All publications - online, print, trade, glossy, international - all run smoothly thanks to the great invention that is the editorial calendar. Almost all publications will have their editorial calendar displayed on their website and some reference might be made to it on their print editions as well. As a writer, whether you want to write for glossies, trade mags or otherwise, this is a great tool for pitching articles. Most websites will have this information in their About Us section or in the Contribute section. You can see what broader topics they will address during the year as well as any specific interest areas they are keen to focus on. If this happens to be an interest area for you as a writer, then this is your job half done. All you need to do is formulate a few article ideas based on the editorial calendar and shoot them out to the editor. They will definitely reply if the pitch is on-target.
If this is a topic you don't know much about but are willing to write on, send in a query to the editor and see if they have any specific stories they'd like to assign you. If you don't see an editorial calendar on the website then go ahead and inquire with the magazine - they probably have one they don't share, have not updated the latest calendar online, or have all their stories assigned and don't need more writers. Many magazines prepare for issues 3-6 months in advance so it might help to check with the editor which issue you can pitch for.
In my experience, working with an editorial calendar has been the best. If I am pitching to a new magazine, then I look for the calendar on their site. If I find it, then I write in to the editor highlighting the stories I'd be interested in and checking which months I should pitch for. If I don't find it, I write in asking if there is one and if it could be shared so I can pitch. I have never had someone reply saying no! Many magazines, especially the new up and coming ones, are always looking for writers and are very happy when you reach out to them for assignments.
That said, here are the links to editorial calendars for a few magazines. Maybe you will find some ideas here and an opportunity to write:
1. Buckhaven Lifestyle
2. Computer World
3. Architectural Record
5. Mother Earth News
because you never know when they will get back!
I am talking about writing to editors for opportunities with their publication. I always make it a point to write in to an editor of an online or print mag if I find no way to send them a pitch on their website or magazine. No editorial calendar, no contribute or write for us tab with information, no way to know how to write for them at all. I always send in a query saying I would like more information. What's to lose? Sometimes they reply with an editorial calendar, sometimes they want samples, sometimes they have enough writers and do not need more, sometimes they connect you with somebody they think needs writers, and sometimes they just do not get back at all. It's alright - at least you know what the circumstances are. But every once in a while, they will keep your information on file, and check back with you when they do have an opportunity. So don't ever go to a site and just give up because the information you are looking for isn't easily found. Ask around, and the fact that you asked, shows that you take initiative, and you do want to write for the outlet.
I wrote to one such magazine about a year ago inquiring about an opportunity with them. I never heard back, and I let it be. Today, the editor of the magazine emails me thanking me for my expression of interest, and if maybe I would like to do some food and travel writing for them. Yes, it helped that I had written on those topics before and had samples to show when asked for it, but the fact that a note sent to them a year ago was now bring back paid work my way was a fabulous way to begin the day! I'll be sure to share a link to that article once it is published.
I love reading. I know that has helped in part in my being a writer, editor and proofreader. I have moved away from that hobby in the past few years but this year I decided to read at least two books a month if not more. This is tied to my year-long objective of making this year - 2013 - my year of 'happy'. So all the books I am reading have one pre-requisite - it does not matter what genre they belong to as long as the title has the word 'happy' or some form of that word in it. And so it came to be that The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin was my first book to read. I am not really trying to do a book review here as much as just sharing my thoughts on it and seeing what you think, maybe this would be something you'd like to read. The author has discussed how she decided to take on happiness as a project for a year and divided her year into twelve months of different aspects of her life that she wanted to witness more happiness in. Accordingly, she chose 4-5 conscious steps to carry out every month that she thought would help her achieve that happiness in those aspects. If this is something you want then this is a great read with a very specific way of tackling the issue on hand. Some of the things she talks about, I am already doing like keeping a gratitude journal. I just have a word document on my laptop that I type out what I am grateful for every night before I hit the bed. Some of the things she talks about do not pertain to me, such as parenthood since I do not have children. But the basic understanding of what she is trying to achieve and how should be universally applicable. I enjoyed reading the book and seeing how she was able to practice what she wanted or had to give up on some of those points. If you have read the book then please share your thoughts here.
The majority of my clients - media, individual or corporate, all ask for work to be done following the Associated Press or AP style book. Very rarely have I come across anybody asking for the Chicago Manual Style or any others though there are some folks that try to stick to those anyway. I have been able to do without an actual copy for a year or so now but decided to invest in one this year so I can flip through pages right here at my desk and get answers to my editing queries asap instead of having to search online and see if someone else has had the same problem before. The book is certainly a great investment, I swear by it. It isn't very expensive either - you should be able to get a brand new copy through Amazon for about $20 or so, else rummage through your local book store and you might be lucky enough to find a used copy for so much lesser. Many publications, both print and online, use this as their Bible so it only helps that you are already well-versed in the AP style even before you apply to work with them. Have you had to work with other specific styles for your clients? I'd love to know more.
I am unsure if I might have mentioned this before. But if I have not, then I am glad I finally did. Help a Reporter Out or HARO is a great resource for reporters, journalists, article writers, etc. You can submit a query to the site and it will head out in one of their newsletters during the day. Next thing you know, you have a few sources to get inputs to quote in your article. You can also get a basic free account to sign up to be a source. You will receive their newsletters with all the pitches made by reporters and you can respond. That way you can get your name out there as well. I have used HARO both ways. I have used it for getting sources for my articles. I recently did an article for Social Media Monthly where almost all sources were those who responded to my pitch on HARO. You can read that article here. I have also used HARO to be quoted as a source. Just this morning an article was published featuring my inputs. I had responded to the pitch on HARO and sent my responses to the writer. This had to do with my green business but you can read it here. So go ahead and use this to your advantage. They have some paid plans as well but the basic free plan has worked for me just fine.
I think I had mentioned in an earlier post I am chapter host for Ed2010 - a national-level organization that brings together magazines editors and editor wannabes to help achieve their dream magazine industry jobs. I organized the first speaker session for the city chapter on the 9th at the Hypepotamus, a co-working space in Atlanta. Our speaker was the lovely (pictured above with me) Sue G Collins, editor of Buckhaven Lifestyle magazine, who I have the pleasure of working with currently as the proofreader for that publication, and occasional article writer as well. Sue was excited to share about her experience as an editor, about the magazine she works with, and also gave some tips pitching and approaching editors for writing assignments. The event was attended by a good group of enthusiastic writers, freelancers and students representing quite a few Atlanta area publications. There were giveaways galore thanks to Sue, and I had a few Fair Trade Federation calendars from my other business to hand out as well. There were also healthy muffins to snack on courtesy Frannie's Gluten Free. Definitely saw a lot of networking happen and business cards being exchanged. I sent out a post-event survey to see what folks thought and what their feedback was so hoping to hear some constructive criticism that I can work with. The next event is scheduled for April 10th so if you are in the area and interested in the local magazine publishing scene, you should join in on the fun. More images here.
I know most folks do their year in review at the end of the year but I was busy holidaying in Florida so I decided to leave it for earlier this year. We are just into the first week of the year and already I cannot wait to see what this year has in store.
Last year was wonderful and to think I had just started writing again on a whim! All year through I have been able to add writing assignments to my repertoire, mostly for magazines in Atlanta, both print and online. By mid-year, I was proofreading for two magazines and by the end of the year I was editing e-books, two in fact, and have a third one lined up in the next few days.
The more I delved into writing and editing and proofreading, the more resources and helpful people I came across that motivated me and inspired me to pursue this full-time. It has been an experience worth signing up for.
I was also able to establish the Atlanta chapter of Ed2010 - this is a completely voluntary position and I am excited for our first speaker session today. Great event and we have 3 more in the year - April 10th, July 10th and Oct 9th. You can check ed2010.com and look up the Atlanta city chapter page for information.
I took a slight detour from work in the summer - a small surgery and 2 trips to Europe took up the bounty of it but I love the fact that I can now do all my work online, in the comfort of my home or even a coffee shop, and that gives me time to focus on my personal pursuits as well.
2012 was definitely a year with its set of ups and downs but one that was welcome, and I can't wait to see what 2013 brings along. If you have a year in review post then I would love to read and share in your journey so please feel free to leave a link in the comments for this post.
Nope, not doing it, but I am helping a client edit and proofread their book on technical writing which is turning out to be quite the eye opener. It is a great effort, lots of information written in a clear and concise manner, very interestingly explained with images and graphs and such. My client has sure put in a lot of effort so I am hoping I can do a good job with the editing part of it. Have to deliver in about 2 days so I will sign off now and focus on that :)
Not that we should all be absorbed with how famous we are on search engines but to know whether your business and your name (if that is important to you) are showing up when people are looking for you is integral to all your efforts to spread the word, and get more clients, or more exposure for what you are doing. Simply looking up your name or that of your business should bring up a page of results - make sure your website shows up there as well as your social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have blogs online or are part of a membership organization or even your university alumni then you should be seeing those pages pop up as well. Now here is an added step you can do, especially with it being the beginning of the year. Go ahead and click on your account on each of those search results that pop up and change your password. For your security. Accounts are easily hacked these days so please do not include your name or birthday or combination of your address and license plate as your password! Have different passwords for different sets of accounts, don't just have one awesome (or at least, that is what you think of it) password for everything...if somebody hacks into one account, then you are done for! This exercise may take a while especially considering how much of an online existence we all have these days but don't let that discourage you from doing what needs to be done. Good luck!
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 :)