Get Hooked On Writing!

Issue # 5 Tuesday, June 2, 1998

This Week's Author:
Angela Adair

Angela Adair's The Write Markets Report

Angela Adair publishes The Write Markets Report (Your Only Source of Markets Needing Writers Today) and National Writer's Monthly (The FREE Marketing E-mag for Writers). For info on both, send e-mail to ForWriters@reporters.net with 'subscribe me youremailaddress' in the subject header. A free issue of The WriteMarkets Report is available by e-mail request to ForWriters@reporters.net.

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TWMR Info. Packet

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Next Week's Author:

Angela Adair concludes her series "How To Be A Freelance Writer"

PREVIOUS ISSUES


HOW TO BE A FREELANCE WRITER

Part 1

Anyone can be a writer, anywhere! Freelance writing is one of the premiere home-based businesses of all time. From the vintage typewriter to the high-tech home computers of today, freelance writing has remained a reliable source of income for wordsmiths worldwide. Their clients include magazines, newsletters, newspapers, book publishers, greeting card firms, gaming companies, and corporate clientele. This two-part series shows you:

  • How to be a freelance writer
  • How to find markets for your work
  • How to approach editors and publishers

But, Can You Write?

Freelancing requires a good grasp of language skills. Has anyone ever complimented you on a letter you wrote? Do you enjoy reading? Do you notice details about your surroundings that other don't? Is your favorite store a bookstore? Do you subscribe to or purchase several magazines each year? Are you professional, organized, and determined to succeed as a freelance writer? These are many of the traits found in financially independent freelancer writers.

Where to Begin

A common term in the freelancing profession is, "Write what you know." Your professional knowledge, life experiences, hobbies, or interests make an excellent place to start. The best idea generator is to study market listings (see end of article).

You Have an Idea! Now What?

Order Writer's Guidelines. Publishers issue writer's guidelines as an easy, way to let writers know exactly what they want from incoming manuscripts. Request writer's guidelines from a magazine or publisher in one of these three ways:

  • Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) with a short note requesting their writer's guidelines
  • Send an e-mail request to the editor
  • Or check their website to see if their writer's guidelines are posted online.

Read an Issue of the Magazine!

Most editors complain that they receive several queries that do not follow the magazine's purpose or format, or do not target the magazine's audience. Some publications will send a sample issue on request. Others charge a nominal fee.

I always visit the newsstand at my local bookstore. I sit in their coffee shop and review the magazine without buying it. (If I bought every magazine I approached, I'd be in poor financial shape.) You can also get a good idea of a magazine's editorial content by reading the articles posted at their website.

The Query Letter

Send a query letter to an editor or publisher to introduce your article or book idea. The best query letters average three paragraphs.

1st Paragraph - The hook. The hook is the opening sentence or first paragraph of your query letter. Editors are very busy, always working on a deadline. If you don't astound the editor at the beginning of your query, you will receive a rejection letter. Hint: After the editor assigns the article to you, use your letter's first paragraph as the first one in your article.

Second Paragraph - The proposal. Propose your article. Summarize the article in one paragraph. Hint: Use this paragraph to build your article outline later.

Third Paragraph - Your bio. Tell the editor about yourself, including what qualifies you to write the article you are proposing. If you have any previous publishing credits, briefly note them here. Also, indicate any experts you will interview, whether or not you can provide photos, and how quickly you can begin work on the manuscript.



SAMPLE QUERY LETTER

[letterhead with picture] Angling with Angie

January 1, 1999

Mr. Herbert Taylor
Editor
Galveston County Daily News
P.O. Box 628
Galveston, Texas 77553

Dear Mr. Taylor,

I reek of fish. Dried, dead shrimp are wedged under my car seats. Sunscreen is my makeup of choice. Much to my neighbors' disgust, my 20' Lamar sits proudly on my front lawn. Trophy fish photos adorn my home. My walls resemble those of a profitable bait camp and fish is served nightly here...fried, blackened, and (my personal favorite) barbequed. Unfortunately, the freezer has been bare this fall due to the absence of the Fall Flounder Run.

I am proposing an article to the Galveston Daily News entitled Flounder Run Failure. This article will focus on the rapid decline of flounder in our bay system, and the contributing factors including chemical plants and residential waste. The death of our waterways will impact our generation if we do not act now. It is already affecting my dinner.

I am a regular contributor to AnglerSport magazine and have had my work published in numerous fishing and sailing magazines across North America. My knowledge of our bay system stems from my years of angling these waters. The president of Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission has already agreed to an interview for this article.

Have a wonderful day!

[signature]

Angling Angie

[contact info centered on bottom of letterhead]
      Angela Adair
      1006 S. Country Club
      Shoreacres, TX 77571
      aaadair@electrotex.com
      Phone (281) 470-8397       Fax (281) 470-8397
http://members.tripod.com/~deepsouth/index-writemkt.html

Next Week:
Part 2 - The Next Step!

Part of the original Sideroad.
Text © 1998, Angela Adair.
Editor: Shara Smock.
Production: Erin Grainger.
The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at www.sideroad.com.

Shara Rendell-Smock, authorContributing Editor Shara Rendell-Smock brings a wealth of writing experience to the Sideroad; She has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles (including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune) and published two books (see below.) An original member of the Sideroad team, she wrote 27 issues of - "Go to Health! Because Life's Too Short - before taking on the Writing section.

Shara's books can be ordered from her web site at www.rendell-smock.com.

"Getting Hooked"





"Living With Big Cats"