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FROM THE EDITOR: Coffee on the Deck - Ramblings on the Writing Life

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Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer


Queries, Pitches and Proposals

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Contributor's Guidelines

NOTICE: We are currently backlogged with articles, and are not considering any new submissions at this time. We expect to re-open to submissions in the spring of 2015 - so if you have a great idea for us, please check back then for more details.

Please note the following changes to our guidelines:

1) Instead of 23 articles, Writing-World.com currently uses approximately 12 articles per year. This means, unfortunately, that we must be much more selective in our criteria.

2) We now accept "guest editorials." Please keep in mind that an editorial is not a feature article. We look for pieces that are timely (i.e., relating to a current issue affecting writers) and also for pieces that are timeless. We look for opinions, advice, and even personal experience, but no rants, thank you. Editorials should be from 750-1000 words. Because they are kept on file to be used on an "as-needed" basis, we cannot guarantee when (or whether) a guest editorial will be used, so payment for these is made on publication rather than acceptance. Our rate for guest editorials is $50 for an original piece and $25 for a reprint.

Articles are published first in our e-mail newsletter, then posted on the website.

We seek articles on almost every aspect of writing: fiction, nonfiction, business/commercial writing, the business of writing, how to get published, how to promote oneself and one's writing, and so forth. We look for articles that clearly demonstrate the author's experience and familiarity with the topic.

We have a huge collection of "beginner" pieces, so we're far more interested in articles for the more experienced writer. We recommend staying away from obvious, tried-and-true topics - how to find ideas, how to boost one's motivation, etc. Please note that we do not use personal essays or experiences - no "my first sale" or "how I learned a valuable lesson about writing" pieces!

With more than 600 articles already on the site, it can be difficult to find a topic we haven't covered. Please take a moment to review our topical indices or our Master Article Index before submitting a query or manuscript.

All articles need to have a strong "how-to" focus. We want readers to come away thinking, "Now I understand how to do that!" Avoid "why-to" articles - articles that talk about "why" it's important to build great characters but don't actually tell you how to do that.

We accept articles between 800 and 2000 words, with a preference for the 1000-1500 word range. We never use short pieces (e.g., 500 words). Please keep in mind that we are not a blog - we are not interested in "blog posts" or pieces of basic "blog length." And please don't try to pitch an article on "everything you need to know about writing a novel in 800 words." It can't be done.

Experience is important. If you've never published a short story, please don't try to tell our readers how to write a successful short story. If you don't write poetry, don't pitch an article on writing poetry.

We no longer accept market wrap-up articles (e.g., "The top ten health markets"). Markets, guidelines, editorial staff and links change so quickly these days that it's impossible to keep this type of article up to date.

We also accept short humor pieces relating to writing. If you have a short, humorous poem about writing or being a writer, great. We prefer jokes and light verse to "humorous" personal essays. Humor pieces are paid a flat $20.

Terms:

1) Submissions: Please submit a query, or send the article itself as a Word attachment. Please do not embed your article in the body of your e-mail. That tends to wreak havoc with format. Please be sure to include your name and e-mail on your Word file! Include a one-paragraph bio at the end of your submission.

2) Payment: Payment is 7.5 cents per word for original articles, to a maximum of $150. (While we do accept articles longer than 2000 words, payment is capped at $150.) Reprints are paid a flat $35 and humor a flat $20. Guest editorials are paid a flat $50 for original pieces and $25 for reprints. Payment is on acceptance for all pieces except for guest editorials; guest editorials are paid on publication.

3) Rights: For original articles, we require first electronic rights, plus three months' exclusive rights for publication on the website after the article has appeared in the newsletter, plus the nonexclusive right to retain the article on the website for an additional nine months (for a total of one year). After one year, authors may request the removal of an article from the website. Newsletters are archived online in their entirety in perpetuity. For reprints, we require nonexclusive electronic rights, plus the right to archive the article online for one year. We prefer, however, to be the first market for a reprint; we're not interested in articles that have already been reprinted in several other online newsletters. (Please note that we consider material that has been published ANYWHERE to be a reprint - including blog posts.)

4) Simultanous Submissions: No, thanks. We're not happy to buy an article only to have it show up in another writing newsletter at the same time, even if it's a reprint. (Here's a hint: When you're sending a submission to Writing-World.com and your salutation reads "Dear Angela," that's a pretty good clue you're sending out simultaneous submissions.)

5) The Review Process: All articles are reviewed on speculation. Even if we have used your work before, we still review all materials on spec. We do not offer firm "assignments," ever.

6) Response Time: We try to respond to submissions within three weeks. We buy articles well in advance of publication, so accepted articles may not be published for six months or more. So please don't ask, within days of an acceptance, "When will my article appear?"

7) Contact: Query or send complete manuscript to Moira Allen, Editor. If submitting the complete manuscript, please attach it as an MS Word file.

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Copyright © 2014 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors and may not be reprinted
without the author's written permission, unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor

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