Free Resources for Publication, Chicago, Kansas City, Colorado, and More!

how to get published
Nadia Colburn // January 25, 2024 // 0 Comments

I hope this finds you well as we move into the final week of January.

Since I’ve been talking a lot recently about the publication of my new book, I Say the Sky, I want to share some (free) resources with you about how to get published as well as some thoughts on how publication (or the decision not to publish traditionally) fits into an aligned writing life.

In particular, I thought I'd discuss–and break down–the two biggest myths around publication and how you can cultivate your own healthy mindset around it all. 🙂

I’m also excited to be going on a small book tour in February and would love to see you in any of the following places:

  • Chicago (I have three free readings/ workshops the first week of February)
  • Kansas City (I’ll be reading and presenting at AWP and at some offsite events open to everyone)
  • Colorado (I’ll be giving readings in both February and April)

Learn more about my upcoming events, including readings I’m doing in other locations, here.

Each of these events will be really special–they’ll be interactive, educational and fun–and I absolutely love meeting people in this community in person, so please come and introduce yourself!

Free Publication Resources

How to Get Published in Magazines and Journals: A Guide. Whatever genre you're writing in–poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, and more–this guide lays out, in practical steps, how to publish short pieces, contact publications of interest, write effective cover letters (templates included!), and more. You can also download a PDF of the guide here.

How to Publish Your Poetry Book: A Guide. This gives you a step-by-step process to follow to publish a poetry book and provides an overview of the ins and outs of publication today.

Both guides are detailed resources designed to help you wherever you are on your own publication journey—whether you’ve never published before or are already published but looking for new ideas.

I also want to talk a bit about how publication fits into our writing lives, because I think most of us have inherited some pretty unhelpful polarizing misconceptions…

Two myths around publication:

People tend to talk about either writing for yourself or writing for others/publication.

I think both of those notions are a little bit misleading and misconceived.

Writing for yourself…Is that true?

I believe that the best writing is never a solitary act. Our writing is always connected to others and to other parts of ourselves.

Writing is also always in conversation with other books that we've read and with other people in our lives and extended communities–including those who are living, those who have passed away, and those who are not yet born.

And when we’re writing, we’re also in conversation with ourselves–and not with a single, static self, but with multiple, complex, ever-changing, dynamic dimensions of a self, including a spiritual self that extends beyond any notion of a solitary self.

Furthermore, I believe that even if we write in a journal, where no one else will ever see the specific words we've written, our writing changes us–and thus changes our interactions with others.

The act of writing, no matter how we write, has a ripple effect.

So even if we write supposedly “for ourselves,” our writing is bigger than just ourselves.

We can even think about how our writing fits into other aspects of our own lives: How does it shape or respond to other creative practices we have? How does it influence our work as social beings, citizens, neighbors, and global actors? How does it affect our spiritual lives?

In other words, once we really start thinking about the place of writing in our lives, we realize that it's complex and asks us to be mindful of all our interactions.

So my takeaway: writing is never a solitary act; it’s always part of a larger web of meaning and connection.

Writing for others/for publication…Is that ever really the end goal?

By contrast, we can sometimes make the mistake of thinking of publication as an end goal. But is that ever really the case?

In practical terms, publication is just one step in a long process to connect a piece of writing to its readers: once the book is published, it will most likely disappear if there isn’t some marketing behind it. The book needs to be shared, passed on, and brought from the warehouse to the readers’ attention.

So then is the goal of writing to reach a certain number of readers, to sell a certain number of books? Oh, that is certainly dreary. If we want to reach as many people as possible, it is better to become a TikTok influencer–that’s not why most of us write. If we’re writing for money or fame–think again–it’s better to choose another path to either of those things! And if we want to get a simple message across, literature isn’t the best way to do that.

Furthermore, if we are writing for others, the writing itself is usually less alive, less awake, less interesting. The best writing is writing that is alive to the author, that asks questions the author doesn’t yet have answers to, and is itself a process of discovery and wonder.

So why do we write? What’s your answer?

I have to admit that I used to have a much more fraught relationship to publication, and sorting out and resolving those issues has been part of my own writing journey–but more on that another time 🙂

For now, my response is: I write for myself and for others; I write to be in conversation with other books I love, and I write for the writing itself–what it is on the page and what it has to teach me, to inspire and surprise me. Publication, for me, is one part of that process because writing is so much about relationship–I just strive to make my own publication path as authentic as possible.

There are many ways to write and many ways to share your work, from traditional publication to sharing with friends and family to exchanging pieces in writing groups and communities–like the private Facebook group that accompanies the Challenges I offer.

I love to hear from you, so please leave a comment. 🙂

with love,

PS: If you haven’t yet ordered I Say the Sky, I’d be honored to share the book with you! Here is what one reviewer on Amazon said: “Nadia Colburn’s I Say the Sky is both personal and profound. Her poetry touches on topics from her most intimate thoughts on self - life, death, anxiety, motherhood and more - to the earth’s devastation. Her deeply moving insights leave me questioning and examining my own life, thoughts, joys and sorrows, and what it is to be a woman, mother, and human.” You can order your own copy from Amazon here, the Press here, or your local bookstore.

PPS: And when you order the book, you receive FREE entry into my brand new I Say the Sky 7-Day Meditation and Writing Challenge. Just show me proof of purchase (order number or receipt) here, and you’ll be registered 🙂

PPPS: You can learn more about my Free Upcoming Readings & Workshops in Chicago, Kansas City, and Colorado, as well as Boston, Rhode Island, and more, on my website here. Come meet me in person! 

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