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
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.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Using Hashtags to Increase Sales & Choices

This explanation of hashtags [#] was shared on Internet Writing Workshop last December by Rasmenia Massoud. She submitted this guest blog o share it with you.

"First ~ Hashtags are the number sign [#] followed by words.

Hashtags function to help one start to perhaps find or build an audience. It's a start even if your article ranks 300th in the pile.

The #anywordinsertedhere allows readers to search subjects- at least on Twitter and Facebook. Ie: putting #faith or #fiction or whatever in your post will lump your written piece into that category, allowing it to appear if someone does that kind of search.

Example: Say I put #faith into my FB post. "I am writing a #faith based book entitled XYZ." If someone put #faith into the SEARCH feature, my post would come up as a 'hit'.

I'm not sure how it would rank among the millions of other #faith hashtags, but that's how you get included.

Hashtags are handy to connect specific topics together on social media outlets. They can be used on FB, Twitter, and Instagram to great effect.

For my own part, I primarily use them on Instagram. When I post a photo and add the hashtag #comicbooks, it connects me with other comic book fans outside of my own circle of friends and followers.

If you post on Facebook something like: Working on my new anthology. #amwriting #christian #fiction.

Then anyone searching for #christian will bring up a whole list of posts with that  tag, including yours.

Also, if you click on your own tags, you can find others who are interested in the same thing. It's a great way to connect people and expand on a larger conversation. Play around with it a little - if you see a hashtag on someone's post, click on it and have a look see."

Rasmenia Massoud

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Publications Submission Timelines

Lynne M. Hinkey

Lynne M. Hinkey, author and marine scientist and long-time member of Internet Writing Workshop [IWW], says, "Different publications have different submission timelines. Some accept continuously, some list the themes of upcoming issues and ask you only submit stories meeting the theme, others have specific query/submission periods based on publication times (monthly, quarterly, annually, biennial)."

She keeps a list of publications based on the yahoos posted on IWW that have exposed her to markets and publications she might never have found otherwise.
Hinkley said, "One of IWWs most successful short story writers is probably Wayne Scheer." She suggests joining IWW so you, too, can keep a look out for his yahoos to get your own list started.

Hinkley also said, "Of course, we have Google which can be a writer's best friend if used well. I just searched for 'publications for short stories.' That came back with 4,310,000 results. The first 3 are:

1. Short Story Magazines: Where to Submit Short Stories:  25 Magazines and Online Publications:

2. How (and where) to Get a Short Story Published:

3. 46 Literary Magazines to Submit to:

IWW Yahoos and Google are how she's found homes for the short stories she's had published. She's been paid for about 1/2 of them.

Hinkley also says, "Rejections can be helpful. Almost every successful writer out there has a story about how many hundreds of rejections they received first.

"Rejections can tell us either we, as a writer, or our story, isn't quite
 ready. I think it was someone on IWW who posted---way back when I joined in 2005 or 6--that until you've written a million words (that have been tucked in a drawer, only shared with family and friends, or rejected) you aren't ready to be published.

"On that bit of advice that stuck with me, I have 3 novels tucked away in drawers that never saw the light of day. (OK, I did share one--I'm embarrassed to say now--with a few friends. It deserved to stay in the drawer.)

"I just Googled that bit of advice (Google search: "Write one million words before publishing") and got a number of interesting articles. Karen Woodward's website summarizes the quote, who it's been attributed to, and its general history.)

"That's not to say you or any of us aren't ready to be published, only an interesting item I picked up on the IWW list that's stayed with me all this time.)

Good luck!"
              Lynne M. Hinkey
 Author, Marine Scientist, Curmudgeon

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Interview Freelance Editors Before Making Your Commitment

In her guest blog, editor and author, Jeannette de Beauvoir, gives the following advice.
"My recommendation is to "interview" three editors. This is a special and important relationship. Many of us editors do offer a sample edit of a page or two along with comments about the manuscript in general.

"I do two passes; other editors vary in their process. Choose three, ask them questions about how they'd work with you, if they've edited in your genre before, etc., etc.

"You can generally find a plethora of great candidates through the
Editorial Freelancers Association. You can post your project there and then see who seems to be the right editor for you. That's a lot less anecdotal and hit-or-miss than other ways of finding someone."

Jeannette is a long-time member of Internet Writing Workshop.

Jeannette de Beauvoir writes mystery, historical, and general fiction; her  novels. Read more about her work on Goodreads, her Amazon author page, Facebook, and her website. She offers editing services through CustomlineWordware and is the founder and director of the Cape Cod Writing Workshops.

Monday, November 27, 2017

How to Choose a Book Title That Sells

Welcome to the Write Way Café , where you'll find author Bill Brier's wonderful article, "How To Choose A Book Title That Sells,  published November 2, 2017.
Bill Brier is a member of Mystery Writers of America. His novels include The Devil Orders Takeout and the first book in his The Killer Who mystery series, The Killer Who Hated Soup. Book Two of the mystery series, The Killer Who Wasn’t There, is scheduled for release February 24, 2018.

 Enjoy his wildly entertaining blog, The Brier Patch.

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

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What Are Really Your Rights?

Wondering about your rights to previously published work, and where you might sell it? Trish Hopkins posted an excellent article about it on her website. The information in her post is great for writer's as well as poets.

Hopkin's website, Trish Hopkinson, A selfish poet, is certainly well worth every poet's time to visit frequently.

Tip: Both websites were slow to load on my browser, but my patience paid off.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Make Your Character Enlarge Their Role via Character Folding

The Delicate Art of Character Folding,by Rebecca Makkai, explains the idea behind converting multiple characters into a single person. To  begin with, Rebecca felt the need totrim the number of characters in a novel she was writing.

You'll find a wealth of information by studying The Delicate Art of Character Folding, published May 13th in The Masters Review Blog, whose mission is to support emerging writers.

Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the short story collection Music for Wartime, and of the novels The Hundred-Year House, and The Borrower, a Booklist Top Ten Debut which has been translated into eight languages. She's also taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop, Tin House, and Northwestern University.