Sunday, August 28, 2016

Snag a Magazine Gig

Making a living as a novelist is tough. This has been established. So we need to get creative.

At a recent Writers' Digest Writers' Conference, I attended a number of sessions on freelancing. They focused on pitching ideas to magazines. These were really useful and included tips on avoiding the slush pile, formatting your email submissions, locating a magazine's editorial calendar, and so on.

I came out of these sessions with a lot of useful information but no idea what to write that would tie in to my work as a novelist. I was amazed at how much attention is given to the 'author's platform.' Apparently you are expected to have ten gazillion followers on twenty different platforms to rate as an author--but that is a matter for another blog post. The point is that if you are freelancing to draw in readers and build your platform, you need to write material that links to your novel writing.

Then I happened into a session by Kerrie Flanagan. (I was actually in the session next door and snuck out--along with at least six other people--because it was so boring). She is an author, writing consultant, publisher and an accomplished freelance writer with over 17 years experience and hundreds of published articles. Her step-by-step tutorial on how to build your author platform through magazine writing was extremely useful. In her interactive workshop she instructed us to select themes from one of our books and then come up with article ideas based on the themes. So, for a frivolous example, if you wrote a book in which the protagonist loves blue grass music, you could write an article about the history of that music or its importance in a particular culture as seen through the eyes of a modern day young person, and submit it to a magazine whose readers would be interested in such an article. Your book could be the credentials that you need to get your foot in the door with the article and the article could draw readers to you and your book. Win-win!

One of these days, soon, I promise, I will give it a try... ;-)


Unknown said...

Thank you for your post Carol. "One of these days..." in truth. Building author platform...this can sound so easy but in practice, especially for a novice, so tedious and time consuming! There is so much you are told to do or not to do. You can spend so much time researching these magazines, then it's a whole new kettle of fish getting into at least one of their doors!! And the time! When would you find time to actually write if you were to comply? I wish I could practically find a way to generate some steady income from writing...this is yet to become a reality. Well I do have Amazon to thank for my little royalties!

Jewel Amethyst said...

The expectations of authors beyond writing is extremely high with little remuneration. But these tips are tips I can use.

Carol Mitchell said...

Glad to hear this was useful Jewel.
It is so difficult, Cindy, to find the time to do it all.

Maggie King said...

Carol, Thanks for your thought-provoking article.

Liane Spicer said...

Carol, I have lost track of the things in my "One of these days" drawer! That said, very useful suggestion.