Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Articles First? (Part 5 of 5)

Three Final Reasons for Writing Articles First

1. Book editors also read magazines. Several friends wrote their first book because an editor read an article, contacted them, and said, "Could you develop that into a book?"

I published well over a hundred articles before I ever wrote a book. In fact, my first book came about because of my published articles. One day, an editor called because a friend told him I was a good writer. He learned that I was writing articles on prayer, and asked about them. I explained the content of two or three and he liked what he called my creative approach. "Could you write 30 of them as a book for us?"

That became my first book.

2. The statistics are against beginners having their first book accepted for publication. Experts say that new writers have about one chance in 500 (or some say 700) in getting a book published. It’s easier to become published in magazines or ezines. Writing articles is an excellent form of on-the-job training as we prepare for books.

3. When we write articles, we attract a larger audience. The experts tell us the average first book sells about 5,000 copies. Small Christian publishers smile when a book sells more than 3,000 copies. By contrast, consider that if a print magazine buys an article, you can assume that at least 100,000 subscribers read or skim your piece.

Finally, do you have to start with articles? No, you don’t, but it’s an easier way to learn the business as well as provide the opportunity to improve your craft.

Sometimes the easy and the wise way are the same.


  1. Thank you Cec for all your wonderful advice. While reading every post you write shows me how much I do not know about writing, my heart is sure I will succeed someday. I have printed all of your posts and feel a bit overwhelmed, but am sure that it will all sink in soon. God Bless you.

  2. Thanks, Cec. I'm making a big effort in 2010 to concentrate on articles, poems, stories for periodicals and anthologies, because you and other great encouragers keep repeating the truths you've summarized here.



  3. Hi there!

    Shortstorybook.net is organizing a short story writing contest.

    We do think that you too might have a marvelous story to tell, one that is your own! So if you can compose it in not more than few words, we would want to hear from you. Also, you stand a chance to get your story published on our site and win cash prize of USD 100.

    “Then what are you waiting for? …put on your thinking cap and get writing. For registration and other information check - http://bit.ly/short-story-contest-2010

    Happy writing!

  4. The comment above from Shortstorybook.net is an example of unprofessional and unethical behavior. No professional would sneak into a blog like this without asking permission--which I would refuse. It is underhanded and I urge you to ignore it. This is a blog to help writers improve, not to encourage or induce people to enter questionable contests.

    Cec Murphey.

  5. Cec,

    I really appreciate your information. Does your advice apply to both fiction and nonfiction?

    Jodie Wolfe


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