Category Archives: advice

Digital Photography For The Writer

by Catherine L. Tully 

Finding new ways to make money in the writing game can be difficult, but with a little creativity and a fresh idea, you can add more than a couple of dollars to your work output. Being able to supply photographs for pieces you have written can endear you to an editor, make you extra cash and even has the possibly of turning into another side job for you down the line. Here are some basics to help get you started… Continue reading Digital Photography For The Writer

Five Ways to Diversify Your Writing Portfolio

In case you haven’t figured it out just by reading a few of these blog entries, I like reading Folio. Even as a freelancer, I find this magazine-centric site filled from top to bottom with useful and interesting content. Take Folio blogger Mark Newman’s recent entry, You Will Be Fired. Newman’s advice is aimed at people making careers in magazine publishing, but his excellent advice should also be required reading for anyone aspiring to make a go at freelancing full time. Newman compares the writer’s collection of published clips to a stock portfolio.

In the investment world, people who don’t diversify get killed. The same goes for freelance writers. Sure, you could spend a good deal of time writing nothing but articles about Creative Anachronism, how to make your own swords, and what to wear to the renaissance faire. You could also spend a lot of time sticking your thumb up your nose wondering why you only sell five to ten pieces per year.

Here are some ways you can branch out, flex your creative muscles, and try to pitch ideas to new markets you never even thought of touching before. Some of these ideas are certifiably nutty, and by design. The purpose is to get you thinking about your own work in ways you’re not used to:

5. Make a list of your topics of expertise. Now take each part of your list and find a secondary topic that is informed by your actual expertise. A good example–if you have a lot of experience writing about art, chances are you’ve got a lot of solid information about how artists go about promoting themselves. You can start writing pieces about PR and marketing using what you’ve learned from your art writing. The key is to play up the artist-as-relentless-self-marketer angle.  Apply this idea to every entry in your list. You’ll be shocked at what you learn about yourself.

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Are You Being Scammed? Warning Signs for Writers

Any freelancer in the game for longer than say, five seconds, has run into scams specifically designed to lure writers and those who want to be writers.  Some of these are direct rip-offs of your time or your work. Others aren’t deliberately out to hurt you but are run by people who are clueless about how the writing business works. Either way, it doesn’t really matter since the bottom line is wasted time, money and resources.

One example of a dubious publishing model is reported by Storycrafters, which ran complaints about a shady-sounding “get published” scheme at a website called Naturally I’d be willing to give both sides the benefit of  the doubt, but the publisher of ZootyandFlappers went on an ill-considered written rampage against “writers beware” site Preditors and Editors. Bad move, that.  The Bard springs to mind here, the lady doth protest too much.

I’ll try my best not to comment specifically on At publishing time, I don’t know whether it’s a scam site or not. I’d be a liar if I didn’t say it sounds dogdy, but I have reasons I’ll get to in a moment. For me the jury is out because I just don’t know enough, but I know when I smell a rat–and there is a definite rodent bouquet in the air over this particular controversy. With that in mind, here are my own personal warning signs that absolutely scream “STAY AWAY”.

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Five Ways To Use MySpace to Advance Your Writing

Bloggers use social networking sites like MySpace for self-promotion all the time. But how can a struggling freelance writer take advantage of the same type of strategies bloggers use? It’s easy. Here’s the breakdown in five easy steps:

1.  Cultivate lots of “friends”. The law of averages says the more MySpace friends you have, the higher the response rate will be when you post a link to your material or send a bulletin saying “Hey, look at this!” The extra eyeballs on your work means the greater likelihood that your article will get comments and feedback. The more activity on a given article, the better you look in the eyes of an editor who has to decide whether to use you again.

 2. Add “targeted” friends. Got somebody else in the biz you want to make friends with? Maybe an editor or a publication you want to get published has a MySpace site. Add them as friends and start up a casual “relationship” with them by sending the occasional message or posting a nice comment. This is standard MySpace behavior, but when it comes time to strike up a conversation with someone at that publication you won’t be such an unknown quantity at a medium-sized or smaller operation. The key here is to be a semi-regular MySpacer, posting and commenting without mentioning your own work–until you need to.

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