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!
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!
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!
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.
If you are a writer focused on the arts, then this grant program might be just the thing you were looking for. Provided by the Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation and deadline is May 15th so hurry up!
And just like that we are into the new year so here's to a whole year of awesomeness and success to you. May all your personal and professional aspirations be achieved! I always use the first 10 days of the year to look back and see what pending jobs I have that I can complete from the past year or before the holidays. And then I use some time to plan for my year ahead, immediate assignments that need to be completed and quarterly, half-yearly and annual goals to work towards. I don't use these as rigid parameters but they give me some kind of framework to direct my efforts toward. I decide where I want to be or what I want to be doing and work backward from that to see what I can do in smaller steps that in the long run will take me closer to my success points. So I wish you success in planning for your business as well!
If you happen to be in the Atlanta area and are part of the local publishing industry, be that magazine, editorial, writing, blogging, etc. then the speaker sessions I am organizing as host of the local chapter for Ed2010 should be of interest to you. Our first session is in a few days - Jan 9th at Hypepotamus close to the Georgia Tech campus. You can get more details on the event page. It will be a great opportunity to network and meet members of the community that share the same interests as you. I hope to see you there! Again Happy New Year :)
Most folks don't think proofreaders are necessary. They don't even know what a proofreader does! People think that the proofreading part is covered somewhere between the writer and the editor but unfortunately that is almost always never the case. As a writer, editor and proofreader, I can speak from all perspectives. When I write an article, I am so involved in it that I could easily be 'seeing' words that are not even there. I can even make myself believe the words I read in a certain sentence make sense even though they are not in the right order for that phrase to read right. Not that I want to, but it is human nature. Some of you might remember a little posting that makes an appearance at least twice every year where the sentence has all letters jumbled in it yet the human eye reads and the human mind processes the sentence. See image for this post if you don't know what I am talking about. As an editor, I can tell you the same thing is bound to happen in the process of editing. I read an article so many times, checking on it for clarity and brevity and flow and content, that I completely do not pay attention to how a word is written, or whether there is a comma in the right place for that sentence to not be misinterpreted. And this is where a proofreader comes in. To ensure that what the writer and the editor overlook are caught and corrected before the article heads out to the presses. In the digital age we are lucky - we can go back and make a few corrections although if someone has already read the article in its original un-proofread version, then they already know your weaknesses. But God forbid what you wrote was for print! It will be out there in circulation in its hard copy published form for years...not nice. So please, before you send out anything on email, company letterhead, official announcements, articles to be published, book manuscripts, marketing collateral - it never hurts to have an additional pair of eyes review the piece. I cannot share who my corporate clients are and what work I do for them but this morning I averted a major disaster being the last pair of eyes to see a designed advertisement before it went to print. The original copy was not written by me and was typed out wrong, the design was reviewed by a handful of folks, and yet all they looked at was the design of the piece, and not the wording! They were close to submission deadlines and could have chosen to not have the piece proofread, in which case, knowing the publication that design would have made its way to, they would have been the laughing stock of the industry. Luckily they did send it to me, and I was able to look at the copy and make corrections to it. So thankfully, they know the importance of a proofreader and they are good about ensuring all the processes in a design project are implemented. Can you say the same about your work, your brand, your company?
A few articles in and most of us have figured out what is the best manner for us to query or pitch an article to a prospective publisher, be that print or online. Of course, some media outlets are very specific in their accepted formats for query letters and article pitches. But I believe most are laid back enough to be at the receiving end of an email that is addressed to the appropriate contact on staff, and clearly states what the article idea is, what the story will cover, who the sources will be or where information will be gathered from. In my experience, I have just mailed in to a publication asking if I can write for them. If the answer is yes, then I proceed with poking around their website and ideating on possible stories I can do for them. I have not written for too many publications but for the few that I have, I have never been asked to provide a query or pitch in a particular pre-specified manner. I would definitely be interested in knowing how you query or pitch for your articles, and what methods have proved successful or futile. Please share them here as comments to my blog post.
Global Glam, the online luxury lifestyle magazine I am Managing Editor at, is looking for writers. So if you are a freelance writer wanting some exposure or an established writer with time to spare, this is a great opportunity. The magazine is the brainchild of Atlanta fashion designer Christine Philip and is scheduled for a grand relaunch in Jan 2012. The magazine focuses on travel, shopping, beauty, fashion, charity, celebrities and much more. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Thanks!
Looking for a guest blogger? Msg me your blog link and let's see what I can write for your audience!