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So You Want to be a Freelancer

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The Taj and Cutting Words

posted on Monday, November 6, 2006

Last week, I wrote a short article on what it was like visiting the Taj Mahal in India from a writer's viewpoint. I submitted it to the Journey Beyond Travel magazine yesterday. The magazine has a department called Writer's Ground that is for "Inspirational places to write, dream, or take photos/paint." I'm hoping they like my article well enough to include it in their India issue.

I've been reworking some of my essays, targeting them at specific magazines based on writer's guidelines. It makes for an interesting exercise, taking an existing piece and breaking it down to fit within a specific word count. I've done this several times now. I find that, although I like the end result, I lose a significant part of my writing voice. I figure that's OK for an article. However, for my in-work book, I want to tell my stories in my own voice. I want my readers to feel like they know me.

One Down and Many To Go

posted on Friday, November 3, 2006

I received email from Journey Beyond Travel magazine the other day concerning my submittal of the Santa Catalina Island travel essay. I'm very appreciative of the speedy reply, even though they informed me that they have decided on India and Europe as the focus for their next two issues. It's always a treat to receive correspondence of any kind from an editor. Thank you Thomas Hollowell. I still like this magazine and am now working on several items that would fit into their India and Europe issues.

So, one down and many to go. I moved on to the next publication in my list for the Santa Catalina Island essay - Go World Travel magazine. I had to cut the essay from 2360 words to 1200 words. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. It's now a faster read, but isn't quite as interesting as it was before. It submitted the modified essay and will have to wait two months for a response, if they send a response.

I'm also working on a photo essay for the Go World Travel magazine. I'm using the photos that accompanied my rejected AARP article. If I send this one in, that will mean that the photos will have been previously published. I hope that won't become a problem for me later when I eventually sell the rejected article.

Submittal Strategy

posted on Monday, October 23, 2006

After reviewing my previous article, I went online to see what travel magazines might be interested in it. I found several that don't pay much but that might be interested in all of my travel articles. I reworked my Santa Catalina Island travel essay and emailed it to Journey Beyond Travel this morning. I plan to do the same with my Ensenada travel essay.

Journey Beyond Travel magazine only includes previously unpublished articles. That places it higher on the submittal list than those publications that accept previously published material. If I want my articles to appear in that magazine, I have to send them there first. If they don't accept an article for the magazine, I can send it elsewhere. If they do accept an article, I can still submit it to other publications that will deal with previously published material.

I don't want to forget my previous article. I still plan to send it or a reworked version of it somewhere. I just haven't decided where to send it next since it works for publications of a more general nature than a travel magazine.

Revisiting My First Article

posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2006

I wrote an article on speculation for the AARP magazine last May/June. I had sent in a query letter and was asked to write it. I wrote the article and mailed it in per their instructions. My cover letter asked them to not return any of the material. After all, I already had a copy of everything I had sent in and didn't need any of it back. Several weeks later, I received my postage due SASE envelope from them. They returned my entire package to me. My envelope had only one stamp on it, plenty of postage for a couple of pages. The only way I knew they'd looked at my article was that someone had written a tracking number on the top of one of the sheets. I had to assume that my article had been rejected.

This was the first article I had submitted anywhere. I didn't mind the rejection, although of course I thought that the article was great. What I minded was the way AARP handled it by returning all of my material, which cost me the extra postage, and the way they didn't bother to do as little as write the word rejected on one of my sheets. I thought it was pretty rude of them.

Anyway, I reread my article this morning after a friend had remarked that she had reread it the other day and still thought it was great. I have to agree with her. I still like it too. I'm going to query another magazine and see if there's any interest in it.

The Library Has Forsaken Its Writers

posted on Monday, October 17, 2006

I'm working on a page with links to good sites for writers. I'll update my site as soon as I have a good selection together. When I added Writer's Digest, it reminded me of a trip to my local county library last month.

The library has a good magazine section that I usually spend some time in when I'm there. I had plenty of time to spare on that trip, so I settled in for a good read of the current Writer's Digest issue. I probably should be a subscriber, but since I'm just starting out and am interested in nonfiction writing, it doesn't have enough in it that helps me out. I have enough other things I need to spend my money on right now. I'm sure I'll subscribe later.

Sadly, they had reorganized the magazine section, and the Writer's Digest was no longer there. I then looked at the archival rack. At least they still had the archived issues. I strolled over to the information desk and asked about the missing magazine. The woman working the counter looked it up and stated that they had decided not to continue with it. I asked her how a library could fail to carry the one periodical of most use to its local writers. Isn't a library for reading and writing? I filled out a request card and left with sadness in my heart.

The sadness didn't stay too long, though. At home again, I sat down at my computer and jumped over to the Writer's Digest web site. They now provide all but the current issue's articles on-line. Maybe that's why the library stopped their subscription.

The Launch

posted on Sunday, October 15, 2006

I finally have my web pages together enough to launch my web site today. I decided to save money by developing my own web pages using an HTML editor. I'll expand the site as I have the time. I've read online that it's not a good idea to include articles that I may want to sell for the first time, so I'll only include items that have sold at least once or that I don't intend to sell.

Bumpy Rides

posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006

Today was the monthly Gold Country Writers meeting. Our guest speaker was John Lescroart, a local, very successful novelist. It's uplifting to discover that most writers experience a bumpy ride on the road to publishing success.

I saw my first published item in a magazine today. No, it wasn't an article that I sold; it was a letter to the editor in the October/November Mother Earth News. Even the little things are uplifting. It made me want to send out a query or two.

Getting it started

posted on Friday, October 13, 2006

You may be wondering why I started this blog on Friday the 13. Well, I've never been a superstitious person, and I actually like the number 13. It's always been good to me.

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