This is part three of a series on writing a technical article. The advice might apply to non-technical articles, but I’m focusing specifically with my examples on technical pieces. Other parts are listed at the end of this article.
One of the ways to really enhance your brand and show that you are a knowledgeable and motivated employee is to write some type of article that is published in a well known publication. These days it’s hard to find places to publish in print since there are fewer of them every month and competition is fierce. There are, however, more and more places where you can publish on the Internet, and that is almost as respected.
Why Choose a Third Party?
When you blog, which is something I recommend that all technical people do, you make the decision of what to write. You decide what the content is, what a completed article is, and you’re putting your voice out there. You are also allowing someone else to judge the work before it is published.
That simple act, which often includes some basic editing, allows someone else to independently check your writing. Some places may or may not test your code, some may or may not give you opinions on your ideas, but most should copy edit your work. This ensures that it's readable and others can understand it.
Where to Publish?
When choosing a place to publish, there are a few things you might want to consider.
First you want to identify where you can possibly publish an article. These days most publishers have some web presence, though there are a few places that only produce printed materials.
Some recommendations of places for SQL Server articles:
SQLServerCentral - I'd be happy to help you get published here. We do try to help new writers, and we are less strict about what we'd publish. Our daily newsletter goes out to hundreds of thousands of people and there are a lot of SQL Server critics that will examine your work. We don't pay a lot, but offer exposure. You need a thick skin, and you need to check your work. We don't test code, but you'll do a light copy edit and give you an opinion on your idea.
Simple Talk - The sister site to SQLServerCentral, also owned by Red Gate Software. Simple Talk is more of a journal, and tries for more serious writing about SQL Server. They pay more money than us, though with less exposure. They will also subject your work to a more rigorous edit, and that means a lot more work. However they are always looking for material. I wouldn't suggest Simple Talk for your first article, but if you have some experience writing, send them something.
MSSQLTips - A site that puts out daily, short tips about how to better understand something in SQL Server. Greg and Jeremy, who run the site, are friends of mine, and they're good people to work with. They are always looking for shorter pieces, but they need to be well written, and they offer a chance to write. A good place to work on shorter tips.
SQL Team - Bill Graziano, who is a VP of PASS, owns this site. It is one of the oldest SQL Server sites on the Internet, and contains a lot of information. I don't see new articles up there too often, but I am sure that Bill would like to publish more. I'd submit something to this site if you have an interest.
Database Journal - This used to be Swynk, and one of the best SQL Server sites on the Internet. I wrote there before starting SQLServerCentral. They are owned by a large corporation and tend to publish a few articles a week. I don't see a place to find out how to write for them, or even contact them. It seems they have relatively few authors writing for them, but feel free to try to write there.
SQL Server Magazine - The only real publication for SQL Server in print. They have been out a long time, and I was proud to publish an article with them years ago. Print publication is more serious in that you can't easily take things back if there are problems. You need to be sure that you test well, and they will subject your work to a few edits. When I published my article it took almost 8 months from submission to publication. If you are interested, check out their editorial calendar and look for something 8 or 9 months out and match your topic up with their schedule.
SQL Server Performance - This site was started by Brad McGehee who now works for Red Gate along with me. He sold the site and since then it seems to have less content being published. There is still a write for us page, and I am sure they will help you get published. A lot of people still go to this site because of their large archives, so you can get some good exposure.
SSWUG - When Swynk was sold, Stephen Wynkop started SSWUG. It is a pay site where you must subscribe to read the content. They also run a virtual conference and allow speakers to present with video recordings as well. They offer you the chance to reach people in a different way.
Submitting an idea
Some publishers prefer an abstract to be submitted first. Others, like SQLServerCentral, will take the full article and provide you feedback. We have an automated process to submit something, and we'll review it in a couple weeks and get you feedback.
If you want to submit somewhere else, please feel free to do so and contact those places for information about how to do so.
Writing a Technical Article Series
The rest of the series on how to write a technical article.