Sunday, July 31, 2011

Christian/Religious Publications Writer's Guidelines

Charisma - one of the many Christian publications that
uses freelance writers.
Hi all,

Just wanted to let you know that I have a new page set up with links to writer's guidelines for Christian/Religious online and print publications who use freelance writers.  (See page here.)  I had noticed that there were many searches for Christian publications on my Stats page and decided that it would be a good genre to add a page for.  The page is not complete - there are many more that I will add in the future - but I wanted to get this list out to you for now so you can get started.

Remember to always read the Writer's Guidelines as well as read over the publication or its website before submitting an article query or complete article.  It always helps to know the tone of the publication before writing for it - it saves both you and the editor time in the long run.

Hope this listing helps in your search for freelance writing jobs.

Happy Writing,

Deanna

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Writers – What Should I Write About and Where Do I Sell My Articles?

Hi all,


I am asked by new writers all the time about what they should write about and who should they write for. Actually, deciding what to write will determine where you should sell your articles. If you are only looking for a way to earn money fast and don’t care what topics you write about – dash over to Demand Media Studios, Textbroker or Break Studios, join, then choose from available articles that pay you anywhere from $4 to $25 per title. But if you are looking to build a writing career by choosing your own topics and finding outlets for them, then you will want to skip those sites and start finding your niche.

How to Find Your Niche in Writing?

Finding topics to write about can be very easy but most people overlook the obvious. What you do on a daily basis, as a job, at home or as a hobby – or the things that really interest you like sewing, gardening, celebrity watching, movies, television shows, pets, running, walking, etc., are the topics you should be pursuing. For example: you’re a mother of three young children. Right there you have years worth of articles just waiting to be written. As you experience parenting, like your child’s first play date, illness, first day of school, troubles at school, etc., you have the first-hand knowledge to turn each event into an article. Is your child struggling with learning to read? Write a well-researched article on how children learn to read or how schools are teaching reading or what type of help children need to learn to read. Has your child been bullied in school? Write an article on why children bully and how to teach your child not to be a bully. Children alone can bring you endless opportunities for writing articles.

What about your career? Are you a financial manager, day-care provider, nurse or computer technician? Any one of those careers, as with thousands of others, would make excellent topics for writing articles. Do you religiously watch a particular television show (or shows)? Blogging or writing about each episode may be the right niche for you. Speaking about being religious, are you? Writing about your particular religion can be the basis for hundreds of articles. Finding topics for articles becomes easy when you look at what interests you and what is a part of your everyday life.

Where Do I Sell My Articles?

Once you have established a niche (or several niches) with your article writing, then you are able to pinpoint where you should sell your articles. You can do this several ways – you could:

  • Start your own blog and place advertising on it.
  • Write for revenue share sites like Yahoo/Associated Content (they also pay a small fee up-front), Examiner (get your own expert title), Suite101, Triond, or any number of sites on the web.
  • Place your articles for sale on sites like Constant-Content or Daily Article and sell them for the price you set.
  • Find online magazines or print magazines in your topic area and send them a query to try to sell your article to them.

Let’s say you do write articles about parenting and want to find a place to sell them. There are numerous print and online regional parenting publications (almost one in every state – sometimes multiple ones in a state) for which you can send your article or article idea to and, if accepted, they will pay you. (See my list of parenting publications)

Maybe you have a background in finance and want to write about that topic. Search the web for online and print media where you can sell your articles on finance. Don’t forget to expand your search – many parenting, family, women’s and men’s sites also offer information on finance – so you don’t have to limit yourself to finance publications only. Whatever your topic of interest is, you will find an outlet for it.

Beginning a writing career takes time, work and dedication. Don’t expect someone else to give you all the answers or lead you in the right direction. Take it upon yourself to search for opportunities. There is plenty of information on the web about where to sell your writing, so get out there and search for opportunities. Good luck!

Happy Writing,

Deanna

2012 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition (Writer's Market Online)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Back and Ready to Get Back to Writing


Bald eagle that flew over us on the lake.
Photo: Deanna Lynn Sletten
 Hi all,

Well, I'm back early because I just couldn't stay away for a whole month.  Now I'm back and ready to get back to writing.

Why I Took Time Off

For the past three years I've been writing non-stop in order to build up an income as well as advance my writing career.  The first year I tried all types of writing sites (and shared them all with my readers) to figure out which direction I wanted to take.  The second year I worked mostly on writing for residual income sites, like eHow, Suite101, Associated Content, Triond and Examiner, believing that the more I wrote, the more money I would make in the long run.  I also started three blogs of my own and began building up articles on those.  I did fairly well that year and my residual earnings grew.  The third year, as you all know by now, Google's Panda hit and I lost 75% of my residual income to it.  That was disheartening.  However, I had by then, built up my own blogs as well as had two very good sources to earn up-front money writing articles.  So, while I did lose one source of income, my other sources were taking off so I didn't feel too much pain in the wallet.  However, after working three straight years trying to build up sources of income, I was tired.  That is what prompted me to take a month off from most of my writing.

What I Did Do On My Weeks Off

Over the past few weeks I spent time writing for sites I enjoy writing for as well as working on writing projects that I love and hope will someday earn money.  I felt that during the past few years I had lost the real reason I had started writing and began placing more emphasis on earning the most income possible instead of writing for the love of it (and earning extra income).  While earning income is the goal - enjoying what I write is also important to me.  Sure, I could spend hours researching and writing about boring topics that earn high income, but that leaves me feeling bored and drained.  When I write on the topics that I enjoy, I feel energized and my writing is 100% better.  For awhile, my love of writing was overshadowed by my urgency to create a good income.  After taking some time off, I was able to get back to my original goals as a writer - write what I love and earn money doing it.

While I didn't write too much these past few weeks, I did complete three new articles for She Knows which I am very happy with and enjoyed writing.  You can view these here, here and here.  They were pieces about interesting people and I do enjoy writing these types of articles.  I also worked a little bit on my travel blog and health blog, because I really enjoy writing those articles too.  Aside from that, I got a little work done on my most recent fiction novel, but I still have a long way to go with it.  I hope to spend a lot more time in August working on it. 

Oh, yes.  We did go out in the boat a bit but didn't catch any fish - it was just too hot for that.  We also (finally) had central air installed in our house because the heat wave was more than I could take.  Oh do I love my air conditioning!  Unfortunately, my dog and I didn't get even one walk in this entire month because it was way too hot, there were too many bugs (mosquitoes and biting flies) and our state (Minnesota) shut down for several weeks meaning our state park was shut down too.  We'll have to wait until the weather cools down a bit before we hit the hiking trails again.

My June Income

I know it is almost the end of July, but since I didn't write at all this month I just wanted to update you on my June income.  Once all was totaled, I came in only $100 short of reaching my total income for all of 2010.  My goal for 2011 is to double my writing income from 2010, and I am on my way toward that goal.  Now that I have practically made last year's income, I can work on doubling it over the next 6 months.  In June, 93% of my income was from up-front pay sources and only 7% was from residual sources from my blogs and what is left of the residual sites I still earn money from.  A year ago, these totals would have been the reversed, but you can't look back, only forward.  I increased my up-front June earnings considerably by placing several articles on Constant-Content which all sold for full-rights that same month.  In August, I plan to place several more articles on CC and will continue to use this site as one of my main sources of up-front income this year.

Well, I've taken up enough of your time.  I hope all of you have had a great July and are doing well with your earnings.  I also hope you are writing what you love - and loving what you do! 

Happy Writing,
Deanna
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