Sunday, 26 May 2013

Christmas is coming ........

Christmas is coming and the editors are there waiting for your Christmas related articles. Yes, I know that spring has barely sprung yet, but getting your ideas in early puts you ahead of the competition. And, when you think about it, for most monthly publications, they are already on their June/July/August issues which means they'll be planning their Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec issues soon if not already.

So put on some Christmas movies, look at Christmas produce websites, drink some mulled wine, look through your photo albums for old Christmas memories and get writing! Hopefully you would have remembered to keep a couple of Christmas back copies of magazines so you can see what they've gone with before and pitch them something original. I know it's 7 months to go before the big day but believe me, that time will soon whizz by, so don't get caught out and start pitching now while you've still got plenty of time to do so.

Merry Christmas!

Julie xx

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Where to start?

So you want to write? That was the situation I found myself in a few years ago when I first started to write seriously. I had wanted to write short stories initially and I had written poems as a child/teenager. But then, somehow, life got in the way, as it always does and my writing got lost in the tornado that was exams, college, nurse training, finding a job, moving counties, moving jobs, getting married, moving jobs a couple more times, night shifts, day shifts, having a child and changing careers. It's amazing any of us have any breath left after all the changes we go through during our lives!

But get back to writing I did - I had very little success with the short stories though, even after I'd done an Open University course in creative writing. I even joined a writing group when that course finished, so determined was I not to let life snatch my writing from me again. And it didn't. I still dipped my toe into the short story world but by far my greatest success to date with my writing has been with the articles. It's funny how hell bent we are in conquering one facet of writing only to be disappointed but find success in another area of writing we hadn't considered to be our 'thing.' But that's life for you!

This blog is about writing articles - something I now enjoy doing and I still write short stories having had some published to spur me on. But it will always be the articles for me now that I think will take a greater priority in my writing life. When we first start our writing it can seem confusing: where shall we take our writing? What shall we write today? Will what we write today be different to what we are writing in ten years time?

There are so many different possibilities with writing that it is impossible from the start to know where we might end up. But make a start we must and I'm a firm believer that nothing we write is ever wasted. It can be improved upon, it can be altered, a small spark of the original can be lifted to create a bigger and better piece.

So whatever you do today - make a start with your writing. Whatever it is, make that start. Don't worry about editing or what you think your writing dreams, today, are. Get something down on paper and then you can think about where you want to take it.

Happy beginnings!

Julie xx

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Have you got a book in you?

One of the most traditional routes to getting a non fiction book published is to write a series of articles first - something that can be expanded and adapted into a book. The first hurdle here is to persuade an editor to let you write a series of articles in the first place - but it's not impossible. Certainly, telling a potential book publisher that you have a series of related articles already does your pitch no harm so I'd recommend that you give it a try.

The way to increase your chances of getting a series is:

* Write down your ideas and separate them into specific headings that you can work into several different articles.

* Give the editor a flavour of why you should be the one to write a series: details/examples of your previous published work (whether paid for or not).

* Provide a basic outline of what will be in each article and how they relate to each other.

* Give the editor an idea of the kind of experts you will be approaching/have approached to be in the article and in what way they will contribute.

*If you are an expert with the relevant knowledge, qualifications and experience, all the better. But if you are not - you soon will be by all that hard researching work you are doing and the networking with people who have you'll be doing!

Once you have all the relevant information and have written your pitch you can send it in and see what happens. Preparation is key here so be as specific and professional as you can be. If a potential editor knows they are dealing with a writer they can trust to give them good copy it bodes well for future relationships with potential publishers.

Give it a go. You never know!

Julie xx

Friday, 3 May 2013

It's all a bit random

Writing articles. Where do you start? Does the idea or the potential market come first? It's like the proverbial chicken and the egg isn't it! Do you buy a magazine first, do the necessary research: read it cover to cover and come up with an idea that's worth pitching to the editor? Or do you have the idea then go and find a magazine that might offer a potential market for your idea? It can all seem a bit random.

Well both have their charms and devils. I find that I often get my best ideas when I'm leafing through a magazine, but I also have some great ideas when I'm wandering around, minding my own business too! So, for me, either of the two methods works well. But if you're just starting out, picking out a magazine (along with a few recent back copies) is a good starting point.

Once you've been writing for a while and know a few different markets well, you begin to develop a nose for what would make good content for those magazines. But, as a newbie, it's essential to do the leg work and study the markets thoroughly - it's the only way you'll get to know what the editor and readers' preferences are.

Plus, buying magazines is a good excuse to put your feet up, have a cuppa and relax - no-one will dare complain because you are 'doing research!'

Happy researching  and do let us know of any successes, near misses or pitches you send out.

Julie xx