Thursday, 19 November 2009

Check up

Out of the blue this morning I received a phone call from the PR lady (amongst other roles she plays) of the Wenlock Olympian Society. You may remember that I went along to the Wenlock Olympian Games back in July this year and got a press pack. It was my first outing as a freelance journalist and one that I learned so much from and enjoyed immensely, although I was very nervous!

She was ringing round all of the journalist who had attended over the two day event to see how we had got on with our articles about the event. I felt quite sad when I told her that, unfortunately, I had yet to get anything published from the event. Apparently the committee have a meeting tonight and any publicity or articles that have been published/accepted from the event are to be discussed.

Then she asked me a strange question that concerned me a bit. There were alarm bells ringing in the back of my mind. She'd been on the Internet and asked me if I was the Julie Phillips who was the international writer. I said that I wasn't, although I knew who she meant, and she said what a shame it was! Yes, quite - I'd love to be an internationally renowned writer! But thank god she didn't find my other namesake - the one who styles cross dressers! Now that would have caused a stir in the meeting tonight! (I'm not that Julie Phillips either.)

Then I got a bit anxious as I thought is she checking up on me? I felt guilty even though, to my knowledge, I haven't done anything that infringes their terms and conditions or any copyright laws. But it also made me stop and think about why I didn't get anything published about the event. I had a golden opportunity presented to me on a plate and I didn't take it. I took loads of notes, interviewed lots of people and took loads of photos. I remember approaching Shropshire Life about an article but I'd been pipped to the post (by the PR lady of Wenlock Olympian Society who rang me this morning!) And I approached Country & Border Life but that's where the photograph issue first reared its ugly head. Then I sort of just ran out of steam.

But the PR's phone call has spurred me on again - she was very kind and wished me luck with my future endeavours and so I have decided to give it another go and send a couple of articles off and photos. It would be a shame to waste the work I did collating all the information. I think what is putting me off is that the society requires anyone who writes an article about them to send a copy to them for scrutiny first and if the writer wants to use any photos from their archive, you have to apply by form for them and they charge a fee. But you can't just be vague as to what publication they're for, you have to be specific and they charge a fee for the photos. Now, if, like me you are freelance and you want to pitch articles to a variety of magazines - it can get complicated and costly - particularly if there is no guarantee the magazine will buy the article at the end of it.

So I've been a bit reluctant to try it really. I'm scared of breaching anything and and I certainly can't afford to be out of pocket. I think that before, I was scared that I couldn't write the article well enough to get published. But now, four months after the event, I know I can write the article easily enough and I have got articles accepted - so my confidence is higher. So maybe I'll just write it, send it in to the society, see what they think then offer it to a magazine with the photos I have but state that I can access other photos if they need them. It would be nice to see something in print of mine about the society and I know they'd appreciate it too.

Julie xx


  1. Julie, sorry - this is the third time I've tried to leave a message, so apologies if they've all got through to you.

    Very worrying when you find out someone's googled you, but she probably just wanted to know who she was speaking to.

    I'd love to style cross-dressers - what a fab job (and I'm sure there's an article in there somewhere).


  2. Hi, Suzanne,

    Sorry you've been having trouble leaving comments on my blog!

    Yes, she didn't seem worried or accusatory - it's just me being twitchy about being googled I guess. Plus she caught me out of the blue and it took me a minute to realise who she was. She's given me a kick to try again though.

    It would be a great job, wouldn't it. All those handbags and shoes. Yes, an article on a stylist to cross dressers would be great. I might have to contact my namesake and try and interview her/him

    Julie xx

  3. Hope you get somewhere with the article. I wouldn't worry about being googled, she probably just wanted to make sure she knew a bit about the person she was speaking to.

  4. Thanks, Helen

    And well done on your short story.

    Julie xx