Shortcuts to becoming a writer
The traditional route to book publication is to build up a list of magazine publications then
put together a book.
In the UK you might try
Some of these markets are rather crowded - e.g. the UK's
Poetry Review receives over 30,000 poems a year, and The New Yorker gets 50,000 poems a year of which it
prints 50.There's a chance that after
a few years of magazine appearances a publisher might notice your work. However, the book situation is
bleaker still, with many poetry publishers not taking on anyone new.
The short story situation's no happier. Mainstream publishers published only 135 single-author story collections in
2002 - 25% are commissioned and many of the others are by dead or overseas writers.
- Poetry - PN Review, Poetry Review, Rialto, London
Magazine, Leviathan Quarterly, Stand
- Stories - Granta, London Magazine
So you may need to consider less traditional methods. In the UK you can
- Start by writing genre pieces - in particular SF/slipstream/Urban-gothic
- Do a Masters in creative writing as at UEA (where Pretext comes from) or
- Get onto the performance circuit
- Become a celeb first, then publish later - see Viggo Mortenson
- Find a gimmick. If you can sell 100 or so copies on the strength of
radio interviews, press releases, you're viable. So corner the market on
football poetry, allotment poetry, popstar poetry. Write in the nude.
- Apply for all the grants/awards you hear of. The Society of Authors
and Regional Arts Boards can help. If you're young enough, try for a Gregory
- Try to get into any book you can. Some Regional Arts Boards fund
anthologies. Find out what themed anthologies publishers are planning
- Go to conferences. Mingle at coffee breaks.
- Put aside money to enter in the main annual competitions - Bridport (Poetry and Prose),
National Poetry Competition, Peterloo Poetry Competition
- Build up a CV of work in schools, readings, writers-in-residences, tutoring.
- It may not be worth trying to publish stories in magazines before producing a book - go for the book straight away - preferably a novel
- Consider WWW publications
Updated January 2006