Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Getting Your Foot in the Door (Or How I Finally Got Published) > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Getting Your Foot in the Door (Or How I Finally Got Published)

This has to be the number one thing that most beginning writers struggle with ? getting that first article, story, or book published. Before you start thinking that it's just too much work, or you just don't know the right people, let me fill you in on how easy it can be. While my personal experience won't work or apply for everyone, it is a good guide for getting your foot in the door as a published writer.

Step One: Be Passionate About Something!

What got me started was passion! I had something that I had a lot of experience with and was very passionate about. Being in the computer industry, I was thriving on anything having to do with computers. But, I was also passionate about flying airplanes. Thus, I was very excited about Microsoft's Flight Simulator.

Now, did you notice the key words with my situation? They are "experience", "passionate", and "excited". The best writers are those who are passionate about the topic that they're writing about. What are you excited about? What do you have a lot of experience with? What are you passionate about? If you can answer those questions then you know what topics you can write about.

Step Two: Find Something To Write About

Since I was spending a significant amount of time with the Flight Simulator product, and I had a background in real-world aviation, I soon discovered that it was possible to use the maps and charts for real flight, and use them for navigation in the Flight Simulator world. I was sure that many other Flight Simulator fans knew this as well. But, did real-world pilots know this? Could real pilots gain further instruction and sharpen their navigation skills with Microsoft's Flight Simulator? Right away I knew that I had a potential article idea and a potential market ? Aviation Magazines!

When you are passionate about something, you tend to come across ideas and concepts that others may not have thought of before. Maybe you're a mother with 5 kids at home, and you come to the realization that you always seem to get them all fed, cleaned, and in bed at the end of the day. How did you do it? What tricks have you picked up that other mothers might want to know? Or maybe you just want to share your emotional struggle of how to deal with such a large family? I'm sure there are many moms out there who would love to read about it.

Step Three: Write!

I now had my article idea ? the world of Flight Simulator through the eyes of a real-world pilot. While I was still excited about the article, I sat down and wrote out what topics I wanted to cover. I wanted to start out with a flying situation that sounded like I was really flying and was getting into some bad weather. Then when the flying got really tough, I would pause the simulator, and then introduce how the product helped to sharpen my navigation and situational awareness skills. Once my theme was in place, and my main topics were decided upon, I started writing. When I was done, I had a nice 1300 word article ready for submission.

This is where most hopeful writers stall out! They convince themselves that no one would really be interested in hearing what they had to say. They just can't seem to find the time to sit down and write. Or, they sit at the computer but can't seem to come up with the right words. Ah, good old writers block! Many a book and article have been written about how to get started. What worked for me was just forcing myself to start writing. I would sit at the computer until I finally had something. This can take 5 minutes, or it can take an hour or more. The point is ? don't get up until you've written something. You find that once you get started, it's hard to stop. And after you've done it a few times, you'll discover that it gets easier to just start writing as soon as you sit down.

Step Four: Target Your Market and Get the Guidelines

Now that I had my article written, I was ready to start submitting. I went to the newsstand and purchased 5 different magazines about aviation and flying. I then looked for the column in each magazine that said who to contact for article submissions and guidelines. I knew that the top of the market magazine in the industry was "Flying Magazine", so that's the one I wanted to target first. I contacted them and got a copy of their writer's guidelines. I soon discovered that they wanted double spaced type, in a text document format, and that it was to be submitted in printed format with a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope), for sending it back if they didn't want it. I also took an extra step and contacted Microsoft to see if I could get some screen shots on slides, to include with the article. Within a week, I had everything ready to go.

Find out who the big players are in the publishing industry for the market that you are targeting. Read their publications. Get a feel for the type of articles they publish and get a copy of their Writer's Guidelines. Format your article (story, etc.) to meet the required guidelines and be sure to prepare the SASE. Be sure that you include a nice cover letter with your article, addressed to the Editor. Introduce yourself and use a short paragraph to highlight what your article is about. Don't write any more than 2 or 3 paragraphs in your cover letter. Editors get tones of submissions and they like them short and to the point. Now you're ready to submit.

Step Five: Submit, Submit, Submit!

I sent my article off and then waited, and waited, and waited. After about 2 weeks I received my SASE back, with my article inside, and a very nice rejection letter stating that the article was not within the scope of their required topics. My heart sank! My first rejection letter. (Actually, I wish I still had it so I could show it around.) But, I didn't let this get the best of me. I made a new Cover Letter, a new SASE, and sent the article off to the next magazine on my list ? Plane and Pilot Magazine.

You will receive rejection letters! That's just the way it works. But don't take it personally. All editors are people (contrary to popular belief by some writers). They have likes, dislikes, mood swings, and deadline pressures. If you get the dreaded rejection letter then just select the next publisher on your list and try again.

Step Six: The Contract and the Big Wait

Several weeks after I submitted my article to Plane and Pilot Magazine, the editor called me to inform me that they were interested in the article and that they needed to get a contract to me. We exchanged fax numbers and before the end of the day, I had an accepted article. And payment would be sent out when the magazine went on the stands. Now came the big wait. Then around six weeks later I received my check. I made over $350 for my published article! This was it! I was now a published writer. My foot was in the door. Little did I know what this would soon lead to.

The publishing rights that are requested by the publisher are usually outlined in the Writer's Guidelines. Most are for First North American Serial Rights, which means that they get the first right to publish but after that you can resubmit to other publications, but only as Second Serial Rights. Most magazines will have a lead time of anywhere from several months to six months till publication. They have to line up their advertising, time to send to printing, photos, etc.


Around six months after my article was published, a new version of Microsoft's Flight Simulator came out. A friend of mine called me from a computer store to tell me that a quote from my article was on the back cover of the product box. Needless to say, I was totally thrilled to have my name plastered on every box of Flight Simulator. I contacted Microsoft to thank them for the free advertising. This lead to a discussion about doing some testing of the next version, which then lead to a book deal with Microsoft Press. Then shortly after the book came out, I became a regular columnist for a gaming magazine, on the topic of Flight Simulation products. All this from getting my Flight Simulator article submitted.

So, all it takes is making a few steps in the right direction. Do the writing, and then submit, submit, submit! Who knows? You might just be the next big columnist for Mother's Magazine, Off-Roading, or any other specialized market for your passion.

Find your passion, and write!

Timothy Trimble is a award winning, freelance writer, and software developer. He has written a book for Microsoft Press and over 35 articles for significant computer industry trade magazines. He is the Blog publisher of The ART of Software Development which can be found via his web site at

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at


Incredibles 2 posts flashing-lights warning for fans with epilepsy
Thank you to everyone for retweeting this, writing articles, and signal boosting my message! My goal of having signs at the ticket counter was reached so that people can be warned about the flashing lights in Incredibles 2.

and more »


Beyonce & JAY-Z, AKA the Carters, Drop Joint 'Everything Is Love' Album: Listen
Pharrell also has writing, production and vocal credits on the song "Nice." Among other album credit highlights, Ty Dolla $ign contributed to writing and vocals on "Boss," and the album's closing track, "Lovehappy," lists TV on the Radio's David Andrew ...

and more »

Marketing Land

How researching B2B influencers can deliver actionable intelligence
Marketing Land
Many times, it's simply because they are sharing trending news or writing articles themselves. For example, just this month there was a large discussion about Microsoft's acquisition of Github, and Microsoft also garnered a lot of coverage when it ...

6 Science-Backed Ways To Use Writing As Therapy
You probably know at least one person who keeps a diary, gratitude journal, or bullet journal. But can writing be a legitimate therapy to improve our mental health? According to science, yes. Writing is an accessible and cost-effective option that has ...

I've Written About Cultural Appropriation For 10 Years. Here's What I Got Wrong.
The articles that I and legions of other fed-up writers of color were producing felt something like a new way to address an old sin. I was committed to explaining how invisible legacies of colonialism show up in our lives and what we wear. In my heart ...

Atlas Obscura

Where the 'No Ending a Sentence With a Preposition' Rule Comes From
Atlas Obscura
He was more prolific, more popular, more successful, and more ambitious than any of the other writers of his era, and his era included John Milton. He was England's first official poet laureate. He wrote dozens of plays, poems, works of satire ...


Suicide Squad 2: Gotham And 12 Monkeys Star Co-Writing Script
Though he may have only lasted two episodes of Gotham--appearing as "The Mask" Richard Sionis in Seasons 1 and 2--Todd Stashwick isn't ready to leave the DC universe just yet. The actor, who also stars on 12 Monkeys as Deacon, will co-write the sequel ...

and more »

New York Times

Charles Krauthammer's Democratic Vocation
New York Times
Charles Krauthammer, the Washington Post columnist, announced last week that he is stricken with terminal cancer and has only weeks to live. Since then, the tributes have poured forth, and rightly so. Charles taught generations of readers and fellow ...

and more »

Southern Star Newspaper

LETTER: Writing about a different era
Southern Star Newspaper
SIR – I was surprised to read R Storey's letter ('Argument that land was empty devoid of sense,' June 9th). First, Storey is writing about 1948, whereas I was writing about the middle of the 19th century – around 100 years earlier. In my letter, I ...

and more »

New York Times

My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me
New York Times
During our life together, Amy was a prolific writer, publishing children's books, memoirs and articles. Knowing she had only a short time to live, she wanted to finish one last project. We were engaged then in home hospice, a seemingly beautiful way to ...

Google News

Publishing: Changing realities (I)

When you frequently post articles on ezines, you might be... Read More

How To Write A Profit Pulling Article

Having an article published is one of the fastest and... Read More

What Can a 13-Year-Old Kid Teach Us About Article Marketing?

Yesterday I met a 13-year old boy with a devilish... Read More

How to Get Ideas for an Article?

Are you short of ideas? There are times when we... Read More

Creating A Great Print Newsletter

The traditional print media newsletter is still useful even in... Read More

Write What You Think Youre Writing

You've written this wonderful (no question about it) piece of... Read More

Ten Top Tips for Writing Articles on the Internet

Online readers love information, but be sure your information is... Read More

Every Writers Dilemma: How Do You Decide What to Write About?

The sources of inspiration are all around us, in the... Read More

5 Critical Promotion Mistakes People Make With Articles

Did you realize that writing and publishing articles online represents... Read More

Publishing: Changing realities (II)

There is some wisdom in saying that when you are... Read More

Article Writing - Positive Author Questions To Ask Yourself

Article writing can be such an intimate act as you're... Read More

What to Write About

This is a perennial question among writers and wannabe's. Many... Read More

Website Promotion ? Where to Get Ideas for Writing Articles

Some six weeks ago, I began writing and submitting articles... Read More

Article Writing For Fame And Fortune

How would you like to have your name and web... Read More

Article Queries That Sell

Queries are not written like business letters or emails; they... Read More

Summer is the Perfect Time to Write

As of July 1st, the year was half over! July... Read More

Four Reasons Why Freelance Article Commissions Dry Up

Every time I run a course on Freelance Writing, students... Read More

Do You Have the Characteristics of an Article Writer?

In order to answer the question I've just asked in... Read More

An Easy Way to Write An Article: Get Someone Elses!

Every successful website needs to be, what the experts consider,... Read More

The 2 Headed Dragon: Let Others Publish Your Material and Keep Your Site Unique

Is Putting your Articles in the Public Domain really a... Read More

Why Keyword Articles Are Good for Your Business

Content is an important component of your web site. Learning... Read More

Want to Put Your Names on My Article?

There's a new sort of ghost stalking the digital landscape.They... Read More

Article Marketing: the BETTER Offpage SEO Solution

Been reading up on SEO? If so, you know that... Read More

Need a Great Idea? Feed Your Brain

A lot of great ideas happen when two or more... Read More

Handling Rejection

Rejection is part of a writer's life. You must cope... Read More