Freelance Writing Tips from the Homeplace - C
I am an original monthly contributor to The In-Depth Genealogist
1. How I got into the writing of a column; do you publish a regular column?
Thanks to Hubber, ubanichijioke, for a comment in Tip A asking for more information about getting into column writing.
The first requisite, usually, is as Bill Holland, billybuc, likes to say: Write quality content. And, second, right often.
This is my experience, yours may vary. I'd love to hear of your experience in the comments.
I used to write regularly on "business acumen" - a subject with almost unlimited potential for small business owner readers. Columns in magazines or newspapers typically run from 750 to 1250 words, in my experience. So, once I had accumulated five or six quality pieces on different specific topics, but all within the "business acumen" general topic, I began to watch for column opportunities in the writer's guidelines of magazines and newspapers for which I was submitting queries for feature articles, or department articles. They will typically want to see two to four samples, to see that you can be more than a "one-trip pony," so to speak. Within a couple of months, I landed the first assignment, and a month or two later, another. Generally, these were monthly publications. Columns don't pay as much, individually, as feature articles, but knowing you'll get one published each month, is very nice, as a free lance writer. What is your experience?
Besides my fiction writing, I still regularly publish in the genealogy and heritage tourism areas. Since I'm retired now, whether I do get paid or not is not a big issue (see the next Tip discussion). But, these publications do keep my name in front of potential readers, and my Homeplace writings are always mentioned. I do enjoy selling the books that I have published, either in print or ebook.
I currently write a monthly column in the digi-mag "Going In-Depth" as the Heritage Tourist as well as a monthly post in the accompanying promotional blog. The column is 1250 words, the post is around 800 words. In the major column, each month, I discuss one of the 49 National Heritage Areas around the USA, which each feature cultural, historical, and natural sites. I encourage the readers to visit these sites as they travel the country on their family history and genealogy research. In the monthly blog post, I talk about similar sites in the states that do not currently have a National Heritage Area. 49 specific monthly articles spreads out over more than four years, in case you didn't happen to think about it. That gets my name before a chuck of potential readers each month for over four years. Hard to beat.
Writing regular columns is great fun but it is also a challenge. I'm not currently equipped to deal with anything more frequent than monthly. What do you think about this? Have you made this commitment? How is it similar to, or different from, writing a blog? I look forward to your comments.
Learn more about The In-Depth Genealogist
- Going In-DepthThe In-Depth Genealogist
Going In-Depth is the free digital genealogy magazine presented by The In-Depth Genealogist.
The original novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories
Do you write for money, or not?
2. Difference in approach when writing for making money or not
An early commenter on Tip B, brave warrior, added some strong content suggestions - thank you very much - and the slant of the comment also reminded me to write the following.
I briefly touched on the issue of writing for money, or not, earlier, but planned to come back to it, so here are some introductory suggestions to chew on. Currently, as a retired person, I don't specifically seek out "writing for money" opportunities, but, I still like to get paid, at least a little bit, sometimes, for some of what I write. We'll use this background for the following comments. Those who only write for the big money may skip on to the next topic - if you are even reading this…
Especially as you are attempting to build a writing career (and/or platform, as we look at later) it is to your advantage to do some publishing for which you do not get paid simply for the exposure. I hope this is already very obvious to all serious writers. The key point, however, do me, and perhaps to you, is WHERE is this "free writing" being published. Not just anywhere, I hope. You have taken your time to write for a specific publishing venue. It should be with a purpose. If not, before long, all the fun goes out of the writing experience. One opinion.
For most (all?) of us, writing without getting paid in money does not mean you are not being "compensated." I feel I get excellent return for my writing in "Going In-Depth," mentioned earlier, because I write "family saga" fiction, based largely on my family history and genealogy research. These are many of the potential readers of my historical fiction that are avid readers of the Going In-Depth digi-mag - and the numbers continue to climb, as readership of the mag continues to expand.
Your writing environment will be distinctively yours, of course. Where is your potential readership already reading. Can you get published there, with a link to your website, or a tagline that will show them the way? What have your experiences been?
The novella in "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories
What does your writing platform look like?
3. Here are my writing platforms; what others have worked for you, that I might try?
I was about to write a Tip on Writing Platforms, the other day, when Bill Holland, my friend and writing mentor, wrote one that was about half what I wanted to say - and much more. I'll provide that link, below, so be sure to read it, if you haven't already. Instead, I'll share a couple of my thoughts, and see how they compare to what you are doing. I do not yet have a newsletter. I was reminded of that reading Bill's hub. I've begun planning for one, several times. It just hasn't seemed right for me. Is it time? Time will tell, I suppose.
I've already talked about my monthly column and related blog post, above. That is certainly part of my writing platform. My "Homeplace" stories are now available as novels, one novella to date, ebooks, the home "Homeplace Saga" blog, a developmental wiki, a short story collection (forthcoming), two HubPages accounts, Squidoo lenses, and occasional free-standing articles. Have I missed anything? Is this spread too thin, or is this a good approach for my content?
I also write news stories that are published on Examiner.com every month, under three topic areas. Do you ever read Examiner.com? What are your opinions about it? Mine are mixed, quite frankly.
I started blogging in 2005. I still actively post to five different blogs, including daily posts from my mother's diary, from 75 years ago, a book blog, my genealogy blog and my retirement blog. And, of course, I now write stories under two different HubPages accounts… different stories, but all related in some way to my "Homeplace" theme.
Where else do you write, if any? Do you recommend any to me? Did I answer your questions? Thanks for your comments.
Now, write! ;-)
Very useful hub by Bill Holland, billybuc
- The Building Blocks of a Good Writer's Platform
Follow these guidelines to advance your writing career
The latest novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories
Learn more about "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories
- "The Homeplace Saga" Blog
The home blog for "The Homeplace Saga" series of historical fiction family saga stories set in the southern Missouri Ozarks. All updates of the series are mentioned here, regardless of platform. Watch of the release of the forthcoming collection.
Direct Links to earlier writing Tips...
- Freelance Writing Tips from the Homeplace - B
Why do you consider yourself a freelance writer? What does that really mean? Things to consider to become a successful freelance writer, in your chosen areas of interest, expertise, and experience.
- Freelance Writing Tips from the Homeplace - A
Tips for getting started writing magazine articles from someone who did it this way and was successful. You will want to adopt your own style and adapt to what you find.