by Alana Saltz
When I first started writing essays, I knew that I wanted to become a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post. It’s one of the largest and most trafficked publications in the world, providing an invaluable platform for a fledgling writer like myself.
But getting into HuffPo wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Unlike other publications I’ve managed to get my work in, it would take several attempts—as well as a few different tactics—to land that coveted “Contributing Blogger” title.
When I started submitting essays to The Huffington Post, I used my standard approach. I submitted an article, waited a few weeks, and then submitted another. When a few more weeks passed with no response, I tried one more time.
Each submission was sent to the same category, “Healthy Living,” because my writing at the time focused on mental health. And each time I submitted an article, I received no response whatsoever.
I realized that it was time to approach the situation from another angle. My mother happens to be a contributing blogger for HuffPo after getting connected with an editor through one of her contacts. I decided to try out the same approach and asked her to connect me with her editor. We exchanged a couple of emails, and the editor assured me that my articles were being passed on to the right people at “Healthy Living.” After two months of waiting, there was still absolutely no response.
I was ready to give up hope. I told myself that HuffPo wasn’t the right fit for me. They didn’t like my writing. I wasn’t marketable enough. I should just stop trying. I should give up.
But then I wrote an article that was different than the kinds of articles I’d been writing before. It was about the Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, and how the newest season dealt with the subject of depression. After getting the pitch rejected from Salon, I decided I might as well send it off to HuffPo because it seemed like it would be a good fit.
I chose “Entertainment” as my category for the post and sent it off at a Women Who Submit meeting without any expectations. A few days later, I received an email from an “Entertainment” editor informing me that my piece was going to be published. She sent me the information to set up my account, and I officially became a Huffington Post Contributing Blogger. I was absolutely thrilled.
Once my article, “What Orange is the New Black Gets Right About Depression,” was posted, I submitted an article that had previously been rejected by the “Healthy Living” section. To my surprise, it was also published a few days later…in the “Healthy Living” section. I’m now able to submit pretty much any article I want, and as a contributor, it goes right through.
The entire process from first submission to eventual publication took about eight months and six separate essay submissions. It would have been easy to give up on becoming a HuffPo contributor after any of these attempts and approaches failed. It took rethinking my approach and submitting a different kind of piece to a different set of editors to finally get published on the site.
The thing I’ve learned about getting published is that it’s not just about trying again and again. Persistence and patience aren’t always enough. Sometimes you need to switch gears and approach something from a new angle to get your foot in the door.
Alana Saltz is a writer, freelance editor, and occasional ukulele rocker residing in Los Angeles. Her essays can be found in The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, RoleReboot, The Manifest-Station, and more. You can visit her website at alanasaltz.com and follow her on Twitter @alanasaltz.