Monday, February 28, 2005

Promoting your own book

By Anika Logan

So you're a published author with a brand new book to promote but find yourself receiving little or no help from your publisher? I know the feeling. Relax, take a deep breath and don't despair writer- get busy instead!

Here are just a few inventive ways I have come up with to self promote and increase my chances (and your chances) of making sales.

1. Strike up conversations with new people wherever you go, it does not necessarily have to be in writing related settings. Waiting in line at the bank, waiting for the bus, restaurants, shopping malls, cultural or sporting events and the list goes on. Don't be afraid to tell people that you are a writer and have recently written a book. Carry copies of your book with you always and don't let golden opportunities to speak with others slip by. Make sure to enclose your business card with your books. You never know when you could get lucky and make contacts or a sale.

2. Don't forget the valuable opportunity that the Internet provides. Create a website and feature on it your book cover, a summary of your book, excerpts, some promotional blurbs from reviewers (or family and friends) and instructions as to how your book can be purchased (as an example, a printable order form, Paypal information or a link to the publisher. Another thing you can do is get the announcement about your book into as many writing newsletters that are on line as you can. For example, Every Writer, Sell Writing Online, and the Working Writers Newsletter have an announcements section where they feature new books, websites, ezines etc. Cyberspace is vast- take advantage of it!

3. Throw a fundraiser in your own honor (if no one else will do it for you). Invite everyone you know who supports your endeavors. Set the scene- put on some music, mix up some drinks, order pizzas (or make your own), bake up some mouth-watering goodies and have fun. It's party time! Play the gracious host/ hostess and have a hoot! Set up a table full of your books. If you are unable to sell your own books (due to your contract) then put out a donations bucket. This is sure to drum up some interest in your work and bring you in some cash! And by all means if some of your guests want you to read from your book, oblige them. This is your night to shine after all!

4. This one may sound kind of strange but it has been known to work. Don't overlook your own yard sales. Next time you decide to have one set up a display of your books. They will definitely be a conversation piece that could lead to who knows what? Contacts, sales, readings, book signings, or more work.

5. While you are at it, don't forget about the opportunities that exist at your workplace. Ask your boss if it would be possible for you to set up a tasteful display in the office. Co- workers, clients and/or customers are always looking for reading material for their lunch breaks or while they wait. This angle could lead to many more sales. And remember word of mouth counts for a great deal!

6. Family members, close friends, acquaintances, neighbors, friends of friends- pitch your book to them all. Talk about your book at family reunions, class reunions, weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, get -togethers, you get the idea. Who better to support and encourage your hard work and effort than those who know and love you the best?

7. Post your business card and small posters you have made about your book on every bulletin board you can find. If it has a free space, tack yours up there with all the “for sale” and “to rent” signs. Shopping malls, rec. centers, schools, even telephone poles! The more exposure you get the more chances that your book will be a winner!

8. Contact newspapers and radio stations in your area and inquire into getting your work out there in front of audiences. Local talent is always appreciated. People love it when up and comers in their own communities succeed at reaching a goal or realizing a dream. It reinforces the strength of the community and encourages others to pursue their dreams as well. It inspires hope and that is very important.

These are just a few tried-and-true ideas to help jumpstart your promotional path and get your book out there for the reading public to enjoy! There are numerous ways to promote your masterpiece if you think about it long enough. Very likely you already have lots of ideas of your own. Pick the brains of some of your most trusted confidantes for suggestions they might have. Then get moving writer, and on the fast track to selling your book!

Best of luck to you!

Anika Logan is a freelance writer from Nova Scotia, Canada. She writes on a variety of topics including fashion and beauty, food and dining, relationships, home improvements, alternative medicine, entertainment and writing. Her work has been featured at Garden and, The Driver Magazine, Tidings Magazine,, The Porch Syndicate and Absolutewrite.

Freelance Job of the Day

Food & wine writer: Seeking outstanding writer for editing / grammar / proofreading / fact check for completed manuscript. Will last 3 weeks depending on writer commitment to deadline. Can begin ASAP. Trade related writing experience is important but is not a requirement. Fluency in Spanish a +. Specify experience. Humora+. Pay per project and it will start freelance.
(Posted 2/26/05)

Quote for Monday

One of the most feared expressions in modern times is "The computer is down."

- Norman Augustine

Friday, February 25, 2005

Freelance Job of the Day

Technology reporter: is seeking an experienced technology reporter to cover telecommunications, networking and security for a new section of the site. This position requires 3-5 years of experience covering these areas. The ideal candidate is a well-organized self-starter comfortable with high-pressure deadlines, who can boil down technical concepts for a broad business and investment-minded community of readers. The candidate will be capable of reporting and writing enterprising stories, and will be expected to generate story ideas regularly. A stacked rolodex is a plus. This is a contract position. Please email your resume, salary range and a few clips to
(posted 2/24/05)

Quote for Friday

Many suffer from the incurable disease of writing and it becomes chronic in their sick minds.

- Juvenal (AD 60-130)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Freelance Job of the Day

Business writers: We are seeking professional freelance writers for a bimonthly university-based Web publication with an educated, business-savvy subscriber base. Our independent contractors have strong journalism and/or business backgrounds, and are experienced in the creation of engaging, in-depth pieces on topical business issues, personalities and research for national publications. Pay depends on project and requirements, ranging from $700-$1,000 per 1,000-word article. Please send cover letter, resume and three published writing samples Liz Farquhar at Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business, P.O. Box 873506, Tempe, AZ 85287-3506, or e-mail
(Posted 2/23/05)

Flaunt It

A couple of opportunities for reader’s of Freelance Daily to shamelessly self promote:

1. Please send links to any articles you have written that were assigned because of an ad you responded to in Freelance Daily. I want this feature to be instructional, so if you’d like, also give me a paragraph describing how you got the job.

2. As mentioned, I want to launch a new and improved Freelance Daily Web site in the near- to intermediate-future (I’m moving, working on a book proposal and a T.V. pilot, so life is hectic at the moment). But I will get around to it. When I do, I want to feature Web sites of Freelance Daily readers, particularly if they offer writing-related services (a self-promotional, “here are my clips” Web site probably won’t be included; a Web site that offer tips and advice is exactly what I’m looking for).

Quarterly subscriptions now available

Given the nature of freelance writing, some people have said they’d prefer shorter subscription terms. This is also a good option if you’re relatively new to Freelance Daily and would like to continue to check it out once your complimentary subscription ends on April 1.

If you would liked to be billed $9.95 for three months, as opposed to $19.95 for a year, you can do so by clicking here.

Quote for Thursday

A writer’s problem does not change. He himself changes, but his problem remains the same. It is always how to write truly and, having found what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes a part of the experience of the person who reads it.

- Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Freelance Job of the Day

Part-time lifestyle editor (Mercer Island, Wash.): The Mercer Island Reporter, an award-winning 5,000-circulation weekly newspaper, is seeking an editor for its Lifestyle section. Mercer Island is an affluent, well-educated, close-in suburb of Seattle. Position is 30 hours a week, medical benefits and 401K plan available. Requires strong writing, editing and page design experience, preferably using Quark XPress. This editor writes feature stories, edits columnists, and lays out a 6 to 8-page section every week. Newspaper experience preferred. Position is available immediately. Please send cover letter, resume, and writing and editing samples to Stephen Weigand, Mercer Island Reporter, P.O. Box 38, Mercer Island, WA. 98040 or e-mail
(Posted 2/22/05)

Quote for Wednesday

So much bitterness exists between writers and their publishers, you have to eliminate the distractions. You’ve got to keep focused.
- John Irving

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Dealing With Rejection

by Laura Hickey

What to do when you get rejected

You've just finished your book, sent out query letters and were rejected. What's left to do? You could give up, but I wouldn't suggest this. Here's some brief tips on how to deal with rejection.

1.Take a breather
You've probably been wondering and rattling your brain as to why you got rejected. Take a break, not a long one...some time for a breather. If you continue to constantly analyze why you were rejected, you'll drive yourself crazy. Plus...if you decide after rejections to continue sending out new query letters, they may not be your best work. Why you ask? Because you may not produce your best work under all the stress you've put yourself under over the rejections. You wouldn't want more rejections because you didn't have the energy to send out your best sales pitch.

2.Self-esteem- Failure is not an option
You might be down in the dumps...this is understandable, but don't allow yourself to be in the mood for too long. Have you had others read your work? Did they like it, love it? It's a good idea to remember all the positives, rather than negatives. If everyone who didn't get what they wanted the first time quit, do you know what we'd have? A bunch of failures. They aren't failures though for not getting it for the first time, rather they are if they quit.

3. Motivation-
Think about your favorite movie, song or book. Now, what if they stopped trying? That favorite song, book or movie wouldn't exist. If you give up, someone out there won't have a chance to have your work as a favorite. Think about it.

Remember that rejection doesn't have to be the end of your journey unless you let it be. Good Luck!

Author of Mysterious Chills and Thrills for Kids. Ten Short Stories to Tickle the Imagination. "Spooky, Awesome, Unpredictable" Isn't it time you entered the world where shadows lurk and each page turn could be your doom...Get the ebook at CyberRead:

This article is reprinted with permission from

Freelance Job of the Day

Part-time freelance writer wanted for 1-2 hours of work per day on a 3-5x days a week schedule. Duties: Identify the news/events driving the financial markets and present it to long term individual investors in a lively, concise fashion. You must be able to demonstrate to us that you are a proven financial writer. Qualifications: Must understand why this news is important to individual investors; thorough understanding of the financial markets & corporate America; must be capable of writing quickly and under tight deadlines, but without sacrificing facts and composition; must be reliable and committed to a fixed schedule. Publication: The Bull Market Report is a daily investment newsletter that is published by Indie Research. The newsletter covers the stock market action of the day, with an emphasis on news impacting Bull Market's model portfolio of stocks. Duties will focus on conceiving and writing an overview of the key market highlights of the day (a recap) and brief coverage of news related to model portfolio stocks. Contact: Send letter, resume, and only relevant clips to: Must be available five days a week during market hours. No phone calls please. We pay competitive market rates. Company: Indie Research partners with industry experts to deliver both individual and institutional investors with first-rate, unbiased research, analysis and commentary across a range of investment sectors.
(posted 2/17/05)

Quote for Tuesday

The person who doesn't scatter the morning dew will not comb gray hairs.

- Hunter S. Thompson

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Keep 13 In Play

by C. Hope Clark

Keep 13 in Play is my mantra. It serves me well. “Keep 13 in Play” represents my program of keeping at least 13 queries submitted at all times, come rain or shine, sickness or health, youth or age, dinner or no dinner. The system makes me write and keep article ideas distributed so those little checks coming in that put food on the table and the roof over my head.

Why 13? I don't know. Thirteen has never been unlucky for me and I thought it could be a number I'd easily remember. I began 2003 as a newly retired government manager without a goal or a schedule to keep except that which I inflicted upon myself. So I set my first goal by requiring I juggle at least 13 queries or manuscripts at all times. I was naive, new and needed direction. This was simple and easy to remember.

When I reached 13, I could concentrate on other things like a new novel or improved web site. When the number fell due to rejections or acceptances, and hopefully a few checks, the rule was I had to immediately stop and resubmit to rebuild the magical number.

I found one small press needing short ebooks, so I submitted six queries at once. Six tick-marks off of thirteen felt great until I was asked to write all six at the same time. I buckled down and wrote them, but then I was faced with six gaps in my thirteen point plan. I learned from that experience. I learned that diversity keeps a more balanced schedule, and my thirteen now does not repeat editors or publishers if I can help it. I gained six projects, but also gained six gaps in my plan – a total of a dozen obligations all at once! Now I play the field keeping my workload more balanced.

Then I let the program evolve into two-dozen queries to buy myself some serious writing time on a book. By “buying time” with extra queries, I could tackle other projects. I could let the acceptances or rejected trickle in without dropping what I was doing to reach 13 again. The system had turned into a time management tool that not only controlled my writing efforts, but my income as well.

But the best lesson I learned is that the frequent writing slowly improved my writing quality one article at a time. The more I wrote, the better I liked my work. The requirement to maintain a number was a requirement to write almost daily to honor the goal.

Initially I posted a sign across my monitor saying “Keep 13 in play, what’s your story today?” Today, I have no 13, no posted sign, and no notes telling me to write. Instead, I have a three-sheet spreadsheet system that follows my submissions by date, publisher and article. I no longer need a visual to know that 13 forever hangs over my head.

What started out as a New Year’s Resolution to write over a dozen articles, has turned into a habit carved in stone. As an acceptance or a rejection comes in, I adjust the spreadsheet watching the tally go up and down, but never down to 13. My muse just will not accept dipping down to that old goal number.

The system works for me, and those that I advise have told me it works for them as well. Find a number that attracts your attention. If ten is easier to remember, use it. If you are quite the prolific writer, use twenty. Pick your birthday or anniversary date, but pick a number and send enough queries out there to keep you busy. I'll bet you a month's freelance wages that your income will improve.

Stop what you're doing right now. Pick a number between ten and twenty, and type this out in big bold letters...KEEP 13 (or whatever) IN PLAY...WHAT'S YOUR STORY TODAY? Print it out and tape it to your computer. Make yourself look at it each and every day. Follow it for six months then tell me how it worked for you. If I don't get a handful of success stories from this lesson, I'll eat my keyboard, because it’s a sure winner for me!

C. Hope Clark is founder of and author of The Shy Writer: An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success. /

Copyright 2005 C. Hope Clark /

Friday, February 18, 2005

Freelance Job of the Day

Freelance reporters for Homeland Security drill: Reporters wanted to participate in press component of Department of Homeland Security's TOPOFF 3 exercise for senior U.S. and local officials simulating a terrorist attack on the United States. Those selected will write copy for online news service reporting events within the exercise for an audience of exercise participants. This position will require seasoned reporters who can write quickly, using AP style, meeting tight deadlines, as if they were covering an actual incident for an actual online news service. Ideal candidates will be reporters with daily or wire experience who can write wire-style stories accurately, completely and quickly. You must NOT be currently employed by a real news organization and will be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement barring you from writing about this in the future. Those selected will be working in Conn., N.J., and/or Washington D.C. The work will start around March 14 and go for 3 to 4 weeks at competitive pay rates. Send cover letter, resume, and three clips via e-mail to:
(Posted 2/17/05)

Quote for Friday

The fewer writers you know the better, and if you’re working on anything, don’t tell them.

- Maeve Brennan

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Freelance Job of the Day

Textbook writers: John Wiley & Sons (, a major college textbook publisher, seeks to hire experienced nonfiction writers to help us develop an exciting new series of undergraduate college and junior-college level texts. Writers will be teamed up with academics. The academics will build detailed outlines around instructional objectives and provide appropriate source materials; the writers will work within a detailed template to flesh out the text. In some cases, we will be able to adapt existing Wiley content. Candidates must have a successful publication record and clear expertise in one or more of the following disciplines: Geography (Human, Physical, World Regional), Geology (Historical, Physical), Business, Psychology (Introductory), Environmental Science, Human Development, Child Development, Anthropology (Introductory, Physical), Weather and Climate, Liberal Arts Chemistry If you would you like to learn more about Wiley's new textbook series, please email your resume and publications list to Laura McKenna ( with a cover letter specifying your areas of expertise and availability. Should you have a website with additional information about yourself and your work, please send the URL for that as well. If there is a match between your experience and a given title, we will send you further information along with a nondisclosure agreement. (We think our idea is so compelling that we need to keep it under wraps as long as possible.) Thank you for your interest. We look forward to hearing from you!
(Posted 2/16/05)

Quote for Thursday

Let your fiction grow out of the land beneath your feet.

- Willa Cather

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Tax Deductions for Writers

By Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Writing is more than creating the ‘great American novel’; writing is a Business and a business requires record keeping and tax preparation. Many have already begun gathering information and getting things in order. Most will wait until the last minute then be in a panic. Don’t be one of them, be PREPARED!

IRS rules state that you can claim a loss for business expenses even if you’re unpublished as long as you can “prove you are actively pursuing a career in writing” and as long as the expenses are considered “necessary business expenses.”

Most writers will use a Schedule C or Profit and Loss statement to file their business tax. This form is found in your 1040 forms and instructions book or from your local IRS office. You can file a 1040 form with a Schedule C and still take standard deductions in lieu of itemizing. Use your social security number and your name unless writing under a pseudonym then it’s your name DBA (your pseudonym). The “Principal Business or Professional Activity Code” (711510) is listed in your 1040 book under the Performing Arts section.

How do you prove you’re "actively pursuing a career in writing" and what are "necessary business expenses"? Here are a few examples:

1). Send letters to agents, editors, publishers. Postage is deductible as well as return postage on your SASE. Do this via email? Print out a copy of your email query and their response.
2). Office supplies (paper, ink, envelopes, business cards, etc.) are valid expenditures. If you have an office set up in your home you may be able to claim a portion of your rent or house note and utility bills for the use of this room. Also, long distance phone calls that are writing related are deductible as well as Internet service fees if you’re using the Internet to develop your craft and/or promote yourself and your work.
3). Membership dues, conference fees, hotel expenses, gas mileage and meals are all deductible expenses even for unpublished writers.
5). Fees related to the creation, development and maintenance of your website are tax deductible.
6). Professional fees and services (CPA, Tax Consultant, professional evaluation or critique, attorney fees, etc)

How do you keep track of all those expenses?

Spreadsheets and receipts. Keep receipts in a standard manila envelope or organized by category in a pocket sized file folder. Spreadsheets are easy to set up and easy to maintain. Most programs like Windows come with a standard spreadsheet application. One column (or page) for Income and one for Expenses. What about all those formulas? Simple. Most spreadsheets have an Auto Sum (S) feature for the addition of a column or you can manually do this by using the formula =sum(cell+cell) or =sum(cell:cell) for a range of cells. Need to subtract, divide or multiply? Formula would be: =Sum(cell*cell) to multiply; =sum(cell/cell) to divide; and =sum(cell-cell) to subtract.

Additional items that can be written off as expenses for published writers.

1). Promotional expenses (brochures, flyers, press kits, press releases, etc.)
2). Books donated to libraries or given away for promotional purposes may be deducted at retail value.
3). Books bought for research.
4). Dry-cleaning those nice clothes you wear for speaking engagements, book signings or other author appearances.
5). Postage and/or shipping fees for books sent to wholesalers, retailers, readers, reviewers, etc.
6). Agent fees and commissions.
7). Set up costs, cover art, and the charge for producing (or buying) your self or E-published books. Occupational or Resale License fees are also deductible.
Remember, if it falls under "Necessary Business Expense" it is deductible!

Worried about being audited? Don’t. Be careful and be honest.

One more note; IRS suggests that you keep all tax records for a minimum of seven but up to ten years. Remember, tax laws change yearly. For more information visit the IRS website @ <> or call them toll free at: 800-829-3676 and request publications such as # 334 (Tax Guide for Small Businesses and Individuals who use Schedule C or C-EZ), #535 (Business Expense -this guide tells you what you can and CANNOT deduct), and #552 (Record keeping for Individuals).

For more information on deductions available to you, check out: Tax Tips for Freelance Writers, Photographers and Artists by Julian Block. Julian Block is a nationally recognized attorney who has been singled out by the New York Times as a "leading tax professional" and by the Wall Street Journal as "an accomplished writer on taxes." E-mail him at <> or telephone (914) 834-3227. His address is 3 Washington Square, #1-G, Larchmont, NY 10538-2032.

Variations of this article have appeared in print and e-publications including but not limited to SpiritLed Writer Ezine, Longridge Writers Group Website, and Romancing the Skyz print magazine.

Pamela S. Thibodeaux has been a bookkeeper for over twenty years. She is the co-founder and a member of the Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana and a member of ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers). Her writing has been tagged as "Inspirational with an Edge!" and reviewed as "steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message." Visit Ms. Thibodeaux’s website @ or email her at:

Monday, February 14, 2005

Are you achieveing your writing goals?

By Mridu Khullar

At the start of this new year, like at the start of every other new year, I came across dozens of articles about the importance of setting achievable goals, challenging myself to do new things and fixing measurable standards and working towards them.

But what happens when you mess up the goals from last year? Where’s the real advice about missed deadlines and lost goals that all but kill the inspiration to come up with new ones? I didn’t achieve three out of the ten goals I had set for myself last year, even though I was obsessive-compulsive about looking at them each day and measuring my performance regularly. I’m tempted to say that life got in the way or blame the shift in priorities that happened mid-year. But these are things that can and will happen each year. Instead of putting your life on hold the year when the strains and stresses get too much, plan your goals accordingly right at the beginning.

If you didn’t meet some of your goals last year, here are some questions that you need to answer honestly, so that you do this time around.

Are you actively pursuing your targets?
It doesn’t work just to look at your goals each morning and then do nothing about them. Sure, that’s a good start and it means you’re conscious of where you are in your career, but if you want to move further, you need to create an action plan. Instead of just making yearly goals, make monthly, weekly, even daily ones and then try and meet them.

Also important is to work towards what you want to achieve step by step. One of my goals last year was to get published in Reader’s Digest. Guess how many query letters I sent them?


You’re laughing, aren’t you? I’m cringing. That’s because I know that two queries just doesn’t hack it if you’re targeting such a high-level publication. Two queries wasn’t even enough to get into my local newspaper; how’s it going to land me a national assignment? If I had been serious about getting into RD, I would have read every issue, sent a query each month and built a personal relationship with the editor. Yet, I did none of those things. Not surprisingly, my goal remained unfinished at the end of the year.

Are you being honest with yourself?
In my first year of freelancing, I earned over a 100 published credits. That’s because my aim was to reach this number, without caring about the money that came in. That meant that I wrote for low-paying publications, publications that paid in kind instead of cash, and on topics that I had absolutely no interest in. The next year, I shifted my focus to cracking the nationals and making a decent income from my work. But here’s where I went wrong: I assumed that since I had already proven that I could write a 100 articles in a year, I’d be able to do a repeat performance. But national magazines require much more research, very specialized queries, and a great deal of more effort per article. So while my goals of getting into national magazines and increasing my income were met, my goal of getting another 100 credits wasn’t.

Are the goals really yours?
I think almost all of us get sucked into aping the tactics of someone we admire at one point or the other. The thought process then works something like this: If she could write two children’s books, pen twenty greeting cards, author three non-fiction titles and syndicate a humor column in her third year of freelancing, why can’t I? Never mind that I’m not really that into children’s writing and I haven’t said anything remotely funny since I was 10.

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been guilty of doing the above. It’s easy to look at goals of other writers and think, “She’s got so many goals for the year and I’ve got only five. Let me increase mine, too.” But “she” doesn’t have your life, and you don’t have hers. So set goals that are appropriate for your career and your ambitions, not hers.

What’s your life like?
If you’re a new mom, don’t expect to be able to work 80-hour weeks like you did before you gave birth. If you have a full-time job, don’t try to take on same-day deadline assignments. You need to set goals that are suitable to your life, your speed and your talent, no matter what anyone else may do or say.

It’s also important to incorporate life changes into your goal-setting. I lost two grandparents this year, which not only forced me to take a physical vacation from work, but an emotional one as well. I needed to give myself time to heal in order to get back to work refreshed and with new vigor. If you’re going through stressful times, don’t expect yourself to be as productive as say, when you’re having a great year. Cut down on your goal list a little and be easy on yourself. Making yourself work too hard when you’re not physically or emotionally ready to, will not help you meet your goals; instead it’ll detract you from them.

Are you confusing your long-term and short-term goals?
Writing a novel is my long-term goal. A “someday.” But I’m not there yet. And I know I’m not going to be able to work on my dream novel this year, next year or maybe even the one after that. If I do, I’ll be taking time away from the non-fiction work that pays the bills and for the next couple of years, I can’t afford to do that. Putting “write a novel” on my list of goals for the year isn’t going to make me feel too good about myself, especially as this goal gets carried forward year after year. Instead, I’m putting it on my “to do before I’m 30” list. That way, it’s not too near, and it’s not so far away that it becomes a distant dream instead of reality.

Once I’ve cracked a good number of national magazines, finished and published a couple of non-fiction books and can afford to take time away from non-fiction, I can consider taking a risk with fiction.

Are you keeping track?
The biggest problem I face right now is keeping track of where all the time went. While to an outsider it may seem like I’m working almost all the time, the truth is, I waste a lot of time on e-mail, reading newsletters, networking with fellow writers and well, checking e-mail.

To counter this problem, I started keeping a daily journal to keep track of where my writing time was really going. My productivity’s almost doubled since I started doing this. Keeping an hour-to-hour or even a daily tab of what I’d achieved for that day kept me accountable and ready to tackle the next important task on my list, rather than checking e-mail one more time. And if an entry for a particular day reads, “Revised article for Wedding Dresses, conducted research on a new idea,” I’d immediately know that I needed to increase my productivity, and by how much. Sure, checking e-mail is work too, but it’s not bringing in any money. So I make it secondary work and answer incoming mails only once a day, unless they need urgent attention.

Are your priorities straight?
Which brings me to my next point. Set your priorities right and work top to bottom. A technique that works for many people is to make a daily list of things that need to be done. Then, in the order of priority, tackle them one by one, striking them off the list. At the end of the day, even if you have some work unattended to, it can easily be transferred to the next day’s list, since it’ll be at the lowest priority.

Do you have a fixed schedule?
I still struggle with this one, but each time I’m able to set a schedule for myself, I find that I’m happier, more energetic and much more productive. Getting up at six in the morning one day, not sleeping for another two days and then getting a whole lot of slumber on and off for the next three days eats into your energy and taxes your brain much more than it should. It also becomes a cause for unnecessary delays and interruptions. Instead of surrendering to your muse whenever it shows up, program your body to work for a fixed time each day. Your brain will automatically recognize that as time to work and get on the job. Make your routine consistent. When our body gets used to doing something at a particular time, we’re able to do with ease. So if you’ve decided to write five pages each morning before the kids get up, make sure to do it.

Answer these questions honestly and get to work on these techniques. You’ll find all your goals ticked off your list by the end of this year.

Mridu Khullar is a full-time freelance writer and the editor-in-chief of Sign-up for her *free* 12-day e-course "Write Query Letters That Sell" at

Friday, February 11, 2005

More help for Gmail readers

I found this in gmail's help section:

To ensure that messages load quickly, Gmail displays only a portion of the text of long messages. Here’s how to read the full text of a clipped message:

1. Log in to your Gmail account.
2. Open the clipped message.
3. Click 'Show Options.'
4. Click 'Show Original.'

Freelance Job of the Day

Cite checking and end note help for thesis, $1,000: I am at or near the end of writing my PhD thesis at Berkeley. What's left is to fill in the citations in Chicago Manual of Style format for about 500 footnotes. Many of the citations are the same throughout the 6 chapters and I have endnote, but the citations are not filled in in EndNote either. So, I need someone, preferably with access to an academic libreary website, to: 1) find and fill out citations. 2) Check over the citations I have already entered 3) compiling a "works cited" list and formatting footnotes and endotes 4) Formatting the entire document to meet the UC Berkeley Thesis guidelines I have a deadline of the end of March. Ideally a little before then. My budget is a bit limited about $1000. I was thinking of paying $15 per hour with a bonus for getting it done by the middle of March. That said, if $15 is crazy talk, then I would at least be willing to meet the hourly pay for a graduate student assistant (i think that's around $15 but could be as high as $20). The main thing is that my emotional energy and now time are very limited and my committee is not going to sign off without this done.
(Posted 2/10/05)

Resolving email issues

For gmail users complaining about FD messages getting clipped, a text version will not solve this problem. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work. What does seem to work, however, is viewing your messages through an email reader, such as Outlook, as opposed to the normal, Web-based method.

And for users of older versions of AOL, this message from one of my very patient readers will come as a relief:


For those whose old AOL versions won't read HTML, a *free* solution to reading FD.

AOL has, as of this morning, stopped providing newsgroup access. It was suggested to me that I subscribe to (a free service) which would require Netscape (another free service) to read the newsgroups.

In the process of setting up Netscape to download the newsgroups, it also downloaded some of my e-mail, and I realized that it was showing the HTML version of the first one. Sure enough, when I marked this morning's FD as Unread and downloaded it, Voila, perfectly legible in HTML format.

Thus, Dave dear, you may now cash my check for a year's subscription, because I *can* now read it without trying to slog through all that coding. And you can report this as a potential solution to your other readers on obsolete computers.

Again, I never suspected this transition would be painless, but each day we seem to solve another problem and I’m optimistic all the kinks will be ironed out by April 1, when you all either have to start paying for real or visit 200+ Web sites on your own each day.

Speaking of the subscription drive, the number one reason I get from people as to why they won’t be continuing after I go to the paid model is “It’s not cost effective because I haven’t gotten any work.” I’m hoping today’s article, on writing email queries, will alleviate some of those problems.

Quote for Friday

Bring the wisdom of a lifetime to your task. Writing from experience does not, of course, mean transcribing experience. You have the responsibility to sift and shape your material until it makes sense and until that unit can be fitted into the context of the reader’s life.

- Judith Appelbaum

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Stuff Email Queries Are Made Of

By Mridu Khullar

Your mother always told you how first impressions were extremely important. That’s why whenever you go to meet an editor, you dress impeccably, walk confidently and talk as if you just got out of training with Oprah Winfrey.

But as you sit down to write that email query, you forget everything your mother told you and send editors a query that couldn’t have lacked any more even if you wanted it to. The subject line reads “Query” or something in close proximity with the language spammers use—“Become Debt Free Today”. You write your email address and Web address, but leave out other information such as your address and phone number. And of course, since it’s an email query, you don’t include clips. After all, the editor explicitly mentioned no attachments, right?

After sending out a dozen queries of this sort, you sit in front of your computer, reading rejections and crib about the state of the publishing world.

But you know what, there’s a better way. You don’t have to be rejected all the time. You can write queries that can melt the toughest of editors and have them begging you to write for them.

For starters, get the subject line right. You’re a writer—so be creative. Instead of writing query or submission or even the name of the magazine, how about using the title of your article? And I don’t have to tell you that the title you choose should be informative, witty and creative. It doesn’t always have to be funny, but it has to be interesting. Here’s the format I usually follow for my subject lines:

Query: Creative Article Title

Try to avoid titles that read like spam. “Lose Weight Easily” can be rephrased as “10 Ways to Keep Fit”. Similarly, “Discover Singles in Your Area” is a line spammers love to use, so you could use something more attention-grabbing and less spam-seeming such as “The Top 10 Places to Find your Soul Mate.” See the difference?

Write your email query as if you were writing a normal query. Induce in it the same passion, the same commitment and the same confidence that you would like to project in a query sent by snail mail. Forget the mantra that editors will delete long queries. Not a chance. If you’ve sparked the interest of an editor, do you think she’s going to stop reading simply because it’s too long? Nope.

Like in a mailed query, take the time and space you need to get the editor’s attention. But refrain from rambling. Generally, your query (email or otherwise) should fit into two pages or less. More than that, and you’re giving away too much. One page queries are even better. They’re succinct, to-the-point, and if you’ve done your job well, you’ll have the editor asking for more. Always include your address and phone number should the editor feel like calling and giving you the assignment.

Remember how editors are busy people? That’s why, instead of sending them hyperlinks of all the articles you’ve ever written, send in three or four relevant clips of your best work. And yes, attachments are strictly prohibited. Instead, include your article as text in your email. But what about the pretty pictures and the beautiful fonts, you wail. Well, that’s why, include a link above the article. If the editor has the time or the inclination, she can go online and view it in its full glory. If not, you’re sending the material in the email so she doesn’t have to wander around cyberspace looking for your great creations.

Email queries aren’t much different from snail mail ones. If your query is professional, presented in an original style and makes the editor sit on the edge of her seat, you’ve got a winner. And always remember what mom preached—first impressions do count.

Mridu Khullar is the publisher of, a resource for professional freelance writers. Sign up for the FREE newsletter and get an e-book with 400+ paying freelance writing markets. Visit

Freelance Job of the Day

Freelance writers for city walking tours, $1/word: Talking Street™ is looking to hire Freelance Writers for upcoming cell-phone walking tours of NYC and other destinations. You don't have to have audio training, but you do have to be a smart, resourceful, witty, graceful writer. You need to have lots of professional experience, an eye for details and an ear for dialogue -- and you have to show us what you can do with a sample script. Our standard rate is one dollar per word. For more information, and to learn how to apply, please visit
(Posted 2/9/05)

This is just one of 25 new freelance writing leads subscribers received in their email inboxes this morning. If you’d like to subscribe and haven’t done so yet, you can click here to subscribe. Please note, you do not need a PayPal account to make payments through PayPal. However, if you feel more comfortable, you can send check or money order payments to David Copeland, 2008 Altmar Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15226. For those of you who want to pay through PayPal but don’t want the automatic renewal option, click here.

Quote for Thursday

The task of a writer consists in being able to make something out of an idea.

- Thomas Mann

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Seven Deadly Mistakes That Cost You Money and Assignments

By Mridu Khullar

Sometimes, you just don’t get second chances. Freelance writing works a little that way. If you’ve offended an editor, it’s quite unlikely that she’s going to work with you again. If you don’t muster up the courage and ask for a higher payment rate, you won’t get that chance till the next acceptance. And if you sell all rights for less, you write away all future income from the sale of that piece.

These seemingly small mistakes can cost you big money when done repeatedly. Avoid these common pitfalls and you’ll not only earn more from each sale, but also ensure that you’re developing working relationships with editors who’ll look to you for regular work.

Mistake No. 1: Missing Deadlines
I’ve often wondered why writers constantly miss deadlines. After all, if you’ve landed an assignment—big or small—wouldn’t you want to get it in before time instead of after, so that you could impress the editor and secure more work? But many writers often fall short, and editors almost never work with these writers who do so repeatedly. So drop those waiting-till-the-last-minute habits and get into researching mode as soon as you get the assignment.

Mistake No. 2: Lack of Preliminary Research
When the editor of a technology magazine wrote in to ask exactly which Internet scams I’d be covering in my “Top Scams on the Internet” article, I wrote back to her within minutes. That’s because I’d done my initial research even before I’d sent the query. You don’t want to be on the phone with an editor, with no clue about the details of your piece. Be the writer who responds quickly and intelligently with the latest research, having the facts ready, exactly when they’re needed.

Mistake No. 3: Not Negotiating
Many freelance writers become so excited on receiving their first national or high-paying assignment that the thought of asking for a little more doesn’t even strike them. Many of them move on to find out that other writers were paid better for less work by the same publication. Always try to negotiate for a better contract—less rights, more pay, payment on acceptance, kill fees and even a short bio if you can get one. Most editors expect writers to ask for more, so don’t worry about seeming greedy or money-minded.

Mistake No. 4: Not Moving On
Initially, you’ll need those low-paying, short deadline, payment-on-publication assignments. But take on too many of them and you’ll soon be working 90-hour weeks and still have no food on the table. Once you’ve gathered a couple of clips and some regular high-paying assignments, thank the editors at the small publications and move on. Go beyond your comfort zone and start targeting higher paying markets. You can’t live on 30-cents-a-word publications forever.

Mistake No. 5: Getting Too Personal
It’s great to get personal with an editor. In fact, I highly recommend it. But don’t take it too far. Your editor is not going to appreciate forwarded jokes, tales of your latest adventures in the Himalayas or the sob story of your dog’s death. However friendly your editor might be getting, do remember that it is after all, a professional relationship. If you wouldn’t say it to your boss, don’t say it to your editor.

Mistake No. 6: Letting off the Steam
Your editor’s changed the meaning of your review so that it now sounds positive when you clearly intended it to be negative, modified your quotes or hasn’t sent payment even after months of bugging her. You’d want to tell her exactly what you think of her, right? Bad idea. While I wouldn’t suggest being a doormat and accepting what happened, I wouldn’t recommend a fist-session with her either. Go tell her you didn’t like what she did, but do so politely. If you’re still upset, you can always stop writing for the magazine, or let her know that your viewpoints don’t match.

Mistake No. 7: Not Proposing Another Idea
Once you’ve written for an editor, your chances of writing for his publication again increase by a huge factor. He’s more likely to trust you with more assignments if you come through on the first one. So after the final acceptance, send off a thank you note and another query. Don’t give the editor time to cool off and forget you. Strike when he knows exactly who you are, how brilliantly you’ve done your job and how you’ll make his life easier.

So next time you’re tempted to accept an editor’s initial offer or scream at him for adding in spelling errors, remember that you only have one chance. To keep your clients happy and earn a living in the process, avoid making these errors of judgment. You’ll soon be on your way to a very lucrative career.

Mridu Khullar is the editor-in-chief of, a free online magazine for writers. Sign up for the free weekly newsletter to get a complimentary e-book with 400+ paying markets. Also check out her e-book, "Knock Their Socks Off! A Freelance Writer's Guide to Query Letters That Sell," available at

Freelance Job of the Day

Freelance editors (Hercules, Calif.): Bio-Rad Laboratories' Life Science Group is seeking freelance technical editors and copyeditors in its Marketing Communications department. The majority of work is on-site in Hercules, CA (in the San Francisco East Bay area), though working hours are very flexible. Projects range from promotional fliers and product catalogs to technical publications, which follow in-house style guidelines. Applicants should be familiar with biotechnology and with applications and products used in life science research. A strong science background is preferred for the technical editor positions, as demonstrated by an advanced degree, research experience, or writing or editing of life science publications. Online editing experience and familiarity with QuarkXPress software are preferred, and familiarity with review and management of Web-based content is a plus. Information about our products can be found on our web site, Samples of our publications in PDF format can be found under the link to literature/software. To apply, please mail or e-mail a resume and samples of editing work to Pat Jensen, Marketing Communications, Bio-Rad Laboratories, 2000 Alfred Nobel Drive, Hercules, CA 94547; e-mail
(Posted 2/7/05)

This is just one of 28 new freelance writing leads subscribers received in their email inboxes this morning. If you’d like to subscribe and haven’t done so yet, you can click here to subscribe. Please note, you do not need a PayPal account to make payments through PayPal. However, if you feel more comfortable, you can send check or money order payments to David Copeland, 2008 Altmar Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15226. For those of you who want to pay through PayPal but don’t want the automatic renewal option, click here.

Market Warnings

A lot of people have been asking for more details on the warning I ran Monday about Profile magazine. Basically, I received emails from three different writer who all had similar experiences.

In a nutshell, they were told to write the articles “on spec” and when the articles were delivered, they were told “on spec” meant no payment would be involved. “On spec,” in my experience, has usually meant “we’ll pay you if we like it,” not “we won’t pay you if we like it”).

For this and every market, I’d recommend you get a written agreement that clearly states the rate and kill fee, as well as the payment terms.

Meanwhile, one reader responded to yesterday’s too-good-to-be-true sounding ghostwriting job (the one that offered “up to” $5,000 per project): “The editor did get in touch with me and she wanted to pay me $300 to ghostwrite a 12,500 page ebook with no royalties.

“So much for the $5,000!”

Have you had a bad experience with a market listed in Freelance Daily (or anywhere else, for that matter)? Send it along and help protect other writers from going through the same experience.

Quote for Wednesday

Success is a continuing process. Failure is a stoppage. The man who keeps moving and working does not fail…If you write a hundred short stories and they’re all bad, that doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. You fail only if you stop writing. I’ve written about 2,000 short stories; I’ve only published 300 and I feel I’m still learning. Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.

- Ray Bradbury

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Understand Your Contract

© Cheryl Wright 2004 – All rights reserved

When Arabella Magazine notified me they were buying "Popcorn Murders" I was ecstatic. After all, everyone was vying to be published in that magazine.

Then they told me to "look out for the contract soon". My elation soon turned to terror. I knew nothing about contracts! And I sure wasn’t going to hire a solicitor to look the contract over – particularly for a short story contract – so I learned to read the contract myself.

Not a good thing I’m told, but how many writers have the money to rush out and hire a solicitor every time they receive a contract? (The majority of publishers issue contracts for each and every piece they buy these days.) I’ve now got a bulging file with all my contracts, and if I’d hired a professional each time, I’d be down a lot of money, believe me.

The information in this article is not intended to replace your solicitor or legal representative; it is meant only as a guide. (Some writer’s organisations will help you with this as part of your annual fee.)

Things that should be included in your contract:
Scheduled date of publication
Word count of ms
Title of Story
Author’s name
Rights Sold
Fee (either per word, or for complete works)
Legal obligations of each party
Kill Fee (if any)
Ownership of Copyright
Mediation and Arbitration (if dispute arises)

Some of the above are self-explanatory, so I won’t go into those at all. Others can be quite confusing, so we’ll look at each one individually.

Rights sold:

This can vary from publication to publication, and must be checked thoroughly. Never agree to sell ‘All Rights’ as this means you can NEVER sell the work again. Ever.

With Arabella, I sold first rights, with a clause that I would not allow the story to be re-published anywhere within thirty days of publication. That meant I was free to resell it any time I wanted after the thirty days.

So let’s look at rights:

First rights means it’s the first time the story has been published.

Second rights means it’s the second time it’s been published, and so on.

However, there can be a variation to this. You can sell (for instance) first Australian Rights, or First US Rights, First World Rights, etc. The same applies for second and/or subsequent sales.
Be absolutely sure what rights you are selling when you check your contract.

All Rights:

As mentioned above, selling ‘all rights’ is not a good thing. Basically, you can never sell your story again – not in any shape or form. There is only one way I would do that, and that’s if I was paid mega bucks.

But, there’s a catch. (Isn’t there always?)

If you sell ‘all rights’ in a book contract – for instance – you can lose a lot of money by doing so.
Let me tell you a story: a friend sold her novel to a new publisher in the UK. Her contract stated she was selling them ‘all rights’. This was her first sale, and she accepted that. Around a year down the track, the publication went bust; her novel went down the gurgler with the publisher.

That was two years ago.

She recently found out that her book has been released in large print. That’s good, right? Well, no. Because she sold ‘all rights’ so got absolutely nothing for the subsequent sale.
And if anyone ever decides to make her book into a movie, the same will apply. Never sell ‘all rights’ if you can help it, unless, as I said before, you are being paid mega bucks.

Kill Fee:

A ‘kill fee’ is literally the fee you get if the publication ‘kills’ the story. That is, they decide not to use it after all.

A ‘kill fee’ may also apply if an editor of the publications asks you to do rewrites that you feel misrepresent your own opinions, or in the case of a piece of fiction, distorts the story.

I know someone who had the latter happen, and as he didn’t have the kill fee clause, asked the publication to use a pen name instead of his own.


It is extremely important that writers understand copyright laws. If you don’t, then please, go out and do some research.

In the case of your contract, it should always state that ownership remains with the author. If it doesn’t, you probably have a problem.

If you’ve sold ‘all rights’ then ownership is no longer yours.

Publication Date:

Many contracts will state the date that the publication expects to run your story. They may even give an end date. In my contract with Arabella, it stated that if the story was not run (published) within twelve months, the rights reverted back to me, and I still got to keep the payment.

Strange as it may sound, it actually does happen. I have another friend who sold a story to a major women’s magazine in Australia, and two years after she sold it, the story still hadn’t run. She called them, and was told they’d ‘lost’ the story.

They sent her a letter of confirmation that the rights had reverted back to her. And yes, she sold it again – as ‘first rights’ again, since it was never published.

Other things to look out for:

For book contracts, make sure there’s a clause in case the publisher goes bust. In my contract it states that if the publisher closes its doors, or goes into liquidation (or similar) the rights refer back to me.

This is a very important clause to check. A number of writers have had to wait for seven years for their books to revert back to them after a publisher has gone bust. Some writers have gone to court over the clause, but still had to wait for the period to expire.

Please, for your own peace of mind, ensure your contract includes the liquidation clause. (Remember the writer whose book was sold in large print? She had that seven year clause too. She can’t resell that book, and she’s still got another five years to wait before she can shop it around.)

I also have a clause stating my publisher only has the rights to my book for two years. That means I can shop the book around after two years if I’m not happy with my publisher. Or, if I’m happy, I can renew my contract with the same publisher, and they can continue to sell the book.

Also check that the contract has a ‘release’ clause. If, for example, your book is due for release in February 2005, but still hasn’t been released in December 2005, if it’s covered in your contract, you can pull out from that publisher without penalty. If there is no mention of it, then you’ve got no come-back whatsoever; you’ll just have to wear it. And if that’s the case, and they decide to release it three years down the track instead, there’s not a thing you can do about it.

One more clause that you may wish to consider is in regard to royalties. You need to have the right to have the publisher’s accounts reviewed if you feel your royalties have been paid incorrectly, whether erroneously or intentionally. In most cases, if it is found that the royalties have been withheld, costs are the responsibility of the publisher. If they are found to be correct, costs are paid by the author. (And this should be stated in the contract)


Ensure you understand the aspects of your contract. It is desirable that it’s in layman’s terms, and not legal jargon – which will make it impossible for you to understand without legal representation.

* Check over your contract at least three times.
* Highlight anything you don’t understand or are unhappy about.
* Discuss them with your publisher.
* Keep all correspondence to and from your publisher for future use.
* Always keep a ‘paper trail’ that can be followed. (Even if it’s on the computer!)
* If you don’t feel comfortable with something, there’s probably a reason.

Cheryl Wright is an award-winning Australian author and freelance journalist. In addition to an array of other projects, she writes a monthly travel column for a magazine in the US and is the author of "Think Outside the Square: Writing Publishable (Short) Stories" and "I Wanna Win! – Tips for Becoming an Award Winning Writer". (Both available from Her debut novel "Saving Emma" will be released January 2005. Visit Cheryl’s website

Freelance Job of the Day

Freelance editors (Hercules, Calif.): Bio-Rad Laboratories' Life Science Group is seeking freelance technical editors and copyeditors in its Marketing Communications department. The majority of work is on-site in Hercules, CA (in the San Francisco East Bay area), though working hours are very flexible. Projects range from promotional fliers and product catalogs to technical publications, which follow in-house style guidelines. Applicants should be familiar with biotechnology and with applications and products used in life science research. A strong science background is preferred for the technical editor positions, as demonstrated by an advanced degree, research experience, or writing or editing of life science publications. Online editing experience and familiarity with QuarkXPress software are preferred, and familiarity with review and management of Web-based content is a plus. Information about our products can be found on our web site, Samples of our publications in PDF format can be found under the link to literature/software. To apply, please mail or e-mail a resume and samples of editing work to Pat Jensen, Marketing Communications, Bio-Rad Laboratories, 2000 Alfred Nobel Drive, Hercules, CA 94547; e-mail
(Posted 2/7/05)

This is just one of 27 new freelance writing leads subscribers received in their email inboxes this morning. If you’d like to subscribe and haven’t done so yet, you can click here to subscribe. Please note, you do not need a PayPal account to make payments through PayPal. However, if you feel more comfortable, you can send check or money order payments to David Copeland, 2008 Altmar Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15226.

For those of you who want to pay through PayPal but don’t want the automatic renewal option, click here.

The text version

Many of you want a text-only version, and let me assure you I am working hard to make everyone happy on that front. If you are someone who prefers a text-only version, please email me, as it looks like I will have to start making two separate emails each day.

There is no need to email me if you are happy with the html version. Also please keep in mind that this will probably take a few days to get up and running.

Quote for Tuesday

Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or jargon word if you can think of an everyday British equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbaric.

- George Orwell

Monday, February 07, 2005

Write Your Way To Regular Work

© Cheryl Wright 2003 – All rights reserved

From the day I decided to freelance, I knew that a column was the best option for me, that I would thrive on having a goal each month; I am the Queen of Goals. No kidding!
I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions. Nope, resolutions are made to be broken. But goals? That’s another thing altogether.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve set goals for myself; never huge ones, but always do-able goals. For instance, in February 2003 I set a goal to be writing a regular (preferably monthly) column or article by the end of 2004. By mid-May 2003, I had secured a monthly travel column.

I love writing humour, so that was my next goal – to get a regular outlet for short humour articles. I set about finding a suitable place to vent my funny bones. In a matter of weeks, I had a bi-monthly humour column.

Okay, I hear you - it’s not as easy as it sounds. Or is it?

In both cases, I found a publication that interested me, and wrote to the editor. Unsolicited.

Many zeons ago I thought you had to wait for the publication to be calling for submissions. Not so. Find a publication you would like to write for, do your research (who is their target readership, what is their theme, etc), then contact the editor. Tell her about your previous publications (if you don’t have any clips, don’t worry – just don’t tell them!) and why you want to write for them.

Hmmm. Perhaps I should word that better. "Hey, I’d love a regular income!" would not thrill an editor. You need to show what you can do for her.

In the case of my travel articles, I approached the editor by email. I’m talking US - regional publication. Their target readers are in the local area; they highlight local places of interest such as restaurants, run gardening features, discuss local history, highlight local art and cultural events, and the list goes on. All local information.

So what could an Australian writer living in Australia do for this publication?

I offered to write about places of interest in Australia that could not be found in a travel brochure; places the locals are more likely to go to, but overseas visitors would probably never hear about.

I made it clear in my query that this was not to be a one-off. I wrote: "I propose a regular, monthly article" – and that’s exactly what I got.

And the best thing about this particular gig is that I get to go to some of the best places in Australia that loads of other people will never see. I do heaps of research on each place, I take gazillions of photos (digital cameras are fantastic!) and take loads of notes as well as using my digital voice recorder wherever possible.

And that adds up to reslant, rewrite, resell, more money!


Because I’ve already done the research, I can now rewrite my articles using another slant, different photos, perhaps even changed quotes, and sell my articles to a whole new publication, or two, or three, or even more; I don’t, and won’t, have to research all over again.

Next time you read a magazine or newspaper, think "what can I do for this publication?" - you might just find yourself a regular income.

About the author: Cheryl Wright is an Australian author and freelance journalist. In addition to an array of other projects, she writes a monthly travel column for a magazine in the US and is the author of "Think Outside the Square: Writing Publishable (Short) Stories". (Available from: Her debut novel "Saving Emma" will be released January 2005. Visit Cheryl’s website

Friday, February 04, 2005

Freelance Job of the Day

Freelancers required: Profile magazine is looking for reputable freelance writers, photographers and illustrators to help them with an exciting new venture. Writers should be well-versed in typical lifestyle department topics: relationships, sex, dating, fashion, beauty, health, city life, travel, at-home (movies, music, food, wine). Profile magazine is a new lifestyle publication and the first of its kind to embrace the importance of dating in any relationship, new or old. We are dedicated to providing men and women with valuable content that captures the unique characteristics of the opposite sex. Keeping the focus on coupling, Profile magazine uses its pages to explore the dynamics of style, beauty, food, travel, home entertaining and sex on a relationship. Ms. HANNAH LITMAN
(Posted 2/3/05)

Quote for Friday

After all, let us not be too scornful of fame; nothing is lovelier, unless it be virtue.
Achilles exists only thanks to Homer. Take away the art of writing from this world, and most likely you will take away its glory

- Herman Melville

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Freelance Job of the Day

Freelance researcher for C-Span (San Francisco): C-SPAN is seeking a freelance, part-time San Francisco-based programming representative, who is an aggressive, non-partisan, self starter, to assist C-SPAN in identifying public affairs(including non-fiction book) events in San Francisco. Will establish and maintain contact with colleges, think tanks, bookstores, press clubs, media and public policy organizations. Should have knowledge of and interest in C-SPAN and public affairs. Experience required: Work experience in journalism, ability to approach the work in a non-partisan way, knowledge of C-SPAN and current events. How to apply: Please visit our website at and click the "Jobs" link.
(Posted 2/1/05)

This is just one of 19 new job leads readers of Freelance Daily received today. Subscribers receive an average of 25 job leads each day, for just $19.95 per year (regularly $29.95).

Quote for Thursday

Dollars damn me; and the malicious Devil is forever grinning in upon me, holding the door ajar…What I feel most moved to write, that is banned – it will not pay. Yet altogether, write the other way I cannot. So the product is the final hash, and all my books are botches.

- Herman Melville

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Get Yourself A Web Site

by Sarah Dopp

In this quick-search, online publishing age, your image is probably already on the web whether you like it or not. You can gain control of it by building your own website. If you don’t already know how a website can benefit you, take a look at the following list:

The Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Website
10. Portray yourself as an expert in your field.
9. Make your resume available.
8. Create a regular column and attract newsletter subscribers (build your fan club!).
7. List your book tour and public speaking dates.
6. Sell your books and articles.
5. Display samples of your writing.
4. Give people a way to find and contact you easily.
3. Show off your character with photos of your latest brilliant hobby.
2. Blog your heart out.
1. Make people come to you.

First, browse the web for freelance writers’ sites. There are a lot of good and bad websites out there. Use them to identify your tastes. What do you like? What do you dislike? What could you be doing with your own website?

Build your website.

If you have modest ambitions, you may be able to get by with pre-designed templates on free (or cheap) community websites. This is a great way to get started. Just make sure they won’t limit your style.

Otherwise, at the minimum for a professional website, you’ll need to buy a domain name ( and some space on the web (a.k.a. “hosting”). Your domain name should be under $10/year and your hosting under $10/mo. Make sure your domain name is reasonably easy for people to spell and remember.

Your next concerns are graphic design and coding. Take an inventory of all of your creative and technical friends. Would any of them be willing to build you a website in exchange for a weekend ski trip? If not, size up your time and money resources. You may want to just pick up some software and start learning. This may take a few months, but it will also give you a great new topic to write about! If your time is precious, start looking up professionals. Research them well. Let your needs and tastes do the choosing, rather than your sense of convenience.

Throughout this process, keep in mind that the quality of your website will reflect the quality of your work. If you have to settle for a mediocre website, don’t.

Use your website.

Your job now is market your website. Tell all your friends. Include your URL in your bio and contact information. Post it on Craig’s List. List it in directories. Trade links with other websites who reach a similar audience. Soon, search engines will pick up on your presence and your reputation will grow.

You’ll be surprised at where you can go from there.

Sarah Dopp is a freelance writer who keeps her day job as a web developer. Her business, Autumn Technical Designs (, helps individuals and small businesses build their professional presence on the web affordably and creatively.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Freelance Job of the Day

Freelance editors: Business book publisher seeks freelance editors to help turn interviews into book content. Editor is responsible for taking the text from the interview and turning it into cohesive, flowing content (in first person) that can be used as a stand-alone book chapter. Editor has ability to cut text, move parts around, and even add words to help bridge ideas. Final edited chapter ends up being 5-10 pages (8.5 by 11, single spaced). Each interview should take about 4-5 hours to complete, pay is $75 per interview. Please email with cover letter, resume and availability (in terms of how many you could handle a week-looking for people available at least 20 hours a week). Position to be done remotely.
(Posted 1/31/05)

Quote for Tuesday

Never buy an editor or publisher a lunch or a drink until he has bought an article, story or book from you. This rule is absolute and may be broken only at your peril.

- John Creasey