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Aneya Fernando

Share Your Best Writing Tips at This Magazine for Scribes

The-Writer-Article3The Writer is known as the bible for those in the publishing world. The pub has been around since 1887 and as managing editor Aubrey Everett says, “Despite writing trends that may come and go, The Writer has always stuck firm to the commitment to provide readers with practical advice and tips on the craft of writing.”

With 60 to 70 percent of the pub freelance written, there are plenty of opportunities for both well-established and newbie writers. The mag features a host of regular features open to freelancers, including:

Off the Cuff – Share a personal essay about an aspect of being a writer in 1,000 words.
Poet to Poet – A section devoted to writing poetry. Pieces run about 500 to 750 words.
Writer at Work – A writer shares a story about a writing problem and how he or she overcame it. The 750- to 1,500-word section typically covers the fiction genre; it is only open to experienced writers.
Write Stuff – Compose reviews of books and other products that writers may be interested in. The magazine enlists experienced book reviewers for this column; reviews run 500 to 750 words and includes excerpts.

For more on how to get your articles published in this pub, read: How To Pitch: The Writer.

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.

International Best-Selling Author Paul McKenna on His Writing Process

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Paul McKenna, the hypnotist and self-help guru from the UK, has a gift for writing best-selling nonfiction books. After an early career in radio, McKenna transitioned to TV and then to publishing. He’s written 16 nonfiction books, with provocative titles like I Can Make You Thin, which happens to be the best-selling self-help book in UK history.

In our latest So What Do You Do column, McKenna talks about the way he revolutionized nonfiction books (by putting a CD in the back, with a hypnotic trance on it) and why he’s not interested in writing an intellectual tome:

When I’m writing a book, I imagine I’m holding a copy of the book, and I start to flick through it and I get a sense of the emotional tone, or I get a sense of the pace of the book, whether it’s short chapters or long ones. The other thing I do is imagine the [reader] is sitting in front of me, and I think, ‘What do I need to tell them to help them get better?’ My readers need enough science to tell them that what they’re about to do is safe and has been practiced on other people and is a worthwhile process and then I walk them through it. And I’m not interested in writing intellectual books for other intellectuals to read. I’m interested in helping as many people as I can, in as easy and painless a way as possible.

For more from McKenna, including how he got his very first book published, read: So What Do You Do, Paul McKenna, Best-Selling Author, Hypnotist and Host of Hulu’s McKenna?

Jeff O’Connell, NYT Best-Selling Author, Talks About His Writing Process

Jeff-O'Connell-ArticleJeff O’Connell  began his career as an editor at fitness magazines like Men’s Health and Muscle & Fitness. His writing soon earned him recognition in The Best American Sports Writing and The Best American Science & Nature Writing anthologies. It wasn’t long before O’Connell claimed the title all writers seek: New York Times best-selling author.

The book, Platinum Workout, was a collaboration with LL Cool J. O’Connell later worked with 50 Cent (on Formula 50) and in 2011 released his own book, Sugar Nation. Here, O’Connell shares his tips for writers and aspiring authors:

To me, writing is mostly about re-writing. I wish I was somebody that could sit down and bang out 1,000 or 2,000 perfect words, but I’m not. A lot times I can be a perfectionist, and that can be really paralyzing, so I think that it’s important to just get something down on the screen or the page and realize that you’re going to work it over multiple times anyway, so you might as well get started. And then it’s important to find a niche that’s well calibrated to your interests, but also to your talent.

To hear more from O’Connell, including his experience co-writing with celebrities, read: So What Do You Do, Jeff O’Connell, Award-Winning Writer and Editor-In-Chief of Bodybuilding.com? 

Best-Selling Author Nicole Williams on Marketing Yourself

Nicole-Williams-blogNicole Williams, resident career expert at LinkedIn, is not only the founder of her own media company, WORKS by Nicole Williams, but also the author of three best-selling books, including Wildly Sophisticated: A Bold New Attitude for Career Success and Earn What You’re Worth. Her latest title, Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules Into Career Success, has even been optioned for a film by Academy-Award-winning producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen.

It’s safe to say Williams knows a thing or two about marketing herself as a brand. Here, she talks about finding a connection with the vice president at Penguin and getting your name out there in a terrible economy:

Ten, 15 years ago, when I was getting my book published, the vice president of Penguin was sitting in on my meeting. And for some reason, I had done [an] Internet search and knew that this guy came from Toronto, Canada, which is where I was born, and it was that affinity that [enabled] me to [get a] record-breaking advance. Use every method possible to prepare yourself and then to market yourself so that you’re someone that gets noticed. There are opportunities out there. And sometimes in a bad economy there’s actually more opportunity than [less]. It’s just a matter of [going] after it more strategically.

For more from Williams, including how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, read: So What Do You Do, Nicole Williams, Author, Entrepreneur and Career Expert at LinkedIn?

Why Freelance Writers Should Vary Their Sources of Income

Creative-Career-ArticleDoing what you love for a living is everyone’s dream. But if you’re a freelance writer, you know how unpredictable that life can be, income-wise: staggered assignments, varying rates, delayed payments.

That’s why it’s so important to hone your writing skills in a variety of practices, so you can be versatile and land gigs in a number of industries. Jodi Helmer, a writer based in North Carolina, shares her story in our latest Journalism Advice column:

After Helmer got rolling as a full-time writer, she didn’t want to limit herself to only writing for one medium or industry, so she offers courses to mentor aspiring writers, speaks at industry events and has published books. These are all other ways to leverage her editorial skills and ensure a constant flow of income from various sources, which in turn helps her continue writing for markets that pay more sporadically. “Having diversified income streams is the same as having a diversified investment portfolio; it helps you weather blips in the market,” says Helmer.

For more advice, including how to build your brand, read: Making the Leap to a Creative Career.

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.

Demetria Lucas on Getting Her First Book Published

Demetria-Lucas-ArticleDemetria Lucas first claim to fame came from her uber-successful blog, A Belle In Brooklyn, which chronicled her dating adventures in New York City a la Sex and the City. After scoring a gig as the relationships editor at Essence, Lucas’ friends convinced her to write a book based on her blog. After all, she started her career editing romance novels for Harlequin and BET Books.

She ended up not only writing one book, but two, and is currently a life coach and one of the stars of Bravo’s reality show Blood, Sweat and Heels. In our latest So What Do You Do interview, Lucas talks about the moment she knew she had to write her first book, titled A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life:

I was fortunate to land a spot on Let’s Talk About Pep on VH1, which was another story about four black women dating in New York. I realized I had a really big platform and I should do something with it. That’s when I pitched my book. Coming from a book editor’s background, I knew that you could have a great story, but if you didn’t have a platform to sell it on, nobody was going to know about it. Simon & Schuster took it. After the book came out, I was all over social media and started doing my ‘Cocktails with Belle’ events because I wanted to meet my readers. I wasn’t really looking at it as a marketing strategy.

For more from Lucas, including her thoughts on being labeled the “black Carrie Bradshaw,” read: So What Do You Do, Demetria Lucas, Writer and Reality Show Star?

How to Use Cross-Promotion to Sell Your Book

Be-Your-Own-Publicist-ArticThe book industry is like any other in the sense that selling and marketing your product — and, in essence, yourself — can often be the toughest part.

If you’re a unknown author working with a small publishing house (or self-publishing), partnering up with a brand that has a large following could help boost sales and get your name in the press. We got the scoop from several branding experts on how to choose the right partner:

Think outside the box and team up with a brand, retailer or expert who supplements your area of expertise. If you just wrote a book about the benefits of Pilates and the barre method, [Beth Feldman, co-founder of BeyondPR Group] suggests teaming up with Lululemon to do a book signing at their store or build a 10-city tour to appear in their stores and then promote yourself to local media. This begins with concocting a well-crafted strategy to share why you would add value to them via media exposure.

To learn more, including how to build a local following, read: How To Be Your Own Publicist.

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.

Best-Selling Author Terrie Williams: ‘Follow Your Inner Voice and Be True to It’

Terrie-Williams-ArticleTerrie Williams is a woman of many talents. No only is she a licensed therapist, she’s also the founder of her own eponymous public relations firm and a four-time best-selling author. Her books include: The Personal Touch (which is being updated in honor of its 20th anniversary); Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting; A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony Through the Seven Living Virtues; and Stay Strong: Simple Life Lessons for Teens. 

In our latest So What Do You Do column, Williams discusses everything from the humble beginnings of her PR firm to her mental health advocacy work. Here, she shares the advice she’d give her younger self:

If you could have a 20-something Terrie Williams as your intern now, what would you tell her to do differently?
Listen to your freakin’ inner voice. You know in your gut what’s right but either fear sets in or something keeps you from listening. There are always other forces crowding the good sense you have. Follow your inner voice and be true to it. I know this is about media, but the underlying core is our shared humanity. It impacts how effective we are in particular roles. If you look at a lot of different media personalities, you wonder what drives them because of certain things that they say or do. Even though you don’t know what that person’s journey is, you know they have one and it colors everything about who they are. Assume there’s something you don’t know that had a profound impact on that person.

For more from Williams, including the greatest professional lesson she’s learned, read: So What Do You Do, Terrie Williams, Author, Activist and Public Relations Strategist? 

How a Passion for Storytelling Prepared One Writer for Nonfiction Freelancing

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Versatility is essential to success as a freelance writer. Transitioning from fiction writing to nonfiction freelancing could mean the difference between writing as a hobby and actually earning an income.

There are plenty of benefits to having a background in fiction. In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s Journalism Advice column, one writer claims that after writing fiction, generating fresh ideas for articles was easier than ever:

Having trained myself before to hone my curiosity and keep my eyes and ears open for ideas, it comes naturally now. I’m likely to come up with an article idea, a turn of phrase or an untapped market while I’m driving, playing blocks with my 2-year-old or taking my lunch break. If you can invent a villain or dream up a plotline or a setting, you can develop a pitch for a nonfiction article.

For more, including how a background in fiction can help you deal with deadlines, read: 5 Ways Fiction Writing Prepared Me for Nonfiction Freelancing.

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.

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Self-Publishing an eBook

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Writers today are faced with more publishing options than ever before. You could go the traditional route and try for a book deal at a large publishing house. Or you could go the opposite route and self-publish your work, either in print or in the form of an eBook.

If you’re thinking about self-publishing an eBook, there are a few key questions you should ask yourself before diving in. Are you an entrepreneur? Do you crave total control over your work? Can you hire a professional team? Is making money critical? Do you have the time and energy to take on a project like this? Finally, what are your true goals? And this may be the most important question of all:

David Gaugran, indie author and blogger, says, “Writers get so obsessed with finding an agent that representation becomes the goal. They forget that’s just the first hurdle.” After that, your book gets passed to editors, marketing teams, sales teams and booksellers — and there’s a good chance your book may fail at any of those crossroads. If you need an agent and a traditional publishing house, rather than readers (and yourself) to verify your awesomeness, are you writing for the right reasons? Gaugran urges writers to consider, “why don’t you pick yourself, instead of waiting to be picked?”

For more tips, including how to have an effective marketing strategy, read: Do Self-Published eBooks Help or Hurt Your Career?

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.

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