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The Beginner’s Guide to Freelance Writing

The Big Idea

Okay. So youve figured out that you want to write for magazines, papers, and e-zines. Unfortunately, so have about eight gazillion other people on this world. You need to stick out in the audience. You must sparkle. How can you do so? Straightforward. Everything begins with The Big Thought. The first secret you must learn in this business is that you have to write the article to find work. In reality, only bright green novices try to write the entire thing. What you do want, however, is the IDEA for the fantastic story. You may use this fantastic idea to convince editors to pay you exorbitant amounts of money via a proposal letter (called a query letter. However, youll know about that in a moment ).

So, where are you going to find this Big Idea? Well, youve discovered that adage write what you know. Thats an excellent mantra. You dont have to adhere to what you understand for the focus of your story, but tap to discover the foundation. This is the way you are going to get a specialist. Experts are in demand. Individuals with tales arent. Your tales are throw . Example: lets say your hobbies and interests include travel, watching talk shows, and fishing. Great! You’re a possible expert in these regions. Jot down these things. Now comes the interesting part.

The greatest mistake you can make in pitching your story is being overly general. Never, ever send a letter to the editor. Not a post about fishing. This vagueness isn’t suitable for writing. Generally, you’ll be expected to write between 800 and 2000 words in your subject. You couldnt tell us . What you can do will give us a comparison. Or the advantages and disadvantages of joining a fishing club. Whether itll be a fantastic fishing day or the moon can let you know.

Heres your mission. Get out your laptop. (In case you dont have one, stop reading and get you. Right now.) On the very first page, write down a list of all and any topics that interest you. Its ok to be general . Want a few tips to get you started?

Consider your day. Dont overlook whatever else. What should you do in the minute you wake up? You turn off your alarm clock. (A post about alarm clocks interrupting valuable sleep phases! Or waking up versus waking up to that annoying beeping sound to music. Or the best number of occasions to press the snooze button) You brush your teeth. (Post: What all those touted ingredientsfluoride, peroxide, baking sodareally do to your teeth) You take a shower. Maybe with your significant other. Lucky you. (Romantic showers for 2.)

Moving on. You head to work. This is the area of experience. Lets say youre a secretary. How ergonomic office equipment can save you from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, an achy back, and a stiff neck. When hes a idiot, to prevent crying at your boss. Five couples (or even ex-couples) share their knowledge about dating at work. Consider what cover story could tempt you to pay three dollars for a magazine. You dont need to possess the knowledge to really write the content yet. You have to understand you can find this info.

You are home. What happens? Do you’ve got children? Great! Plenty of article ideas. You can write about childcare agencies, potty training, decoding teenage slang, teaching table manners youre getting the idea now, right? Run with it!

Write a minumum of one page of general subjects that interest you, then weed out the very fascinating ones. Narrow it down to even four or three. Write those four or three themes in addition to brand-new pages. Fill up those pages using article angles. Just compose. Dont edit your self. Dont judge. Simply write whatever pops into your mind. If you want inspiration, play with it. Set a timer for ten minutes. See how many ideas you’ll be able to write down before the timer sounds.

Remember that there are markets for virtually any topic. Dont limit yourself to the headlines youd. Between newspapers, consumer magazines, literary books, e-zines, tabloids, trade publications, and much more, youre bound to get an proper book for the Big Idea.

You wish to find out more? Continue reading!

Assessing the Markets

Youll need a few definitions:

Consumer Magazines: These typically pay the best. These are your physicians office, or even the kinds of magazines you may see on your airplane seat pocket, in a grocery shop line, convenience shop. Kinds of customer mags: mens, womens, particular attention, inflight, teenagers, school/career, travel, wellness, ethnic/minority, political, entertainment, romance, religious, etc.. Here is into.

Literary Magazines: All these dont cover much, if at all. What they lack of moolah, they compensate for in prestige. If youre seeking to jump-start your career your very best chance at fame might come in the kind of these tiny books. Their flow is low and regional. They seek out essays prose, poetry, and book reviews. Publishers will be amazed if you succeed in placing your work in a few of the more notable journals (Cimarron Review, Ploughshares, and Story, by way of instance ).

Trade Journals: Pay varies greatly. Any book that concentrates on a falls into this class. That is where your expertise can glow. There are trade journals for nearly every line of work, from art dealers to truck drivers. Generally, your eloquence that is written isn’t as important as knowledge that is timely and your research of all these books.

E-Zines: Pay varies greatly. In other words, e-zines are magazines online. The only difference is that posts for e-zines can run. (No printing expenses, so distance isnt as significant a problem for e-zine editors.) Many e-zines dont cover (except by way of a byline) but this trend is shifting. The most well-known websites (Lifetimetv.com and Wired, by way of instance ) pay quite nicely. Topics stretch as broad.

Now that you understand, know how to get them!

You will find a lot of approaches to find. In the event that you paid attention, you may see that this website is searching for writers! Finding places to submit your job is simple if you know where to look.

To begin with, the instrument at a toolbox that is freelancers is The Writers Market. Available this is 1,000 book publishers, an yearly compilation of over 2,000 magazines, and even markets such as syndicates, script writing, and greeting cards.

The tools are online. Lucky you! Theyre free. Total Dollar is a full of advertising tips, competition listings, and market guidelines. Freelancing4Money lays a jam-packed e-zine full of freelance opportunities. Writer’s Digest has a great, searchable database of markets. Writing For Dollars includes a searchable database on the site, and a newsletter with market guidelines. Every week, and Writers Weekly lists requires writers and promote guidelines.

You youre planning to produce a lot of listings, and may run a search for authors on any search engine. Consider when possible; include specifying. (Example: paying markets, love, teen magazines.)

Your next assignment is this: pick out your idea and go back to a notebook. That will be known as your Big Idea. Decide on the markets that best match your thought. Choose several. Learn whether you’re able to find a sample copy. (Writers often can, if you specify which you want to question them later on.) Writers recommendations. Its bad form understand nothing about, or read. Do your best to read. Should you prefer to not go researching check your library for copies.

Got it today? You have your thought, and youve discovered areas to distribute it? Great! Then you have to learn proper protocol for submitting and writing the Killer Query.

The Killer Query

The letter’s duty is to entice an editor to sayHey! Id be interested in learning more. You dont need to spill all your secrets and study. You would like to tease and tantalize. Now that youve got your amazing Big Thought, your task is to float (or enlarge ) that notion to two to 3 paragraphs.

To illustrate the elements of a killer question, here is a good example of just one of mine (using false contact infosorry! ) ) That landed me the assignment:

Jenna Glatzer

(Always use appropriate formal letter format)

123 My Address

My City, State, Zip Code


Mr. Joe Shmoe

(Be Sure to get a title of the Proper section College Life 101

editor. Never address a letter to admissions or editor.)

123 Their Speech

Their City, State, Zip Code

2003, todays Date

Dear Mr. Shmoe:

(Colons are used in formal letters. Commas are used in friendly letters)

Think expense accounts, company cars, and a spacious office with bay windows. Who would you imagine running a company this powerful?

(Start the letter with a zinger that catches the heart of your planned article/story. Raise a question which will get the reader to believe, or provide a visual picture something which will cause him/her wish to read and learn what youre referring to.)

Think again. This business was the brainchild of three Boston University sophomores whose ambitions led them before they had diplomas.

(The remainder of the first paragraph must give a succinct description of the focus of your proposed article. Don’t forget to tell its youre that are proper to the book querying. In cases like this, I had been targeting a school magazine, so I made sure to highlight the significance of their subject matter early in the correspondence )

Pablo Mondal, Richard Skelton, and charles Strader run an Internet Service Provider, Web One. The three moved into an apartment. Opportunity knocked when Strader, who worked on the computer centre, took a telephone call from a hair salon’s owner. She sought help designing a site; Web One has been born, and Strader volunteered.

(Again, concisely, get a bit deeper into the material of this report. What’s unique about your story? In cases like this, I needed to highlight that these men were college friends who started a thriving business by branching out from their humble start.)

Working closely to construct is Mondals perk. Skelton agrees. We believe that were in this together, and have great trust in each other.

(Quotes arent essential in a question, however its nice to give something special to demonstrate you have done some research in your topic, and you have access to resources that will allow you to write the content well. I wished to demonstrate I had already talked to those guysthey chance to be friends of mineand they would be upbeat and individuals to interview. You can achieve the exact same effect by adding a couple of quirky facts or poll outcomes youve learned about your subject.)

Considering that their only capital was a loan and a pc from Straders dad, the men feel very profitable. Weren’t millionaires, but we followed them, and have aims, ” says Skelton. I believe achievement. With no definition Ones roster of over 50 clients attests to their hard work and ability.

(Appearance, editor. These men are up-and-comers that are large! Notice I said Fortune 500 businesses. This allows the editor know these college men arent potatoes. It ties up the opening paragraph, which promised a post about men who have business car, cost accounts, and a spacious office. The editor has a reason to think that these guys really are that effective.)

I suggest a 1,000 word profile to your Pupils At Work section.

(Shows Ive researched their diary. I know which section this should match, and Ive read their instructions to ascertain an suitable word count.)

I’m a freelance writer, and my works have been featured in such books as 201 Magazine

(Notice I cite the most important magazines first. Anything youve had printed that could relate to this content, tone, or viewer of the planned publication goes here )

Bliss! , Working Girls, and Video Librarian. Clips are all enclosed.

(If youve never had anything dont distress. Shut it up. Do NOT tell anybody, Im a Though Ive never been printed yet. Less is more. They might not even think you didnt mention your credits if you keep silent. Do not get into a diatribe describing the way you edited your high school newspaper. Only a list of composing history that is relevant. See below for information about clips)

I may submit the completed article within two weeks, and can provide documentation and interview notes for.

(Optional. Some individuals like to indicate a time period, others allow the editor do it. Generally, the editor will let you know if the report is due. Its a wonderful touch. Mine was mostly determined by interviews, but you might want to incorporate the titles of journals/experts you intend to quote or use for advice )

I anticipate your reply.

(Obligatory considerate ending. Utilize. No pleading. I promise to write a realllly great post, Should you dare kind! Please let me! , you may incur my wrath. I’ll hunt you down and shout. A lot. Only a simple, dignified finish asking a reply.)

Best Wishes,

Jenna Glatzer

(Oh. Substitute your name and signature finish that is favored. If you don’t really feel like sending me your paycheck, in which case, you can don’t hesitate to use my title. Grin.)

In the end, clips! You need a few good writing samples them, although if youve had some thing publishedor in the event that you havent. These samples are called clips, and they’re utilized to demonstrate the editor that you’re a smart, insightful, funny, smart , author. Your articles right from the novel. Only 2-3 clips.

When you’re sending inquiries by email, you can paste the text from your clips to the body of this email (not as a attachment!) , or you could direct the editor to one or two website URLs where your posts can be viewed by her.

Interviews and Profiles

I understand, you’re feeling strange about this one? Uncomfortable calling someone or visiting a business to ask an expert to take time.

Well, buck up, little camper, since professionals like to get interviewed. They leap at the opportunity. All these are the motives to Remember when you feel ridiculous and small for asking:

It shows you respect their view and/or occupation.

It gives opportunities for promotion of their enterprise to them.

It gives them the opportunity to brag that they’re quoted at a magazine.

It gives them something to frame and show customers.

Finally, someone taking an interest in their job and is recognizing their brilliance.

Theyre wannabe authors and they’ll be equally happy to pick at your brain.

Before you approach pros:

Be certain that you have your queries. What do you want to understand from this individual? What could this man tell you that nobody else can? Avoid yes or no questions. Ask questions which could cause extended responses chock full of good quotes. Have a synopsis of your article the way they could supplement your own knowledge and which means you’re able to inform.

The Way to approach experts:

Get on the telephone. Have your thought condensed which means that you can explain to whomever answers the telephone.

Hello. My name is Jenna, and so are writing a post about the rise in vegetarianism among young girls in Nevada In Nevada Magazine. I understand Dr. Spuds is a well-respected nutritionist, and so are hoping she’d be ready to answer some questions on this topic.

The secretary Hold, will say, and cause you to listen to elevator musak while she summons the boss. Or shell take off your number and possess Dr. Spuds telephone you back. Or it’s going to be Dr. Spuds herself, and casing say, what can you wish to understand?

Your choices now are (1) Ask questions on the phone, right then and there. Ensure before beginning, that you check to ensure that your expert isn’t pressed for time. (2) Establish a phone date to run the meeting. (3) Ask if you can meet in person. This can be necessaryif. In case the man or woman has been used only to add some quotes, then you dont need to meet in person, since its unlikely youll ever have to compose, Dr. Spuds wrinkled her forehead and stared into her pea soup since she explained that young girls are getting more health-conscious. (4) Trade email addresses and send over a list of queries. This strategy isnt the best, since it doesnt permit you to respond to, and build out of, information you get in replies to queries. But you need to conduct a lengthy interview, and if the book won’t reimburse you for long distance telephone calls exchanges are okay. Simply make! You specify a date for the responses. Be reasonabletry a week to answer your queries, to provide the expert.

The Revenue

Alright, you sent out your killer and you also have a telephone call with all all the news! You, congratulations! Proceed and do a little dance of joy, then crash back to reality with your new mantra: GET IT IN WRITING. Guarantee that the editor informs you that there is a contract coming in the not too distant future.

If the editor fails to say, you most likely have an notion but make sure you cover this earth in that first phone call, In case youve researched your market. Items that are important to remember:

On Novel vs. On Acceptance

You have to be aware of how much youll be compensated, but in addition, when youll be compensated. Niches wish to cover you. This is sometimes a issue, because many journals and magazines have long lead times. (Translation: a long time between when they assign you that the guide and if it actually ends up in print.) It doesnt get printed until November, and Should you write a post in January, you wont notice a test. Would you wish to wait for to get compensated back? Would you wait that long? This is. Request payment on approval. It Provides you a little leverage to work with if this is denied

Kill Fees

For any reason, an editor decides not to publish your essay, and, if you have the assignment, you are able to negotiate to get a kill fee. This is a proportion of the selling price. You might find a kill fee if you’re offered $200 to compose an guide. Posts are killed all of the time by its a well-known fact that books. Some editors confess to assigning 10-20. They do this so that they could see how things fit when the design is complete, so that they could pick and choose in the products. Some posts will be pushed back to other issues, and some will only be trashed.


We enjoy them. These are the little blurbs that follow an guide, giving biographical information about the author, and at times an email address or contact number. If possible ask for one.

Sidebars and Photos

These are columns or the small factoids that rest beside the post. By way of instance, in a post about exercise, youll often see a small chart on the side that tells exactly how many calories are burned by doing specific exercises (riding a bike, climbing a mountain, etc.). You can get additional pay, if you are able to suggest sidebars. Same goes for photographs. Provide photos for a couple of bucks if youve got a camera and a fantastic eye.

On Spec or Not To Spec

As a novice writer, youll get asked to write an article. It follows that youll need to write the post and submit it without any guarantee of payment, or a contract. Since no other area functions this way, its a bone of contention among writers. Its not do the task, if I feel like paying you, Ill determine. In this industry. Harrumph.

Nevertheless, I suggest that you take assignments . You shouldnt have to get this done, however so as to develop your resume and your clips, After youre set, you have to get printed. Go ahead and submit on spec, and go right ahead and perform a few bits for the adventure.

Before submitting anything, however, be certain to understand. How much are you going to get paid? What rights do they purchase?

A number of the markets have embraced the practice of asking bits. They do so because they could eliminate it. Since there are borrow, and steal for the opportunity. Consequently, if you would like to compete, take this and sometimes youll need to suck it up. Youll be a candidate for an assignment next time When the book accepts one of the bits.

Rights to Write

There Are Lots of Types of rights a publication may purchase:

First North American RightsThe magazine or newspaper has the right to print this bit. All rights belong to this author.

Publication buys the nonexclusive right to publish the piece. The author can sell the identical article to other publications simultaneously.

Second Serial Rights (or Reprint Rights)Additionally nonexclusive. Gives that the right to reprint to the book.

Digital RightsCovers CD-ROMs, e-zines, site content, games, etc.. Get in writing that digital rights are given — First Electronic Rights, archiving rights, etc.. Most publications ask for the right to record “indefinitely. ” You may attempt to negotiate for a set duration (i.e., archiving rights for six weeks ).

All RightsPretty self explanatory. You will never be able to sell this item to anyone. Try to steer clear of this one. Most publications ask for First Amendment.

Rights — The book assigned it to you and has produced the idea, and they’ll get it, lock, stock, and barrel. They have the copyright and don’t need to give credit to you. It might be sliced, diced, repackaged, re-sold, etc., and you also won’t have some claim to it beyond what you were initially paid.

TV/Motion Picture RightsAlso self-explanatory. Exclusive.

Recycling Your Thoughts

Here can be the bread and butter of freelance writing. Its referred to as re-slanting. Dont waste it by only using it After youve got the Thought. Utilize the information youve and develop ideas that are off-shoot. Slant it to appeal to different niches.

Youre afraid due to rights’ matter which we just talked about? (No pun intended.) Well, you don’t have anything to fear, provided the article is different in content and intended audience. It’s deemed poor form to attempt and market a variant, if youve was able to offer your article into a significant magazine.

If youre dealing with technical regional, or publications, there ought to be little overlap of audience. An editor from Alabama Aristocrats would never know whether you offered Guitarists a variant of your slice Today. They wouldn’t care if they did know.

It’s normal and accepted practice, for the very simple reason it is difficult to generate a living. Which would you select In case you’ve got the choice between earning $100 for selling your bit to a book, or earning $1000 by selling versions to eight different books?

An guide is easy, because youve. Scrounge up a couple of new quotes, and utilize the information you left from this article. Focus it on the market that is sought after that is new.

By way of instance, I could sell an article about the health benefits of meditation. The exact post, and A couple of alterations becomes Religions Encouraging Meditation for my own papers Society pages. It becomes Meditation Makes You Smarter for the school marketplace. Meditate Your Stress Away to get a womans magazine that is functioning. And I didnt even mention those new age/holistic books. What a field !

With questions introduced to your specialists, youve got a completely article. And, look! Youre getting an expert yourself. This is how you start to seek out your few topics that you feel comfortable writing about. Ah those journalists will come with their queries to YOU.

“The Extras”

After youve turned into a few missions, and believe that youve actually stumbled on this as a possible career (or only a part-time income-booster), youll want to consider the little extras.

A great touch: get yourself some letterhead. Splurge a bit with your third or second paycheck and purchase professionally. Presentation does count when submitting your correspondence. Avoid clip art of quill pens and inkwells.

Additionally, a statement. You always need to include an invoice. The person is not the individual responsible for sending you a paycheck. You may be assured that the billing department will have a listing of exactly what conditions were agreed upon, and if they’re supposed to cover you by adding a statement.

Receipts: Hold your stamp receipts along with your supplies. If writing is your profession, then those may be taxation write-offs. As soon as you’re an established author if you’re in a position to negotiate it, editors will reimburse you for any expenses that you incur while on mission. Submit your telephone bill (using all the reimbursable call/s circled), your book receipts, your travel expense receipts, etc. as well as your bill. Ensure these terms are given on your contract.

Youre ready? Great! Get out there and receive ’em, slugger. Fantastic luck! Everything there is to know about series single lid crossover tool can be found at uwstoolbox.net/guides/best-models-small-truck-toolbox/.