By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about how freelance writers can easily make the transition to author and vice-versa.
In the writing world, freelance writers today are faced with plenty of obstacles in their quest to make a living. With consolidations occurring on the staffs of many newspapers, magazines and print publications, freelancing has taken on a whole new challenge for the professional who wants to continue to write and get paid for it.
The skill set of a freelance writer is similar to that of an author in that the freelance writer must craft the hook for their short piece and a strong pitch that captures the attention of the editorial staff member. They must then identify the appropriate editors and publishers for their material and make the proper submission for their work. For many, it often may feel like finding a needle in a haystack when determining where to pitch your piece these days – often similar to an author who is looking for literary agent representation.
Of course, the dedicated writer writes a solid piece, much as the author writes a book that is relevant, of great quality and that renews interest in its subject matter and category.
To make the transition from freelance writer to author is simple: write about what you love and research it. You can also interview others for your book, similar to what Mike Sacks did in his great book, And Here’s The Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers About Their Craft. You can also string together a series of the pieces you have already written and published in a variety of publications.
The challenge faced by many freelance writers is the need to expand your writing length to fill up the pages of a complete manuscript for a book..
As for the author who wants to become a freelance writer, the opposite is true. Condensing your writing and focusing on a simple article comprised of anywhere from 1,500 – 2,500 words can be confusing for some and frustrating for others. I know, you want to say more to complete your thought and communicate your idea and story. However, a magazine article can be cut significantly due to the inclusion of pictures in the layout of the piece published. As the pictures take up space, so the number of words in your piece shrinks to accommodate them…and there’s nothing you can do about it. Parts of the story will end up on the proverbial cutting room floor.
Whether you have been published with the representation of a literary agent or not, your ability to identify the right place for your book is similar to determining what publications will be more apt to publish your piece. Stick to the same rules: focus on the folks who work with your genre, category, subject matter and topic. Be smart. Send the humor writing piece to the folks who publish humor, not cold, hard news or product highlights for the magazine.
Oftentimes, freelance writers believe that they just weren’t cut out to become authors, Funny enough, authors sometimes feel that they are not cut out to be freelancers.
At the end of the day, you can freelance, write and get published and perhaps capture the attention of a literary agent’s eye with your piece.
However, you can’t use your book as your hook – and as a credential for your freelance writing – until you have a book.
So make the leap and write yours today.
Jennifer’s show can be heard every week on Tuesday mornings at 9am when it is broadcast on WomensRadio.com and syndicated on Google News and Live365.com. Each show is archived for replay listeners in different time zones and countries.
For more information on this Education Corner topic and others, please refer to www.YourBookIsYourHook.com/blog for more articles and resources to help you with your books.