Posts Tagged ‘clips’

Phase 1 Step 3

In Step-by-Step on October 16, 2009 at 11:06 pm

This is the third installment of my “Step-by-Step” series.  I hope you’re all enjoying it.  A quick recap: phase one is the research phase.  Step 1 was researching the freelancing industry to figure out if it’s a good fit for you.  Step 2 was examining your interests to figure out what you would write.

Step 3 is figuring out where your writing will go.

Most books on freelancing touch on this topic, since there would be no writing career without this step.  A book I make reference to very frequently, The Writer Mama by Christina Katz, suggests examining what you read both as a means of generating ideas of what to write and place you might possibly submit some of your material.  This is just to give you an idea – if you love reading Entertainment Weekly perhaps you should set your sites on an entertainment publication, and so on.  (Note: If you’re still in the beginning stages of your career it’s a bit early to submit to national publications, they usually publish only established writers)

Most resources for beginning writers recommend not being afraid to work for free to get your first clips.  Try local businesses and organizations, they may have a newsletter you can write on.  In this case, just call.  The worst they can do is say no.  That first call is the hardest, I promise.  After that you get more and more comfortable calling offices and making inquiries.

Free local papers are also a good place to go fishing for assignments.  There’s usually a contact number in the front of the paper.  Call, introduce yourself, and ask if they accept submissions from freelance writers.  If so who should you submit to?  Do they prefer snail mail or e-mail?  Do they accept full manuscripts or do they prefer a formal query at first?  And last but not least – do they have an editorial calendar and writers’ guidelines and where can you find them?  (Note: Editorial calendars outline the theme for each month’s issue that year.  Writers’ guidelines specify anything and everything editors want you to know before submitting anything to them.  Not all publications will have these things, but it’s worth it to ask.  You’d have a huge advantage if they do offer these materials.)   

For finding places that may accept your work I’d suggest 3 things: the internet of course and a good old-fashioned Google search (using the example above you’d type “entertainment publications”), The Writer’s Market, and (you can sign up for newsletters that have some great opportunities).   

If you’re reading this and looking for a place to submit your work I produce a web zine called Balancing Act and welcome submissions from new writers!

I would love to know how helpful you found this post!  If you learned anything new or simply want to share your own search for freelance success, I’d love to hear from you!

Long time no blog….

In Getting started on October 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm

  I hadn’t even realized that it had been so long since my last blog post – 13 days, that’s almost 2 weeks.  I guess it’s about time that I gave my valued readers an update!

  So where have I been all this time?  Working.  Of course it goes without saying that the little one has been keeping me on my toes.  And to make matters worse I spent a couple days sick in bed.  Outside of that – I conducted an interview with Suzanne Reisman, both online & in person.  I finished my book review on Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers by Brigitte Thompson; which is a very big deal for me because that was one of the tasks on my list.  And registration for the free online class I’m offering is now closed, I’m excited to see how things go.

  Needless to say, I’m very proud of myself.  What I wanted to share with you folks are the findings from my interview with Ms. Reisman. 

  If any of you reading this are working on a big article and thinking about conducting interviews, plan on it taking a little longer than you’re expecting.  Unless you know the people you plan to interview personally it may take awhile (I’ll expand on this soon). 

  I got in touch with Suzanne thorugh Blogher.  She’s a contributing editor and has an unmistakable presence on the site, so finding her profile page was easy.  She has her writing experience right there on her profile.  She’s written for some publications that I’m familiar with, so I figured she’d be a good person to interview for an article I’m working on.  After sending her a message asking if she’d be willing to do the interview in the first place, I sent her my questions and set something up to meet in person to discuss any follow up questions I had and pick her brain about her professional experience.

  For beginning writers looking to accumulate clips: you may want to consider Metro, a free daily publication based in NYC.  They have a section called “Voices”, in which they run some pieces written by freelance writers. 

  Some other helpful tidbits Suzanne shared with me…I’m working on a book and she has a friend who also wrote a book on similar subject matter, she suggested I try proposing the book to the same publishing house.  How you can use this information and take it one step further: if you’ve read a book on nutrition during pregnancy and you’re thinking of writing a book on fitness during pregnancy, see if the auhor has a web page or an e-mail address, muster up the courage and e-mail them.  Be gracious and unassuming – asking if they be willing to answer some questions about the publishing house they worked with for you, from an insider’s point of view, because you’re thinking of proposing a book to them.  In my case it helps that we have a mutual contact, but I’ve contacted plenty of people with no previous connection (Suzanne was one of them).  Keep in mind that they may say no, and that they may not respond to you at all.  That’s okay – nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  Cosider writing for lots of differen residual income sites (such as e-how, info barrel, etc).  You don’t have to write for all of them like a mad person.  Just give different sites a try – then you’ll know which ones you like and which ones you don’t.

  Lastly, if there’s something you’re truly interested in consider proposing a syndicated column to a publication.  If you’re just getting started as a freelancer consider small publications first.  Getting a syndicated column is not easy, but it’s worth a try.