Three Sundays ago, our group met at the Torrance Airport Meeting Room.
LeeAnne Krusemark, our guest speaker, spoke about how to build up publishing credits.
LeeAnne Krusemark is a journalist, author, and owner of an award winning southern California public relations business since 1988. LeeAnne is a Chamber of Commerce past president and has been asked to speak at a Senate-sponsored business conference as well as for the Department of the Army. Her in-person lectures are offered at more than 200 facilities nationwide, including Purdue, and her online publishing class is offered at more than 1,000 facilities worldwide, including Harvard Adult Education. The inspiration given to others in her comprehensive workshops has even been compared in writing to Oprah.
She started the session off with a writing activity. She gave us three words: summer, breeze and ocean, and gave us five minutes to write anything with those three words in it. While we wrote our poems, essays, or story beginnings, she gave out handouts for the lecture.
When our five minutes were up, we shared what we wrote. The activity made got put us in a creative mood, and we eagerly soaked up what LeeAnne had to share with us about getting published.
LeeAnne emphasized that getting published is one part writing, one part timing, one part luck, and a few parts experience. She stressed that getting published is more often than not, about climbing the ladder of publishing success, it’s about starting out in smaller, easier publishing markets and building up from there.
The entire session focused on easier first publishing markets, which we writers can submit to, in order to gain publishing credits. LeeAnne enumerated six of these, and went on to give examples:
2. Greeting Cards
6. Alternatives (Newsletters, In-House Publications)
Fillers are short pieces which newspapers use to fill gaps on their pages. Some readers just want a quick, easy read and fillers are a great way to put a lighter touch on a dull page, and generate reader involvement. LeeAnne says writing fillers is a great way to start off your writing career and get some publishing credits in. Examples are some the Reader’s Digest materials such as “All in a Day’s Work”, and other segments which deal with humor.
Greeting cards are a normal part of our lives, and yet we don’t stop to think about who makes these cards. There is a good demand for writers who can come up with good greeting card materialsundefinedwhether it’s witty one liners, poems, jokes or quotes. This particular industry needs to come up with new material all the time.
Joining writing contests is a great way to get publishing credits. It doesn’t really matter what type of contest it is, as long as you get to flex your writing muscles. The prizes don’t count either. LeeAnne told us that once, she entered an essay contest which asked the question “What would you do if you won the lottery?” Her essay won second prize, and she got several lotto tickets for free, but the most important thing was that her essay was published in a newspaper.
Submitting articles or writing freelance for newspapers can help get your writing career started. Major newspapers such as the LA Times might be quite as eager to publish your pieces, but your local newspapers are often in need of these freelance articles. You might not get paid at all, but the payment comes in the form of another publishing credit you can add to your list.
Letters to the editor are another way of earning those writing brownie points. Write a controversial letter that will get a good debate going, or write something that you feel strongly about. The more readers can relate to or react to your piece, the higher the chance that the editor will pick your piece to get published.
Lastly, LeeAnne encouraged us to take advantage of whatever writing opportunities our current jobs might present us with. In house publications such as flyers, posters, brochures, company newsletters, correspondence letters, and so on are a useful way of flexing our writing muscles, and also one way we can earn those publishing credits.
We ended the session with a question and answer portion. We asked LeeAnne whatever questions popped into our minds about the publishing industry, and about writing. She answered all our questions, and afterward, presented us with some books which we could purchase from her at a low price. These are books which she had written about various topics such as writing, finance and real estate, business, and even ways to make money with a computer.
I thought the session went well, and tied up nicely with our previous session on Query Letters. In that session, we had talked about the author bio, which comprised the third paragraph of a query letter. A lot of us were worried about not having any writing-related credits to put in that paragraph. LeeAnne’s helped us understand what publishing credits we could use to fill out that paragraph. She even gave us a few tips to help us make our author bios more marketableundefinedsuch as how to word our author bio paragraph so that our publishing credits, no matter how small they are, can seem impressive.