I am a part time small business owner and a part time freelance writer. If I had to choose between the two, I’d choose the later, but that’s not quite an option. Yet. I’ve been seriously putting my ink scratches to paper for almost a year now and have been amazed at my own success. My aim was supplementary income, but being paid to write can be addictive and enormously satisfying.
It started with a few pats on the back for a simple Christmas story. It continued with tentative searches for other writers on the Internet. It blossomed with a few acceptances from online publications and it’s led to my first children’s picture book, which was published in e-book form in 2002 and will be in print form this year. Whereas a year ago I was crawling, now I’m nearly running.
Please don’t underestimate the power of the Internet to influence your writing income. The opportunities are un-paralleled in our time. I write primarily for children but, through friends I’ve met online, I’ve found markets I had no idea existed. And they pay. There are guidelines galore and you’d be amazed at how you can stretch yourself to fit them. The very first sale I made was to an online magazine and that website had a direct link to the publisher of my children’s book.
The best advice I can possibly give you is that you must be versatile. I have sold an essay, several poems, crafts, a recipe, an emergent reader picture book, a rhyming picture book, five articles to an online women’s magazine and several non-fiction children’s articles over the course of the last year. I’ve even written several writers’ tips articles for the Institute Of Children’s Literature. And some of those articles have sold as reprints.
The whole process starts with you and your interests. Use a good search engine. Plug in some data on say…fly fishing. Visit the websites that pop up and see what’s there. Very often in the ‘contact us’ section you’ll find posted guidelines for submissions. Read them. You may have something of great interest to tell the readers of that magazine or website!
Since I’m part owner in a small business, I can’t devote my entire day to writing. But I’ve set myself a goal of $7,000 for supplementary income this year. And who knows? Three or four years from now this may be all that I do. I hope so.
At the writing of this story, I have twenty-five various submissions circulating. I’ve discovered later, rather than sooner, in life that it pays to step out and make the attempt. Ink scratches on paper are fun…and lucrative. Surprise yourself. Try it.
Susan and her husband run a small computer store in upstate New York. Her first picture book, Bandy Bandana was published in August of 2002. The print version will be available in 2003. Enjoy her website at www.susansundwall.com