This will wrap it up for the business of writing. Tomorrow we’ll go on to tools and techniques — writing itself. If you have particular requests, send them to me as comments and we’ll talk about them, too.
Yesterday I said to utilize your resources like public libraries.
To amplify that: go to the lib & sit down with Writer’s Market 2013. The on-line version isn’t the same for this task, and it’s an important one. Browse through magazines and journals, jotting down in a notebook the markets/publications you think will work for you. Try to find markets that match your level of abilities.
For example, I’m working on narrative non-fiction books now and don’t have time for a 2,000 word article with all its paperwork. I do want to keep involved in magazine publishing, though. The answer: read Writer’s Market hardcopy and see who accepts short pieces and fillers in the range of topics I’m familiar with.
Orientals have a cold-blooded way of asking you about how well you play piano. I was stunned when somebody said, “What do you mean, you play for pleasure? What’s your level? Sonata? Sonatina? Baby stuff?” But you can use this realistic approach when you look for a market.
Use it privately. Look through the chapters of magazines and all their information with yourself in mind. Be purposeful and clear-headed. Don’t waste your time. Don’t sell yourself short and Don’t sell out. If you want to try out greeting cards and think you can cope, well, you’re in good company. For thousands of years writers have been versatile, finding ways to market their passions. Remember how the extremely wealthy hired scribes to write for them? Have you read Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West? (The protagonist writes the lonely hearts column for a paper in LA.)
My searching showed that newspapers that pay use syndicates for everything. I think that if I’d persevered I could’ve found something, though. If you’re starting out and want the discipline of creating marketable copy, a local paper that won’t pay you is a good idea. I wrote for two or three newspapers in Golden, Colorado for about six months. One was the Coal Creek Courier. I learned how to publish photos, work with editors and deadlines, and write for a specific audience.
Isn’t this a goofy photo? It’s from a uni where I taught in Wuhan, China. These IT guys are about to work on my laptop. Five minutes later, I had no computer.
Good luck to you. Let me know how this works. Tomorrow we’ll write.
Mary Ann (Martine) Davis