Freelance writers and editors often are portrayed as having an adversarial relationship. The long suffering writer has to bow down to the editor – supreme being of a publication. The editor has unfair demands and a fickle finger. One minute you’re in, the next you’re a kill fee. On the other side, editors are rumored to be workaholics who have so much to balance and not enough time to do it. They are besieged by freelancers who keep spelling the editor’s name wrong and while mass pitching 1000 word/$5 per word pieces. They juggle writers who miss deadlines and who [Read more…]
5. How do you write a great lede? The lede is one of the most important components of an article. It hooks the reader, tells them what the article is about and encourages them to continue reading. Before writing the lede, ask yourself “What is this article about?” Go through your research and find the information, statistic or anecdote that best represents the article’s information and formulate your lede around it. Also check out “Driving Rules for Getting to the Point with Your Lede” and “Lede On, Hook Your Readers Every Time” 4. What makes a good article? A good [Read more…]
If you missed the first Popular Query Questions post, be sure to stop by and take a look! 5. What is a good query? A good query is like a old school burlesque show. Take the lady with the giant fans. There’s a show going on, but the tease is killer. You want to see how it ends even as you enjoy what’s happening. The performer knows just how long to lead you on before you get bored and turn back to your drink. She also knows how much to show to keep you interested. You’ll never see it all [Read more…]
Piggybacking again off of Deb’s popular Frequently Asked Questions and the first part of 10 Popular Article Writing Questions, I’m also tackling query questions. If I miss one of your burning questions please let me know! 10. What is a query? A query is like a sales letter aimed at the editors of a publication. It is used to pitch a specific article idea and yourself as a writer. Some liken it to a cover letter, but I believe there is a difference. A cover letter is interest in a specific job and pitches yourself to the hiring manager, a [Read more…]
I was clicking through the Freelance Writing Jobs web site reading articles and coming up with ideas for May’s editorial calendar when I came across this old blog post of mine: “There’s Rejection and Then There’s REJECTION!” I found myself giggling at a question “Is it just me or does it sting more when you’re rejected by hot key?” I was talking about the digital querying age and how rejection form letters are often a hot key away from delivering a swift, coarse “No.” I then got a little nostalgic about the good old days of querying. Remember… Stocking up [Read more…]
Carson, one of our newest bloggers at FWJ had a great post today: Writing Talent and Success as a Freelancer. Carson discussed how writing talent will only get you so far and your ability to master the business end of freelance writing is what is going to make the difference between eating steak or bologna. I added the bologna part, but it’s an important point to consider. Writers define their success in different ways – first when they get published, then when they can live off their earnings. The question is what are you eating steak or bologna? There are [Read more…]
Heads up FWJ crew, Article Writing at Freelance Writing Jobs has a Facebook fan page! Come on over for great post links from FWJ and other great sites, stimulating conversation and an opportunity to ask all your deep, dark article writing questions.
I often compare querying a publication to dating or being in a relationship: “Date Your Publication” and what would dating be without cheesy, low class, creepy pick-up lines? “I think we’ve met/Tweeted/are Facebook friends.” “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” Writers really don’t have to press to find a connection with an editor in their query. Unless you’ve had an encounter the editor is going to remember, forget the wind up, just pitch. Some exceptions include: actually meeting them, talking with them and having the door left open for a pitch, regularly interacting via social networking, etc. “Are you looking [Read more…]
Last week I named a few things you shouldn’t say to an editor “5 Things You NEVER Say to an Editor” and the post was pretty darn popular so I figured it was only practical to give a couple of tips on things editor’s love to hear from writers. 5. “I need help.” Writers like to present a tough facade. They want to show they have everything under control and worry that asking their editors for help on a piece will cost them future work. On the contrary, editors love to know a writer will come to them for help [Read more…]
We all joke about crazy editors and their goofball demands. Editors, for the most part, have a good chuckle too because they know some of their peers are pretty nutty. Here at FWJ we often reinforce a writer’s right to push back – professionally – against edits, cheer on as they ask for more work, better pay, etc., however sometimes a writer can take things too far. There are a few things you should never say to an editor, especially if you ever want to work with them again. 5. “You’re just a frustrated writer.” It could be true, it [Read more…]
Pitching queries for magazines can be a bit like playing fortune teller. You have to be in tune to what the audience will want to read six months from now. In my post “Are you thinking about Christmas yet? You should be…” I talked about the long lead time for magazines, how writers need to use their insider contacts and hunches on trending topics to pitch specifics to mags and how they should look for new angles on evergreen topics. What if you don’t have a talkative insider? To get a future cast, all you really need to do is [Read more…]
Do you contact a source prior to submitting the query or do you wait until after you secure the article?
Writers tend to meet with, connect and befriend other writers. We build social networks and professional contacts that are both supportive and invaluable. These same contacts can be used to help get your foot in the door with editors and publications. Now before you hustle off to pitch a magazine using the name of a Twitter friend who has also written for them, you should know there is a fair amount of courtesy and responsibility that comes with using someone’s name to further your career. The first thing you have to do is ask the person – seems obvious, but [Read more…]
Many writers don’t realize the importance of making sure their query makes it to the correct editor.
Sometimes normal sources of information just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you gotta have friends.
Editors and editorial assistants hold a lot of power. They have the power to say yes to your query or they can stab your carefully crafted piece in the heart with a kill fee. This power can sometimes have the ability to corrupt even the nicest, most well-behaved editor, but what can a lowly writer do when faced with an editor whose behavior rivals a 5 year old’s? First of all, stop thinking of yourself as lowly. Writers are an essential part of a magazine/publication/web site. The editors and editorial assistants can’t write the entire publication on their own and [Read more…]
Every so often I’ll get a timeless writing question: What about simultaneous queries? Old school rules dictated that unless the magazine indicated, you never submitted the same query to anyone else until you received a rejection from the first publication. This is a oft grumbled rule with writers because it could take months to receive a rejection for a piece and then after waiting those months you have to start the process all over again. Editors cite concerns over their processes and the time it takes to approve an article, place it, pay for it, publish it only to see [Read more…]
I’ve been blogging away here at the Freelance Writing Jobs Network for quite some time now and have compiled a pretty helpful lot of posts. However I realize those new to the site or those who may have missed a post don’t have time to go through all of the posts because you’re too busy writing! So here are a few of my favorite (and most helpful) article writing posts so far: Press Release Writing Intro Research – More Than Just Google Kill Fees – Not a Halloween Tale Best Query Advice You Missed a Deadline – Now What? Say [Read more…]
If you are thinking about pitches for magazines you need to be several months ahead of the curve. I know the last thing anyone wants to think about right now is snow, cold weather and roasting chestnuts, but thinking ahead is a great way to get your pitch approved. When everyone else is thinking about decking the halls, editors are looking to spring fashions and top summer vacation spots. Thinking and working on magazine editors’ schedules will help in getting your work to the top of the heap. When thinking ahead, writers need to balance general with specific. Editors take [Read more…]
By Terreece M. Clarke Where are you on the Query Challenge? We started off trying to query a few new (to you) magazines before Christmas. Some of you jumped in a little later and others are finished and just waiting to hear back from your choice publications. I want updates! Have you been inspired by the challenge to query more often? What questions do you have about queries, query letters, etc.? Talk to my FWJ and let me help you! Do you want to start the challenge? Here are some articles to help you along your way: Query Challenge – [Read more…]
It’s late Tuesday evening and you are checking your feedreader, email and social networking sites one more time before you disappear into a mound of wrapping paper, yummy meals and family fun. You know there’s something you forgot to do. What is it? Write an article? Nope. Follow up on a source? Nope. The query challenge! That’s it! Where are you on the query challenge? Have you pitched a publication yet? Remember we wanted to do this by Christmas so we’d start the New Year off right with either a great or an encouraging response or heck, let’s be honest [Read more…]
by Terreece M. Clarke “Dear Editor: This is a fantastic query. It’s a hot topic and perfect for your biggest issue of the year. It’s well-researched and has a fantastic expert on board for an interview. Unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to find out which editor I should send it to. Sure I could have sent a quick email or picked up the phone to be sure that the person on the masthead is still there and in the department, but I decided to go generic. Just any random editor at the publication. So now my query is stuck [Read more…]
By Terreece M. Clarke Think about the top three publications where you’d like to be published. Got ‘em? Now take the FWJ query challenge. Between now and Christmas, research, develop and submit a stunning query for those three publications. If you are a business writer, do the challenge with three clients you’d like to land. I’m talking about serious work – going to the library to look through back issues, zoning in on a section, finding the correct editor to pitch to and carefully crafting a spectacular query. We sometime underestimate ourselves. I hear writers say all the time they [Read more…]