’re really that particular. It doesn’t matter what color.

3. Read your first sentence. Are you bored? Keep reading. Find the place that is the most interesting to you. That might be where your work really needs to begin.

4. Now read the ending. Do you resolve what you meant to resolve in the beginning?

5. Decide what your goal is. Is this a poem? Is this a short piece of fiction? Is this an essay? Each of these forms of writing require different approaches. Knowing the direction you need to go can help you organize your work accordingly.

6. Now read your whole piece without making any marks. Does it make sense?

7. Go back and read. This time actually make marks. Don’t be afraid to cross out whole paragraphs if they don’t work. Number the lines or paragraphs in the order they make the most sense. You can even cut up sections and rearrange them manually.

8. Take out unnecessary words and phrases that fluff up your language but don’t contribute to your work. These are the words that can make a sentence more complicated than it needs to be. We need to understand you to know how smart you are.

9. Make sure every word you are not familiar with means what it is supposed to in the context you use it.

10. Rewrite your work without looking at it. What is similar? What isn’t? What were you missing before?


1. Being a part of a workshop forces you to examine the elements of good writing. You have to decide why something does or does not work. It requires work.

2. A fresh pair of eyes is a godsend. Anyone willing to read your work is your best friend.

3. Relax. You can’t get around revising. So take a drink and start tearing your work apart. The best writers are the ones most critical of their own work.

4. Don’t be overly critical or you will lose your momentum for the project.

5. Breathe!