Little did I know that the first freelance assignment I submitted more than 20 years ago would be the start of an exciting and rewarding adventure It would eventually lead me down a new career path and take me to places I’d only read about and dreamed of someday visiting.
My journey began when I timidly approached an editor of a major dog publication following a talk she had offered at a local kennel club. After a brief discussion, the very encouraging editor handed me a business card and told me to call her the following week (these were the days before e-mail).
A few days later, I had an assignment with a prestigious dog magazine and I worked diligently to produce a well-researched, informative and entertaining feature on Junior Showmanship that highlighted the history of young handlers’ involvement in the sport of purebred dogs.
What surprised me the most was that, once the article was published, the editor asked me to submit a few additional queries, which led to other assignments.
Armed with a portfolio, I approached the features editor of a local newspaper with a proposal to write a weekly pet column. He agreed to a six-week summer run, which has continued for 20 years, although I moved to a larger regional paper more than nine years ago.
Soon, I was sought by other local publications, and successfully sought assignments with national publications, not only writing about pets, but also about travel, food, education and other topics.
The next step on my exciting journey was landing a job as a reporter at a Catholic newspaper, where I eventually rose through the ranks to become assistant editor, a rewarding position that I held for a few years before I retired several months ago to begin a new chapter in my life. While I was working at the newspaper, I had the great privilege of being selected to travel to Jordan as part of group of journalists from religious publications, which proved to be an experience I will always treasure.
As I continue to explore new horizons, I recently published my first book through BookLocker, based on my newspaper columns and other writings, about the great gift that pets are to our lives and the unconditional love that they abundantly offer every day.
I still freelance for local publications, and have started on a second, entirely different book as I continue my fascinating journey as a writer.
Following are five tips for beginners that I would like to share:
1. Never be afraid to approach an editor with an idea. You might be surprised at the response and where an acceptance might lead.
2. Learn all that you can learn about a variety of topics that interest you and while it’s great to be an expert on one subject, don’t be too narrow and always be open to new markets.
3. Explore and get to know what’s in your own backyard. Major events and local destinations make great features for local, regional and national travel publications.
4. Discover what’s happening at your local colleges, universities and trade schools. For example, I’ve been able to produce dozens of features about the culinary and pastry arts just by keeping a pulse on a local culinary arts program at a community college.
5. Talk to everyone and be a good listener. Everyone has a unique story to tell and can teach someone a valuable lesson.
Unconditional Love: Pet Tales to Warm the Heart offers selected popular newspaper columns and other articles written by the author during his long career as a journalist.
After being stopped on the street or in the supermarket hundreds of times and asked to write a book, the author finally took the step to share a collection of heartwarming tales about special pets, service dogs and companion animals, as well as short features that provide practical advice about care and conditioning, safety and healthy.
There are also fascinating profiles that illustrate a breed’s origins and development, and share pertinent information about living with and caring for that particular canine breed.
Read more HERE.
Brian J. Lowney, a graduate of St. Anselm College, Manchester, N.H., has been writing about pets for two decades as a weekly newspaper columnist and is a freelance writer for numerous publications. He is the past president of the Wampanoag Kennel Club and an active AKC and 4-H judge.