Articles

The Write Website: Give Yourself An Edge With Your Own Site By Kelly Kyrik

You've done your research, lined up your contacts and written a killer query. You know you're the perfect person to write this particular article and you have faith that your targeted editor will know that, too; after all, you've got the clips to prove it. But wait, before you hit that "Send" button, thus rocketing your pitch into cyberspace and onto your editor's virtual desk, think for a minute about presentation. Are those precious clips easily accessible or are they spread all over the Internet; two on one site, one on another and three on a site that no longer exists? Editors are far too busy to go scavenging the net looking for proof of a writer's professionalism. The edge will go to the freelancer who can provide such evidence at the click of a mouse, and one of the best ways to do that is via your own website. …

Add to Your Income by Covering Conferences and Trade Shows By John K. Borchardt

Many professional groups and industry trade associations hold conventions and trade shows. These can be huge events, such as the annual International Home Builders Show with an attendance of 92,000, or much smaller groups numbering in the dozens. While big conferences are held by necessity in major cities, smaller groups often meet in cities of less than 100,000 in population. So, whether you live in a large or small city, you can add to your writing income by covering conventions and trade shows for newspapers, magazines or websites. …

Reviewing Your Ideas – Just Keep Stirring By William Meikle

Let's talk about ideas. Ideas exist in a soup in your brain, and like all good soups, ideas need time to stew. The trick is to keep stirring. As the idea churns around in what passes for your creative capacity, you should periodically review it and ask yourself some questions. …

Shyness-Busters By C. Hope Clark

If you're a shy writer, you should know that shyness is who you are, as much a part of you as eye color and lobed ears. Learn to incorporate it into your writing world. Learn how to recognize your limitations and your abilities and define your ills and your cures. …

Always, Always, Always Ask For More Money By Melanie Bowden

Many writers are so afraid of rejection that they jump at whatever fee an editor offers. Don't do it! Writers are notorious for not getting paid what they deserve, especially when they are first starting out. We need to think more like my therapist, who advises, "Honor the work you do." His weekly therapy bill also motivates me to ask for more for my writing work. Whatever your motivation, stand up for the work you do and make more money. …

Fiction Online: Eight Paying Markets By Erika Dreifus

How often do you find yourself reading through the posts of an Internet writing board only to be caught in a series of complaints? We writers sure can write, but sometimes our focus doesn't seem all that - how can I say this delicately? - productive. …

Reality Check on Publishers’ Dismal Marketing Efforts By M.J Rose

It's a sad but true fact. Authors need to learn some marketing basics because publishing houses don't do enough PR for all but their biggest or hottest books. Last week, one of the students in our Create a Buzz Plan class and I had a half hour phone call (which is offered to all Buzz students now) to do some more brainstorming. During the call he told me what was going on with his book. He'd landed a traditional contract and received a $175K advance. But, his publisher was doing nothing to get the word out. Absolutely nothing. …

Using Jobseeker Techniques To Sell Your Writing By Gail Kavanagh

Recently I sat in on a self marketing seminar for young jobseekers. Traditional methods of looking for work are out of favor, and the seminar leader drew up a graph to show why - only 20% of available jobs are advertised, he said. What the jobseeker should be concentrating on are the 80% that aren't advertised. …

Finding Freelance Jobs in Technical Writing By Debbie Swanson

echnical Writing is a profitable and challenging way to employ your writing skills. Software, hardware, and manufacturing companies will always need good Technical Writers to create clear, user-friendly documentation. Just how does the freelancer locate Technical Writing jobs? Here are five creative ways. …

Let’s Get Personal: Six Paying Markets For Your Personal Essays By Erika Dreifus

Not long ago, I was teaching an evening course at a local adult education center. About halfway through the session, one student posed a question. "This may be off-topic," she began. And she wasn't altogether incorrect about that. But it was a good question. It was one I'd heard before, and thought about from time to time myself, and it remained with me long after our class had ended. …

Ten Ways to Get Your Money from Deadbeat Editors By Anita Biase

It goes like this: I open the door, look both ways and sprint for the mailbox in my footie pajamas (much to the delight of my neighbors). I reach up eagerly and open the cubicle, and pull out a handful of circulars and bills. It's happened to all of us. You need to pay the light bill, upgrade your PC, and take your child to the orthodontist. You eagerly track the mailman's progress and search your mailbox diligently. The promised check didn't come and it doesn't come the next day or the day after that either. You contact the editor rather humbly and ask him to check and be sure the money was mailed to the correct address. He either doesn't answer your communications, or he makes a really flimsy excuse and mumbles those famous words, "It's in the mail." …

Offering Your Writing Services as a Writing Tutor: How One Aspiring Children’s Book Author Solved the Steady Paycheck Dilemma By Mindy Hardwick

Offering Your Writing Services as a Writing Tutor: How One Aspiring Children’s Book Author Solved the Steady Paycheck Dilemma By Mindy Hardwick

Last spring, I gave up an eight year teaching career to pursue a career in writing for children. I knew that working as a teacher left no energy for writing. However, my writing career wasn't paying a stable income. I didn't have books that were paying advances or royalties, and I needed to be involved with children in order to capture their voices on the page. How did I solve the problem of generating a stable income, maintaining contact with children, and having the energy to write stories? I became a writing tutor. …

Nature Writing – A Call From Home By Jena Ball

Nature has been calling to writers for centuries, first as a compelling mystery with spiritual overtones, and later as the subject of scientific investigation and study. But nature writing as we know it today - that is a body of literature that incorporates both factual data and an author's personal responses to and reflections on the natural world - is a relatively recent phenomenon. The reason is simple. Until human beings made the conscious choice to set themselves apart, to create whole communities in which they sought to control everything about their environment, from the kinds and numbers of plants and animals to the temperature of the air, there was no sense of separation; no need to be reminded that we are not masters of our world, but just one of the many interconnected and interdependent filaments in an immensely complex web of life. …

How to Successfully Query Your Sitcom Spec Scripts Over the Phone By Brad Manzo

How to Successfully Query Your Sitcom Spec Scripts Over the Phone By Brad Manzo

Breaking into sitcom writing is a daunting task. As Mort Scharfman, the Director of Development at Epigram Studios and former staff writer for shows such as All in the Family and Too Close for Comfort put it, "The only key to the Hollywood door is three things: submit, submit, submit." However, submitting isn't as easy as it sounds. Before you can submit a spec script to an agent, you must get permission from the agency. Agents almost never read unsolicited submissions. …

To Pay or Not to Pay…Fellow Writers By A Struggling Freelance Writer

With keen interest I read a letter written to Angela Hoy from a fledgling newsletter editor unable to pay column writers. Angela nicely but firmly advised the editor to think twice about that no-pay policy. She warned the novice that the seasoned and veteran writers would flame viciously and ruin the editor's reputation. Not so. Writers write for free all the time and no one seems to care. Writers even write for other writers without the respect of a paycheck. What I've learned as a writer who likes to write articles about writing, is that writers are some of the worse paymasters in the world. And for some reason that depresses me. …

Great Opportunity? No! By Ellen Scolnic

An experienced writer knows how to ask the right questions. Not just "Is your new movie a comedy, Mr. Hanks?" But questions like: "Do you pay on acceptance or when the article is published?" or "How long to you estimate interviewing the participants will take?" and "Is this contract for one-time only publication rights?" …

Protect Your Profession By Reporting Bad Publishers By Justin Ulmer

Like many other writers trying to make it in the world, most of us have had an unfortunate experience in the publishing industry. With the incredible number of publishers out there who are ready and willing to make your dreams come true (or take advantage of you), what can you do to help prevent your next contract from becoming a nightmare? …

A Rose By Any Other Name Might Get You Sued – A Brief Discussion of Titles By Neil Wilkinson

The title of the novel and movie Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, refers to the temperature at which book paper burns. Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore’s new movie, is a criticism of George W. Bush and his handling of events on and after September 11, 2001. The former is about a society that seeks out and burns all books, forcing its people to memorize and become one book or another. The latter, equally political in its own way though maybe more pointedly so, shares a portion of the title, and is to all but the most obtuse observer, a rather transparent attempt to play, for commercial gain, on the recognition generated by the former.…

Finding Work in Your Own Backyard By Debbie Swanson

Local clients are a home-based writer's dream. They are easy to stay in touch with, and are likely to share your name with other local companies - resulting in a network of accessible clients. Here are five easy ways to tap into the market just outside your door. …

Libraries: A Neglected Market By Rickey E. Pittman

There are approximately 120,000 libraries of various types in the United States. These libraries employ nearly 140,000 librarians. Libraries and librarians play a significant and influential role in our society. More significantly, authors need to know that libraries spend billions each year purchasing books. Why shouldn't your book be one of these? …

Travelling and Creating By Victor Paul Borg

Travelling and Creating By Victor Paul Borg

Three years ago, in London, I was feeling stuck. I had just finished a guidebook, and increasingly wanted to write about travel, but how could I write about travel if I couldn’t afford to travel? I wasn’t making enough money (from writing and temping) to keep my house, travel on research trips, return to base and write stories; I needed all my income just to survive. I became despondent; I stopped going out and started living the life of a frugal recluse. Over six months, I managed to save a few grand, and that gave me enough money to extricate myself from London. But where would I go? A friend was planning a trip to India, so I decided to join her. We got a flight ticket, London to India to Thailand to Australia. I bought a laptop; with the money left-over I calculated I could spend six months in Asia, and then, when I got to Australia, wouldn’t I be able to find some kind of menial employment? …

Copyright Confusion? By Neil Wilkinson

What I am writing at this moment is protected by copyright. As soon as my individual expression is fixed in a tangible medium, I can do any of the following things with it: reproduce it in copies, make derivative works of it, distribute the work in copies, perform the work, display the work, or broadcast the work. This "bundle of rights" extends to the holder of the copyright securing nearly complete control over the work. Notice that I referred to the holder of the copyright and not the author of the work, who may be one in the same, but not necessarily. Another of the rights enjoyed by an author of any type of work is the right to transfer it to another. …

What Do You Have to Do to Get a Break In This Town? (or How to Sell Your Screenplay) By David William Cabrera

The first "moving pictures" began to entertain audiences around the world almost 120 years ago. These silent films generally had ex-vaudevillians, called scenarists, come up with humorous situations for actors to perform in front of the camera. All of that changed when, in 1927, singer Al Jolson proclaimed the immortal words in the first full-length talking picture, The Jazz Singer: "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet." This was actually an ad-lib by Jolson, promoting his 1919 hit song You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet. At that moment, directors and film studios realized that if they expected actors to speak, they'd better hire professional writers to put words in their mouths. Suddenly actors needed something to say, and Hollywood recruited some of the nation's best journalists and writers, including the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner, who earned as much as $1500 a week, at a time when the average salary in this country was forty dollars a month and you could get a steak dinner for 10 cents. …

Teenage Baseball Fan Becomes Adult Self-Publisher By Beth Easley

When the Pirates won the World Series in 1972, every kid within a 60-mile radius was probably a fan. But Spalding was so devoted that he put together a 250-page book about the Pirates from 1971-1975. The book was a compilation of write-ups of each game, including player information and game highlights. He contacted some of the local sportscasters, including "Wild" Bill Curry of KDKA, noted for his southern drawl and loud suits. Spalding asked him and others about publishing. "It was kind of a real adventure, calling around and discovering the sports publishing business," he says. …

A Green Pasture By Jacquie McTaggart

In October 2000, I decided to leave my rewarding and successful forty-two year teaching career at the end of the school year. Like most, I looked forward to traveling, seeing more of my grandkids, and sleeping in late. However, those opportunities were not paramount in my decision-making process. My primary reason for wanting to leave the classroom at age 62 was a desire to go out while I was still on top of my game. I wanted to be remembered as effective, energetic, inspiring, and fun. I did not want to end my career as a crotchety old biddy that fell asleep at her desk during sharing time and waddled to her car at 4:00 in order to "rest up" for another day. It had been a glorious ride, but it was time to dismount and move on. …

Only List Your Book With Established POD and E-Publishers! By Mary Jekielek Insprucker

While not all e-publishing experiences are bad, mine was one of unpaid royalties, broken promises of POD's, unanswered messages, royalty percentage changes on bargain sales, failures in promotion, and a finale that included the company going out of business without any formal notice to writers. (I only found out my book was no longer available when I checked my account.) …

Emergencies Happen to Writers, Too By C. Hope Clark

Writers and authors seem to fall in an all or nothing category financially. Either we're limping along between checks, or we're basking in a new contract and royalty advance. Even those with advances often backslide when the money's gone and the book is still at the printer. But rich or poor, famous or obscure, writers live a roller coaster existence in their choice to pen words for a living. And catastrophe affects us all. …

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