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                      W R I T I N G  W O R L D 

     A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World 

                    http://www.writing-world.com 


Issue 7:05            16,300 subscribers              May 3, 2007 
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SPECIAL NOTICE: Please DO NOT REPLY to this e-mail; any messages 
sent in reply to the newsletter are deleted. See the bottom of 
this newsletter for information on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, 
or contact the editors. 
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                              CONTENTS 
================================================================= 

The Editor's Desk 
NEWS from the World of Writing 
THE INQUIRING WRITER:  Writing Routines, by Dawn Copeman 
FEATURE: Research, Track and Conquer, by Joseph Thomas 
The Write Sites -- Online Resources for Writers 
FEATURE:  "First Sale" Mistakes Every Writer Can Avoid 
by Moira Allen 
WHAT'S NEW at Writing World 
WRITING CONTESTS with no entry fees 
The Author's Bookshelf 

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                        FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK 
================================================================= 

                                                  
Hello
-----
It is with a great sense of pride and trepidation that I write my 
first "Letter from the Editor."

Ever since Moira asked me to become the editor I've been itching to 
get my hands on it, because I am just so proud of my new role.  

But then, what with learning how to do the rest of the job of 
editing the newsletter and site, (and boy, was there a lot to 
learn!), Moira and I agreed that she should continue doing the 
editorial.  Actually, I really enjoyed that, it still meant I 
wasn't fully in charge and that I could rely on Moira's safe 
pair of hands and wise words in the editorial. 

In fact, I was fully expecting Moira to continue writing the 
letter from the editor until she actually moved to England and was 
a bit shocked to find that no, I was now actually taking over, 
today, right now. 

Splash!  That was me being thrown in the deep end!  

Seriously though, I feel a great sense of honor and pride in 
being asked to be the new editor of Writing-World,  (notice how 
I'm getting the hang of this American spelling!), but to use a 
British term, I also have an attack of the collywobbles too! 
(Collywobbles means fear and nervousness.)  

Writing-World is an amazing writing institution.  Although I'd 
taken a writing course, this is where I really learnt to write.  
Here is where I found out exactly what editors were looking for 
and how to write for different markets.  Here is where I found 
out everything I needed to know about rights and contracts.  
Here is where I first discovered free writing contests and here 
is where I first felt a part of a worldwide community of writers. 
Even when I'd made those first few sales and was no longer a green, 
'newbie', Writing-World remained my first stop call for anything I 
needed to know.  I've never been disappointed yet. 

So, you might be able to understand my trepidation at taking on 
this most impressive of writing resources. 

I feel thrilled by the honor of taking on this job and I hope to 
be able to build upon this solid gold foundation that Moira has 
built and ensure that Writing-World continues to meet the needs 
of all writers.  

With that in mind we are working on a new site design and many 
other exciting innovations for both the site and the newsletter 
that I hope you will like.  Moira hasn't disappeared, she is, 
thankfully, still on hand to be the Editor-in-Chief and help me 
out as I learn to fully shoulder the role of editor.   In fact, 
she's closer than ever now as she only lives 20 minutes away!  

And probably, one of the first things she is going to do, is 
teach me how to write a proper editorial!  
                                      -- Dawn Copeman, Editor 

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CHILDREN'S WRITERS. Improve your competitive edge and publishing 
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NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING 
================================================================= 

UK DIGITAL PUBLISHER SEE TURNOVER DOUBLE 
---------------------------------------- 
As a sign of how popular digital media is becoming, the UK 
Association of Online Publishers (AOP) has reported that turnover 
for digital publishers increased by 60% in 2006, more than double 
the figure they predicted in 2005.  They are predicting that 
turnover will increase by 72% by the end of 2007.  The AOP also 
discovered that for those publishers who have both print and 
digital operations, the online or digital operations are now 
bringing in 12% of revenue. Total turnover for AOP members' 
digital operations increased to 575m, up from 344m the previous 
year. For more information visit: 
http://www.ukaop.org.uk/cgi-bin/go.pl/press/article.html?uid=1424 

BUT IN THE US ONLINE PUBLISHING SLOWS 
------------------------------------- 
A decrease in online ad revenue and a slowing down of the number 
of people coming online has led many US newspapers to reduce 
their profit expectations from online publishing.  Ad revenues 
have fallen by between 5% and 10% in the first quarter of 2006 
and at the New York Times alone, online revenue growth is down by 
50%. For more information visit: http://tinyurl.com/2s8b4n 

LA TIMES SACKS 5% OF WORKFORCE 
------------------------------ 
With profits falling at Los Angeles Times and its parent company, 
the Chicago Tribune, the paper has announced it will be cutting 
150 employees.  The company expects that most of the job losses 
will be voluntary buy-outs. At least 70 of these jobs will be 
from the newsroom. For more information visit: 
http://tinyurl.com/374drm 

NEW YORK POST DOUBLES IN PRICE 
------------------------------ 
In an attempt to avoid the same fate as the Los Angeles Times, 
the New York Post has doubled its street sale price from 25 cents 
to 50 cents. It is hoped that this move will offset the paper's 
losses which currently stand at $70 million a year. For more 
information visit: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/21/business/media/21post.html 

BECOMING AN AUTHOR WON'T MAKE YOU RICH 
-------------------------------------- 
60% of professional writers have to take on a second job in order 
to pay their bills, according to the results of a new report from 
the Author's Licensing and Collecting Society, the organization 
in the UK that ensures authors are paid whenever their work is 
read or broadcast. The survey of 25,000 authors discovered that 
the average salary for authors in the UK is 33% less than the 
national average wage of 16,500,($33,000), with many authors 
earning around 4000 ($8000) a year from their works. Those 
authors whose works were in the top 10% of works borrowed or 
read, earned more than 50% of the royalties distributed last 
year. The ALCS equated this to a salary of 82,500 ($165,000) for 
the top 5,500 writers. Authors whose works were in the bottom 50% 
earned only 10% of the royalties available. Life is particularly 
hard for young writers in Britain, as writers between 24 and 35 
earn on average 5000 a year, which is a third less than young 
writers in Germany. They also discovered a gender gap in 
payments, with male authors receiving 60% of the royalties 
available. Not surprisingly, only 20% of the authors surveyed 
rely on writing as their only source of income. The ALCS is 
concerned that if writers' earnings continue to fall, it will be 
hard to attract people to the profession. For more information 
visit: http://www.alcs.co.uk/multimedia/pdf2/word.pdf 


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THE INQUIRING WRITER 
================================================================= 
                     by Dawn Copeman (editorial@writing-world.com) 

Last month I wanted to know if you had a writing routine or a 
writing place, a place where you do your best writing.  I also 
wanted to know what happens if you can't write at your normal 
time or in your normal place? Does your muse leave you? Or are 
you one of those people, like Stephen King, who can write 
anywhere and at anytime? 

Well for some of you, it seems you can write wherever and 
whenever you need to, as Holliday Rohrbaugh explains: "I don't 
have a set routine when it comes to my writing. Whenever the mood 
strikes me, I go with it. I usually do all my writing on the 
computer in my living room, but I also have every one of my 
stories on my computer at work, as well as my laptop. If I'm on a 
roll I don't have to wait till I get home to work on a chapter, I 
can work on it during my lunch hour. If one of my kids is on the 
big computer, I can work on the laptop. 

"In one instance a particularly taxing story problem fixed itself 
in my head while I was in the shower. We were going to a picnic 
and there was no way I'd be able to get it in the computer until 
the next day because we'd be getting home late. I knew I'd never 
remember everything going through my head if I waited, so I took 
a pen and a notebook and started writing in the car. Even after 
we got to the picnic, I kept writing until I finished the chapter 
I was working on. That was probably some of the best writing I've 
done. 

"I can write anywhere. As long as I have music to listen to and 
know where the story is going, the place where I'm writing is 
irrelevant." 

Andrea Riem finds she too can write anywhere.  In fact she writes 
in what must be one of the most distracting places I can think 
of; on the couch in front of the television.  She explains: "I 
grab my little black book, my pencil and get cozy on our couch 
next to my hubby.  With him watching the box, I escape into my 
little writer's world.  This relates to the need to have my 
husband next to me keeping me company; well, it also may be that 
we are just newly weds. 

"My second place is sitting outside with the gentle sounds of 
nature surrounding me.  Maybe I am one of the lucky few who can 
write anywhere.  The biggest obstacle is creating a routine and 
of course overcoming the constant procrastination." 

Yep, that problem of procrastination again. It does keep rearing 
its ugly head.  In fact, trying to overcome procrastination seems 
to be one reason why some of us, me included, try to stick to 
routines and places. Having a place you go to in order to write 
and a time to write, does force us to concentrate on our writing 
to the exclusion to everything else. 

It's certainly like this for Eva Bell, she explains: "I find 
having a special place for writing creates a kind of conditioned 
reflex, so that whenever I sit there, the urge to write comes 
naturally. My favorite corner is in my study, where everything I 
need is within arm's reach i.e., Dictionary, Thesaurus, pens, 
paper etc. I even keep a bottle of water handy just in case I 
feel thirsty. 

"For me, the best time when there are no interruptions is between 
1 - 4 p.m. However, if there's something I want to complete, then 
time doesn't matter at all, as everything else is put on hold 
till I finish." 

But is this just a stage we can grow out of?  Can we learn to 
forego our writing place and write anywhere?  Or does it really 
matter as long as we get the work done?  Personally, I don't 
think it matters at all, I think where and when we write is just 
as personal as how we write.  It is unique and there is no right 
and wrong. 

For all of us who do need to have a place to write, a place 
that acts like a kind of lucky talisman to inspire our 
creativity, and who wish they could just write anywhere, then 
take heart from Alice J. Wisler, who tells of her experience of 
writing both with and without a special writing place and 
routine. 

"The best thing that ever happened to my writing was the week I 
spent at a writers' retreat on Lake Superior. 

"Each morning I wrote to music in a cozy writing shed and then 
continued for hours after lunch.  If my muse got stuck, I read 
aloud passages from favorite novels.  Inspired, I got back in the 
groove. Although the novel I was working on at that time wasn't 
any good, the discipline I developed has stayed with me even at 
my cluttered home computer in North Carolina where I now do my 
best writing. 

"Thanks to Paul Simon's music (Negotiations and Love Songs 
1971-1986), a good set of headphones, prose by Elizabeth Berg 
(Open House), and setting the clock to make myself write for a 
certain amount of time each day, last fall I finished a new 
novel. I found a willing agent who sold the novel and a second 
novel (not yet completed) in a two-book-deal to Bethany House 
Publishers. 'Rain Song' will be published in the fall of 2008. 

"Moral of this tale--keep at it.  If writing is your passion, 
cultivate it, go to retreats, read how-to books, make the time, 
send stuff out, rise up from the rejections, and believe in 
yourself especially when others won't.  You can't fail!" 

Good advice, Alice.  Yes, you can get published, but can you 
survive as a writer?  Looking at the news this month it seems 
that more of us are surviving on incomes that are at or below 
minimum wages.  Worryingly, in the UK at least, there are 
concerns that this is deterring people from becoming writers. 

Now, for most of us, money wasn't the first thing that attracted 
us to this vocation.  Yet, money is also a necessity in this 
life, so what do you do? 

Have you abandoned your plan of becoming a novelist in order to 
pay the bills?  Do you dabble in all sorts of writing to make 
ends meet?  Do you work part-time and write part-time, or do you 
work full-time and write in you spare time?  Have you thrown 
caution to the wind and given up your job to pursue your writing 
dream? Basically, how do you fulfill your need to write and your 
need for food and shelter? 

Email me with your responses and the subject line "Writing and 
Money" to editorial@writing-world.com 

Till next time, 

Dawn 

For more advice on writing places and routines visit: 
http://www.writing-world.com/basics/time.shtml and 
http://www.writing-world.com/basics/boundaries.shtml 

     >>-----------------------------------------------------<< 

Dawn Copeman is a freelance writer based in England.  She is the 
editor of http://www.newbie-writers.com, a site for new and 
aspiring writers, as well as a contributing editor and columnist 
at http://www.timetravel-britain.com. Visit her website at 
http://www.write-away.biz 

Copyright (c) 2007 by Dawn Copeman 

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RESEARCH, TRACK, AND CONQUER 
How to research short fiction markets, track submissions, and 
ultimately get published. 
==================================================================== 
                                                     by Joseph Thomas 

As an editor of a quarterly fiction journal and a published short 
fiction writer, I know full well the rigors of getting a piece 
published. I've both written and received my share of rejection 
letters, and I know it is easier to give up than to press on. 
Having also had the privilege to write and receive a handful of 
acceptances, I know that it's worth the struggle. In this article 
I will lay out guidelines for finding the right markets and 
tracking your submissions. 

First things first: you need to write and you need to edit. No 
matter how much research you do or how many submissions you make, 
if the work isn't good, really good, it will not get published. 
The good news is that once you have a tight story down on paper 
(or should I say up on monitor?), with discipline and 
determination, you will get it published. 

Let's assume that you have the story all ready to go. Now you 
have to find the right place for it. Start by looking at the 
story and decide what nook it fits into. If your story fits a 
certain genre, like science fiction, then start by looking at 
sci-fi magazines and journals. If your story deals with mental 
illness, look for publications that identify themselves with the 
subject. I recently published a story on OCD (Obsessive 
Compulsive Disorder). After 18 rejections, I found a literary 
journal that focused on mental illness and substance abuse for 
its theme. They accepted, and paid for, the story. In our 
publication we look for literary fiction; if you send us 
Harlequin romance, you won't get far. It may not always be clear 
what genre or specialty your story is in, but the better you can 
categorize it, the more likely you will be to find the right 
market. 

Once you have a target genre or theme you can begin your search. 
Obviously you're going to start with publications you are already 
aware of. Reading literary journals that publish work similar to 
your writing style is a must. You need to know what is currently 
being published. Larger, more prestigious publications like the 
New Yorker and The Paris Review are handy, but be sure to include 
smaller presses in your selections as well. Titles like Tin House 
and AGNI are indispensable if you want to know what's happening 
in short fiction today. Beyond that you have a slew of online 
journals like Smoke Long Quarterly and Ramble Underground [full 
disclosure-I'm the editor and publisher] that are publishing 
fresh new voices. Most likely these are the markets you will be 
breaking into. 

Hit the book store and ask for the short fiction section. Seek 
out one or two of the "best of" anthologies, (e.g., The Best 
American Short Stories, or The Pushcart Prize). While you can't 
submit your stories directly to them, you can read the best short 
fiction out there and see the publications in which they 
originally appeared. By doing this you have a hit list of the 
best small presses accepting submissions today. Next, ask where 
the writing section is, and look for the resource books (e.g., 
Novel & Short Story Writer's Market 2007). These resources list 
tons of small presses publishing short fiction. Try to find one 
that lists the genres and themes accepted. Other important 
details include length of time in existence, circulation, when 
submissions are accepted, and if they nominate for awards. 

Surf the internet. Use directories like NewPages.com or 
Duotrope.com to find listings of current publications.  New Pages 
does reviews of small literary presses, and Duotrope will allow 
you to search short fiction markets based on genre, story length, 
and pay scale. Along with any results meeting your criteria, they 
show the publications' acceptance rates and average response 
times as reported by other writers. Do searches for "short 
fiction" or "fiction journals" to find online publications. 
Nowadays many web journals attract a closer readership than their 
print equivalents. These markets are usually easier to break into 
and the finer ones carry the same prestige if your work is 
accepted. You're more likely to find success in the print 
journals after you have a few web credits to your name. Beyond 
the strictly online journals, many print journals have a presence 
on the web as well. You'll find in many cases that these 
publications will accept e-mail submissions, making the process 
cheaper and quicker for you to submit your work. Whether the 
target format is online or in print, view each web site's links 
page for a listing of other like-minded publications to target. 

Once you find a target you like, read a copy or some sample work 
to get a feel for the publication, and check their guidelines to 
be sure it's a good fit. Simultaneous submissions (submitting 
your story to multiple publications) are a must at this stage of 
the game. Since the plan is to send your story out to many 
publications at once, any journal refusing simultaneous 
submissions would not be appropriate. Also check for acceptable 
story lengths and open submission dates to further narrow your 
search. 

When you have decided on a few (15-20) publications to target, 
create an A-list and a B-list. Your A-list is going to be your 
preferred list, which you will target first. Response times (the 
time it takes to hear back from an editor) average about 3 
months, with some as short as a week and some as long as a year. 
With this in mind, plan on a two-phased approach: first send out 
to your A-list,  then wait a few months and send out to your 
B-list. You do not need to hear from the A-list before sending to 
the B-list, but you want to give enough time for the A-list to 
accept your story before the B-list does. If you send it out to 
both lists at once, odds are the B-list will accept it before the 
A-list had a chance. If you wait for the A-list to respond, it 
may be a year before the B-list gets a chance. I can't speak for 
you, but I'm not that patient. 

Before sending out your work, read each publication's guidelines 
again and be sure you have followed them as best you can. This is 
a big sticking point for editors, trust me. Also prepare a cover 
letter including previous credits, brief (very brief) bio, and 
contact information. Do not attempt to explain your story. The 
story should do that on its own. 

Now you are ready to hit the post office or click the send 
button, but wait -- you need to track your submissions. You don't 
want to do all this research over again or send to the same place 
twice (this looks silly). On the other hand, you do want to know 
who's considering it and who rejected it. Most of all, if it is 
accepted, you want to be able to inform any other editors who are 
still considering the story that it's no longer available. This 
helps establish a relationship with those editors. Plus they see 
you as a serious writer, and they can't help thinking, "Damn, 
maybe I should have taken that one." The next time you submit to 
them, they may just recall your name -- as an editor, I do this 
all the time. 

To track my submissions I use Microsoft Excel, but any 
spreadsheet will do. If you don't have the software, the old pen 
and paper still works. Create a spreadsheet consisting of seven 
columns: Story Title, Journal, Type, Date Sent, Response Time, 
Response, and Notes. Story title is in case you are tracking 
multiple stories. Journal is the publication targeted. Type is 
how the journal is published, Print, Online, or Both. Response 
Time is taken from the journals guidelines and it tells you when 
you might expect an answer. Response is simply Yes or No (mostly 
no, but don't be discouraged -- that's the nature of the 
business). Finally, I have a notes column for any extraneous 
information like feedback received from an editor or the 
publication's web address. Whenever you make a submission, add it 
to your list and then wait or, better yet, start writing another 
piece. As you receive responses, update the list. I flag my 
rejections with the color red and the acceptances in green. I 
take great pride, as will you, when a piece is accepted and I go 
down the list to inform the other editors who are still 
considering the story that it has been accepted elsewhere. Also, 
update those entries to show that they were notified of 
publication. 

Remember, most published pieces were rejected numerous times 
before finding the right home; take rejection in stride. 
Constantly search for new target markets, updating your A and B 
lists as you see fit. Follow published guidelines to the tee, and 
keep track of all submissions and responses. Above all else, keep 
writing and submitting work. 

Editors's Note: Find more than 500 paying markets for your 
short fiction in Writing-World.com's guide to paying markets 
for fiction and poetry.  Visit our bookstore for details: 
http://www.writing-world.com/bookstore/index.shtml 

     >>-----------------------------------------------------<< 

Joseph Thomas is the Editor and creator of Ramble Underground 
(http:// www.rambleunderground.org/) an online literary 
quarterly. When he takes off his editor hat, he is an author of 
short fiction whose work has appeared in several literary 
journals. When he slips off his writer hat, he is a father and a 
husband; this is what he is most proud of. He can be contacted at 
editor@rambleunderground.org 

Copyright 2007 Joseph Thomas 

For more information on selling short stories visit: 
http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/index.shtml 

***************************************************************** 

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THE WRITE SITES 
================================================================= 

PlotStorming.com 
---------------------- 
A free community for science fiction and fantasy writers and role 
playing gamers. You can brainstorm characters, plots, and worlds. 
The site also offers writing prompts and competitions. 
http://www.plotstorming.com/ 

Betsie's Literary Page 
---------------------- 
Useful advice, links and resources for screenwriters, lyric 
writers and authors. 
http://betsie.tripod.com/literary/id6.html 

NancyChristie.com 
------------------ 
Useful writing site. Check out the links, the 5 'c's of being a 
writer and the projects for inspiration. 
http://www.nancychristie.com/index.shtml 

Writing Guidebook 
----------------- 
A large collection of articles for both beginning and experienced 
writers. 
http://writing.qlane.biz/ 

Babynamescountry 
---------------- 
Another great site to help you to find suitable names for your 
characters. 
http://www.babynamescountry.com/ 

Love Poems And Quotes 
--------------------- 
A collection of romantic love poems and quotes, as well as a free 
monthly poetry contest. 
http://www.lovepoemsandquotes.com 

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"First Sale" Mistakes Every Writer Can Avoid 
================================================================= 
                                                     by Moira Allen 

"Dear Author, We are pleased to accept..." 

Thus begins the letter you'll keep forever, even frame -- your 
very first acceptance letter.  You feel like dancing, shouting, 
kissing the ground this highly perceptive editor walks upon. 
You're a writer! 

In the midst of this first-sale euphoria, however, it's easy to 
forget that your job as a writer isn't finished.  In fact, it has 
just begun.  That "first sale" can be fraught with pitfalls for 
the unwary writer.  Here's how to avoid some common mistakes 
writers make when they receive that first acceptance. 

Don't neglect your market research. 
----------------------------------- 
Obviously, this is a mistake that should have been avoided before 
you even sent out your submission!  I've included it here, 
however, because this simple omission causes more grief than any 
other "first sale" mistake.  There's nothing worse than finding 
out after you get that wonderful letter that a market doesn't pay 
as much as you thought, or pays for other types of material but 
not what you sent them (e.g., for short stories but not for 
poetry), or requires more rights than you are willing to give up, 
or pays on publication and won't be sending you a check for the 
next two years.  Such unpleasant surprises can take all the joy 
out of that first sale, so don't make yourself vulnerable to 
them: Do your market research in advance. 

Don't be afraid to ask questions. 
--------------------------------- 
Many writers are afraid to ask an editor for specific details 
about their "first sale," for fear that such questions will brand 
them as "newbies," or anger the editor.  You have a perfect 
right, however, to ask how much you're going to be paid, and 
when, and when your piece might be published -- assuming these 
details aren't spelled out in the acceptance letter or contract. 
Far from marking you as a "newbie," such questions show that you 
are in fact a professional, for they are the type of questions 
every experienced writer asks.  In fact, if you don't ask them, 
you're sending the message that you may be too timid or 
inexperienced to stand up for your writing -- or your rights. 

Don't sign a contract you don't understand. 
------------------------------------------- 
Some publishing contracts are short, sweet and straightforward, 
fitting nicely onto a single page.  Others maunder on for pages, 
in legalese that would make your eyes glaze over if they weren't 
already going blind from the small print.  If you're confused 
about terms like "exclusive" vs. "nonexclusive," or 
"distribution" vs. "publication," you're not alone.  Before you 
sign, you need to know exactly what you're authorizing the 
publisher to do with your material -- and what you'll have the 
right to do with it once it's published.  There are many articles 
on the Web to help you understand contract terminology, but the 
best approach is simply to ask the editor what a confusing clause 
actually means. 

Don't give away rights you don't want to lose. 
---------------------------------------------- 
One common "first sale" mistake is to assume that you'll never 
want to use that piece again -- so you might as well give the 
publisher whatever rights they ask for, up to and including all 
rights.  I did this myself on one of my first articles, and 
always regretted it.  You never know when a new market will 
appear that would be just right for a reprint of that old 
article, or when a new anthology will put out a call for stories 
just like the first one you ever sold.  If you haven't retained 
reprint rights or anthology rights, you're out of luck.  Watch 
out, as well, for clauses that give the publisher the right to 
reprint, resell, or distribute your work without paying you any 
additional money.  Finally, make sure that you're being 
adequately compensated for the rights you do sell; I've seen 
publications demand all rights in perpetuity to a piece in 
exchange for as little as $10! 

Don't hesitate to follow up. 
----------------------------- 
Many writers are afraid to "nag" an editor about a payment that 
hasn't been received, or about when their article is going to 
appear, for fear of alienating the editor.  I've known writers 
who have gone for months waiting for a check, or some word from 
an editor regarding the status of their work.  It's true that no 
editor wants to work with a writer who calls or e-mails every 
day, but learning when and how to follow up is another part of 
being a professional writer.  It's also a good way to find out 
what sort of publication you are dealing with.  If, for example, 
you e-mail about a missing check and receive a helpful response 
from the editor (and actually get your check a week or two 
later), you'll know that this is a good publication to work for. 
If, however, you receive no response to repeated letters, 
invoices, e-mails and phone calls, you'll know that this is a 
market to avoid in the future. 

Don't sign a second contract until you've been paid for the first. 
------------------------------------------------------------------ 
I once received an e-mail from a writer who wanted to know how to 
get an editor to pay her for a column she'd been assigned to 
write.  It turned out that by the time the writer got around to 
asking this question, she'd already turned in more than a dozen 
columns -- without even being paid for the first one.  While it's 
always a good idea to follow up a sale with a fresh submission, 
it's also wise to hold off signing a second contract until you're 
absolutely sure that you're going to be paid for the first one. 

Don't assume that your prose is flawless. 
----------------------------------------- 
New writers can be astonished -- and dismayed -- by the amount of 
editing that takes place on their first publication.  I know I 
was!  One of my first assignments was to write for a local 
newspaper, and I quickly noticed that only about half of my words 
were actually making it into print.  When I checked the edits, I 
realized that I was still writing like a college student, with 
long expository paragraphs and lots of "padding" to meet 
instructors' demands for "a ten-page paper".  Once I learned to 
keep paragraphs short and prune my prose, my published articles 
started to look a lot more like what I'd sent in -- and I began 
to sell a lot more of them.  So don't be offended if your first 
(or second, or third) sale comes back looking very different from 
what you submitted.  Instead, study the changes and see if there 
is anything you can learn from them.  (Occasionally, of course, 
you'll find that your work was simply rewritten by an editor who 
believes that "editing" means making everything sound the same.) 

Don't assume this is your "only" chance to get published. 
--------------------------------------------------------- 
When you've been struggling for months or even years to make that 
first sale, that acceptance letter looks like your "big break." 
Consequently, you may be terrified of doing anything (such as 
asking questions or trying to renegotiate a contract) that might 
jeopardize the sale.  In reality, however, your first sale is 
exactly that: Your first, and quite probably the first of many. 
Far from being your only chance to get published, your first 
acceptance is an indication that your writing skills have 
advanced to the point that you are likely to be published again 
and again.  So don't be afraid to ask questions, and if the 
answers to those questions aren't satisfactory... 

Don't be afraid to say "no." 
---------------------------- 
It might be hard to imagine turning down that first offer to buy 
your material.  But if the answers to the questions you've asked 
aren't satisfactory, then that may be exactly what you have to 
do.  If, for example, you find that an editor expects you to hand 
over every conceivable right to your material, up to and 
including the right to post it on the back of a bus on Mars in 
2050, and offers you chicken feed in return, you may want to 
think seriously about saying "no."  You may also decide to say no 
if an editor wants to make unacceptable changes to your work -- 
such as changes that would alter its overall tone or meaning. 
You might decide to say no if an editor refuses to provide 
specific information about payment, publication dates or contract 
terms.  And sometimes you might decide to say no because your 
dealings with the editor are giving you a very bad feeling about 
the publication. 

Asking questions, following up, gathering information, and even 
"saying no" won't get you blacklisted in the publishing world. 
They will ensure that you remain in control of your work, your 
rights, and your future as a writer.  By avoiding the mistakes 
most commonly made by new writers, you will also ensure that your 
first sale is something you'll always remember fondly, as opposed 
to a lifelong source of regret. 

     >>-----------------------------------------------------<< 

Moira Allen, editor of Writing-World.com, has published more than 
350 articles and columns and seven books, including How to Write 
for Magazines, Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The 
Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals, and 
Writing.com: Creative Internet Strategies to Advance Your Writing 
Career. Allen is a contributing editor for The Writer and has 
written for Writer's Digest, Byline, and various other writing 
publications. In addition to Writing-World.com, Allen hosts the 
travel website TimeTravel-Britain.com and The Pet Loss Support 
Page. She can be contacted at editors@writing-world.com. 

Copyright  Moira Allen 2007 

For more information on starting your freelance career visit: 
http://www.writing-world.com/basics/index.shtml 
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Writing for Young Readers, by Eugie Foster 
Writing for Children's Magazines 
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Fifteen Paying Markets for Personal Essays and Life Stories, 
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How to Make Your Booksigning a Sell-Out! by Judy Azar LeBlanc 
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For more contests, check our contests database. 
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FEEDBACK MAGAZINE'S "SO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE?" ESSAY CONTEST 
--------------------------------------------------------------- 
DEADLINE: May 15, 2007 
GENRE: Nonfiction 
OPEN TO: All over 18. 
LENGTH:  1000-1500 word magazine articles. 
PRIZE: $250, $150 $75 
URL: http://www.feedbackmagazineonline.net/feedback.html 

ACROSTIC POETRY 
--------------- 
DEADLINE: May 21, 2007 
GENRE: Poetry 
THEME:  Create a poem where the first letter of each line spells 
out a word (downwards). 
PRIZE: $100 
URL:  http://www.fanstory.com/contests.jsp#awp 

BLACK ORCHID NOVELLA AWARD 
-------------------------- 
DEADLINE: May 31, 2007 
GENRE: Books 
LENGTH 15, 000 - 20,000 words 
THEME: Novellas that conform to the tradition of the Nero Wolfe 
series. See website for details 
PRIZE: $1000 & publication 
URL: http://tinyurl.com/yd6oaz 

MYITTHINGS.COM BEST FASHION ARTICLE CONTEST 
------------------------------------------- 
DEADLINE: May 31, 2007 
GENRE: Young Writers/Nonfiction 
THEME: Fashion articles of at least 250 words. 
PRIZE: $1,000 
URL: http://www.myitthings.com/contest 

READINGWRITERS FLASH FICTION CONTEST 
------------------------------------ 
DEADLINE: May 31, 2007 
GENRE: Short Stories 
THEME: Flash fiction story based on bridge shown on website 
LENGTH: 500 Word Max 
PRIZE: $100 and publication 
URL: http://www.readingwriters.com/contest.htm 

WISEGEEK $10K WRITING CONTEST 
----------------------------- 
DEADLINE: May 31, 2007 
GENRE: Nonfiction 
OPEN TO: Writers aged 18+. 
THEME:   Submit new articles that clearly answer a specific 
question on Wisegeek site. You need to register, but this is 
free. 
PRIZE: $7,500 for first place. Ten $250 Honorable Mentions 
URL: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-wisegeek-writing-contest.htm 

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AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers 
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Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors@writing-world.com) 
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Copyright 2007 Moira Allen 
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