Nonfiction FAQ 0 Comments

Nonfiction FAQ

I think of Voiceworks more as a place for fiction and poetry. Is this true?

Nope. Sure, we publish short stories and poems, but what we’re chomping at the bit for is nonfiction. Just quietly, we get 250+ people sending fiction and poetry, but only 30ish for nonfiction. This means we want to read more nonfiction, and that frankly your odds of publication are better if you send us some. (We’re also keen to get our eyes on more art and comics—tell your arty pals!)

What do you mean by ‘nonfiction’?

What we’re looking for is some sort of insight, whether you have a unique experience or opinion, expert knowledge on a topic or a keen interest in researching something—more than just reportage or rhetorical questions. This can come in the form of well-researched articles, memoir, funny pieces, narrative pieces, biographical pieces, or those that skirt between fiction and nonfiction, and so on. We don’t really publish reviews or straight-up journalism, unless it’s on something mega interesting, and we urge you not to send us your uni essays. The key question to ask yourself: am I bringing something new to the conversation?

How do I write good nonfiction for Voiceworks?

The best place to start is the ‘guide to pitching nonfiction’ on our website, but generally speaking, our favourite submissions have:

  1. 1. a strong angle (or ‘hook’ that sets it apart from other articles on the same topic),
  2. 2. deep engagement with the subject (namely, a specific focus, supporting research and recognition of complicating factors) and
  3. 3. a compelling sense of relevancy to our readership.

In case that last one sounds a little vague, all it really means is making sure your reader has a reason to invest in the topic. It’s important to avoid unsupported statements and to balance internal/ personal experiences within the wider cultural conversation. Not that we’re after academic essays, but this is often the best way to contextualise your piece.

Should I pitch my nonfiction before writing it?

Yes please, especially if you’re not sure if your piece is appropriate, or what you want to do with it. Pitching is our chance to help you out before you commit to researching and writing the whole thing.

How do I pitch good?

Include detail! Clearly lay out your angle and argument, and provide specific examples of the research and anecdotes you’ll draw upon. If possible, pop in a 300-word sample from the beginning.

Here are some questions to think about when writing your pitch:

  1. 1. What is your key point or argument? What is the logical and structural progression?
  2. 2. Why are you the person to write this piece? Personal experience, willingness to research, etc. Do you have a particular angle to take? If you’re going to need evidence, where are you going to get it from?
  3. 3. Why Voiceworks?
  4. 4. How long is the piece going to be?

If you have any further questions contact Voiceworks editor Lucy Adams. If not, it’s time to submit!

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