Gosh, the end of 2013 is just about a month away! I am off this week and hope you are too. The best part of being full time freelance and 100% work from home is taking time off whenever I want and for as long as I want and wherever I want, with whoever I want! Some will argue that its not paid leave but if you have earned enough through the year then that should not matter at all. I am thankful for this being a great year professionally - lots of writing assignments, copy editing projects, press trips, new website and book writing coming along nicely. Next year is looking even more promising. Excited to have close friends drive over to celebrate the holidays with us and thankful for friends hosting parties over the holiday weekend for us folks who really cant go home to celebrate with family this holiday season. I hope you celebrate well with near and dear! Happy Thanksgiving!
Depending on your client and project, it might actually make sense sometimes to not be involved in a certain assignment. Not every single offer that comes your way is necessarily the best. Almost always your gut is giving you the right signals. But listening to it is usually not what we do now, do we? I just got off a hell of a project today and boy was it a whirlwind! I am actually relieved to not be working on it any more even though it means a setback to my earnings. From the start I felt like I was bending backward with the hope that this could work into something pretty big, and the more I got swallowed into it. But the quality of copy to start with was quite horrendous, and then the quality of work expected from it was simply unacceptable. After trying very hard to keep it going, it ultimately boiled down to the quality of life I want being a freelance business owner and if this job fit that picture. Clearly not and so it was farewell. Have you had a similar situation cross your path?
Well, for me, at least. I have always had a problem coming up with decent pitches but I will write as many Letters of Interest as needed to make up for that. And again my efforts have borne fruit. Another trade publication has assigned me a story to work on, this one is targeted at independent restaurant owners - what a niche! I am excited about working on this new industry and learning more. A new avenue of work and a new area to learn about. I love it when I can learn more about a lesser known topic as part of my job, ain't that fun?
Now this is a Friday I really deserve to treat myself! Had a fabulous week looking back :
Monday I began working as the new Asst Editor for one of the websites I used to write for previously.
I have articles being spruced up for a finance website, a trade publication and a social media site. Also found my article on education was published in Newcomer Atlanta! Oh and those entertainment industry folks I wrote for previously mailed me back to do their cover story as well.
Wednesday was the last Ed2010Atlanta meet-up and Tiffini of Tastemaker was such a treat! Not only did she agree to be speaker and mix and mingle and share and encourage the attendees, she even arranged for the food and the giveaway!
And that book and travel website that I've been putting on the backburner are coming along nicely - you will know more when you should know more ;)
Oh and I will also begin writing a restaurant review section for one of the mags I currently work with so that's another fun gig to look forward to.
Treating myself to a nice dinner tonight and looking forward to next week when I will begin editing another book by my dear friend Angela.
Wishing you a fabulous weekend!
Sharing another fave website with you that has helped greatly with my writing, be it an article idea, or a new place to pitch or even just something motivational to focus on. Carol Tice has been in the freelance writing field forever and she shares a bunch of very useful pointers on her site. She covers everything from websites to marketing and more. Of course, not everything comes for free - she has to pay her bills too, but there is a lot you can learn on her site without having to pay for anything. Check it out and do share your thoughts. It really is practical help for hungry writers.
Glad as I am to be back from my grand trip to Wisconsin, I am also now suffering from some lower back issues. Not sure how I managed to accomplish that but looks like I will be out of action for the next few days. Not taking on any new projects at this time but have some older ones to submit so I am taking time off from the blog for now. Seeya shortly!
Another free BigStockPhoto weekly image
Not many folks share the same enthusiasm for the first day of the week as I do. I know that. It has been repeatedly pointed out to me but someone's gotta be happy about Monday, you know? Sacrifices have to be made for the larger good :) This week is going to be super fabulous is what I tell myself every Monday morning. But seriously, this week is super fabulous - so much that you might not hear from me all week long! I have a feature article to submit (that is a lot of targeted words to type apart from the random words I type otherwise!), more website content proofreading to do for a corporate client (cha-ching cha-ching) and about six different events to check out during the week (I can see all the story ideas and pitches and queries automatically writing themselves out!). That apart, I was able to put in some time reading a few books on writing and being a freelancer (reviews of which will be shared at a later time), writing some more of my book and working some more on my website (like on my blog post right now) and chasing down some checks (I take my money seriously). All in all, productive as a precocious little piggy - did I just term that? I might have read it somewhere, not sure right now, but that's a question for another day. Hi-ho, hi-ho, its off to work I go!
No, really, Thank God Its Saturday! I am almost done with the education article I was working on so looks like submission is on track. Well into the website content project and it takes a. lot. of. time. but it keeps me focussed so that is good. Meanwhile, have just been assigned a feature article in an entertainment industry publication local to the area so that was a pleasant surprise. Hopefully I do a good job and we like each other and this works out good for us all in the long run. Hope your weekend is doubly awesomer than mine :)
Hope you had a great long weekend, I definitely did. Stayed in mostly to finish working on edits for a book on education and begin working on an article on education. Am I the only one seeing a theme here? I also begin this week on a new proofreading exercise for a client migrating content from an old site to a new one so that should take up most of my time. Its always nice to have new clients. There is hope!
Did the title catch your attention? It sure did mine! Read here to find out more, and I will be attending so I hope to have a recap somewhere that I can share with you after the event.
If you are interested in golf and charity then this article should be just right for you.
Check out this one - more in line with the work I do as a copy editor :) And you can always click on my name there and see other articles I've written.
Not sure how this happened, its a great problem to have but I am going to have to work extra hard to meet my deadlines this week. On my plate - an article for a magazine about a local business owner, edits on a book on social etiquette and another on education, an article on education for a new magazine I'm writing for (which I hope will bring in consistent future work), and a training conference call for a proofreading project I will be doing in a few days. I see a lot of phone calls and a lot of typing in the works. What are you working on?
I am a huge fan of Ikea - most furniture and decor products in my apartment are from there, and when I run out of ideas for brunch the cafe there is always a good choice. They do some great work with local nonprofits as well so was happy to check out one of their fundraising events for AskMissA. Read it here!
Not sure I ever shared this little piece I wrote about what school means to me for the back to school issue of one of the magazine's I edit for. Read on!
Free image of the week from Bigstockphoto
Many outlets I write for, both print and online, ask me for accompanying images for articles. Which is great if I have taken some of my own but if not then asking around for images or resorting to a stock photo library seems like a good deal. One such library I recommend is Bigstockphoto.com - their weekly free image is something I look forward to. This one featured here is what I received this week. Can never say where I can end up using it so I have an ongoing library of their free images. Their monthly plans I have never needed to use but for an emergency, I have checked out their credit packs and those are pretty reasonable. Do you use this service? I'd love to know your thoughts, or are there other websites you use for stock images? Do share your inputs :)
I have been trying to break into travel writing for a little while now so it should not come as a surprise yet I was terribly excited when I received the email confirming me on a press trip this month to Yukon Valley in Canada! As a guest of Yukon Tourism, I will be part of a group of writers and bloggers travelling to Whitehorse in the Yukon and doing a roadtrip that will include a drive to Alaska. Our itinerary reads very exciting so I hope we get to do everything they have planned for us. I already have interest from a few publications I have pitched to so hoping I can spread the word about this little know destination that (from all my online research) looks beautifully breathtaking. I will have links to future articles here and will hopefully have more in-detail information on my travel website which is taking longer than expected to publish but I hope will be well-worth the effort and time I put into it. Cant wait!
The next Ed2010 event is here! Well, almost. Join me and some budding Atlanta writers, editors and bloggers as we get together for the next quarterly speaker session. This time, the guest speaker is Nicole Willams who is senior editor with Little Pink Book. She will talk about digital journalism and current trends in that industry. The event is July 10th, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, at Hypepotamus, which is the venue for all Ed2010 events this year. We have some fun food and beverage sponsors - Sinless Cocktails, Yum Bunz and Buko Sugar, as well as giveaways - copies of the book DARE by Atlanta's Scott Weiss. Join us? It promises to be a great session, and we always network before and after the event so you could make some great connections here. Looking forward to meeting you at the Ed2010 session...deets here!
Wrote a small piece on where to see Spring Wildflowers in Atlanta...some picturesque locations here so read up!
Alisha L. Gordon is a writer, blogger, and full time graduate student from Atlanta, GA, pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Emory University. The 30-year-old author also has a BA in English from Spelman College and M.Ed. in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix. Alisha’s book is titled Pieces: Finding the Missing Piece is Easier than You Think. It is a 73-page paperback on Christian/Self Help/Single Parenting (published March 2010) and you can read more about the book at here. The book is also sold on Kindle, LuLu, and the blog site. You can reach Alisha on Twitter and Facebook.
When did you get the idea for a book, and why this particular genre? After having what I consider a “God experience” on New Year’s Eve of 2008, I decided to use writing as a way of dealing with issues that a lot of women face: rejection, unforgiveness, brokenness, a desire to find my purpose, a lot of things. As a single mother, I found that my experiences were universal: every woman is looking to find the missing pieces in their life – often times we lose pieces of ourselves in old relationships, burdensome jobs, broken dreams. How do we go about reclaiming these “pieces” of ourselves? This book was birthed out of the process of finding my own missing pieces and its purpose meets the needs of so many women in various phases of their life.
How long before you got around to working on the book, what research did it involve? Because the book uses anecdotal stories about my life, the research was real-time, being lived out day to day! When something happened in my life that I felt was there to teach me a lesson, I wrote about it in my book. I used the Bible as a means to shape the stories, using some biblical stories to explore the spiritual principles behind the experiences. Writing the book, actually, ended up being very therapeutic!
When did you feel you had a finished book to take it to the next step? I’m not sure when I knew that the book was finished – I prayed a lot during this process because I wanted to be sensitive about what God had to say about the book. I didn’t want it to be about me in the sense that I was making every decision based on what I thought. Because I knew the book had a greater purpose for it, I wanted to be sensitive to what the Spirit was showing about the writing process and even myself. When it was done, I just knew it.
What was the most challenging part of the writing process? Because my book was personal in nature, it was hard trying to assess what information to include and what to leave out. What I found, however, was that it was important for me to be and remain as transparent as possible in order for the overarching message I was trying to convey to do its best work.
When did you do most of your writing, did you have a schedule? Interestingly enough, I did a huge chunk of my writing during Lent of 2009. Instead of giving up something, I decided to make use of a gift God gave me. I turned my phone off from 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. every night for 40 days and I wrote. Some nights were better than others, but during this time, I was very intentional about getting the words on the paper. It was probably the most impactful time I had spent that entire year.
Did you have any collaborators, editor, designer, co-author? I was blessed to have some friends who were highly skilled in the editorial and design part; a Soror of mine did some heavy duty editing while a college classmate designed my book cover and online graphics for me! The process of self-publishing is truly a collaborative process!
What technology did you use to write your book? Before I got hip to Mac Books, I used my trusted old desk top PC and laptop. I also used Scrivener, a program that many professional writers use, to keep chapters organized and complete the outline and layout of your manuscript.
What methods of publishing did you consider or had plans for?
Initially, I thought that going the traditional route of pitching the book to a major publishing house would be the only way I’d get my book published. I bought a copy of The Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino and I combed through it looking for every agent who would be interested in representing my type of work. After sending dozens of pitch letters and packets (which also came with dozens of rejection letters), I decided to publish the book myself. Waiting for someone else to believe in my book, a book intended to help people overcome defeat, in itself, seemed so self-defeating. So I did the work myself!
What was the process after that, once you had your book ready to be published? I set up an account on Lulu.com because they were one of the few online sites that did printing and shipping. I invested some money in my project by buying a couple hundred books so that I could sell them at different events, book signings, etc. A number of my supporters wanted to have their book autographed so this was helpful in that process. It was a bit cumbersome trying to mail out the books myself, but the reward definitely outweighed the inconvenience. I relied heavily on social media and my website to promote and sell the book and even secure a few speaking engagements where the book became the focal point of the experience.
What has the response been to your book? The response has been overwhelming and, more importantly, has impacted the lives of women all across this country. From lawyers to stay at home moms, women have been able to reflect on their own lives and create opportunities for growth – but it is more than just individual change; Pieces allows women to change so that their families, homes, and communities can be better. When a woman is at her best, the entire community thrives!
How did you market it? Social Media, Social Media, Social Media! Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr were essential in making sure I got the word out about the book. I also created an email account for the book (under the To the Nines Publishing umbrella) to contact local media (TV, radio, newspaper) to send press releases about my book signing and general information about the book. It became a one-stop-shop: I did the marketing, promoting, and public relations!
Your advice for aspiring writers planning to publish in the near future? Basketball players dribble basketballs. Singers sing. Writers write. You can’t make a claim as a “published author” without first taking the time to write! Do your research as well; there’s nothing that you need to know how to do that you can’t find out on the Internet! I taught myself how to lay out a book, market, and publish a book all on the Internet! You can too!
So what’s next? Alisha has spent a lot of time blogging but has two books in the works. She has been revisiting her manuscripts and hopes to have one of them ready for publishing in 2014.
Thanks Alisha for sharing your author journey and being the first author to participate in the author series. Good luck!
I will be a guest of Atlanta Business Radio tomorrow morning! I am excited and looking forward to it. For now all I know is there will be other guests on the show, I am guessing I get about 5-10 minutes of the host's time to discus my work, it will be done with first thing in the morning so I will be happy to share a link to that once I have it! Wish me luck!
You've been invited to attend a press conference. What next?
Press conferences are usually hosted by organizations or celebrities to announce something that was not known before. Something new. Something that just came up. Something they would like you to write about. Sometimes with just the intention of making some noise and garnering some attention, and sometimes to really get feedback on what they are doing and what people think or feel about it.
If you are a well connected writer, you will probably get the invitation to the press conference directly from the organization or the agency handling the events and public relations for said party. It is typically in the form of an email stating the date, time and venue for the presscon, the speaker/s and who they are - designation, organization, cause, accomplishments, etc. and the topic to be covered at the event. Most times this will have some background on what is being addressed, especially if it is a current issue or a new product, or new features to a product, or a reaction to an incident. Other times though, they try to leave in some suspense and excitement in not telling you exactly what it is about.
Either ways, do some research on the organizations and speakers so you know why you are headed there. If you are really close to the folks that invited you, it wouldn't harm to ask them for a titbit on what this is about. And do confirm if you are attending, yes please do! This will help the organizers tremendously when they have to consider the logistics of the presscon- parking, seating arrangements, food and drink, handouts, giveaways, promotionals, etc.
When you head for the press conference, make it a point to say hello and thank your contact who invited you to the event. Surely they thought you a valuable resource to invite you instead of just mailing you some information after. Look around at the venue and try to get a spot as close as you comfortably can to the speaker so you can focus on what you are there for and you can hear them loud and clear to get pointers for your article. Take notes while they speak and graciously accept any informational fliers or press kits given to you. They usually contain the information you need when you later remember you forgot to note down some details!
If you have questions, just ask, but only if you are aware of the topic at hand. If this is not your subject area of expertise, then better to hold on till you can get back to your work desk, do some more research and then reach out to the agency with your questions as a follow through to your visit. They will usually be very happy to get your answers to you. If you have questions that have not been asked at the presscon by other attendees, then that might make for a good question or two to ask directly to the speaker/s. This way, you will have exclusive sound bytes for your media outlet. Ask your contact to connect you with the speaker/s immediately at the venue itself, or ask if they can be reached later with some questions you had specifically for your publication. Again, most often than not, they will gladly oblige. I am yet to come across somebody that organized a press conference and then refused to answer additional questions!
Most presscons will include some food and drink, maybe some passed bites and beverages. Help yourself to some but don't eat for the rest of the week at this one event! Presscons usually also involve some small promotional gifts for attendees. Usually this is very subtly included in the press kits, but sometimes these are bigger giveaways and have to be presented individually...use your best judgement on whether you want to walk out with that or not. I have had events where these promotionals had nothing to do with the speaker or organization, but were just a way to say thank you in advance if you chose to write about the presscon. I would typically graciously say thanks and leave, but on the other hand, sometimes, those giveaways have to do with the company or product directly, and I would go ahead and take/ask for one just in case it helps add more information to my written piece.
Always arrive with plenty of time to spare before and after the presscon, unless, of course, the news is just so earth-shatteringly urgent, that you simply have to rush out and get it up on your blog or site asap. Keep time to exchange pleasantries with industry colleagues you happen to run into. Certainly try to get a few minutes at the end with your contact who invited you to the presscon. Sometimes, letting them know which outlets you will cover the event for, especially if you are a freelancer, helps them know you did not just come on over for a fun evening! Be professional about it and you will find yourself invited to more such official occasions to write about.
If and when any publications you write for do feature this announcement, be sure to send a link or a pdf image of your article to the agency, individual, organization, or speaker - whoever your contact is, so the exercise comes full circle. They know to trust you now as someone that will try to get them exposure to the audiences they are targeting. And you can rest assured they will keep you top of mind for other stories that can get you a byline in your desired media outlets.