By Rory C. Keel
This is the number one question I’m asked when others learn that my story, The Challenge, was published in the recent edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul:Inspiration for Writers.
There is no magic button
In trying to answer this question, I realized there is no one specific thing that will get a story published. There is no switch to flip or button to push that makes it happen, nor did I have an acquaintance or inside contact at Chicken Soup.
However, hard work along with a few of the following things can improve your chance of success.
To keep me from getting writer’s block, I have made it a practice to write in a journal everyday. I jot down simple things like a quote, a thought or a remembrance of something in the past. Many times I express an emotion and try to explain in words how I feel. The words in a journal don’t have to be profound, hilarious or novel worthy, but write something, anything.
Over time your journal becomes a vault of story materials.
Study the publication
I believe a crucial step in getting published in any market, is to know the market. If you desire to be published in Chicken Soup, read it, study the stories and notice how they are written.
Submit, Submit, Submit
Watch for story call outs. Many publications announce the type of stories they are seeking to publish. This is where the journal comes in handy. You may have story material already waiting to be expanded, worked or polished.
Early in my writing at a writer’s conference, I remember a publisher who said, “Ninety-five percent of those who want to be published begin writing, but only five percent finish and submit.”
Finally, sometimes it’s a matter of having good work at the right place at the right time.