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Posts Tagged ‘journalism advice’

Keija Minor, Editor-in-Chief of Brides on Her Jump From Law to Publishing

keija-minor2Keija Minor has come a long way from her initial career as a corporate lawyer. This D.C. native left the world of law around 2003 and took a major pay cut to start over again as a magazine intern. Her leap of faith paid off: she’s now the editor-in-chief of Brides.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Minor discusses her vision for Brides, being inspired by artistic director Anna Wintour and how she transitioned from law to publishing:

How did you make the move from corporate law to magazines?
There is literally a book called What Can You Do With a Law Degree? that was sticking out on a shelf at Barnes & Noble, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s a sign!’ So I decided basically by the end of year two [of my job as a lawyer] that I needed to look for something else, and then it took a year to save a year’s worth of mortgage payments, with my theory being that I may be broke and not be able to eat, but I won’t be homeless. And I actually started taking [women's magazine] classes at Mediabistro. Once I made up my mind that that’s what I wanted to do, it was like this huge burden was lifted off my shoulders — I had five minutes of regret about two minutes after I left the firm.

To hear more from Minor, including what it’s like to be the first African American to hold a top position at Condé Nast, read: So What Do You Do, Keija Minor, Brides Editor-in-Chief?

Mediabistro Course

Social Media 201

Social Media 201Starting October 13Social Media 201 picks up where Social Media 101 leaves off, to provide you with hands-on instruction for gaining likes, followers, retweets, favorites, pins, and engagement. Social media experts will teach you how to make social media marketing work for your bottom line and achieving your business goals. Register now!

When To Decline A Job As A Freelancer

specializingSaying ‘no’ to any paying gig seems like a dumb idea, especially if you’re a strapped-for-cash freelancer. But there’s a method to this madness.

Veteran freelancers agree that in order to cultivate your career, you need to be choosy — to an extent. Obviously try not to turn down every opportunity you get. But do weed out what works and what doesn’t for your schedule and your career:

If the pay is too low, the amount of work too demanding or the subject is outside of your area of interest, don’t be afraid to say no. A former client connected me with a man who needed help getting his mystery novel published, and when I read his email it seemed that what he really needed was a literary agent. I could have given him advice, working as a sort of consultant. But he seemed a little too proud and inflexible, and I wasn’t sure I would enjoy working with someone like that. Additionally, this type of work wasn’t in line with the direction I wanted my career to follow, so I politely declined.

To hear more tips on how to enhance your writing career by narrowing your focus, read: Growing Your Writing Career By Becoming A Specialist.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Freelancers: When Should You Leave A Client?

LifeAsAFreelancer

Becoming a freelancer after working full time at a more traditional job can be a daunting transition. You are suddenly forced to be your own boss, create your own schedule and hunt for clients yourself.

Although there are plenty of benefits to becoming a freelancer, one of the major downfalls is the lack of financial stability. And nowadays, there seems to be a constant battle between what you should be paid and what you’re actually getting:

The “I can get it cheaper mindset” seems more prevalent since the Internet boom. Clients see numerous listings for blog posts at “5 cents a word” or “$6 a page” or “$10 an hour.” So often they don’t realize how unrealistic these rates are once issues like research, interviews, deadlines — plus overall skill — are factored in. Graphic designer Lucy A. Clark feels you have to hold your ground. “Unless you can educate [potential clients] about what’s really involved, walk away,” she said.

To get more tips on freelancing, read: Pros and Cons of Life as a Freelancer.

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Your Guide to Publishing Personal Essays

CraftPersonalEssays

Personal essay writing is all the rage right now. Every major publication online seems to have a “Life” or “Relationships” section. Some sites are entirely dedicated to narrative, first person stories (I’m looking at you, xoJane.com).

Writing about your own experiences can be a valuable exercise in turning observations into something meaningful. But everyone knows that sharing anything personal (let alone controversial) on the Internet can result in some ugly feedback:

If you publish your essay online, especially in a vociferous blogging community, be prepared for anything. I have been called irresponsible, a bully, mean-spirited, lazy and more. I have also been praised for my candor, my writing style and my sense of humor. Any time you publish your work, you open yourself up to criticism, but with the personal essay, criticism can cut deeper because it’s in response to your personal life. Learning how to cope with negative feedback is a constant practice, says Carinn Jade, blogger at Welcome To Motherhood. “I think 97 percent of my comments have been negative. If I’ve written a piece that’s a real trigger for me, I’ll really try not to read the comments.”

To get more tips on writing a great personal essay, read: You Life in 1,000 Words: The Craft Of Personal Essays.

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Rebound After Your Story Has Been Rejected

KilledStory

Whether it’s in your love life or your work life, being told ‘no’ can sting. When an editor rejects your writing, it can feel like a personal attack — but it’s usually not.

Editors kill stories based on a number of reasons, such as timing issues or internal changes in the publication. In any case, it’s important to find out why your piece was killed and then move on:

Whatever you do, don’t be overly apologetic. You’ll only appear desperate and needy to the editor, which doesn’t bode well if you hope to work with him or her again. I learned the hard way that editors simply don’t have patience for it. Instead, thank them for the opportunity and assure that you’ll apply the lessons from the experience to future assignments. Regardless of the reason, it’s never easy dealing with the rejection of an assignment. But instead of getting emotional, wondering if you’ll ever be good enough, try being logical, suggests New Jersey freelance writer, Stephanie Auteri. “I like to remind myself you can’t make everyone happy and you can’t be the right writer for everyone.”

To hear more words of wisdom from veteran freelancers and editors, read: 6 Things to Do After Your Story Has Been Killed.

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

The Cost of Being a Freelance Writer

Being a writer is a cutthroat business these days. Sometimes it feels like everyone in the office is out to get you. The constant competition from colleagues, the incessant pressure from your boss, the soul crushing commute.

That’s why many writers have opted to freelance instead. No nasty colleagues, no boss breathing down your neck, no tense office environment. Just you, your laptop and your words. Sounds perfect, right? Wrong. Freelancing can be just as difficult as working at a large company, with the irregular income, lack of benefits and complete isolation. In our latest Mediabistro feature, a freelance writer talks about the struggles of being her own boss:

When there’s no boss hovering over your shoulder, and you can’t get that vision of the overflowing laundry basket out of your head, and you don’t really have any immediate deadlines, it’s difficult to stay on task. It’s taken me four years to develop my little system, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still duck away for the occasional afternoon nap or throw in the towel early to watch TV on a bad day. But like any other job, when something isn’t working, you adapt to the drawbacks and work to restore balance the best way you can.

To hear how she overcame her freelance challenges, read Balancing Your Freelance Life with Your Personal Life

Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Lessons in Freelancing: Ignore the Hostile Comments

freelancer mistakes

Learning from your own mistakes is great; learning from others mistakes puts you one step ahead of the game.

In the latest Mediabistro feature, we talk to some writers about rookie mistakes they made (and you can now avoid), including freaking out about comments:

Maria Guido, blogger at GuerillaMom.com, gives this advice: “Just chill out. Don’t worry about what everyone says because it really doesn’t matter. Try not to take every comment to heart because I totally believe that’s something people just do — all day! They just get online and attack people.” She also reminds writers that the people who comment are a very, very tiny portion of your actual collective readership.

For more tips on how to navigate the freelance world, read 7 Mistakes Every Freelance Writer Should Avoid.

Sherry Yuan

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Get Your Feature Pitch Accepted

For writers who want to avoid all the front-of-the-book dating, and jump straight to the matrimony of a feature story assignment, it will take more than a killer lede or a glowing portfolio to get an editor to say yes. In Mediabistro’s latest feature for AvantGuild members, veteran freelancers share their best advice for landing that first piece in the “well” of a magazine.

“Persistence can be just as important as having great ideas,” noted Oregon-based writer Teri Cettina, whose work has appeared in Parenting. Before writing for many national magazines, she says she focused on a few pubs and pitched them “like it was my job” before breaking into the industry.

For more tips on how to package your pitch and impress editors, read How to Get Your Feature Pitch Accepted.

Sherry Yuan

ag_logo_medium.gifThe full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Vibe‘s Jermaine Hall on What It Really Takes to Be EIC

In the same year that music mags Blender and Giant folded, Vibe shuttered, as well. But, luckily for the iconic mag, it was snapped up by a private equity firm, and editor-in-chief Jermaine Hall was brought on to resurrect the pub. And resurrect it, he did.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Hall explains how the mag is winning again and gives advice to aspiring EICs.

“A lot of things that come with being editor-in-chief aren’t necessarily drilled down into the day-to-day tasks,” he said. “It’s a lot of schmoozing; it’s a lot of fixing relationships; it’s a lot of bartering; it’s a lot of people skills, I would say. It’s really going out there to be the ambassador of the brand on all levels.”

For more, read So What Do You Do, Jermaine Hall, Editor-in-Chief of Vibe?

More Outlets for Your Personal Essays

Last week, we brought you Part I of our popular series, Personal Essay Markets. This week brings Part II, which outlines more venues that love printing this unique and accessible style of writing. Essays dealing with everything from love and relationships to gardening and knitting can find a home at the right pub.

Be sure to come back for our final installment of the print markets in Part III, as well as our digital guide in Part IV.

For more, read Personal Essay Markets Pt. II. [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]

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