Weekly Faux Pas: The Don’ts of Submitting Your Event to Local Publications

it's a rough drawing of the Roman calendar. from before the Julian reform, with the seventh and eighth months still named Quintilis ("QVI") and Sextilis ("SEX"), and the intercalary month ("INTER") in the far righthand column. It's fine if that doesn't make sence. You won't need to know all this to submit your event to your local rag properly. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

This is a rough drawing of the Roman calendar. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

We’ve all done it. We’ve all thrown an event and tried to submit a press release to a local newspaper in an effort to see some sort of publicity. ‘Cause why not? The more people show up, the more people will talk about it. And the more people talk about it, the more folks will be in attendance at your next shindig. That’s what it’s all about, baby. It’s about getting feet in the door and butts in the seats (or heads staring at artwork, ’cause we don’t know what your event is, ya know?).

As a former Calendars Editor at an Albuquerque weekly, I had my fair share of events getting emailed, sent via submission forms and physically mailed to me (those were my favorite!). So I have a little knowledge about what goes into submitting an event—be it a concert, an art opening, a theater production, a yoga class, etc.—to a periodical, and can help you on the path toward submitting your event and seeing it in print and/or online.

1. DON’T miss the submission deadline.

The worst was always having people miss the submission deadlines to have their events considered for print, and then calling and begging for you to reconsider making it online only, and sending it to print as well.

Listen, people. The deadlines are there for a reason. That reason being that there is usually one person overseeing a calendar, and it’s easy for that person to become overloaded from calendar submissions. So if you miss the deadline, it’s easier for that editor to categorize your event as “online only” rather than have to sift through it to determine whether it’s an especially special concert and/or CPR class, worthy of being printed. Have some consideration for that person, and get your shit in on time.

2. DON’T be vague.

There’s a reason you’re sending your event in to a publication…because you think it’s a noteworthy affair. So treat it as such and give ALL of the information that the publication requires.

With the publication I worked for, I needed to know the type of event (art, music, food, etc.), the date, time, location, ticket price, contact info and event description. That description is the most important part. How are readers supposed to know what kind of event they’ll be attending—or if they even want to attend—if you can’t even give an adequate depiction of what they’ll be in for? Get it together, folks! It’s not that hard.

3. DON’T assume.

Just because you’ve met the deadlines and provided all of the information that was asked of you doesn’t mean that the event is automatically aces and will be made available to the masses. Take into consideration that publications rarely have room for every single event that’s sent their way; thus, some folks need to get cut (I mean, their event needs to get cut).

It’s nothing personal. So don’t take it personal. So your dog show or birthing class didn’t make it in this week…there’s always hope for next week. The worst thing you can do is call the person in charge and talk their ear off about why your event was oh-so special and should have gone in. All that says to them is that you’re a pain in the ass and they’ll probably ignore all your future events. Don’t do that to them. And don’t do that to yourselves. You deserve better. And so do they.

Those are just a few things to know when sending your events to local calendars. Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments.

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About Mark Lopez

Mark Lopez freelances and writes. A member of the Dirt City writers collective, where he mainly specializes in visceral and visual poetry, his work has appeared in the Corpus Christi Caller Times, Jupiter Index, CHAOS Magazine and UT Law Magazine.

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