How to Submit Freelance Articles That Get Accepted in 7 Easy Steps


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Freelance articles may not always be accepted by editors. If you’ve received rejection letters, don’t stress out about it. Even if you wrote an article that’s been rejected over and over again, you can still get published. How? Let’s say you win a first place award for an article you submitted to a ‘national’ contest. This gives you leverage. Before you know it, editors will be clamoring to print your ‘award-winning’ article in their publications.

How to Submit Freelance Articles That Get Accepted in 7 Easy Steps

1. Research your subject. You’ve probably heard this a million times by now but some freelance writers need to re-read this advice. It’s important to thoroughly research a subject. After you’ve exhausted all avenues of research, write a convincing pitch and send it to an editor.

2. Research the market. This ‘piggybacks’ on Step #1. Which markets are best for your freelance articles? Make sure you read back issues before you pitch an editor. Also, read and follow submission guidelines. If a publication requires a SASE with clips (a few still do), don’t email your pitch and or query.

3. Spend time writing your query letter. Many freelance articles are rejected because of the query letter. It’s not necessary to submit a three page query letter; however, a one page query letter shouldn’t be short on details either. Write a ‘hook’ that will knock the socks off of an editor. Remember what Renée Zellweger’s character Dorothy said in Jerry Maguire, “You had me at hello.” Don’t spoil your query letter by providing an editor with the entire article. Give enough details to entice them, and don’t forget to list your credentials.

4. Send your query letter to a ‘specific’ editor. It’s important to have the correct spelling of the editor’s name. If you’re not sure how to spell an editor’s name, look it up or call the publication. Phones don’t bite!

5. Accept rejection with grace. Your freelance articles aren’t the first ones to be rejected. Many well-known freelance writers share their ‘rejection’ stories as a way to encourage aspiring writers to keep pursuing freelance writing. No writer is immune to receiving rejection letters. If you’re lucky, an editor will point out the ‘error of your way’ and offer you a chance to resubmit your freelance article.

6. Don’t write without a contract. Some freelance writers have been known to write without a contract. Don’t do this. Before you agree to write freelance articles, make sure you’ve clarified the deadline, word count, and pay rate. Ask if you’re allowed to have a ‘short bio’ at the beginning or end of the article. There must be a signed contract in place before you begin writing and interviewing sources for your freelance articles.

7. Celebrate when editors say yes to your freelance articles. Break out the champagne and celebrate when an editor accepts your pitch. Make sure you’ve clarified everything from the word count to the pay rate. Ask questions before and during writing your articles. Give yourself a ‘pat on the back’ for selling your article.

Amandah

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How to Solve the Five Challenges Freelance Writers Face When They Guest Post

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As you may know, guest blogging for websites can drive traffic to your website and showcase your freelance writing talent. It offers you the chance to share your experience with others and help solve a problem. Freelance writers receive other benefits such as having their bios at the beginning or end of their posts. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What happens when you bio becomes outdated?
  • What happens when you get married and take your partner’s name as your last name?
  • What if you decide to completely change your name?
  • How about changing your domain name?
  • What if you stopped being a freelance writer?

Change happens and freelance writers have to think about this when they become a guest blogger or article writer.

How to Solve the Five Challenges Freelance Writers Face When They Guest Post

1. Typos. Even the most experienced freelance writers experience the dreaded typo. Whether you find them in the latest Best-Selling novel by your favorite author or a blog post, they happen. If you’re lucky, a reader will notify you via email that your post has a typo. Thank the reader via email for discovering the typo then email the web master of the site where you published your guest post. It’s up to them if they want to fix it.

2. Outdated bio. Freelance writers are no strangers to change. Most begin guest posting as a way to build writing portfolios. After a few months or years, chances are bios become outdated. If you have the contact information for the web owner, you may want to contact them with your updated information. If you don’t have their contact information or it has changed, at least you still have your clips.

3. Name change. Freelance writers who get married may decide to take their partner’s last name. Don’t despair. Do you know how many actors, actresses and best-selling authors have changed their names or use a stage/pen name? There’s too many to list! When you inquire about guest posting for a website, let the owner know you were ‘formerly known as’ and give them your new name. It’s not a big deal.

4. Domain name change. It happens. People get bored with their domain name or think of a better one. Hopefully, the owner forwards the old site to the new site which can list previous blog posts or articles. If not, you have your clips.

5. The website is no longer available. People start and discontinue blogs/websites for various reasons. Think about this before agreeing to guest post. Keep copies of your ‘guest blog posts and articles’ and use them as clips when you pitch and query companies and publications.

Amandah

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How Best Selling Authors Use Facebook to Sell Their Books in 4 Easy Steps

Last week, I received my publicity email from Steve Harrison at Reporter Connection. He included an article that was mind blowing. A best-selling author wrote his new novel on Facebook. He posted daily installments of his book on Facebook and realized people were paying attention. The conversation took off, and he even named characters after some of the participants. He self-published his book after one year; it didn’t fit in with his current genre. Is it crazy that a best-selling author would write his book directly onto Facebook? Some would say, yes.

BTW: I thought Facebook ‘owned’ your content. Does or should Facebook receive royalties for the book? It truly is mind amazing and confusing at the same time.

Posting excerpts of your writing on Facebook is an online marketing technique that could make you a best-selling author. Facebook has over 800 million users and you could gain a lot of web traffic by connecting and engaging in conversations with people. The question is: Is it right for you and your book? Only you know the answer to that question.

How Best Selling Authors Use Facebook to Sell Their Books in 4 Easy Steps

1. Use Facebook’s tools to add friends who’ll be supportive of you and your writing. Check out the events and groups that are suggested to you. Fill out your profile page with pertinent information about your book such as the title and website.

2. Don’t add people or join Facebook groups impulsively. This could backfire and before you know it, your story could wind up on another’s author’s page or website. Quality is better than quantity. I see people with 500 or 800 friends and wonder, “Do they interact with all of them on a daily basis? How close are they? Are they only interested in receiving more page views?” Listen to your intuition aka your gut instinct when it comes to adding people to your network. As Steve mentioned in his article, “There are a few trolls out there.”

3. Join relevant Facebook groups that match your subject material. This is a great way to introduce you and your book. Join the conversation as much as you can and post helpful responses.

4. Don’t make every status update about you and your book. How many times have you received invites to ‘like’ a FB page or purchase a product? Where’s the value in that? Relationships have to be nurtured and developed. If you constantly ask your contacts to ‘like’ a Facebook page, you risk losing them. It’s not all about you! Post relevant links and videos that your audience wants to see.

Good luck!

Amandah

If you’re developing/writing a book, would you publish daily installments (excerpts) on Facebook? Share.

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Monday’s Creative Writing Prompt Based on 2012

Happy New Year! It’s 2012, and according to the Mayans, it should be one heck of a year. I’m kidding. Who knows what happened to the Mayans and why they couldn’t finish their calendars. Anyway … Here’s a writing prompt based on 2012 and all of the whacky and perhaps not-so-whacky predictions.

Monday’s Creative Writing Prompt Based on 2012

You’re given psychic powers and can see what will happen in 2012, write a story based on your vision.

A Mayan shaman appears before you and says he has important information to share with you, what is it?

You’re outside one night gazing at the stars. All of the sudden you see flashing lights in the sky and a whiling motion. Did you see a UFO? If so, what does it look like? Write about your experience.

What predictions would you write for 2012?

Amandah

Steal Like Oscar Wilde: Improve Your Writing and Online Presence

Are the best writers’ thieves? According to history, the answer is yes. Oscar Wilde stole from everyone. It’s speculated (some believe) that William Shakespeare didn’t write his plays, but rather Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe or Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford did. Some historians believe that Thomas Jefferson plagiarized the Declaration of Independence by stealing from John Locke. That’s John Locke, aka The Father of Liberalism, not John Locke from Lost. Good show, by the way. Anyway … I digress.

It’s illegal to violate copyright laws or claim a work of fiction or non-fiction as your own. But it’s not illegal to observe and learn from other writers and adapt whatever it is they do for your own work. After all, you’ll want to put your own ‘spin’ on anything you publish. Otherwise, it will be bogus and inauthentic.

Fiction

1. Vampires, werewolves, hybrids, witches, warlocks, outcast/loner, headhunters, magical lands, fairies, far-away lands, etc. can be found in many books. Change the names, time, setting, and tweak the plot, and you basically have the same book.

2. Mysteries are no different. Whether it’s a retired cop or rookie detective, a mystery’s a mystery. The case will be solved and it will be closed … or will it? Trilogies happen.

3. Horror is no different. Slashing, thrashing and bashing can occur throughout the pages of a book or graphic novel. Whether it’s a guy with a chainsaw or some out-of-this-world creature, the horror of it all will continue.

Tip: The best horror books don’t contain a lot of blood and guts. They build suspense and ‘suck’ you into the story. They keep you on your toes and make you want to turn the page to find out how it ends.

4. Historical novels contain the same basis of the story … history. You can’t go back and change the War of 1812 to the War of 1814. However, you can change the character names, plot, scenes, dialogue, etc.

Non-fiction

1. Have you ever been down the self-help aisle of a bookstore? Pick up a couple of books and compare them. They probably contain the same information but are packaged and written differently because people are different. An author who resonates with your friends may not resonate with you.

2. Do you know how many baby name books can be purchased online or in a bookstore? A lot. Pick up any book and you’ll find the meaning for the most popular baby names. Again, the packaging and verbiage are different but the origin of Emma is still Old French and Old German.The meaning is still entire or universal.

Let’s face it; you may think your idea is original, but the reality is another writer probably already wrote a book or screenplay using ‘your’ idea or is in the process of writing something along the same line as you. It’s the same situation with blogs and articles. It’s not a big deal because readers know what they like and will choose to ‘follow’ authors and writers who appeal to them. The key is to observe and learn from the ‘best writers’ and take what they’re doing and apply it to your own writing career. History has shown us that this happens time and time again.

Amandah

 

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Creative, Freelance and Ghost Writer Reflects on 2011 — Part II

Ah yes, 2011 will be coming to an end in a few weeks. Personally, I can’t wait to get out of this year. Most of the people I spoke with this past year have said that 2011 was not a great yea r. Even online, folks have said that 2011 was one hell of a year. For me, it was about self-reflecting on what I want out of life which includes what I want for my creative, freelance and ghost writing career. Here’s Part II of my reflections of 2011.

Amandah’s Reflections of 2011

1. Released the pressure off of me to earn a huge salary from my writing. I’m a single gal and solely responsible for earning a living and supporting me and my writing. Alas, I don’t have a trust fund worth $100 million. Bummer! As I wrote in my blog post What Advice Do You Wish You Received before Becoming a Freelance Writer?, I wish I could have spoken with a ‘seasoned’ freelance writer to learn the ‘tricks of the trade’ before I began. Then again, I wouldn’t have my experiences to pass onto to aspiring freelance writers.

In 2012, I’ll continue to seek full-time employment in creative fields, coaching/consulting, education, and real estate. I love real estate and don’t care what anyone says … it’s still a lucrative field.

2. I love story telling! I believe I’m a natural storyteller; I’ve been told I’m a natural storyteller. I love telling stories and creating different worlds and scenes. I love developing characters and often find myself drawn into their world. Sometimes this is good and sometimes it’s not so good. Getting wrapped up in the details can take me away from the big picture of a story.

I’m drawn to screenwriting because it’s straightforward and to the point. Basically, “He said; She said; He said; She said.” I also enjoy seeing a story brought to life through CGI, costumes, outstanding performances by actors and actresses, the music score, etc. When you see a movie on the big or little screen, it’s amazing to think it was created from a 90-120 page screenplay.

I do like writing YA, fiction and short stories but sometimes I get wrapped up in the details. As said above, I lose sight of the big picture. I’ll work on this in 2012. Perhaps, I’ll take more writing classes and workshops. I’d love to attend a writer’s conference.

3. Encouraging my nephew to write. I’ve encouraged my nephew to pursue writing. He was supposed to start a blog but is still thinking about his topic. Also, he’s disappointed that he hasn’t heard from a credit union about an article he submitted on how teens can earn and save money. I told him to contact the credit union; I don’t think he did. Hey! I can only do so much. I know he’s disappointed because his article was well written. I’m hoping this experience doesn’t discourage him from writing.

4. I need to sell my ideas. Do you know how many ideas I have written down? I have too many to focus on at once. I really need to ‘sell’ my ideas. I’ll check into that in 2012.

5. I need to enjoy writing more and remember ‘why’ I love to write. This coincides with Point #6 — releasing the pressure to earn a huge income from my writing. I need to relax and get back to the joy of writing. I lost this for a while, but I believe it’s coming back to me. It’s one of the reasons why I started Daily Family Antics. This blog is funny, blatantly honest, not depressing, and a lot of fun to write. No pressure!

Amandah

How was your 2011? What will 2012 be like for you? Share

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Creative, Freelance and Ghost Writer Reflects on 2011 — Part I

Ah yes, 2011 will be coming to an end in a few weeks. Personally, I can’t wait to get out of this year. Most of the people I spoke with this past year have said that 2011 was not a great yea r. Even online, folks have said that 2011 was one hell of a year. For me, it was about self-reflecting on what I want out of life which includes what I want for my creative, freelance and ghost writing career. Here’s Part I of my reflections of 2011.

Amandah’s Reflections of 2011

1. Set a goal to reach 1,200 followers on Twitter. I’m almost there; I have 1,199 diverse followers such as writers who write for the Huffington Post, CNN, and other outlets. I’m also connected with various publishers, producers, directors, production companies, screenwriters, social media consultants/companies, and media companies.

2. Start another blog where I can stretch my writing and not worry about it. I love comedy, especially TV comedies such as The Middle and Modern Family. I recently began Daily Family Antics because “there’s always something going on every day in my home.” It’s been a ‘hit’ with readers. My mom finds it entertaining so I know I’m on the ‘right’ path. Yes, I know mom’s can be biased; however, my mom is not one of those moms. I appreciate her honesty and she has a good ‘eye’ for stories and details.

Another reason for the blog is I plan to use it as a basis for a half-hour TV comedy. I’m still in the developing stages, but I plan to work on the plot, characters, treatment, logline, etc.  in 2012.

3. Writing for HalogenTV. This production company focuses on providing folks with information they can use to be the change they want to see in the world. It’s a great website, and I’m hoping I could expand my role with them in one form or another.

4. I didn’t move. I was hoping to move by October 31 but that didn’t happen. This made a little sad because I need to be in my ‘own’ sacred space. On the bright side, I have a lot of ideas thanks to my ‘family’s antics’ and more life experiences.

5. Querying and pitching. I was thrilled to receive a response to a query I sent out for a well known magazine. I also pitched my teleplay. But, I need to do more querying and pitching and stick to my schedule in 2012.

Part II will be posted tomorrow. This blog post would have been close to 1,000 words if I posted everything at once! That’s a bit much for a blog post. That’s just s my opinion.

Amandah

How was your 2011? What will 2012 be like for you? Share

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Amandah Blackwell’s Don’ts and Do’s for Attending Writer’s Conferences

In a couple of weeks, we’re about to bid farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012. For authors and writers, this translates to sorting through the enormous amount of writer’s conferences and choosing a few to attend during the New Year. Before you pack your bags and fly or drive to your destination, read the don’ts and do’s of attending writer’s conferences.

The Don’ts

1. Don’t sit at table with grumpy look on your face. All of us know that writers are ‘supposed to be’ solitary people however, when you’re at a conference, you may want to loosen up.

2. Don’t insult other authors and writers. This is bad business acumen and downright unacceptable. There’s room for all writers.

3. Don’t monopolize editors and publishers. You’re not the only one at the book or writer’s conference. Give your 30-second elevator speech and ask to schedule time with editors, literary agents, and publishers during classes and workshops.

4. Don’t dress sloppy. Like it or not, your appearance is just as important as your manuscript. Iron your clothes and or pack wrinkle-free clothing.

5. Don’t forget to bring your iPad and or laptop.

6. Don’t forget to bring marketing materials such as business cards, postcards, flyers, etc.

7. Don’t forget to participate in classes and workshops. You’re not in elementary or high school anymore. It’s alright to raise your hand. If you give the wrong answer, you’ll survive.

The Do’s

1. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Dress for success” a million times but there is truth to it. If you dress professionally, you’ll feel like a million dollars. Before you attend a writer’s conference purchase new clothes and get your haircut, styled and colored. When you look better, you feel better.

2. Do get over your shyness. You may want to get to the ‘root’ of your shyness and dissolve it. Life’s too short to be afraid to speak up and speak your mind. Walk up to someone you don’t know and say, “Hi! My name is (fill in the blank). It’s nice to meet you. What do you think of the writer’s conference?” It may take you a couple of times but once you do this, you’ll be able to speak to anyone, including your fans.

3. Do send hand written ‘Thank You’ notes to editors, literary agents, and publishers. Remember to ask for a business card.

4. Do network as much as you can. If you want to collaborate with another writer, conferences are the best places to find the ‘right’ writing partner.

5. Do bring paper and pen along with a recorder (if permissible). You never know, there could be a power outage and you may not have time to charge your laptop.

6. Do learn all you can about the publishing process. The more you know the better you’ll become at writing and sending query letters and understanding what agents and publishers want.

7. Do prepare a list of questions. When it’s time for the panel discussion, be prepared to ask your questions. Do your homework and learn all you can about the conference, panel, etc. Know before you go!

Amandah

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Freelance Writer Dotted I’s and Crossed T’s: Query Letter Still Needs Work

I, the freelance writer, was thrilled to hear from the editor at a consumer magazine I recently queried. Unfortunately, he wasn’t interested in general interest stories, unless, of course, it’s an angle that hasn’t been covered over and over again. He also rarely accepts unsolicited queries. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed. I reviewed ALL of the information that was posted on Writer’s Market before I submitted my query. According to Writer’s Market, “the publication needs expose; general interest and new product articles.” This wasn’t entirely true.

Before I submit a query, I review a publication’s website along with current and back issues (where available). I didn’t see an article with my angle on the website. However, the editor informed me that the angle I pitched was already covered in the ‘hard copy’ of the publication. I would have known this if I went to the library and read back issues of the magazine. Lesson learned.

I subscribed to Writer’s Market because I want to grow my portfolio, especially in the area of consumers’ magazines. I have many article ideas that I’m passionate about and would benefit readers. The listings on Writer’s Market make it easy for freelance writers to find publications to query. However, freelance writers shouldn’t assume the information is 100% accurate. It pays to dig deeper to ensure you know exactly the types of stories an editor needs and wants.

Steps freelance writers can do before querying publications

1. Read current and back issues of a publication in addition to reviewing their website. Make sure your angle is totally unique and can’t be found in another publication or on their website.

2. If you subscribe to Writer’s Market or some other writer’s publication, don’t take the information at face value. Dig a little deeper to find out exactly what an editor wants. As I discovered, the information about a publication and what an editor wants may be out-of-date.

3. Read, edit and revise your query letter. Read your query letter out loud to make sure it sounds coherent. Correct grammar and punctuation. Also, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How unique is my angle? What can I do to ‘tweak’ the angle and make it more unique?
  • Will the publication’s target audience be interested in my article?
  • What do I have to offer the readers of the publication?
  • Where can I find experts for my article?
  • *Do you have the correct spelling of the editor’s name?

*Note: Writer’s Market provided an email address for the editor of the publication I queried; the editor’s name was not included. I performed a Google search to locate the editor’s name. Always find out the correct spelling of an editor’s name.

4. Do you need to send a CV/resume and clips to accompany your query letter? The information on Writer’s Market did not state that a writer must send a CV/resume and clips to the publication I queried. When in doubt, find and read the writer’s guidelines. If they’re not listed on the website, send an email to the editor and or assistant editor and request them.

As I said in the beginning, I’m thrilled to have heard from the editor of the publication I queried. All is not lost because I have the opportunity to submit another angle (stronger) along with my CV/resume and clips. Whew!

Freelance writers; learn all you can about pitching and querying editors. While Writer’s Market and other publications for writers are fantastic ways to get your name out there, don’t take the information at face value. Do your own research before you email or send your query via snail mail.

Good luck!

Amandah

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Alexandre Dumas May Be Dead But He Still Makes Headlines and You Can Too

Alexandre Dumas is an author who still makes headlines — he’s been dead for over 140 years! And he’s one of my favorite authors. Alexandre’s books such as The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Count of Monte Cristo and other books have been made into Hollywood movies over and over again. Some of them are good, and some are not so good. But the point is Alexandre Dumas’ books are still read by millions of people and directors and producers continue to make movies based on his work. Talk about having the ‘it’ factor!

Why is Alexandre Dumas still popular? For one thing, he loved what he did and he was a versatile author. He had a rich family history which he used to his advantage. Did you know that one of his ancestors was a general in Napoleon’s army?  Unfortunately, this particular ancestor wasn’t serving in the army long, but he still earned the right to say, “I served with Napoleon.”

Do you have trouble writing? Do you schedule writing time, only to find yourself working on other things? Alexandre Dumas put in 14 hour days writing into the wee hours. He also collaborated with other writers to create works such as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

Alexandre was a colorful character and could have been a character in one his novels! He was no angel but at least he was true to himself and never shied away from being his authentic self. He didn’t fret about what others would think of him, especially family and friends. Dumas lived large — emphasis on lived.

What authors and freelance writers can learn from Alexandre Dumas?

1. Use your family’s history to your advantage. If you come from a colorful family, write about it. Create characters based on people deceased and living. If you’re worried about backlash, give characters ‘extra’ characteristics that will differentiate them family and friends.

2. Write! You’ve heard this a billion times but it’s true. If you want to write a book, you must sit down and write it.

3. Forget about your closest critics. If you know you’re supposed to write a book, sit down and write it. Only speak about your books with supportive, loving people. This may not include family and friends.

4. Improve your writing by attending classes, conferences and workshops. Join writers groups, read blogs written by other writers, editors and literary agents; subscribe to the Writer’s Digest and other publications; and purchase a couple of books on writing.

5. Learn the art of sales and marketing. Like it or not, authors must become comfortable with sales and marketing. It’s important to learn how to connect with your audience. Welcome and answer their questions. Be sincere and grateful readers are buying your books. Don’t be afraid to ‘own’ and stand behind your writing. Increase your self-confidence by talking with a life or writing coach. You can be ‘all’ the writer you can be!

Whenever you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself “WWADO” What Would Alexandre Dumas Do?

Rebecca

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