5 Mistakes To Guarantee Your Story Won’t Get Published

Rejection is tough, but what makes it even more disheartening when it comes to news and feature story submissions is that sometimes, it’s preventable. When you send in an article or photo essay, there are a few mistakes that will ensure your story never sees the presses, so take note and you’ll have a better chance of getting published.

Everyone Can Write, But Not Everyone Writes Well
The top five reasons stories get the boot can be traced back to grade-school mistakes. It all boils down to not submitting your best work, which no author would do, ever. That is exactly what you’ve done, however, if your story meets one of the top 5 rejection criteria:

  1. It’s unreadable. This accounts for about 25 percent of all rejections. Grammar, spelling and punctuation create flow, and your article should flow well to be easy to read.
  2. It’s not expected. Unsolicited submissions generally don’t work well, so develop your story idea with an editor you know before you do the work.
  3. It doesn’t fit the publication’s needs. Know your audience and the writing style of your target publication.
  4. It’s verbose. An article that’s a fixer-upper is less likely to land a spot in the next edition than one that’s concise and easy to navigate.
  5. It doesn’t have a “hook.” The hook to catch readers should be in the first paragraph. If it’s buried further down, move it up; it may be time to trim a little to get it there.

Down, But Not Out
A rejected article may still have life left in it, so always ask why it was rejected. Take criticism and use it to improve your chances of earning some publication space next time, or rework the piece and submit it again with the help of the editor. Once you’ve had freelance success, mark the occasion with custom article framing to preserve the fruits of your labor for years to come.


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