Guest Post from Sarah Bunton of Bump Birth and Beyond
Less than two months ago I made the scary ambitious decision to expand “beyond my blog.” In that time, I’ve become a HuffPost blogger, had my writing published on eighteen sites, and even gotten paid for some of my pieces! How did I do it? Although I have a sneaking suspicion that lamp I rubbed might’ve been magical after all, it really comes down to being determined and focused. Here are some of my tips on how to make the submission process as efficient as possible![bctt tweet=”Here are some tips on how to make the submission process as efficient as possible!”]
1. Be Informed
This may seem like a no-brainer, but once you’ve made the leap into submitting to other places, know who you’re submitting to and what they like! Researching the site kills two birds with one stone: you’ll get a feel for their brand and audience and you’ll discover if your topic has already been done. It’s also important to find their submission guidelines. You’d be surprised how grateful editors are when they receive a submission that fits their style, hasn’t been done, and follows their particular guidelines.
2. Be Organized
Being a parent plus dealing with a chronic illness means I struggle with remembering things. Seriously, at times my house looks like the set of Memento. When it comes to writing, the rules are the same. I have to stay organized and leave myself reminders or else nothing would ever get done. I’m not super proficient in Excel, but I did manage to make myself a spreadsheet which made my life infinitely easier!
This handy chart lets me know at a glance who I’ve submitted to, what type of post they accept (original, syndicated) or what type I’ve sent, the title of what I sent, their response, when I should follow up if I haven’t gotten a response, if there’s a deadline, and who my contact is. This thing has saved me numerous times!
3. Be Consistent
In your personal blog, submissions, and social media presence you’ll get noticed and be able to maintain that attention if you are consistent. Whether you are trying to establish a coherent brand, build an audience, or network for future career opportunities, constancy helps. Your readers will appreciate the regularity and editors will take note if you prove to be reliable. If you’re like me and don’t seem to have enough hours in the day, try using free services such as Hootsuite to schedule posts to your social media sites or simply set alarms on your phone to remember deadlines.
4. Be Selfish
Many of my fellow bloggers are mothers, too. One of the most common issues that comes up is the lack of time – time to think, write, research, submit, and share. I’ve learned that efficiency and organization greatly reduce the amount of time I need to spend on submitting, however I still need some time. Clearly my family comes first, but I had to make my writing a priority. I’ve managed to find time hiding all over the place – while my son’s asleep, on break at work, and (let’s be honest) when I said I had to go to the bathroom but really just needed a moment of silence. You have to be a little selfish and carve out a chunk of the day or night for you and your writing.
5. Be Brave
Quite simply,it came down to this for me: don’t be afraid to follow up, sell yourself, and do unsolicited submissions. I’m not going to lie and say every attempt ended in success. I will say, though, that I wouldn’t have gotten some of the opportunities I did if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone. After you’ve done your research, gotten organized, and found your voice, you have to be brave and go beyond your blog.[bctt tweet=”‘It came down to this: don’t be afraid to follow up, sell yourself, do unsolicited submissions'”]
Sarah is a wife, mother, feminist, animal rights activist, and a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from Stetson University and currently works as a cognitive skills trainer with children facing developmental challenges. In between balancing a chronic illness, work, and a feisty toddler, she loves to share her experiences, advice, and humor with others. You can find more of her writings on her blog, Bump Birth and Beyond! Follow Sarah on Facebook | Twitter