February 19, 2003
Success Part Two --- Reinventing myself with the Magic Formula By Angela Booth | printable version
Last April I had a surreal experience with a popular women's magazine I used to write for.
An editorial assistant emailed me: "Sorry about not getting back to you sooner about article X. We'd like to publish it. What are your rates?"
My eyes lit up. "Money. You beauty," I thought. I may have chortled aloud. Possibly I danced a jig around my crowded office.
Unseemly glee, you think. You're right. I remembered that the check hadn't cleared the bank and focused on the task at hand. Negotiation.
I hit the Reply button.
Then my fingertips stilled on the keyboard. Eh? What did she mean, what are my rates? They know what my rates are. My rates are exactly the same as they've been since 1995. Or 1992. They're what this publishing conglomerate pays. They're standard across all the magazines they own. They're going up, the editors promise. Next month. Next year. When hell freezes over.
What the heck. I typed happily, already deciding what I could buy with the money. Printer cartridges. Dog worming tablets. Maybe a new pair of jeans, even. "Your usual rates are fine. You paid me $X for the 800 word Christmas article."
So a week later the assistant emails me to say they're not publishing the piece. They can't afford my rates. Well praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. The rates aren't going up. They're going down.
That day I decided that I was out of the magazine writing business.
In the magazine writing business, I was a price taker. I decided to saddle up for the happy hunting ground of copywriting, and creating my own information products, where I will be a price maker.
This new period in my life is Writing Success, Part Two. Will I succeed in Writing Success, Part Two? You bet.
I have the formula. It works.
What worked for me in Writing Success, Part One
I've been writing successfully for 25 years. I've written romance novels, articles for magazines, business books, how-to technology books, online courses, copy for businesses, and much more.
There's a formula for breaking into any new writing sphere that's always worked for me.
Here it is:
1. Discover that I'm doing a lot of something: reading romances, reading computer manuals, reading about time management, losing weight... Realize that I know a lot, based on all that reading.
2. Decide I like whatever it is that I'm reading and exploring, and decide to write about it. (I started my copywriting career when I was running a dog training center and wrote my own ads. This led to writing marketing communications for other small businesses.)
3. Send out query letters or proposals. (Or a slew of direct mail letters, as in copywriting.)
4. Keep sending out the above until there's a response. (This can take months. I wrote romance partials for six months until Macdonald Futura asked me to develop a series of romances.)
This is the "getting to know you" period. Each rejection you receive is a bonus: the editors now know more about you and what you can do. Sooner or later, they'll give in and will give you an assignment. They know what you can do from all the queries/proposals you sent that didn't go anywhere.
5. Spit on your hands and get to work making a success of your new sphere of writing.
If you have one of those: "I've had enough and I'm not taking it anymore" moments in your current writing area --- try the Magic Formula. I swear it works.
Australian author and journalist Angela Booth is the editor and publisher of Creative Small Biz, a free weekly ezine for writers, designers, photographers, artists and other creatives. Creative Small Biz helps creatives to transform their talents into a flourishing business. After all, if you're not making money from your talent --- who is? Subscribe at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Creative_Small_Biz or visit: http://www.digital-e.biz