Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Pitch, Pitch, PITCH!

In Step-by-Step on November 23, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Phase 2, Step 2-

In the last installment of my Step-by-Step series I discussed getting your feet wet by blogging, contributing to some smaller websites, or writing for residual income sites like EHow and Infobarrel.

In this next step we’re assuming that you’ve gotten some good practice for formal writing, you’re feeling confident, and you’re read for the big leagues…not quite the big leagues but close enough for the moment.

Now get out there and show ’em how its done!

By this point you should already have some publications in mind (if not hop over and read this post).  For even more on where to go hunting for your first clip you can read a previous post on promising opportunities for beginners.

Once you have your sites set on a publication it’s time to consider which route to take – the “complete manuscript route” or the “query route”.  Both can be challenging.  For beginners it may seem less daunting to go the “complete manuscript route”; since a query package calls for clips that you may not have.

In the case of sending out a complete manuscript you have to be sure that you’ve completed these steps:

  • Set your sights on a publication who’s subject mater you feel comfortable tackling.
  • Study at least 3 back issues for their tone, and to avoid duplicating a recently run topic.
  • Pick an idea that fits their intended audience.
  • Review the publications writer’s guidelines and editorial calendar, if they have them.
  • Write an accurate, engaging, and error free manuscript that fits the publication – in terms on word count, tone, sidebars. etc.
  • Finally, you must write a well executed cover letter (for more on the cover letter check back soon).

A query package is similar to the cover letter, except a cover letter is written to accompany a complete manuscript and a query is written before to actual article is written, describing tot he editor in question an idea that you have.  If you don’t have any clips can you still send in a query?  Of course!  there’s no rule otherwise.  But, it may be easier to sell something you’ve already written as opposed to an idea, without some practice selling yourself and your writing first.

It’s easy to procrastinate and get hung up on this step, but no writing gets into print without first pitching.  My suggestion?  Write a couple queries and cover letters for yourself first, with no intention of sending them out, and give yourself a deadline.  Ask a friend or family member to hold you to that deadline.  Maybe even hand over that $50 you were going to spend on a handbag until you finish it.  Once you have it written without bloodshed it’ll be easier to write the next one (you may have to implement the same $50 dollar routine to get you moving on mailing out the real cover letter).

Go get ’em tiger!

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.