Friday, June 30, 2006

 

My rant of the week: Auditions for a no-pay job

If you've been reading this blog or you know me IRL, you know I'm a sucker for celebrity gossip. One of the sites I regularly visit is dedicated to celebrity babies ... 24/7 about kids who wear $400 sweaters and travel on private jets with nannies and bodyguards. I read this mindcandy while my kid runs around the house wearing 4th generation hand-me-down clothes from some kid named Max, who's probably in college now. (Truth be told, I'm a proud, cheap Yankee, but I digress.)

A couple weeks ago, I read this post advertising for new contributors. Ok, so you're a good writer, you're up on celeb gossip, and you know your spelling and grammar. Well, if you want to write for this site, baby, you have to audition. That's right. Don't bother sending story ideas -- "Do not e-mail me unless you have a sample story." Oooookay. That's called an "on spec" submission for you young whippersnappers. But wait, it gets better. Your sample stories have to be the "freshest." (All of us who write for women's magazines are reaching for the cans of FDS we keep at our keyboards.) And penultimately? You must be reliable. If you can't keep up the pace "you may not want to bother auditioning."

Ok, the ultimate is this: "Please note that there is no financial compensation and you are not allowed to enter giveaways and contests, but you get to be part of the ONLY website dedicated to celebrity babies and their famous parents."

Wow. Sign me up. (slapping forehead) That's right, I can't sign up. I have to audition.

Linda and I have been talking about how writers get (and feel) devalued in our society. If you're a professional writer, you're forever hearing, "Oh, I'd like to write if I had the time." (I'm a snark, so my response goes along the lines of, "And I'd like to [fix computers/operate on hemmorhoids/run your organization] if I had the time." Or you get lumped in with the writers who are willing to donate their time and talent to be "part of the ONLY website dedicated to celebrity babies and their famous parents."

You know, I'd hazard a guess that this site's hosting is paid for. Someone's getting income from the dozens of ads for baby slings and children's clothes on this content-driven site. Let's get real ... people are going to the site to read the content. Yet the content writers don't get paid. Does anyone see anything remotely insane about this?

 

Apple is Good to Writers

Linda and I, being Mac addicts, have known this for awhile. However I was heartened to read that Apple corporate supports writers (well, homeless model/writers) who write books at their Apple Stores. Yes, this pint-sized model supposedly wrote a novel while standing in her heels in front of a demo Mac. Geez, now I feel bad for all the times I bitched to my husband about the people who were hogging up the really good Macs at our local Apple store. They could have been writing novels! You can't even bring coffee into those places. But knowing how nice the Apple salespeople are, they probably let the model borrow a 17" MacBook Pro for coffee runs. (I wondered how she saved all her work ... this update tells you how.)

My PowerBook is nearing the end of its life. Maybe I can write my next book at the Apple Store in Salem. Only I'll wear Tevas and bring my 4-year-old along -- he can play on the kiddie Macs. Imagine the great press Apple will get when word spreads how they support working mom writers by providing kick-ass computers and childcare!

 

Source for Sources

I was poking around the Writers Guild of America, West's website this a.m. and found this helpful contact list for various organizations, ranging from the Marines to the Scientologists.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

 

Channeling your inner squirrel

I got to Borders at 3:30 today, started writing a 1,200-word article, and finished it at about 5 pm -- and this included taking a coffee break, reading the "Found Porn" department in Maxim magazine, and staring out the window at the lightning.

Writers always ask how I can write so quickly, and in reply I stammer something about not being a perfectionist, which kind of implies that I race through my articles and do a half-assed job.

Not true, but I couldn't figure out any other way to explain how I can write a 1,000-word article in an hour -- and a damn good one, too.

Well, after I finished working on my article at Borders today, I picked up a copy of Overachievement by John Eliot. There, in the first chapter, was my answer: I'm a squirrel.

If someone laid an eight-inch wide board on the ground and asked you to walk across it, I'd wager that you could waltz across that thing no problemo. But suspend the board 20 feet in the air, and suddenly you're calculating wind direction, holding out your arms for balance, and taking tiny, measured steps.

Now take a squirrel (well, don't really take one -- they bite). Tell it to cross a wire suspended 20 feet in the air between two trees, and it would be across that wire in no time at all. (And you'd be rich -- you have a squirrel that obeys your every command!)

According to Eliot, the squirrel doesn't think -- it just takes in all the sensory input that's bombarding it and acts accordingly. In humans, Eliot calls this mindset the "Trusting Mindset." This is opposed to the "Training Mindset," where we're thinking, calculating, analyzing, and training ourselves to improve.

Another example from the book: If someone standing six feet away asked you to toss him his car keys, you'd pick up the keys and lob them with perfect accuracy, without even thinking about it. But should someone offer you the chance to win a million dollars next week by tossing him his car keys, you'd start analyzing angles and trajectories, reviewing videos of yourself throwing keys, and working out your key-throwing fingers at the gym. And guess what? When it came time to toss those keys, you'd probably choke.

To get to that "Trusting Mindset," ironically, you have to just do, do, do. I've probably written more than 500 articles. When I started nine years ago writing for trades and small magazines, I'd print out my first draft, go over it with a red pen, make the corrections, and print it out again. Then my husband would go through it with a red pen, and I'd make the corrections and print it out again. And again and again, until there were no red marks left.

Nowadays, I do my research, interview my sources, get an iced coffee (extra light with one Splenda), sit down at the computer, write the article, read it over, correct any typos, and turn it in. It took writing hundreds of articles on sleep disorders, artificial intelligence, small business marketing, credit unions, printing processes, and a whole lot of other topics to get to the point where the writing just flows.

When you write, practice turning off your critical mind and see what you come up with. If it stinks, you can always revise it. And if it doesn't stink, you've taken a step towards learning to trust your writing abilities.

Soapbox: put away. Me: feet back on the ground. Over and out.

 

Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, & P.T. Barnum

Yesterday I saw a post on a Craigslist writing forum:

Friends, tonight I was on a conference call with Steven E. and Lee Beard - the compilers of the best selling "Wake Up - Live The Life You Love" books. I have the opportunity to write a 1000-1200 word short story that will be included in their next book on "finding your passion" with well-known authors including Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, and Brian Tracy. My story is guaranteed to be in the book as long as I can come up with about $2500 to pay for my 200 books which will have my name on the cover in between Robbins and Dyer. It is quite an opportunity and could catapult my writing career. These books are the fasting growing book series in the world, and the last 10 books by these guys have been #1 best sellers. My challenge is coming up with the $, as we are in difficult times right now. I can pay for it over 3 months. I cannot get a traditional loan at this time. I'm wondering if any of you know of some creative sources of $ I could borrow to help with this. If so, please share. You could also write me at [e-mail deleted].

I found the "program" this poster was talking about. Here's a bit from the site:

Authors Wanted to be Best Sellers!

You can achieve the ultimate credential that will propel your life and business to new heights by being a best selling co-author in this amazing program!

Wouldn't it be great to get Instant Credibility™ with your clients and customers?

You have an invitation to join some mega-best selling authors, speakers, trainers, mentors and world class business leaders in an amazing book project. You will be included in a book series with coauthors who have appeared around the world on television networks and shows including Oprah, The Tonight Show, The Late Show, BBC, QVC Network, CNBC, PBS, Bravo Network and Good Morning America. You will be associated with authors who have been praised by The New York Times, USA Today, People Magazine, The LA Times, Money Magazine and Success Magazine. We call this Instant Credibility.

You an author? Yes! I mean YOU!! All you need to do is submit a 1,200 word story and we'll do all of the rest. It couldn't be any easier than that.

(If you like, You don’t have to write it yourself, so even if, you’re a poor writer, lousy speller, hate to use a word processor, don’t feel qualified, or are just too busy, you can have our expert editors record, transcribe, "ghost write" and edit your story for a special coauthor additional fee so you would have this powerful book as a tool to grow your business!)

I think this is hybrid of vanity publishing and the poetry.com scam. They publish anyone who has the green stuff, but at least they're up front about it. But the way they're trumpeting that you can be a "best selling author" is just sleazy. And the way they prey on writers' dreams is sad. That this guy is trying to scrape up $2,500 that he doesn't have to "catapult his writing career" is heartbreaking. I understand that the promoters are selling this as a marketing opportunity for execs and business owners, but the language they use implies that you'll become a "best-selling co-author" -- which of course attracts broke, newbie writers.

When will people realize that writing is work? Not everyone can write, as evidenced by the terrible punctuation and grammar in the last paragraph I quoted above. And can you imagine this poor sucker sending his "book" to an agent or editor and listing it as a credential? Ah, yes, Instant Credibility™. The heart breaks.

What do you say?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

 

Even Peace-loving Writers Have Bad Days

Unfortunately, an anonymous poster included her website's URL in this profanity-laden threat directed to author/blogger Lynne W. Scanlon for sending her a press release about Lynne's new business venture. I love that the poster is the author of The Practice of Peace. Perhaps Practice What You Preach is more like it. (Thanks to Miss Snark for the chuckle of the day.)

P.S. to the author. Two words: Canyon Ranch.

Monday, June 26, 2006

 

Think Big!

Think big: Pitch a feature instead of a short, turn an article idea into a book idea, or, if you have an idea for a single article, think of a way you can turn it into eleven more and pitch it as a column.

Last Thursday I came up with an idea for an article on a food-related topic -- but then I realized that the idea applied to all sorts of foods. So I wrote up a quick column pitch to an editor I've been working with at a health magazine, listed some examples, and zapped it off. The next morning, the editor wrote back that they had been considering retiring one of their monthly food columns and wanted to replace it with my idea. Score!

Of course, luck comes into play here -- after all, I certainly had no idea that the editors had been thinking of nixing one of their current columns. But if I had pitched the idea as a single article, that's probably what I would have gotten.

I'm going to go through my files of ideas and queries and see where I can turn one-shot ideas into regular columns. The worst the editors can do is say no. (Well, actually, the worst the editors can do is break into my house and steal my Archie Comics collection, but you get the idea.)

Linda

P.S. As soon as I get the time, I plan to add other writers' blogs to the list of links on this page. If you have a writing blog you'd like me to consider, please send it to linda-eric@lserv.com. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

 

Do Something, Do More, Keep Doing It

OK, I'm going to admit it. I've been in a writing slump. It's not for lack of work: I'm working on three book proposals, one of which my agent's eager to get out like yesterday, and then there's the hefty bit of magazine work I've lined up for July, along with the Chicago One-On-One conference, which I'm very eager to attend for the first time.

But ... I sit down to work and seem to lose steam. After a couple hours of drinking coffee, surfing the Web (why do I care that Lindsay Lohan and Sean Combs bickered over VIP seats in a nightclub?), and spasmodically checking my e-mail, I start beating myself up: why am I not more productive? How come I haven't pitched anything to editors this week? When will I get these proposals finished if I continue indulging in this slug-like behavior?

Rather than fall back into the cycle of goofing-off/beating-myself-up, today I did some Web surfing on how to fix a writing slump and found this article by Bob Bly, one of my writing heroes, about how to save yourself from the pit: 1. Do something. 2. Do more 3. Keep doing it. Absolutely brilliant advice, which I quickly wrote down on the whiteboard in my office ... and better yet, kept in mind whenever temptation to dive into the slough of despond beckoned.

 

New E-Course Session

My next 8-week e-course on getting published in magazines will start on Monday, August 7. The e-course consists of eight lessons, eight assignments, and, if you sign up for the Premium version, eight weeks of unlimited e-mail support from yours truly. I also offer a half-price Regular course with no e-mail support.

My previous students have landed assignments in For Me, Woman's Day, Body & Brain, Michigan Out-Of-Doors, My Business, Pizza Today, Wines & Vines, and other magazines.

Guaranteed -- or double your rejections back!

Put down that coffee and sign up now!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

 

Google AdWords

I decided to try out Google AdWords to promote my e-course and my new e-mentoring program. With AdWords, you create a small ad that will be shown as a "sponsored link" in a special sidebar when people search on the keywords of your choice. Every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay a predetermined amount. You can start with a budget of as little as $5 per month and can pay as little as $.01 per click, but how often your ad comes up and its placement in relation to other ads depends on how much you pay and how popular the keywords are.

While testing out keywords, I noticed that a magazine writer is using AdWords to promote her site, presumably to editors. I went to her site, which is nicely designed, and it looks like she's written for several trades and local magazines.

I should write to this writer and ask if she's had any success with her AdWords ad, but in the meantime, what do you think? Are editors trolling the web looking for writers? If they were, would they click on a sponsored link? After all, a writer who would take the time and money to advertise her business in this way must be serious about her business.

And, finally, do you have any creative ways to market your magazine writing outside of queries?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

 

Cup of Comfort Seeking Essays

CALL FOR PERSONAL ESSAYS ABOUT DOGS, WRITERS, AND SINGLE MOTHERS

A Cup of Comfort is a popular anthology (book) series featuring inspiring true stories about the extraordinary experiences of "ordinary" people. Now, we are currently seeking submissions for three exciting new volumes:

A Cup of Comfort for Writers

Only another writer can truly understand what it's like to aspire to become and to be a writer. For this anthology of true stories celebrating (and commiserating) the writing life, we seek compelling, insightful, and exceptionally well-written personal essays from writers of every persuasion and level of experience. Possible themes include but are not limited to:


Submission Deadline: July 31, 2006
Please see submission specs, below.

A Cup of Comfort for Dog Lovers

As any dog lover will attest, dogs are, indeed, our best friends… and so much more. They're also our helpers, heroes, champions, teachers, and beloved family members. For this volume, we seek heartwarming true stories that speak to the amazing bond between dogs and the people who love them. Stories can focus on any experience/theme that demonstrates how a dog has inspired and/or enriched the life/lives of a human(s). Possible themes include but are not limited to a dog's:


We do NOT want sad stories about a pet's suffering or death. However, stories can be about the life of a dog that is now deceased and can include a fond farewell to a lost pet -- provided the story isn't solely about the pet's death.

Submission Deadline: August 31, 2006
Please see submission specs, below.

A Cup of Comfort for Single Mothers

As Oprah Winfrey has often said, parenting is the most difficult and important job in the world. It can be even tougher for single mothers, who face all the usual parenting challenges plus another whole set of unique ones. But single motherhood -- whether by choice or by chance -- also brings many untold rewards, for both moms and children. For this collection of personal essays celebrating single mothers, we seek uplifting true stories about the joys and the difficulties of single mothering. The majority of stories selected for publication will be written from the single mother's point of view, but we will also consider stories written by the children of single mothers as well as by third parties with intimate knowledge of (and the permission of) the single mother and her child(ren). Possible themes include but are not limited to:


Submission Deadline: December 31, 2006
Please see submission specs, below.

SUBMISSION SPECS

  1. Author's full and legal name
  2. Author's mailing address
  3. Author's phone number
  4. Author's email address (if applicable)
  5. Story title
  6. Story wordcount (approximate)

Choose one of these submission methods:

Email (preferred): In the subject line, cite the Cup of Comfort volume (i.e., Dog Lovers). Copy and paste (or type) the story into the body of the email (no attachments. One story per email. Send to: cupofcomfort@adamsmedia.com

Mail: You can send more than one story per envelope. Include self-addressed, postage-paid envelope for each submission. Send only the paper copy of the story; do not send computer disks or CDs. Mail to:

Cup of Comfort
Adams Media
57 Littlefield St.
Avon, Massachusetts 02322, USA

Fax: On a cover sheet or at the top of the story's first page, specify "Cup of Comfort," the volume for which you are submitting the story, and the number of pages being submitted. Fax to: 1-508-427-6790

For sample stories and detailed writers' guidelines, visit the Web site and click on "Share Your Story."

Please direct questions and suggestions to cupofcomfort@adamsmedia.com. We cannot accept phone calls.

Monday, June 12, 2006

 

You can dress us up ....

After a long weekend of reading Archie comics (Linda) and chick-lit novels (Di), we're happy to report we had a great time at Canyon Ranch. The people who came to our talks were really nice and asked a lot of questions about freelancing. It's always a lot of fun to answer questions -- nothing worse than dead silence -- and there was even an ASJA member and a former book editor who showed up on Saturday afternoon. This was Linda's second time at "The Ranch," and my first. I was totally blown away by the great food. (So was my scale -- I gained a pound last week.) My favorite was the coffee creme brulee, served in demitasse cups. The highlight of our evening was Linda asking for four desserts and our waiter not knowing if she was serious or not. Believe me, if he'd brought four over, we'd have had NO trouble scarfing them down.

The place is absolutely luxurious. I mean, they even fold your toilet paper into neat little points, as you can see to the left.















You can imagine my dismay when, upon returning to our suite, I found this. Linda would not own up to the ruination.
















I was so upset not to see those neat little points that Linda suggested we meditate during our walk to the lobby, where we could choose from a wall full of DVDs. In a sea of Merchant Ivory, we found these gems. Mr. Pink would have been in heaven at Canyon Ranch: no tipping allowed.








So we return to our room, DVDs in hand (truth be told, we nixed Lake Placid and Quentin Tarantino and went with The Breakfast Club and Spellbound -- we're not total doinks). Linda visited the powder room before movie time and voila!

Our Canyon Ranch experience was not exactly limited to toilet paper folded in neat points ... there were whirlpools, yoga classes, a sauna, fitness centers ... and amazing attention to detail.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

 

Serendipity

Diana and I are off to Canyon Ranch tomorrow to give workshops on writing for health magazines. Oh, the awful and terrible life of a freelance writer. We'll be boo-hooing into our light apple tarts with whole-wheat shells about the suckiness of it all.

Something interesting happened to me this week:

After my husband and I first moved to Concord last September, I went to the local Borders to get some writing done. (Somehow I'm distracted by the phone and the cats, but not by books and coffee.) I was standing in line at the cafe when I overheard the woman in front of me telling her companion how she had just broken into one of her dream magazines.

Well, of course, being friendly and nosy, I had to talk to her. So I rudely broke into their conversation and started talking with the writer. We became friends, and meet every so often for coffee or lunch.

The other day -- just when I was wondering, "If I'm so busy, where's all the money?" -- my new friend e-mailed to tell me that she just took an editing gig at a new magazine and wanted me to write up five quick short pieces within a week. (You know who you are, and you're my new favorite editor!)

No lesson here (except maybe to be nosy and evesdrop on people at Borders), and no rant (hey, what's to rant about?). But isn't it neat sometimes the way things happen?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

 

24 days till ...

No, not Christmas, silly -- 24 days till July 1, the deadline to enter The Ultimate Renegade Freelance Writer Contest.

There is no entry fee. All you have to do is write a short (250- to 500-word) essay on your renegade writing lifestyle, the rules you break, the writers linda you most revere diana, and send your masterpiece to our editor, Ed Avis (edavis@marionstreetpress.com). Keep it short and win, and you'll have made more than a buck a word with the $500 top prize.

Other assorted swag the top winner will enjoy:

* Free entry into Linda Formichelli's Eight-Week Write for Magazines E-Course, including one-on-one consultation time with Linda.
* A Signed Special Second Edition Copy of The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success.
* A signed copy of Linda and Diana's new book, The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock, coming out this fall.
* A complete set of Marion Street Press books for writers and word lovers.
* A cool gold-plated pen and pencil set.

The two runners up will win the same package, except the cash.

Don't delay ... enter today!

Monday, June 05, 2006

 

Hey, remember me?

Here's something you'll get a laugh out of: This morning, I started following up on e-mails I sent to editors in 2002.

Instead of doing any of my actual paying work yesterday, I was going through my "Follow Up" e-mail box, which is where I store copies of e-mailed queries and correspondences with editors I want to write for. The box now has more than 900 messages dating back to December 2000.

I found several messages from 2002 (that's as far as I got through the box) that contained promising but eventually unfruitful corresponences between me and editors. For example, I contacted one custom publishing company and the editor-in-chief e-mailed me a reply that they might have some projects coming up and that I should follow up with the managing editor. Well, I followed up with her three times, with no luck. Then there was the e-mail from the owner of a newsletter company asking about my specialties (which I replied to and followed up on), and the message from a former editor letting me know that a friend of hers was looking for writers for a nutrition magazine (ditto).

So, this morning, I pulled out a bunch of promising messages from my Follow Up box and followed up on them, saying, "I was going through my old e-mails and came across this correspondence between us from a while back. Are you still looking to expand your stable of freelance writers? Yadda, yadda, yadda."

Will it work? Only time will tell. One editor got back to me right away saying her stable of freelancers is currently full, but that I should send her a list of my specialties. Two e-mails to other editors bounced. And I haven't heard back from the others yet.

Want to tell me I'm a nutjob? Or that you tried this tactic (and how it worked out for you)? Post a comment!

 

Schedules schmedules

Over the weekend I was talking to my sister-in-law about how hard it is to stick to a schedule when you're self-employed. You know, wake up and start project A as soon as you hit the keyboard. When we're working for a regular paycheck and have an evil boss warlord breathing down your neck, moving from most important A to next most important B isn't a challenge: if you don't complete your work on schedule, you get hassled by the boss man or hold up your team's progress ... at worst, you severely disappoint a major client or find yourself filling out forms at the unemployment office.

But when you're your own boss? There's more room for laxity. Your computer isn't in view of some boss's glassed-in office, so you're free to bid on pottery at eBay. Or play a few games of online Sudoku. Even if you have assignments on your plate, you can push them aside until the pressure gets to great (i.e. they're due tomorrow, and you must get them done). After all, no one's going to hand you a pink slip.

In thinking about this over the weekend, the problem with me -- and other freelancers I've talked to -- isn't sticking to a schedule with assignments. After all, they've got pressure points built in to them: deadlines. Editors. A promise of X amount per word when you're finished. It's the "little" things that we tend to push aside. Marketing (if you hate querying or calling editors). Following up on proposals. Invoicing and logging expenses (slowly raising hand here). We let those things go and over time, they seriously erode the quality of our worklife. We get to the point where we don't enjoy the freedom our jobs afford us because we have months of backlogged bookkeeping over our heads. Or no income coming in because we didn't invoice our clients when we should have.

I'd give myself a B-/C+ on scheduling. I'm fine with assignments -- again, there are those built-in pressures that help me stay on track. But I could be better on stuff like bookkeeping. I've been setting aside time on Fridays to do billing, contracts, and other bookkeeping-related stuff and that's helping. Another thing that has helped me -- at some point in the near future, I'd like to hire an assistant. I'll need some office procedures in place, so I can just hand off those tasks when the time comes. And I'm getting better at prioritizing my work the night before so that when I enter my office in the a.m., I can start work on priority A instead of hitting my favorite gossip sites.

What do you do to stay on track? Tips and tricks, please!

Friday, June 02, 2006

 

E-mentoring for mag writers

I've been having so many writers ask for mentoring outside my e-course that I spoke to my life coach friend about it this week, and she helped me come up with a plan. I had been turning writers away partly because I didn't know how to set it up and how much to charge. Also, I did experiment with e-mentoring for a bit last year and it was very unstructured; I ended up spending too much time answering e-mails and critiquing queries every day-- and I need to get my own assignments done, too! (Live and learn!)

So if you are interested or know any other writers who may be, here's what I'm doing:

E-Mentoring for Writers
$150 per month

* Every Monday, I'll e-mail you a form asking about the past week's successes/misses in terms of goals, what your goals are for the week ahead, what your challenges are, and what you would like from me. This form will help you organize your thoughts and will help pave the way to a productive week for both of us. You should e-mail me the completed form by Wednesday. (Of course, if you have questions/problems outside of what you put on the form, you can e-mail me...the form is just a way to try to set a theme for the week.)

* I'll set aside Wednesdays and Fridays each week to answer forms and e-mails. (I'm going to institute this policy with my e-course as well starting this summer.)

* I'll critique up to two queries per month (multiple drafts of the same query are fine within reason).

* The student can start on any Monday after July 1, 2006.

Let me know if you're interested and I'll figure out how to set up the payments via PayPal (though checks will also be fine). Also, if you have any comments on this new e-mentoring structure, I'd love to hear them!

And now I'm off to get some Indian food. Mmmmm.....chickennnn korrrrrrma... (insert sound of drooling here)

 

Share and share alike.

I want to encourage all freelance writers, aspiring and professional, to share with their fellow writers.

This week several people have helped me out. I was looking for the name of an editor at a certain magazine, and fellow writers responded offering up their editor's name or offering to put me in contact with other people who have worked for that publication. Then, when I was having trouble setting my schedule for a writer's conference where writers meet with editors, several writers e-mailed me to offer to swap meeting times. And last but not least, a life coaching buddy spent an hour on the phone with me this week helping me come up with a plan for setting up e-mentoring for writers (which you'll see on this blog very soon),

In the past, writers have shared names of expert sources; sent me article ideas they thought would be perfect for me; and put me in contact with agents who were seeking writers with my expertise. I'll remember all of these writers in the future when they need help.

Of course, it isn't all one-sided: I often put writers in contact with my editors, and I'm quick to share ideas, info on markets, and sources' contact info. I work under the "karma principle": share with others and they will share with you.

So don't look at your fellow writers as competitors from whom you must guard all your writerly secrets. What a difficult way to run a business! Much easier when everyone's willing to lend a hand to their colleagues.

Have a great weekend, and happy writing!

 

Journalism award alert

If you've written about cancer-related issues in the last few years, may we draw your attention to a new award? The Luminous Award, sponsored by Lilly Oncology, will "recognize and reward journalism that enlightens audiences by providing responsible, accurate and timely information on advances in cancer prevention and treatment." The award is open to all journalists -- freelancers included -- and there's a very generous timeline of when the articles had to appear in print (between September 1, 2001 and August 30, 2006).

The winner will receive a seven-day trip to Boston, New York, London, Sydney, or Paris for two, where he or she can meet with a top oncologist/cancer researcher and learn more about what s/he's working on. There are also runner-up prizes.

Good luck!

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