Saturday, September 14, 2019

How to Quickly Land a Freelance Writing Job

Since I'm a freelance writer and a writing coach, people are always asking me, "How long should it take before I get my first big writing job?"

To me, that question implies that the person asking it is waiting for work, not actively seeking work.

And without actively seeking new jobs or assignments it can take a long, long time for a freelance job to simply fall in your lap.

So, if you're wondering how long it should take before you land your first big writing job, stop wondering and start doing all you can to make it happen.

If you really want to have a successful freelance writing business, and you have writing skills (for the types of things you wish to write), then there's no reason you can't have a great assignment within a few weeks or even a few days.

You simply need to go after the type of writing job you want.

And, as the more successful freelance writers know, many times the best writing jobs are never advertised.

Today take some time to identify the type of clients you want.

Then target these clients and market your services to them.

For example, if you'd like to write for small local businesses, get out the phone book and look for some of the small businesses you'd like to target in your area.

Write down the name and address for each business you want to target.

Next, see if each of these businesses has a website.

Go to the websites to get the contact information you need for each business.

You want to find out who the business owner is so you can address your LOI (letter of introduction) to this person.

Next, create a list of services you can offer these business owners.

Then, create a letter of introduction to send to them, explaining what you do and why you'd like to write for them.

Include your list of services with your letter of introduction.

Try to get letters like this mailed off to a dozen small businesses this week.

Next week, follow up by phone with each person you sent a letter to.

When you call, introduce yourself and then ask if they received your letter.

If they did, ask if they have any questions about what you do or what you have to offer.

And, most importantly, ask if they have any work you might do for them right now.

I realize that calling and actually asking for an assignment might be so far out of your comfort zone that you've never, ever considered doing this.

And a phone call might seem like it's too "old school" to use as part of any marketing strategy these days.

But a phone call works.

And it really isn't that painful either.

Try it!


For more writing tips and resources, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge.

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over 35 published books, a writing coach, and editor at writebythesea.com.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Getting Press

Getting Press

An ongoing challenge for anyone in business - an author, marketer, consultant, or all of the above - is getting recognized. The more the public knows you, the more likely they will be to read your books, hire you, etc. One of the best ways to get known is through press.

But how do you go about getting press?

I posed this question on my Sunday night #GoalChat Twitter chat. Here's what I - and some of my community - had to say.

Q4. What are the most effective ways of getting publicity?








Q5. What advice do you have for getting press?






What are your tips for getting press? Please share in the comments.

* * *

For more on Getting Press, read the entire #GoalChat recap on the topic.

Also, check out the newly released 3rd edition of The Frugal Book Promoter by WOTM's Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

* * *

Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  Debra is the author of Your Goal Guide, being released by Mango in January 2020, as well as Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. She is host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and the Guided Goals Podcast, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

3 Tips for Writing Your Life Story



Contributed by Patrick McNulty

Ready to write the story of your life?

There’s an old saying that everyone has a book in them. When it comes to autobiographies or memoirs, that’s definitely the case!

Writing a life story allows you to do more than just leave a legacy. You can also inspire and guide others with your words. The best life stories really impact the people that read them. They can cause profound and lasting change.

Before you get down to writing your life story  make sure you’ve taken the time to prepare properly.

After all, you only get one life. Why not tell its story well?
These three tips will help you make your life story writing experience as positive as possible.

Choose Between Autobiography Or Memoir

Often, the terms autobiography and memoir are used interchangeably. However, there’s a difference between them.

An autobiography covers the complete chronology of a person’s life, while a memoir focuses on a particular part.

To illustrate this, let's consider a chef preparing to write his life story. If he wanted to include stories from childhood all the way through to his adult cooking career, he would write an autobiography. If he wanted to focus on a time where they ran their own restaurant, they would write a focused memoir.

For many people, writing a memoir is the best choice. Why? It cuts to the chase. Most people have a somewhat predictable upbringing. Why not skip it, and get to the good stuff?

No matter which type of life story you choose to write, keep it honest, gripping, and impactful. This will keep your readers enthralled until the last page. 

Transport Yourself Back In Time

You know the feeling when you come across an old photo or hear a song that transports you back to a particular time in your life?

When writing your life story, you want to trigger as many rich memories as possible.

Your five senses are powerful helpers here. What type of music were you listening to at a particular time in your life? What kind of clothing did you wear?

Old photos, diaries, and conversations with longtime friends can help. Often, over time, our memories become a little foggy. Bring them into focus the best way you can.

If you feel comfortable doing so, consider including some personal photos or other items within the pages of your life story. This adds a level of intimacy for your reader which wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

Make Your Readers Feel Something Strong

To make your life story as effective as possible, you need to share your total truth, without holding back.

Glossy, halfhearted tales won't keep readers interested, at all. You need to be vulnerable and put it all out there.

Think back to the best autobiography or memoir you’ve ever read. You probably felt joy at the author’s successes, and despair during their nadirs.

The key to doing this effectively is to strike a golden mean between too much and too little emotion.

Too little emotion runs the risk of boring your readers, while too much can come across as melodramatic and inauthentic.

Solicit feedback on your early drafts to finetune the emotional potency of your life story. Getting this right is perhaps the main determinant of its impact.

Above all, make your life story exactly as you want it to be. Feel free to break every suggestion on this page.

In the words of Thomas M. Cirignano - “Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained.”

Are you ready to explain yourself?

About the Author

Patrick is a writer and aspiring novelist. He's originally from London but travels around Europe. When not at his keyboard working on dystopian fiction, he can be found at the local coffee establishment, enjoying an iced Americano and a novel.


MORE ON WRITING

The Lazy Way to Be a Great Writer

What To Do When A Book Fails

Writing Secret to Getting Ahead

Building a Story Pitch





Thursday, September 5, 2019

Fine Art of Asking for Reviews



The Fine Art of Asking for Reviews, Blurbs and Anything Else

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Excerpted and Adapted from the third in the multi award-winning How To Do It Frugally Series of books for writers, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career

To find even more support for your book or your career, we often need to get more comfortable with asking. You can put your reporter’s hat on and ask—tactfully—questions that will help your career or for favors that will help you expand your base (including reviews, blurbs, advice, etc.). Make the point that your contact’s answer or help is a gift to you, and that you would be pleased to reciprocate when the need arises. Try some of these possibilities:
  • Ask fellow attendees at writers’ or other conferences.
  • Ask directors of conferences if they offer a review exchange or provide an area where you can distribute fliers or sell your books. If the answer, is no, ask if they have other suggestions or know of other resources that might help you.
  • Ask instructors and presenters if they have a list of pertinent resources or know where you can find one.
  • When you’re on the Web, look at the resource pages of the Websites owned by bloggers and other online entities to glean ideas and help. Use the contact feature to ask questions or send queries.
  • Think about classes you have taken. The instructors may have a policy against reviewing students’ work but may be a resource for other needs; , ditto for your fellow students. (I hope you would try to do the same for them!)
  • Ask members of your critique groups or business/professional organizations.
  • When you read, make a note of books and their authors, columnists, experts in your field. Almost all magazines, newspapers and journals list publishers, editors, columnists, etc. and you might be surprised at how many might say “yes” to a request for a blurb or a mention of your service or book as a resource. 
 MORE ABOUT TODAY’S CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR:

This little how-to article was extracted and adapted from my giant (415 pages) of How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career third in the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.                                                        There is just so much to know about putting reviews to work for your book and endorsements (for your book or business!) Learn more about my books for writers and visit my free Writers’ Resources pages at: https://howtodoitfrugally.com/.                                                                    It’s also easy to use my review blog. Just follow the submission guidelines in the left column at http://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com.  I am also proud to celebrating the launch of the third edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter which—in its first edition—was the flagship book of my #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.  My publisher, Modern History Press, is helping me with the launch with a discount  on his website at https://www.modernhistorypress.com/frugal.



Wednesday, September 4, 2019

5 Basic Functions of Dialogue



In an article over at Writer’s Digest, the author explained that ‘real’ dialogue doesn’t spell everything out.

So, what does this mean?

Well, people communicate with more than just words and often there’s a lot left unsaid in a conversation. Narration or the protagonist’s thoughts can fill in the blanks.

Here’s an example from “Crispin – The Cross of Lead” (honored with the John Newberry Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution To American Literature For Children):

“Where’s Bear?” she asked when we entered the back room.

“Asleep.”

“You mustn’t be seen,” she said. “He should have told you.”

I made no reply, assuming Bear had told her of the attack on me, and that she felt a need to protect me. If Bear trusted her, I told myself, so should I.


Perfect blend of dialogue and narration.

With this in mind, let’s go over some of the functions of dialogue with the help of narration.

1. Dialogue helps reveals the character’s traits.

“Hey, Pete. Looks like you’re having some trouble with that tire. Need a hand?”

“Ugh,” moaned Pete as he struggled to lift the tire. “I-I got it.”


So, here with a bit of dialogue, it shows that Pete may have a chip on his shoulder, maybe because he’s smaller than the other character. He’d rather struggle than accept help.

Here’s another example:

“The car’s stuck in the mud. There’s no way we’re getting it out of there. It won’t budge,” said Desmond.

Brain shoved his baseball cap back on his head. “All we have to do is get the truck. We’ll hook on a tow line and pull her out.”


In this scene, through dialogue we learn that Desmond sees the cup half empty – he can’t see how something can be accomplished. Brian on the other hand sees the cup half full. He knows he can get the job done. And, we know Brian wears a baseball cap.

Here’s another example:

“I’ll have turkey on rye with the mayo, lettuce, and tomato on the side. And, I’d like the bread lightly toasted. Please be sure it’s just lightly toasted. And, I’d like water, no ice, with two lemon slices on the side.”

Just from a simple lunch order, we know that the character is extremely picky. She knows what she wants and expects to get it.

I got this scenario from “When Harry Meet Sally” with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. It’s an amazing scene in the movie.

2. Dialogue can show what a character does for a living.

Christine looked over the documents. “Who’s responsible for these prints? They’re all wrong. The bathroom should be on the second floor and the living area should be an open concept. Somebody’s head is going to roll.”

In this scene, Christine obviously deals with blueprints. Maybe she’s an architect reviewing a subordinate’s plans. We also know she’s in charge and doesn’t take mistakes lightly.

Here’s another simple example:

“Give her oxygen and get her into the OR stat.”

From this little bit of dialogue, we can assume the person talking is a doctor and she’s working in an emergency room.

Here’s another example:

Rachel tapped the pencil on the desk. She looked around the room. Everyone was busy writing. “Man, I should have studied,” she whispered.

In this scenario we can assume Rachel is a student and her class is taking a test. We also know she wasn’t prepared for the test.

3. Dialogue can show relationships.

“Mom said you have to clean the garage before going to practice,” said Frank with a smile.

“Geez. How come you don’t have to clean the darn garage?”


From this conversation, we know the two involved are siblings, probably brothers. And, it would seem the one who has to clean the garage is older and has more chores. He’s also annoyed about that fact.

Now on the flip side, you can have information dump in dialogue – this isn’t a good thing:

“Mom said you have to clean the garage before going to practice,” said Frank with a smile.

“Geez. How come you don’t have to clean the darn garage? Just because you’re two years younger than me you get away with everything.”


It’s easy to see that the last sentence is added just to inform the reader that Frank is two years younger than his brother. This is information dump.

4. Dialogue can show how educated a character is through choice of words.

“You need to ascertain whether you and he are compatible.”

“You need to figure out if you two are a good match.”


Simple examples, but you get the point.

5. Dialogue can show tension between characters.

Sammy dropped his books and stood with his fists clenched. “Do that one more time and you’ll never do it again.”

Dylan shook his hands. “Ooohhh. I’m scared. Do you mean don’t do this again?”


This scene clearly shows tension between Sammy and Dylan. And, it shows that Dylan is the instigator of the tension.

Here’s another example:

Sara stormed up to Alicia’s desk. “You stole my idea. Mr. Peter’s is doing a full campaign based on it. Tell him it’s my idea or I’ll tell him.”

“That’s not happening,” said Alicia without hesitation. “If you weren’t careless enough to leave your notes on your desk, I wouldn’t have seen them.” She pulled a lipstick and mirror out of her desk and fixed her lips. “If you go to the boss, he won’t know who to believe. Want to risk him think you’re lying to get ahead?”


Again, this is a tension packed scene.

There are also other functions of dialogue like conveying underlying emotions, creating atmosphere, and driving the plot forward. Using dialogue and narration allows you to paint vivid pictures. Your choice of words will give your characters and your story life.

Source:
Writing a Scene with Good Dialogue and Narration

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author. She runs a successful children’s ghostwriting and rewriting business and welcomes working with new clients.

For tips on writing for children OR if you need help with your project, contact her at Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

You can follow Karen at:

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/writingforchildrenwithkarencioffi/
LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter  http://twitter.com/KarenCV


MORE ON WRITING

Perseverance Pays Off

Read as a Writer

Writing a Novel? Try This!


How to Quickly Land a Freelance Writing Job

Since I'm a freelance writer and a writing coach, people are always asking me, "How long should it take before I get my first big w...