Monday, January 11, 2010

 

Still Time to Set Resolutions

by LuAnn Schindler

We're not quite half way into the first month of the new year, so if you haven't taken time yet to develop a list of writing goals, don't worry. There's still time. But instead of procrastinating (do writers do that?), take a good look at what you accomplished last year and where you want to direct your energies this year.

Unsure where to start? Here are a few ideas I implemented last year and a couple I plan to complete in 2010. Consider it a productivity map.
  1. Submission / Time Tracker: I used to keep track of submissions and queries by creating a folder in the document section on my computer. Sure, it showed who I sent it to, but I wanted to be able to use a tracking system so I could list experts and interviewees, possible publications for submissions, type of submission (feature, how-to, FOB), time spent on research and writing, and publication and payment info. I revamped a query tracker previously posted on Premium Green (WOW!'s premium subscription newsletter) and it makes my life so much easier! I've used the system to come up with new article ideas based on information from experts, which increases the bottom line. It's a win-win! How do you keep track of submissions and amount of time spent on each article or work?
  2. Data Backup: I need to work on this one. Do you? I have CDs filled with photos and flash drives loaded with documents. Now, I need to get it all in one place. Thanks to the data backup program that came with my laptop, I will now be able to keep all my files safe and accessible. What do you use to backup photos and writing files?
  3. Project Deadlines: Do you have a large project that seems like you'll never complete? Don't worry. You're not alone. Unless we writers set a deadline for major projects, we'll likely let them continue throughout the year. That's not healthy for a writer's bottom line. Set deadlines, whether it's writing a set amount of words per day, a certain number of pages, or a certain amount of time. Use a planner or calendar to mark the deadlines. The brain makes a stronger connection and gives a stronger sense of urgency to those tasks we note as being important. How do you track deadlines?
  4. Network: Establishing relationships with other writers and editors is important. It's also important to continue to make new contacts. I plan to send three queries to new markets every week in 2010. I also plan to step up my social networking campaign. How will you build or increase your network?
  5. Website: Do you have a web presence? About four years ago, I started a website, but I wasn't happy with the design and eventually, I quit adding material to it. And then, I got married and I never updated the site to include my new last name. In 2010, I will create a new website and keep it updated. I'll keep my blogs updated, too. Do you have a website to promote your skills and expertise? If so, what's one new element you can add to market your skills and reach new audiences/clients?
  6. Skills: As a teacher, I have to update my repertoire of skills and learn new methods to reach students. As a writer, I have to update my repertoire of skills and learn new methods to reach editors and readers. I'm enrolling in a one-hour credit class for web design and animation. I'm also teaching a writer's workshop for a local community college. How will you improve your skills?
  7. Fresh Ideas: Ever feel like all your articles/blog posts/storylines are the same? Challenge yourself by tackling a new subject, writing from a different perspective, or trying a different genre. I've already written a piece and submitted it to a market I never would have considered before. But, once I saw the potential for earning money, I decided to try. And guess what. I enjoyed it! How will you challenge yourself in 2010?

Having a road map for the new year will keep you on the "write" track, push you to try new ventures, and make you accountable for your successes and failures. Set goals for a productive 2010.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

 

Premium Green: A Supportive Network and Markets Galore!


WOW!'s Premium-Green isn’t just market listings, it’s a guide with community benefits. For only $4 a month, you get a 100+ Page Ebook delivered to your inbox each month, and you’ll have access to a private community of women writers just like you!

The 100+ page ebook has fiction markets, nonfiction markets, markets for women, anthologies, contests, niche markets, new freelance jobs, interviews with editors and freelancers, tips for being a writing mama, and tips from working freelance writers.

We know that becoming a freelance writer takes more than just market listings. You’ll need the opportunity to network with your peers and a support system to help you reach your goals. And that’s exactly what your Premium-Green Markets Subscription will do.

The best part of your $4.00 a month is not even the 100+page ebook, although it is awesome. (And when you subscribe for a year for only $48, you have access to all 26 previous ebooks full of markets and interviews. That's a bargain!) Anyway, the best part of this subscription is a listserv you automatically belong to when you subscribe called the PG boards. I thought I would show you an example of a very informative and supportive conversation that was on the PG boards this month:

Writer One: I write regularly for a regional magazine. My contract to date has allowed me to reprint my work three months after it is published in the magazine. They sent a new contract yesterday. This one says. . .(writer one quotes the part of her contract she's questioning). Am I reading this right? They are asking me to sign away all rights? There's no way I can agree to this. They could make a book of my work, publish it, and I'd gain nothing. Has anyone seen anything like this before? What did you do? I am going to call them to try to renegotiate. Sigh.

Writer Two in response: Did they offer more money for all rights? I'm guessing not, but even if they did, this contract sounds very one-sided. Not only can they edit, reprint, and distribute, but they reserve the right to offer the rights to a third party. I'm assuming that means they can SELL your rights and receive the money themselves, and it means you have no control over what kind of mag your work might appear in next. Definitely call and see what's going on. Maybe you can re-negotiate or at least strike or modify a few phrases.

Writer Three: They've opened negotiations, in my book. Since they are asking for all rights, you need to ask for more money in exchange for the extra piece of the pie they want. They want more - you want more. The average writer would take this and run. While I don't mind selling all rights to most magazine markets (few of them I'll ever use again anyway), I'd want to be compensated for the privilege.

Writer Four: This is the first time I have seen a print periodical take this stance. Almost every digital publication requires you to sign a similar agreement. Reason is, they recognize the coming value in having a backlog of ready content online, and - you're right - for books and ebooks. With the electronic readers coming of age in the next couple of years, it will become easy to sell material as "e" formats. Publishers are preparing. I think we'll see more of that. I, personally, wouldn't agree to such a contract for work I contribute regularly. Maybe on a one-shot article. Kudos to you for reading the thing - many writers don't. Bottom line is, the rights to my work are valuable to me - I won't give them away. If someone wanted to buy all rights, the price would be significant. I just launched a new project 100% based on writing I have done over the past four years. Good thing I own the rights!

Writer One (responding to all who responded to her original question): Good info everyone. Thanks. I agree with you. Most of the time I am willing to write a new story. I have lots of words inside me! I've decided to dig my heels in regarding two situations here. I write a first-person column (essay) for the magazine. Often the stories I tell are very personal. I won't sign them away. Second, I do food articles where I come up with original recipes. I won't sign off rights to my own unique recipes. I've sent this information, in a kind message, to "corporate." We'll see what the lawyers say.

So, as you can see from this actual example of a recent WOW! PG discussion, you can find support on the PG boards and knowledgeable freelancers working in the field. If you have a question or problem, chances are someone from Premium-Green can answer it or knows someone who can. Plus you get the 100+page ebook for $4.00 a month.

PG members will sometimes post contest information or submission calls on the PG boards only and no where else. Recently, there were discussions about ghostwriting and how much to charge, starting a hometown blog, questions about getting paid from a certain market, and a proud mom sharing a beautiful poem her daughter wrote!

If you don't know what to get a writer this holiday season, try a Premium-Green subscription. Or if your spouse or significant other is still wondering what to get you. . .here's the answer. And your subscription is an expense to build your writing career, so you can claim it on your taxes!

Happy Holidays!
Margo Dill
http://margodill.com/blog/
Read These Books and Use Them

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Friday, September 26, 2008

 

Putting Yourself Out There As A Writer

By Jill Earl

Some time ago, I wrote about the benefits of membership in local writers’ associations, such as attending conferences, becoming part of critique groups, and taking advantage of networking opportunities. It’s the latter that I struggle with.

Why? Because it means coming out of my comfort zone big time. Others don’t believe me when I tell them I’m introverted, because I can extrovert when necessary. One friend has said that she’s amazed at how I can ‘work the room’ at gatherings we’ve attended.

The fact is, we writers must put ourselves out there to let the world know we exist. How else will they learn about us and our work, read what we produce, hear our voices?

Later tonight, I’ll help man the Maryland Writers’ Association (MWA) booth at my favorite September event, the Baltimore Book Festival. Along with fellow members, I’ll spend a few hours chatting up the organization with festival-goers and share my experiences with MWA. Afterwards, I’ll slip into the crowd to enjoy my yearly book festival fix.

It's another chance to learn how to network effectively and well, a necessary skill in the writing life. And I enjoy meeting new people.

Can you relate? If so, what are some ways you’ve dealt with putting yourself out there? I’d love to hear from you.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

 

Internships: Not Just For College Anymore

By Jill Earl

Recently, I’ve had a number of conversations concerning my internship with WOW! Women On Writing. The two most frequent questions:

“Cool! How’d you find that?”

or

“Aren’t they for college?”

Not at all. Online internships can be a valuable resource in building a writer’s skills, adding experience and gathering clips for the portfolio. They’re worth a look.

Aren’t They For College?

As an English major, I hoped to participate in a writing internship or co-op during college. Since I was a full-time older student who also worked to support herself, that wasn’t an option.However, I discovered that the communications division of the Christian campus group I belonged to was looking for interns for the fall, but my application was forwarded to their media production division because they felt that that could be a better fit for me.

I was accepted, and the fall after graduation, moved to Wisconsin. As a production intern, I wrote scripts, assisted in filming video pieces, and transcribed interviews, among other tasks. Once I returned to my home state, family obligations restricted travel, so I searched for online opportunities.

As a result, I worked as a research assistant for Writer Mama author Christina Katz. And currently, I intern for WOW!, blogging monthly and assisting with the Premium-Green newsletter.

How Did You Find That?

I found my internships because I subscribe to the WOW! and Writers On the Rise (Christina Katz’s) newsletters and applied for their calls for interns. Your favorite search engine will yield numerous writing newsletters to check out and possibly register for. Look into others such as:

Newbie Writers
The Practicing Writer
Writer Gazette
Freelance Writer Online International

You may not find something right away, but performing a through search may yield the opportunity you’re looking for.

So if you’re looking for ways to develop and expand your writing skills, consider an online internship. They’re not just for college anymore.

Jill Earl

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