A common question that crops up at writing workshops is “How do you go about getting stories published?” So much so that I’ve started building the short version of the answer into my workshop introductions. The short answer goes like this:
McHugh’s 3-step Guide to Getting Published
1 Write the damn thing.
2 Submit the damn thing.
Then I add in a Step 1a – Good.
Step 1a – writing the damn thing good – is the real trick. As Donald Maass says, “Ninety-five percent of a story’s success is in the manuscript.” Put most of your energy into Step 1a. But pulling off a good story isn’t going to get you anywhere if you don’t send the damn thing out into the world for editors to read.
So, how about that? Where do you even start with Step 2?
Approaching the market with your work is daunting. Actually, it’s fucking terrifying when you’re freshly starting out. But having some understanding of how it all works can help get you past that.