Wooing an Editor

{Etsy greeting card by dekanimal}
{Etsy greeting card by dekanimal}

Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I’d thought it’d best to cover the topic of how to make an editor fall in love with you your writing. The key is to approach your new connection as you would a new relationship. Most writers take for granted how busy editors are and they send off an email as if they were already well-acquainted. But it’s a process. Take it slow and you’ll skip the fling and end up in a long, mutually satisfying relationship.

1) Get to know them.You don’t want to come across as a stalker so tread carefully. What you do want to know is how to spell their name correctly, and what their editorial needs are.

2) Get to know their audience. You’ll impress any editor if you can deliver ideas that are unique, are spun in a new way or that really speaks to their audience. Tip: Imagine you’re that publication’s biggest fan, what content would you wish they would cover that they haven’t already?

3) Get to know their publication. It helps if you’re a long-time reader. But if you aren’t, at least read a few issues and search their website to get a feel for the tone and style of the magazine.

4) Be enthusiastic. Just like people can tell how excited you are on the phone, I’m certain editors can read your true emotions from your email. You may be eager to just get published, but if you find a publication you really adore, it will come through in your writing.

5) Follow their guidelines. These days, it’s pretty easy to go searching online or through books like Writer’s Market to find out just what publications are looking for. Make sure you dot your i’s and cross our t’s. Because of how busy they are, some editors will quickly hit delete on anything that doesn’t match up with their rules and expectations.

6) Be persistent and patient. You don’t want to annoy them. But sometimes editors mean well, but get so busy they forget to respond. Give them enough time to let you know what they think of your pitch and then follow up. If that idea doesn’t work and you really want to write for that magazine, continue to query. It’s how I ended up writing for a few major publications. I just didn’t give up.

That’s how you get your foot in the door, but how do you maintain a relationship once you get it? I’ll cover it in my next post. But how about you? Was it a helpful tip? A kind note? Going out of your way to provide a perfect pitch? What tip(s) do you have to get an editor to fall in love with your writing?

The Best Christmas Gifts for Writers

I always post a Christmas wish list for writers every year. One year I even made a little holiday ditty.

This year with a new baby and a writing business, I don’t have much time to create a song or free marketing tips for you writers out there. But you can check out this old post for that.

This post is all about the fun things we writers secretly wish for at Christmas. Let it inspire you to find the perfect gift for the writer friend, employee or consultant on your list.

1) For old school fun: writing utensils

Why? We may be in the digital age where everything’s typed or texted, but there’s something that feels so real, so organic when writing with a pencil.

{From Anthropologie}
{From Anthropologie}

2) For convenience: Notebooks

You may know a writer and think, “She already has a ton of notebooks. Why would I get her another one?”

Because we use them like toilet paper. They are a necessity for inspirational notes, whimsical jots, ideas and quirky sketches. Having them in our bag when we finally leave the house is a must. We never know when we’ll be inspired at the grocery store, while picking up our kids or doing holiday shopping.

{From Anthropologie}
{From Anthropologie}

3) For the city writer looking for a peaceful workspace: Digital writing environment

Not all writers can find a quiet place to write. Instead of buying them a cabin in the forest, get them Ommwriter, a program that mimics the sounds of being in one.

4) For the techie who likes old school tools: iPad cover

Some writers write with their iPad, but want to feel like they’re typing on a typewriter. For them there’s this:

{$39.99 from Fossil}
{$39.99 from Fossil}

5) For book loving writers: Tote and gift card

This is a trick since essentially all writers are book lovers at heart. An Amazon.com gift card with this tote (since we all lug a ton of books and Kindles/iPads) are a writer’s holiday dream.

{$15.99 Etsy}
{$15.99 Etsy}

What’s on your writer holiday list?

5 Things to Do Before the End of the Year

 

The road leading to your freelance writing dreams.
The road leading to your freelance writing dreams.

There’s lots to keep you busy in December. Need I list them? Christmas, Hanukkah, gearing up for your Resolutions list come January.

But there are a handful of things you won’t want to forget while you’re busy making a list and checking it twice.

Here are 5 things you don’t want to miss if you’re a freelance writer:

1. Say, “Thanks!”

We often forget what it was like when we had no clients. When there were no deadline, no phone calls, no projects in the near future. Or worse, when we had nightmare clients who were worse to work with than having no clients at all. When it comes to cultivating your garden of opportunities it’s always important to be grateful for the garden you have now. Make time to send a card, or even just an email to let your clients (past and present) know how much you appreciate them and how much you look forward to working with them again in the future.

2. Organize your paperwork.

Better to get all your paperwork in order now before things get crazy again next year. This means sending out all invoices due, recording all payment received and keeping track of all of your receipts.

3. Create a list of accomplishments you’re proud of.

The year goes by so fast doesn’t it? I find that by spending time thinking about all the things I’ve accomplished this year, I’m more motivated and excited by the upcoming year. I never would have thought that, for example, I’d finally move to Hawaii, land freelance writing opportunities for national and regional magazines or that I would have gotten a column for The Writer magazine. It’s easy to get caught up as a freelance writer, comparing yourself to other writers and getting down when work gets sparse. All the more reason why you should take a few minutes to list all the amazing things you’ve done this year!

4. Create a list of things you want to accomplish in 2013.

It’s almost here! 2013 is right around the corner. To get jumping on the new year, devote time to writing what you want to still do. Whether it’s completing a short story, novel, or book of poetry, make sure you add it to your list and refer to it every few months. The only way you’ll get things done is if you focus on your goals and take the necessary steps to get there.

5.  Create a “no ways could this ever happen to me, but I wish it would” list.

We do this for holidays, make a list of all the things we wish we could own. Why not do this for your writing? Compose a list of ideal clients, amazing companies, and inspiring projects you’d love to work on. Once it’s out there, you never know what can happen.

What did you want to accomplish before the end of 2012?

Valentine for Writers

{pinterest photo}

I’m sure you’ve read enough posts, articles and books to make you feel insignificant and insecure as writer. While most advice is given with good intention and can provide necessary tutelage for the beginning writer, over a period of time they can make you feel like you’re doing everything wrong and incapable of doing anything right.

Just for one day, why not let loose ends lay? Instead of worrying, defending, cowering in the shadow of another un-dotted i and crossed t, give yourself a break. For Valentine’s Day, instead of roses, balloons and a box of mystery chocolates, give yourself the greatest gift a writer could ask for: self-love.

Valentine’s Coupons for Writers

  1. A pass from analyzing your last query rejection or an editor’s email.
  2. An hour a week reading/writing purely for pleasure.
  3. Permission to do absolutely nothing.
  4. Freedom to unsubscribe from anything that makes you feel bad about yourself as a writer.
  5. One writing gift such as a cool new pen, notebook or anything that inspires your inner child and writer muse.
  6. Shut off your phone, your computer, close the door and enjoy the peace, quite and solitude of not having anyone need anything from you for this moment.
  7. Indulge in your past writing, positive comments, or anything else that makes you feel proud of your writing accomplishments.
  8. Plan a writing retreat (whether it’s a weekend getaway or an hour at your favorite coffee shop).
  9. Schedule time into take a nap. You know you need one.
  10. Promise yourself that for every hour you write, you will give yourself 5-minutes of meditating, walking, drawing, journaling, etc. for fun.

How will you be treating yourself today?

Christmas for the Freelance Writer

{found on Pinterest}

This post was inspired by two writers.

If Cathy Miller’s post and Michelle Rafter’s post got married, then in my warped mind, they’d created this baby of a post.

I don’t know if this is a Hawaii thing, but my friends and family loved the 12 Days of Christmas (the song, not just the real thing). So this is my ode to both the holidays and freelance writers. Here we go: 

On the first day of Christmas my clients gave to me

a payment sent effortlessly

On the second day of Christmas my clients gave to me

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

On the third day of Christmas my clients gave to me

three bonus checks

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

On the fourth day of Christmas my clients gave to me

four days of rest

three bonus checks

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

On the fifth day of Christmas my clients gave to me

one big referral

four days of rest

three bonus checks

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

On the sixth day of Christmas my clients gave to me

six good reviews

one big referral

four days of rest

three bonus checks

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

On the seventh day of Christmas my clients gave to me

seven new opportunities

six good reviews

one big referral

four days of rest

three bonus checks

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

On the eighth day of Christmas my clients gave to me

eight meaningful projects

seven new opportunities

six good reviews

one big referral

four days of rest

three bonus checks

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

On the ninth day of Christmas my clients gave to me

nine positive feedbacks

eight meaningful projects

seven new opportunities

six good reviews

one big referral

four days of rest

three bonus checks

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

On the 10th day of Christmas my clients gave to me

cool new writing tools

nine positive feedbacks

eight meaningful projects

seven new opportunities

six good reviews

one big referral

four days of rest

three bonus checks

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

On the 11th day of Christmas my clients gave to me

eleven new networks

cool new writing tools

nine positive feedbacks

eight meaningful projects

seven new opportunities

six good reviews

one big referral

four days of rest

three bonus checks

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

On the twelfth day of Christmas my clients gave to me

an increase in pay rate

eleven new networks

cool new writing tools

nine positive feedbacks

eight meaningful projects

seven new opportunities

six good reviews

one big referral

four days of rest

three bonus checks

two dollar a word assignments

and a payment sent effortlessly

What’s Going On Outside of This Blog

{via pinterest}

Ever feel blogged out? Or that your world is filled with headlines and blog ideas?

I sometimes get so zoomed into social media that when I zoom out to real life,  my head spins. (Not the exorcist kind, the vertigo kind)

So to take us all beyond this blog, I’m doing a short post to a few things outside the box:

1. Bit o’ holiday inspiration.

You probably know that I write an online column for The Writer called, “Inspiration Zone.” Well this month I was fortunate enough to interview author and writing coach Rochelle Melander. She’s got great tips on how to make time to write and enjoy the holidays. And she should know. She basically wrote a book on it from participating successfully in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

2. Bit o’ Creative Inspiration.

I was in love with Jill Badonsky’s book The Nine Modern Day Muses. And fell even harder for her blog and email newsletters. They crack me up! Talk about getting out of your box. Instead of boring links taking you to predictable sites, she embeds things like hilarious photos and meaningful and creative quotes to mix things up and keep things on your toes. It’s a fun way to recharge your engines, take a writing break and refuel.

3. Bit o’ Meaning Please.

I just added this one because I’m over on my writer pal Cathy Miller’s blog today writing about meaning in your life. How do you get it when your days are swamped with work, kids, bills, the musts in your day-to-day living? Try reading this.

Anything that you’d like to share in our outside your blog? Please do. I’m always interested in adding to my list of creative and inspiring resources.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

I don’t have it in my heart to fool you. So instead of pranks, I’m sharing my top three favorite things this week.

1. Here is a short post I wrote on the psychology behind April Fool’s day.

2. My last post here was on the challenge with embracing your niche. This post is for you if you haven’t found your niche.

3. And for a prank-free, yet laugh out loud way to the end the week. Here is a youtube video for dog lovers that still cracks me up.

A Love Fest for Writers: 5 Reasons Why I Heart Writers

This post is dedicated to all of my writer and wannabe writer friends out there.

flickr photo by: Angelina Cupcake

Here is why I’m thinking of you this Valentine’s Day:

1. Your courage is admirable.

Most people deal with enough rejection in their teens to never want to return to that time period again. But not you! You jump in the fire, putting your heart on the line and opening yourself up to rejection. That takes real honest to goodness courage.

2. Your determination is inspiring.

To be a writer means you need determination. Even successful published writers can’t get by on their reputation alone. Every book they write, every article idea they query, every time they put fingers to keyboard, they are dealing with potential rejection. To keep going despite financial worries, potential failure and time sacrifice, writers are determined to get their work out there. That is inspiring!

3. Your vulnerability is beautiful.

On my other blog The Inspiring Bee, I listed a TED video that really touched it. It was entitled The Power of Vulnerability and if you have 20 minutes, you should watch it below. It got me thinking about writers and their stories. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, when writers invite others to read their stories they are showing off their underbelly. It’s scary to put our soul’s out there in whatever form its displayed in. It’s as if we’re saying, “Here is my soft, squishy side. Please read it.” But we do so with sweat on their brow, tender and concerned of how the ones who behold will treat it. It is their baby after all.

4. Your passion is legendary.

Talk to any writer no matter what stage they are in and you will feel their passion. One writer friend I know wakes up at 3 am every morning to write. I too keep a journal next to my bed when inspiration strikes late at night. All of us writers have a passion for the written word. It is what sustains us during difficult writing times. It is what brings us hope when rejection slips come in faster than acceptance letters. It is the fuel that lights our life. It is THE thing that makes it all (the pain, the rejection, the self-doubt) worth it.

5. Your commitment to your craft is almost heartbreaking.

There are a lot of other things writers could be doing. There are jobs that make thousands of dollars more than what they’re making. There are careers that would make their parents proud. Instead writers take the route that gets them ridiculed, often unsupported by family and friends and rarely offers fame or fortune. Yet they still do it!

Maybe we’re all rebellious souls who just want to be validated and appreciated for a career that pulls at our heartstrings. That makes us walk in the opposite direction of the wind. That makes us stand out among a sea of ordinariness. Maybe there is a story deep within all of us that beckons to be told.

For whatever reason, we writers have something awesome to give the world. And that is the reason why I admire and love writers.

Happy Valentine’s Day Fellow Writers!

The Christmas Gift for Writers That Keeps on Giving

 

{photo credit}

Everyone’s been blogging about the best gift to get for writers.

I’ve thought about doing it. Heck, I did it last year.

And even outdid myself by writing about the things we writers wished we got for Christmas, but didn’t. You can see that post here.

So I was going to write another one of those Christmas wish list post for writers. But then I thought, “If everyone else is doing it and I’ve already done it, then maybe I should pass this year.” Especially since the only thing I REALLY REALLY want for Christmas (besides good health) is the same thing I asked for last Christmas-the Livescribe pen – the pen that is a voice recorder and records your notes, to make transcribing interviews a lot less painful.

But I still wanted to give some kind of holiday-themed gift to you as writers. You fellow writers who are so inspiring and admirable with all the hard work you do every day to get to your dreams of being published.

So…This is a super long, windy way to get to what I’m trying to say, which is this.

Instead of creating a top 10 list of Christmas gifts for writers, I’m going to be posting short tidbits for you throughout this holiday season. Tips that will hopefully help inspire and motivate you, help you get published and get to your writing goals for the new year.

Are you ready to receive?

Great!

Here’s a first quickie tip:

1. Feeling the lull of the holiday season? You’re either super busy with work and Christmas shopping or the silence of the season has been about not enough work and too much time on your hands. Yes, I know to you busy folk, the latter sounds like a dream. But in reality, when you’re not busy, you’re worried about when you’ll be busy again. No work means no money. And don’t we all need some of that during the season of spending.

So here’s a quick and dirty tip: Take time to update your website, your resume, and your social media profile (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) with all the new projects you’ve completed, articles you’ve published and accomplishments you’ve tacked on to your list this year. It’s a fast and easy way to make your business shine. Even doing things like changing your website theme, or your resume font to make it clear, can do wonders to catching your next prospect’s eye. If you don’t have too many writing samples on your website, start blogging on a regular basis so potential clients can see what you’re made of. Good luck!

Cool Writerly Things: Stuff You Didn’t Get, But Wish You Did

Yes, I know the holidays are officially over. Feeling any gift getter remorse? I didn’t get the Kindle this year so I feel your pain. For you writers out there who were disappointed with 2009 Christmas gifts, here are a few writerly gifts for yourself.

Loving this magazine holder.

What writer doesn’t own an embarrassing collection of magazines? Remember Carrie Bradshaw’s overpowering collection of Vogue editions circa 1980 and beyond? This one brings a certain modern appeal that hides a stack (5-10) in a bright beautiful way. Get it at Etsy.com for $38.

M is for Magazine

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