Joe gave a nice introduction to this “stepping stones” series in his previous post. When I first started, it was the age-old dilemma of getting jobs with no clips and not knowing how to get a clip in the first place. I just never mentioned the fact that I hadn’t been published before in my queries. BOOM. I Landed Boys’ Life.
It was the first query I ever sent out. This is not a normal situation, so I’ll talk a bit more about what else I did to get clips–and what I have heard suggested by other seasoned writers. The key is to get something in print that is really good; no matter how small the publication is. Write for your local paper. Check and see if there are any regional magazines in your area that you might be able to contribute to. Believe it or not–travel pieces about where you live could be a great way to get something in print. Continue reading Stepping Stones: Getting Clips 101
Our recent controversy over my views on Associated Content led Cath and I to the realization that we hadn’t really hit the topic of going from zero to 60, professionally speaking. How do you get to be a professional freelance writer from having nothing at all in your published clips bin?
This is not a topic we can address all at once, so we thought it would be good to begin a series on posts on the subject. After all, it’s not fair to tell people not to submit clips from content mills as published work without giving some actual, useful advice on how to get the right sort of material a good-paying publication will take seriously.
The lure of content mills is quick cash. They are very good at what they do in this regard, but the pay is–let’s be honest here–peanuts. I got plenty of angry comments from people regarding my Associated Content post, people saying (with a fair amount of indignation) “I do NOT dash off my posts in five minutes, thank you very much!”
Now here’s my question–why would you agonize for hours and days (as one poster said) over something that paid you a tiny little sum? In the early stages, it’s true that ALL writers must do this. But the most important thing a writer can do is to focus their efforts in such a way that you don’t STAY in the low paying bracket. Agonize over those early clips, yes. But don’t be content to live in the peanut gallery. You CAN move out of that twilight zone of writing if you play your cards right.
Over the next several weeks (months?) we are going to tell you exactly how to do it. Cath and I will start writing a series of posts under the Stepping Stones header to give new writers the benefit of our experience. How DID Catherine L. Tully go from having no published clips to getting a major publication credit with Boys’ Life in the first months of her writing career? How does a new writer start creating a portfolio that can land gigs writing material which appears on AOL, Verizon.com and Wal-Mart? We did it, and so can you. How did I go from having no clips to earning eight to nine thousand dollars a month on average as a freelancer?
You read that correctly.
Want to know how we do it? Stay tuned.