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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Monday, June 02, 2008

 

Overwhelmed

We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.
-Calvin Coolidge


The last week of school, with all of the activities, projects, and parties; a time-consuming coordinator position with the kids' swim team; a handful of writing assignments, both recurring and new. These are the factors in my currently crazed schedule. Life is good, just full.

We all have times of super-busyness, where hours and days are swallowed whole by our to-do lists. For me, I know this state is temporary, with a calmer schedule on the horizon. In the meantime, here are a few things I'm trying in the face of overwhelm:

*Picking one thing from my various responsibilities to tend to, and staying present with it. In other words, focusing on one task to completion versus a little of this and a little of that. It's satisfying to cross something off the list.

*Maintaining perspective. All is well. I'm grateful for all of the people and projects going on in my life. Instead of "too much work," I can remind myself of the opportunities and blessings that each situation provides.

*Prioritizing. Certain things have due dates, other things can be done less quickly, even though I tend to take everything (too) seriously.

*Taking breaks when I can. Even short ones to stretch after too much computer time make a difference. Letting myself stop to have lunch and do the crossword puzzle (my relaxer) allows me to face my work anew.

*Squeezing in some fun. A half hour meet-up with some friends at the local coffee shop really revives me. It also helps to have some things to look forward to, even a plan to watch a DVD with my husband later in the evening.

*Exercising. This really dissipates stress for me. Particularly outside exercise like a walk or a run. I should also include "clean eating" here, but I tend to turn to snacks and treats when I'm anxious. I know I'd have more energy if I ate right, though!

*Asking for help. Most of what I'm working on is up to me to handle. But even asking my family to give me some extra alone time so that I can get some projects done, counts as support.

There. I've crossed another thing off the list: my blog post!

--MP

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

 

Walk the Line: Critiquing Another’s Work

by Susan L. Eberling

“ ‘. . . George took Christina into his arms as the sun set into the ocean. They kissed and they knew they would always be together.’ Well, that’s the end of my story. What do you think?”

A good friend sits before you, waiting for an answer. Her eyes are full of hope, expectation, and a twinkle of fear. This writer has waited all day, all week, maybe all month to come to writers’ group and hear what you have to say about her short story.

So what are you going to say?

Critiquing another’s work can feel like walking on a dangerous precipice. On one hand, no story in its first draft is complete or perfect, major revisions are always needed. But, if careful, you can point your friend towards tightening the plot, increasing suspense, or developing characters. On the other hand, a story just shared is like your friend’s baby, her emotions will be tied up in what you say about her writing, both good and bad.

So how do you walk this high road of giving honest criticism that makes a piece of writing better and while being sensitive to the writer’s feelings? Here are four suggestions for careful walking as you give feedback and criticism:

• Use a checklist

Plot, setting, point of view, conflict. These are objective aspects of any piece of fiction. You can evaluate the plot of your friend’s piece without foisting your opinion on her work. Plot is a literary device that needs to be strong and clear in any piece of fiction. Help your friend evaluate the strength of her plot, or the details of her setting, or the reasonableness of the conflict. By focusing on these devices that create good fiction, you will be giving her thoughtful, specific suggestions to consider. Victory Crayne has a great checklist and tips for critiquing at www.crayne.com.

• Admit your filters

Your friend just shared her romantic short story with you, but you hate romantic literature. Tell her. Crayne says, “Let the author know if this is not your favorite type of story. This may help them better understand your viewpoint. Things you do not like in the story may very well appeal to a fan of that genre.”

Let your friend know that in your world romance is not on your top 10 list of things to read. This way if you start to seem disdainful, she will know that it is not about her and her writing, it is about your own style and preferences.

• Create a safe haven

“It’s easy to easy to tear a piece of writing to shreds,” say Charlie Schulman in The Portable MFA in Creative Writing, “but being critical in a positive, tactful and constructive manner takes time and careful consideration.” Set aside a good chunk of time to hear the writer’s story or to read a copy of the story on your own. Simply skimming the piece or not listening attentively could lead to snap judgments or misunderstanding of the style or theme of the piece. Also, create an environment where risk is tolerated and even bad writing can be nurtured into good writing. Schulman encourages critics to “balance support with challenging suggestions”.

• Major on the majors

Unless your friend’s story is on the way to the publisher’s in the morning, use your critiquing opportunity to analyze the bigger issues of style, characterization, plot and theme. Leave grammar and punctuation until the end of a critique or a later draft.


Critiquing is about encouragement and calling each other out to be better writers. Everyone wins when you are honest about the faults and flaws of a fellow writer’s story yet able to keep her hope alive that someday, after revision, she will have a draft of a story that she can be proud of. Hopefully, through your example, others will walk the same line for you as you share your work.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

 

365 Days a Year

We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. As a matter of fact, if you ask my husband what date it falls on, he probably wouldn’t be able to tell you.

And I like it that way.


Why? Because he believes we shouldn’t cherish each other on only one day out of an entire year.
We have a special ritual that I believe will keep us happily married all the way into the fairytale sunset.

Each morning, and at different times throughout the day, my husband will ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?” And, after my either yes or no reply, I ask him the same question.


Beyond the obvious and tangible benefit of having a quick errand run or a particular meal prepared, offering to do “anything” for each other is a constant reminder of why we got married in the first place. Love and devotion.
And I’ll take that over a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers any day.

This is the kind of support that writers so desperately need—especially writers who are juggling a household: children, domestic responsibilities, and those who work outside of the home as well. The encouragement and support of a loving spouse helps make what we do possible.


So, today, take a break from the computer. Hold up a quick “one-minute” index finger to quiet your chatty characters, push the freelance querying aside, and spend some much needed couple time with your significant other.

If you are single, this is the perfect time to treat yourself to a break. Do something today that makes you blissfully happy. Whether you have fun with good friends or take some quiet time to nurture your soul, be good to yourself.


The writing will be waiting for you tomorrow.


BLOG LOVE
I’d like to thank all of the ladies who offered to promote my memoir, The Break-Up Diet, on their blogs today!

Please stop by and show them some traffic love and read what they are all about.
It's a wonderful and diverse group of ladies with so many great resources to share. Check out their links below.

Allie Boniface
http://allieboniface.blogspot.com/

Angelique H. Caffrey
http://recessforwriters.blogspot.com

Sue Donckels
http://inkbridge.blogspot.com/

Valerie Fentress
www.valeriefentress.com/index.php/blog/

Jennifer Flatten
http://jelf-writes.com/author/jelfwrites/

Sarabeth Gordon
http://nothpnowmommy.blogspot.com

Cher'ley Grogg
http://www.freewebs.com/cherley/index.htm

Cathy Hall
http://cathychall.blogspot.com

Irvina Kanarek http://honestchitchat.wordpress.com

Chynna Laird http://www.ctlaird.bravejournal.com


Tammie McElligott
http://tammiemcelligott.blogspot.com

Anne-Marie Nichols
http://www.thismamacooks.com

Cherie Redinoz
www.over-it.blogspot.com

Debbie Ridpath Ohi
http://www.inkygirl.com (interview)

Lea Schizas
http://branchesoflife.blogspot.com/

Nancy Sharpe
http://nancysharpe.blogspot.com/

Luann Womack
http://foodhistories.blogspot.com

Sandra Vilar http://ssserenity.blogspot.com


Thank you, ladies, for making this a fun and interesting promotion!

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