Today, I am host Esther Chilton with a post about her new book Publication Guaranteed (Well Almost!). Esther has a lovely blog where she gives all sorts of writing advise and assistance here: https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/. Esther also provides editing services which I have found tremendously helpful in moving my writing and my books forward towards publication.
Over to Esther
First of all, many thanks for having me, Robbie! Robbie kindly offered to have me on her blog to talk about my latest book, Publication Guaranteed (Well, Almost!).
After writing two short story collections and while working on a third, an idea came to me about starting a series of writing craft books. I’ve been a tutor for a creative writing distance learning course for over a decade and I love helping students achieve their dreams, but many of them struggle to become published in this ever-competitive world. So I thought about writing a book to help students and other writers to become published – on a regular basis. The topics in the book include readers’ letters, fillers, articles, short stories and competition writing. In the book, there’s information on market research, how to set work out and send it, as well as lots of useful tips, examples and writing exercises to spark ideas and build on writing skills, all with the aim of publication.
Here is an extract from the chapter Amazing Article Ideas. Writers often find it difficult to know what to write about and where to get ideas from:
Your own experiences
Open up any of the women’s weeklies and you’ll see pages and pages of true-life stories. These range from stories about ‘my operation’, to overcoming an illness/divorce/death in the family, to doing something special, to an amusing pet story. If you did something a little different for your 40th/50th/60th/70th birthday, you could write up your own story for one of the magazines. Similarly, a women’s weekly would love to hear how you recovered from life threatening surgery and went on to have a baby, jump out of a plane or gain a well-earned degree. Your experience needn’t be sensational. True, the magazines do feature many jaw dropping stories, but they also publish lots of heart-warming ones.
There are plenty of other magazines that want to know about your experiences e.g. there are several cat and dog magazines, which invite owners’ stories. Or if keeping chickens is more your thing, there’s a number of smallholder magazines crying out for useful information and advice.
It’s easy to overlook your experiences and to believe no one is likely to want to hear about them. Rest assured, they certainly do e.g. if you volunteer for a charity on a regular basis or were made redundant and have started your own business, one of the women’s glossies is likely to want to hear about it.
Write down five things that have happened to you – have you won any special awards? Have you helped someone achieve something? Have you or a member of your family overcome an illness? What about a dramatic career change? Did you hit your 60s and decide to learn a new skill? These are just five ideas I’ve come up with quickly and I’m sure you’ll have lots of different experiences to list – ones you can turn into an article for a variety of publications.
If you’d like to read more, the book is available from Amazon, as an ebook. A paperback will be out later in the year.
About Esther Chilton
My love affair with writing came about as a result of a back injury, when I could no longer carry out my job working in a bank. That injury led me to the wonderful world of writing and changed my life!
I joined The Writers Bureau as a student and since then have never looked back.
You can find out more about Esther here: https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/about-me/