Thursday, January 3, 2019

Volunteers Needed at Ageless Authors


 Ageless Authors  needs volunteer judges for submissions to the current Senior Writing Contest. It's EntryTime for Senior Writing Contest, accepting submissions through March 15, 2019.


The easiest way to sign up as a judge is to email larry@agelessauthors.com with name, address and phone number.
 
Categories include four prose categories – memoir, humor, adventure, and romance – as well as poetry. Please state a category preference.


Each entry is read and scored by two or more judges, and those entries that reach the finals are usually scrutinized by four or more evaluators. Judges have the opportunity to comment on different entries and offer suggestions on improving the submitter’s work.

Depending on the number of judges for the contest, each judge should have the time to read and evaluate between 10 and 20 entries. The most outstanding entries in this contest will be published in an anthology next year.

Discerning readers age 21 and older are vitally important as contest judges for the Ageless Authors Writing Contest. If you are an avid reader, we welcome you to judge entries from all over the world.


Prospective judges can express a preference for one of these categories. They do not have to be published writers.


Judges from past contests include editors, proofers, writers, teachers, and other professionals (mostly doctors and lawyers) as well as retired entrepreneurs and businesspeople. Judges will be divided into teams, and each team will take on a different category of writing.

Good judges are so important to this process, almost as important as having lots of high quality entries to the contest,” says Larry Upshaw, Executive Director of Ageless Authors. “The best judges are usually prolific readers or writers, but an interest in literature is all a judge needs, along with the time and patience to effectively evaluate the entries in a certain category.”
 
“Several graduate students have used our contest as class projects,” says Upshaw. “It also looks good on a resume for people wanting to work in education, publishing and media.” 
 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Ageless Authors 65 and Older


Ageless Authors was a website I learned about when a member of Internet Writing Workshop posted a message about their EntryTime for Senior Writing Contest.

Although I've never entered a contest before, I decided to give this third annual Ageless Authors international writing contest for senior writers age 65 and older a try.

Even though there is a $20 entry fee for submissions, this is the only international writing contest exclusively for older writers. Entries are being accepted  through March 15, 2019.

Ageless Authors website has much more than contests where elderly writers can learn a great deal. Chose from the menu bars on the right top corner. Add the website to your bookmarks.


If you're inclined to enter the third annual international writing contest, choose Contests at the top of the website to get the rules and guidelines.

Tip: When you follow the entry rules, be sure to enter the information in the order requested, followed by the manuscript of your entry ~ BEFORE you click send.

ie: Title of the entry
Word count of the entry
Name of entrant
Mailing address of entrant
Email address of entrant
Phone number of entrant
Bio of entrant 

Your Manuscript

As soon as you send it you'll receive a confirmation email. Good luck!

Friday, November 16, 2018

$$$ and sense of publishing specialties


Sometimes writers, caught up in the editorial content side of things, forget that publishing is by-and-large a business, with many financially-sensitive cogs in the wheel that ultimately deliver your article to the readers.

Writing for corporation's specialty publications is one career field. According to news figures Corporate America spends $14 billion producing its own publications and another $4 billion to $8 billion in postage to distribute the material. And that's only roughly half of the combined amount generated by the traditional consumer and business-to-business magazines.

Who's spending this money?

Publishing is costing health care, technology and finance businesses $510 million.

What types of publication is the money spent on?


Canyon Media has an excellent article on calculating the costs of Custom-publishing a quarterlymagazine, on average here.

The marketing and public relations departments of corporations handle the majority of custom publishing in-house.

Tip: Marketing and public relations departments need employees with writing skills.

Typically, companies produce 1.82 unique publications, each at an average frequency of 6+ times. If publications are aimed at non-company audiences, approximately 50,000 copies (20+ pages each) are printed and three quarters of those are in four-color.

Companies spend, annually, a billion dollars on these publications. Advertisers add millions to the publishing pot.


Michelle Goodman's
The Anti 9-5 Guide has an article on freelancing titled, "Do you need a freelance Portforlio site?

Associations and freelancing
National Association of Publisher's Representative (NAPR)

The Editorial Freelancers Association's site offers courses on medical copy-editing, grammar and usage, editing footnotes, picture research, interviewing and breaking into corporate communications. Followlinks, and discover a wide variety of markets, too.

For more writing and publishing information visit Access The World and Write Your Way To $$$ and Ultimate Internet Writers Directory.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Where You Generate ideas Matters


Generating ideas ~ First, use APB Speakers Bureau website as a resource to spark ideas: https://www.apbspeakers.com/.

Create an Idea Calendar where you'll keep the ideas you generate while browsing the speakers.


Double click a speaker's photo to bring up their profile. Scroll down to see a list of topics, and a wealth of information that will spark ideas for you.

What does your mind conjure when you're reading them? Think out of the box.

Read what speakers speak about, where and how to find them, and get ideas for your own articles\speaking engagements  here, https://www.apbspeakers.com/topics/all-topics/

This is also a fine resource to visit when you're writing an article for publication in a bonafide medium (on spec or assignment.)
*Do check their engagements and fees links.
*Do not contact the guests before a magazine has assigned your article.
 
You'll find plenty of variety.
 
Start with an idea.Make a note of it, or a few pages of notes.
  1. File it in a folder labeled, Idea Folder.
  2. Put it away and jot your next idea note on a separate paper.
  3. File it in your Idea Folder.
  4. Continue to jot down and file ideas as they come to you.
TIP: Use a titled contest/or categories for this assignment and double the use of your time.
  • Select one idea from your Idea Folder.
  • Brainstorm and topic spoke the idea. (*See Topic Spoke handout.)
  • Consult a Writer's Market, new or old - it doesn't matter much at this point.
  • What you're looking for are categories.
You might also browse other market directories such as Working Press of the Nation, Religious Writer's Marketplace, Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory, etc. Most are available at the reference desk of libraries.

OLD MAGAZINES-NEWSPAPERS - www.unz.org is an excellent resource to research past publications.

There's no need to ever be at a loss for ideas.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Worry About Telling Your Story, by Jamie Wilson


Jamie Wilson, a member of Internet Writing Workshop, gives valuable advice in this guest blog.

"Don't worry about taste or any other sense. Worry about telling your story.

Start with an arrival or a departure - it introduces chaos into a balanced system and gives you instant conflict. You have this stable system - a jail or a mental institution or a home or an office - and when you introduce a single person to it (or subtract one) the social dynamic changes, often catastrophically. You can do all kinds of things with that. (This idea came from John Gardner)

Start your story with something that inspires the reader to ask a question. You want your reader to finish that first sentence. When you open like this, readers want to keep going until they get that answer. The trick to keep them moving: make sure you keep adding new questions before answering the old ones.

Give your reader a tiny little taste of the world, and then focus on a single character.  Cut out everything mundane: eating, walking, chatting about action taking place, clothing, men looking at women's bodies.
Focus on what is important. Focus on conflict, inner and outer. Look around, and use the surroundings to define your characters. Feel. Express emotion. Make things active - do not discuss what has already happened, but rather start your story in the middle of action.

 Above all else, make every word move your story toward a goal - something that happens at the end of the scene, the building of a relationship critical to the story, a plot conflict, a problem. If a word does not at minimum do that, you need to cut it out. Try to make each word do several  things - build mood, describe, move plot forward, etc.

Finish the story. Do not obsess about this stuff. Give yourself permission to write utter crap. You do not have to make every word perfect. Few writers create a stellar work the first time around, and sometimes not the tenth or hundredth time around. Most of your work is done in editing. You have to have a story written down in order to edit."

Learn more about Jamie and read her stories here:
http://jamiekwilson.com
http://www.conservativefiction.com
http://www.conservativefeminism.com

Founder, The Conservative Fiction Project
Senior Editor,
Liberty Island Media
Twitter:@jamiekwil
 
Become a member of Internet Writing Workshop for valuable help to successful writing.
 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Unfinished Poem by Joanna M. Weston

 

Joanna M. Weston, a member of Internet Writing Workshop and a widely published poet wrote this guest blog about how she works.
She titled her blog, THE UNFINISHED POEM

"I love writing poetry and read poetry most days: it is inspiration, clarification, communication and a delight.

I write a poem every day except Sunday. Then it may be a few days or weeks before I come back to the poem and, if it has no energy in it for me, I re-read with a fresh perspective. I then either delete the poem or tweak, or re-write: i.e. work on it, better able to see errors and where meaning is unclear.


I want to convey a feeling or experience to others clearly, for I believe poetry is, like all art, a form of revelation and communication.

I try to be sure that imagery is relevant, language fresh and without clichés. Phrases like 'every cloud has a silver lining' or 'after rain comes a rainbow' come so easily that sometimes it's hard to reach for a new image.

The computer's Spelling and Grammar checker is usually not helpful for poetry, so I try to ensure that subject and object, pronouns and verbs agree; that there are no extra words to muddy the focus of the poem: i.e. an unnecessary 'and', 'that', 'but' or 'then'.

I change words that have been repeated, often using Roget's Thesaurus. Adjectives and adverbs superfluous to the theme are deleted, as not every noun or verb requires a descriptive.

Line-breaks require particular attention, especially as I don't use punctuation. The best way I know to check line-breaks is to read the poem aloud, find where the natural breaks occur and use them.

Reading aloud also gives a reality check on rhythm:

·       Is the meter appropriately broken or maintained

·       Are alliteration, assonance and dissonance as effective as possible?

 All of which adds up to ensuring that the image or emotion is clear to the reader, that the devices of diction, prosody etc. enhance rather than get in the way of the intended meaning. And always I wonder whether my poem goes beyond surface conclusions to give genuine insight.

This is not to say that it is a simple task to edit my own poetry. And I rarely regard a poem as 'finished' even after it's been published.

I'm deeply indebted to the Poetry List of the International Writers' Workshop for their on-going help in critiquing my poetry, truly invaluable. Also I maintain a blog where I publish a poem every Wednesday:
http://www.1960willowtree.wordpress.com

I'm endlessly grateful to family and friends who, over the years, have pointed out typos and grammatical errors.

Joanna is married; has one cat, multiple spiders, raccoons, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses. Her middle-reader, 'Frame and The McGuire', published by Tradewind Books 2015; and poetry, 'A Bedroom of Searchlights', published by Inanna Publications, 2016. Other books are listed at her blog, where you can also read more about her.

Joanna M. Weston

A Bedroom of Searchlights poetry
 

 
 


ISBN 978-1-77133-305-4
published by Inanna Publications

 


Monday, July 30, 2018

How To Be Your Editor's Favorite Freelancer

Kathleen gave me permission to publish her article as a guest blog. Her advice is invaluable.

How To Be Your Editor's Favorite Freelancer
(c) by Kathleen Sharp

There's no secret, really. It alls boils down to one precept: editors are people, too. People with jobs. And as a freelance writer, what you do is part of their job.  Editors have bosses, deadlines and deliverables. An editor's boss does not care WHO is or is not delivering on time. The editor's boss will hold the editor personally responsible for any and all failures of production. Yours included.

To become an editor's favorite freelancer:

1.) Turn in assignments early. One day is good; two is better.
As it creeps closer to deadline, editors begin to wonder, how is my freelancer doing? I wonder if she conducted her interviews yet? Do you suppose she got all those people to return her calls? I wonder how long her story is?

By deadline day your editor is a nervous wreck unless he or she was wise enough to give you a false deadline. Put your editor out of his misery, turn the story in early.

2.) Stay in touch.
When my staff reporter is doing a story, I can walk out to the newsroom floor anytime I want, grab him by the collar and bark, "Pieper, how's that story coming?"  When I do that (this is my favorite part) he HAS to answer.

I like my freelancers to be proactive about communication. This is especially important when you are new to the editor, if you have ever let her down in the past, if the story is particularly long and complex, or if the deadline was longer than one production cycle. But editors are busy, too. Personally, I hate freelancers who need me to spend lots of time telling them what great writers they are. All I want is a quick status. A brief email will do. Like this:

"Hi. Thanks for the assignment. This morning I called the school district and left a message for the superintendent to call me."

"Hi. Just wanted to let you know the school superintendent called me back. I got the interview. The story looks like it might be as long as 1500 words. Have a nice day."

"Hi. Had a great interview with the superintendent yesterday. He thinks I should interview the district CFO. I have an appointment later today."

"Hi. The CFO was full of useful information. He has a color chart. Would you like to use it for art?"

"Hi. I know this is early, but my story is all done. I will drop by later today with the chart. Have a nice day."

3.) Read the editor's mind.
Seriously. The editor has some idea of what he wants from this article. He may -- or he may not -- share that with you. If he does not, you can coax it out of him with a few questions: What's my deadline, how long should the story be, do you want art, is there anyone in particular you want me to interview, do you have any background on this that you'd like to share?

If he answers all that, you will have read his mind.

4.) Don't deliver surprises.
Editors hate surprises. A good editor is, by definition, a control freak. Turn in the story you promised at approximately the length you promised by deadline or sooner. If something happens midway that will change the focus, scope, length or timing of the article, tell the editor as soon as possible and negotiate a new focus, length or deadline.

Last week one of my favorite freelancers called me 5 minutes before deadline to say she did not get the story. Had done nothing on it, in fact. No interviews, nothing. She knew, and I knew, and she knew I knew that she knew days ago that she was going to be late. Still, she waited until 5 minutes before deadline to tell me. So I had 5 minutes to find a 15-inch story to plug into the giant hole she left on my front page. Hey, thanks Robyn! You know that series you were going to do on the VFW? Never mind.

That's it. Four steps. Do them consistently, and --assuming you have also done your best on the article itself -- you can win a priority spot on any editor's contacts list.###

NOTE: All of the above applies only to ethical editors. Unscrupulous editors (and there are many) are low-lying snake in the grass rodents who deserve to be trampled.

My apologies to rodents everywhere ~~ KS
END
 
Kathleen Sharp
 

Kathleen is a former managing editor of a newspaper. She now writes and edits for corporate clients, and is one of the adminstrators on Internet Writing Workshop.

Become a member of the best free online group of writers: Internet Writing Workshop.