freelancerforhire

Posts Tagged ‘publications’

Opportunities Are Everywhere

In Getting started on November 17, 2009 at 6:02 am

The hardest part for many writers is getting started.  The first clip is usually the hardest one to obtain, after that each writing assignment should become less and less intimidating.  In the spirit of getting started, today I thought I’d share a couple places that beginning writers can showcase their talent.

Most writing books and websites I’ve come across suggest pitching your ideas to smaller local publications first – which is a phenomenal idea.  But where do you find these small local publications?  If they’re not terribly popular they may also be more difficult to find.

Tip #1:  Call or visit small organizations.  If you know of a local organization, stop by or give them a call.  Chances are they’d be open to having you write for their newsletter – or if they don’t have one they may even like for you to start one for them.  Approach these jobs with caution, you will have to do some research on newsletter formatting before promising to deliver a fabulous project.

Tip #2: Pick up free papers.  It’s very likely that your town or city is the home to at least a couple free publications.  When you’re out at the supermarket or walking around, instead of walking by those free papers, pick them up!  Peruse them, if the subject matter is something that you could write about, pitch to them.

Tip #3: Go back to high school.  For some of us that last statement may have cause dry heaves.  But for the beginning writer it’s worth considering.  Some high schools have a newsletter for their alumni, sponsors, or donors.  You can call and ask if there’s an alumni newsletter of anything of the kind and if they’re looking for writers.

Tip #4: Apply for Examiner.com.  Okay, this may sound like a cheesy plug, but it’s not.  It’s a good way to build your expertise and readership.  Not to mention, Examiner does pretty well on search engines.  I can’t say how selective their application process is, only that the application does take some time and planning.  Give it your best shot, pick a topic to examine that you feel comfortable with, and try not to over think it.  Work on your application for 2 weeks TOPS.

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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 FundsforWriters.com (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!