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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


Issue 9:18           9,302 subscribers         September 17, 2009
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THE NEWSLETTER EDITOR'S DESK: Procrastination Time Over, 
by Dawn Copeman
THE WRITING DESK: Rejection, by Moira Allen
FEATURE: Letters of Introduction, by Denene Brox
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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Procrastination Time Over

In her last editorial Moira wrote about how one of my editorials
inspired her to get submitting again; I wish it had had the same
effect on me. 

I was, like so many of us, full of good intentions; I started
looking in more detail at "Calls for Submissions," I read my
Writer's Market and made notes on possible new markets. I thought
of new ideas whilst washing-up or vacuuming and determined to sit
down later and start working on them.  All well and good, except
that the working on them bit didn't ever happen. 

Not that I don't write; heavens I do, but not as much as I could. 
I had seemed to have settled down into doing my monthly writing
work and some pieces of copywriting and spending far, far too long
thinking about the novel I want to write and about articles I could
write, if only I could find the time; yeah, that old excuse!

But having just had a very pleasant two-week vacation in Ancient
Rome, Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt, courtesy of my host Marcus
Didius Falco, the hero in Lindsey Davies' excellent crime stories,
which I re-read whilst on a staycation, I have decided that the
time of procrastination has to end.  Feeling fully refreshed after
a fortnight away from the internet, I now understand why my earlier
passion had subsided and why submitting is harder now than it used
to be. 

I was suffering from 'regular income' syndrome. I fear that when we
get regular writing jobs, jobs that we had to struggle to get, we
let down our guard and relax just a little too much.  I believe
that the prospect of regular income from our scribblings lessens
the competitive streak in us and makes it too easy to stop
submitting, to stop coming up with new ideas and to stop stretching
ourselves.  This lulls us into a false sense of security.  

This, for writers, is dangerous.  Magazines close, editors move on
and suddenly you're out of work.  But also, if we don't keep
stretching, keep pushing ourselves, keep pushing back the borders
of our writing lives, then we can become stale, outmoded and

I have now, in Moira's words, "stuck my butt to the chair and my
fingers to the keyboard."  Articles that were ideas are now being
developed, queries are being written and submitted. For me, the
dangerous time of procrastination is over. I know as a writer that
I cannot afford to stick with what I have been doing. Can you?

-- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor

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editors' tips and insights into subjects and writing styles they're
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THE WRITING DESK - Rejection, by Moira Allen
Q: What are the 3-5 main reasons you reject query letters or

A: The primary reason would be that the query or proposal is
inappropriate for the publication. It amazes me to receive, say, a
query on "natural treatments for cancer" for a writing publication.
Lots of folks just send out queries "broadcast" to any e-mail they
can get hold of. I honestly have no patience with that kind of
"writer" -- it's unprofessional, and I don't feel any need to be

The next reason would be that the writer does know what the
publication is about, but still hasn't written an appropriate
query. This is a basic amateur mistake: Lots of writers focus on
writing about themselves, their personal experiences, etc., and
don't realize that this type of material has very limited appeal.
So I'll get lots of queries from someone who wants to write about
"my first sale" or "how I overcame my fear of rejection," etc. (The
same was true at Dog Fancy -- the majority of inexperienced writers
simply sent in stories about "my pet", rather than the type of
"how-to" material that the magazine could use.) I regard this type
of writer as well meaning and possibly likely to do better in the
future -- and this is a place we may all have been at one time or
another. I let these writers know that I rarely use personal
experience pieces, and let it go at that. 

The third reason is if a query reflects extremely poor writing
skills. If I receive something riddled with misspellings, I'm not
likely to want to see the article. However, I also take into
consideration why the writing may be poor. For example, I do have
an international section, and I encourage writers from other
countries, for whom English may not be a first language, to
contribute. However, if English is the writer's first language, I
like to see some evidence that they know how to use it. 

The fourth reason is a little more difficult -- someone sends me a
query that is appropriate, well-written, and interesting -- but
somehow, I just can't get excited. It's very hard to put a finger
on why a query like that doesn't result in a sale. The author has
done everything "right" -- but somehow, the query may be flat, and
I'm not motivated to ask for the article. It's really hard to
explain how the query could be better! 

The fifth reason would be that the query is perfect, but I've
already bought/assigned something similar, so I can't use it. In
that case, I do strongly encourage the writer to try again. 

Q: What are the 3-5 main reasons you reject manuscripts? 

A: The first two reasons would be the same as for the previous
question: Totally inappropriate, or just not what I use. I WILL
accept a piece that is poorly written if it contains excellent
information, but those are pretty rare. 

Then there are pieces that are almost good but not quite. Some of
the problems I see with articles are: 

1) The writer doesn't ask the questions the reader would ask. If,
for example, the writer is submitting an article on "how to write a
romance novel," the writer needs to ask him/herself, "what would
the reader want to know about this process?" Many writers just jot
down a bunch of odds and ends from their own knowledge, but they
don't stop to ask what the reader would want to now. 

2) The writer doesn't explain how to do something. I see a lot of
what I call "explaining the importance of, but" articles. For
example, a writer will explain that it's "very important" to write
good beginnings -- but will not explain HOW to write a good
beginning. My response is, "don't tell me WHY I should do this,
tell me HOW to do it." 

3) The material isn't organized. Some writers have good material,
but it's scattered all over the place. I just don't feel like
trying to piece it back together. 

4) The article isn't interesting. Some pieces have good
information, but they are just plain dull. It's very hard to
explain how the piece could be made "better." (Those are hard to
reject -- I don't want to say, "Hey, I didn't take it because it
was boring.") 

I am also getting to the point where I am going to start sending
back material that is sent by e-mail and contains all sorts of
glitches and doodlies, because the writer hasn't bothered to turn
off or take out smart quotes, hard dashes, ellipses, etc. By now,
there is enough information out there on how to format material for
electronic transmission to avoid this sort of thing, and I just
don't have time to try to go through and correct all the problems.
Similarly, if I receive a Word attachment that has smart quotes,
hard dashes, formatting codes, etc., I'm going to start sending
these back and saying "please fix this so that it can be posted
online." I don't ask people to HTML their own work, but I do ask
that it be "ready for posting." 

Copyright (c) 2009 Moira Allen


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Taught by 35-year veteran writer and author Patricia Fry. Learn how
to establish an article-writing career. Promote your nonfiction
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Self-Publishing Company Links Up With Barnes & Noble
Smashwords, a digital self-publishing company, has brokered a
distribution agreement with Barnes & Noble.  Under the agreement
all of their self-published e-books will be listed on the Barnes
and Noble site. For more on this story visit: 

Man Booker Prize Shortlist Announced Amongst Bad Book Controversy
The shortlist of six includes two former Man Booker prize winners,
AS Byatt and JM Coetzee, but excludes nine former prize winners. 
Speaking of the books that had not made the shortlist, the judges
admitted that some were bad and one was 'a stinker.'  The favourite
for the 50,000 prize is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, a novel set in
the time of Henry VIII.  For more on this story visit: 

Copyright Office Attacks Google Settlement as Unfair
In the latest twist in the case of the disputed Google Settlement,
Marybeth Peters, the United States register of copyrights, gave
evidence to the House Judiciary Committee and attacked the
settlement.  She said that the settlement would in effect end the
effectiveness of copyright law and enable Google to take control of
author's works without the author's permission.  For more on this
story visit: http://tinyurl.com/lo3zz3


CROSSxCHECKING: Editor with over 10 years experience with online
publications! Critiques of writing strengths and weaknesses -
readings & exercises - line/copyedits. Don't take our word for it.
Read one of our critiques at http://crossxchecking.


UNPUBLISHED GUY - *Nearly serious* diversions for writers.
Whether you are a casual or more active writer, this site
will ease you into the writing mindset with a healthy dose
of educational schadenfreude. http://www.UnpublishedGuy.com



French Property News Seeking Articles
French Property News welcomes pitches for French property-related
articles, articles on living in France and location features
including property market review. Fees: 100 per 1,000 words, to
include photos. Send outlines to karen.tait@archant.co.uk.  For
more information, visit http://www.french-property-news.com

Mental Floss Wants Writers
Mental Floss is on the lookout for new writers for their
intelligent magazine.  Be sure you read back issues first to get
the measure of their style and to check that your article idea
hasn't already been run.  To find out how to submit your ideas
visit: http://www.mentalfloss.com/magazine/submissions.php

Sweet Magazine Needs Features on Diabetes 
UK based Sweet is a modern, lively, independent magazine about all
aspects of diabetes and healthy living. They welcome article
proposals on real-life experiences as well as articles from a
professional perspective. Send outlines to the editor. View website
for contact details. http://www.sweetmagazine.org/index.html

Suite101 is Recruiting New Writers 
The site is looking for new and experienced freelance writers to
join their team and to write about whatever subjects they feel
passionate about.  They offer lifetime royalties and the chance to
build up a reputation in a field. 

ENGLISH SOFTWARE provides an all-in-one English writing and
grammar check solution that checks for grammar, spelling or
punctuation mistakes. Improve your writing style, check your
documents for even more complicated sentence structuring
mistakes and start to write like an English expert, right now!


FEATURE: Using Letters of Introduction to Land Assignments with
Trade Publications  

By Denene Brox
Many writers think that in order to write for magazines you have to
write great query letters outlining a catchy idea. But if you want
to land assignments without having to query, using letters of
introduction (LOI) is something that you can easily add to your
marketing plan today.

So what exactly is a LOI and how can writers use it to land
assignments with magazines? A LOI is a simple letter introducing
yourself, your expertise, and your writing availability to editors.
Now, before you get overly excited about sending your LOI to an
editor at a top glossy publication like Glamour or The New Yorker,
I must point out that LOIs work best with industry trade
publications (publications targeted to readers in certain
industries). Perhaps there are a few writers who have broken into
the majors without querying the editor with a specific idea, but
those cases are just as rare as winning the lottery. The
competition is too steep, and those editors are bombarded with too
many query letters to throw assignments to writers who submit a

I realize that trade pubs aren't as glamorous as the glossies. But,
if you're looking to build clips and make money, they are great in
many ways. A lot of trades offer decent pay and don't require as
much legwork on your part. I once sent an e-mail LOI to an editor
at a trade, and a couple of weeks later she offered me two
assignments with her publication, each paying several hundred
dollars. Not bad for a writer who didn't have any major credits,
and up until then had made a whopping $25 per article! I took the
assignments and collected my first big check. 

On the flip side, I once spent many hours crafting the perfect
query letter for a nutrition article for a major news-stand glossy.
The editor expressed interest in the pitch, but wanted some
revisions to the idea. I was so excited to have the attention of a
New York City editor that I went to work perfecting the query. I
spent hours revising it to meet her specifications and sent it off
to her, certain that I'd land the assignment. You can imagine my
disappointment when she ultimately rejected the pitch. What did I
get for the hours I spent working on that pitch? Nothing, zero,
nada! (To make for a happier ending, I eventually sold the idea to
another newsstand magazine, so all wasn't wasted. But my story does
illustrate the relative ease that a LOI can bring a writer.)

When I first started with trades, I focused on industries where I
had relevant work experience. Since I only had a couple of clips
from my college reporting days to show to trade editors, I relied
on my experience in the workforce to get my foot in the door. The
logical place for me to start was with trades that focused on
financial services. Having worked in the retail banking industry
for five years, I played up my experience in banking -- and landed
a few assignments. 

Below is an example of how I used a LOI to break into financial

Date: November 18, 2005
To: Editor@trademagazine.com
From: Denene Brox
Subject: Writing for Financial Trade Magazine

Dear Mr. Editor (Remember to always find out the editor's name),

My name is Denene Brox and I'm a freelance writer based in the
Kansas City area. I am writing to inquire about freelance writing
opportunities with Financial Trade Magazine. I've written for
numerous publications including Kansas City Magazine and
Transitions Abroad. I am available for work-for-hire assignments,
and I'd also be happy to come up with a few article ideas if you
prefer to receive pitches from writers.  

In addition to my writing experience, I have five years of
experience working in the retail banking industry. 

Can I e-mail you some clips? I'd be happy to send you PDF
attachments of my work.

Mr. Editor, I look forward to working with you. Thank you for your

Denene Brox

Notice how I said that I've written for "numerous" publications. I
didn't mention the fact that I only had a few clips. I also played
up my industry experience to show that I have background knowledge
in banking. I got several editor responses to this e-mail and
eventually landed assignments with a banking trade publication. 

You can use a similar approach to break into trades. What
industries do you have work experience in? You can play up
everything from working in fast food to manufacturing. What was
your major in college? Whether you majored in engineering,
business, or basket weaving, there are trade magazines that focus
on just about every industry. Mine your life and get creative. If
you have no clips, don't mention clips at all. Just state your
relevant work, or other experience.

My experience in banking ultimately helped me launch my writing
business! If you don't have any clips, don't worry. Remember to
play up your related experience. If you're pitching a trade devoted
to elementary school teachers, be sure to mention your work with
your child's PTA. 

Here are some tips and resources for locating and contacting
editors at trade publications:

Buy or check out a copy of the latest Writer's Market. This thick
resource book provides market information on all aspects of the
publishing industry -- from book agents and publishers to trade and
consumer magazines. There is a section especially for trades that's
organized by industry. Read the guidelines for the publications
you'd like to pitch, and pay extra attention to those that state
"work-for-hire." This means that the editor(s) assign stories to
freelancers without the writer having to pitch story ideas. 

Pitch ideas. Just because a lot of trade publications don't require
you to query with an idea doesn't mean you shouldn't come up with
any. Feel free to approach the editor with a well written query if
you do have a good idea that fits the publication. 

Locate trade publications by visiting http://www.TradePub.com.
There you will find dozens of trade publications that you can
potentially write for. 

Use your Writer's Market and the Internet to locate contact
information for editors. Writer's Market is a good start, but be
sure to double check by going to the publication's Web site or
calling the publication. I have found that the editor's names and
e-mail addresses are easy to locate online.

E-mail your LOI to trade editors. I have received quick responses
from my LOIs. Most of the editors say they will keep my information
on file (in which case I follow up several months later to remind
them about me), and other times they have written back with
assignments. That's gold!

Keep records of which editors you approach. You don't want to send
an editor your LOI more than once because you didn't remember that
you already approached him/her. 

Personalize your LOIs (and queries). Use the editor's name and play
up your experience that relates to the publication's focus. 

Sending LOIs can help you get a steady roster of clients for your
writing business while you focus on sending queries to editors at
the majors. 


Denene Brox is a professional freelance writer and author of the
e-book, "The Weekend Writer: Launch Your Freelance Writing Career
(Part-Time)." Her work has appeared in more than 20 publications
and web sites including Heart & Soul, Minority Nurse, Community
Banker, MyBusiness, QSR, and Yahoo! HotJobs. Visit her online at

Copyright (c) 2009 by Denene Brox

For more information on writing for trade magazines check out the
following links: 


WRITE FOR MAGAZINES! Order your copy of the eBook "The Weekend
Writer: Launch Your Writing Career (Part-time)" for only $11.99.
You'll learn to write query letters, juggle writing with other
work, & secrets from other weekend writers. Visit 
http://www.weekendwriter.net to order. Sign up for the free
newsletter and get a FREE essay markets report!


WORLDWIDE FREELANCE WRITER - You can download a free list of 
writing markets if you subscribe this week. Discover almost 
2,000 writing markets from USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australasia. _



Get Published Now 
This main site offers perfect query examples, agent information,
query, first page, and synopsis basics, discounted writers
services, and lots more. It has been set up by Molli Nickel, a
former Time-Life editor with over 30 years' publishing experience. 
The Query Club
Another site by Molli Nickel.  This is no-fee membership site which
has a monthly, instructional newsletter, access to interactive
Query Wizard chats, successful queries, evaluated queries, and best
of all, a complimentary 31-page query letter, mini-workbook.
Following on from last issue's Inquiring Writer question about
social networking sites, we've come across this one for women


CAN'T GET PUBLISHED? Be a Well-Fed Self-Publisher and make a 
living! Control the process and timetable. Keep the rights AND 
most of the profits.  Here's the step-by-step blueprint used to 
create a full-time living from ONE book!  By the award-winning 
author of The Well-Fed Writer. http://www.wellfedsp.com



This section lists contests that charge no entry fees. Unless
otherwise indicated, competitions are open to all adult writers.
For a guide to more than 1000 writing contests throughout the
world, see Moira Allen's book, "Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide
to Writing Contests" 

DEADLINE: September 24, 2009
GENRE: Nonfiction 
DETAILS: Write and publish your own Gecko Guide on the site.  The
one that is voted the best by readers wins. 
PRIZE: 1st - Trip to Frankfurt Book Fair, 2nd Your Guide will be
presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair. 
URL:  http://www.guidegecko.com/writing-contest

DEADLINE: October 15, 2009
GENRE:  Short stories
DETAILS: Write an alternate happy and humorous ending (in the style
of the original) for any tragic literary work. Maximum 10
double-spaced pages.
PRIZE: $200 and the "prestigious" Nahum Tate Cup. 
URL: http://www.humanitiesmontana.org/BookFestival/happytales.shtml

DEADLINE: October 20, 2009
GENRE:   Young Writers
OPEN TO: Students worldwide, attending public, private, or home
schools. Students must be in junior high/middle school or high
school in the U.S., or the equivalent grade level in their specific
international school system.
DETAILS: Entries may be a story, poem, or essay, written
specifically for the contest or as a school assignment for grades
6-8 / ages 11 - 14 (Middle School categories) or grades 9-12 / ages
15 - 18 (High School categories). The sub-categories are Story
(fictional Short Story), Poetry, and/or Essay (nonfiction). See
website for age ranges and word limits per age range and category.
PRIZE: $100         
URL: http://newvoicesyoungwriters.com/enter.html

DEADLINE: October 26, 2009
GENRE: Short Stories
OPEN TO: Writers born or living in Ireland.
DETAILS:  1,800 - 2000 words short fiction suitable for performance
eon the radio. 
PRIZE: 3000, 2000. 1000
URL: http://www.rte.ie/radio1/francismacmanus/
DEADLINE: October 31, 2009
GENRE: Poetry
OPEN TO: British subjects by birth who reside in the UK or Northern
Ireland and will be under age 30 as of March 31 of next year. 
DETAILS: Poetry, verse-drama, or belles letters.  Maximum of 30
poems; may have been previously published elsewhere.  
PRIZE: 24,000 in total, average of 4000 per winning poet. 
URL: http://tinyurl.com/nlqkwt

DEADLINE: October 31, 2009
GENRE: Books
OPEN TO: US residents with at least one published book, but who are
not well-established in the literary nonfiction genre. 
DETAILS:  Literary nonfiction manuscripts - work in progress. 
Submit a maximum of 25,000 words plus a 2 - 3 page synopsis. "The
Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize emphasizes formal innovation, and
we want to see projects that test the boundaries of literary
nonfiction. We are less interested in straightforward memoirs, and
we turn down a large number of them every year. Before submitting
your manuscript for the prize, please look at the books previously
published as winners of the prize for examples of the type of work
that we are seeking."
PRIZE: $12,000 advance and publication. 

AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

Democracy vs. Theocracy: The President and the Senate Will Decide
YOUR Future, by JoAnn MacDonald

Einstein's Question, by Steve and Deja Whitehouse

Ginger High, by Melissa Burmester

If They Don't Learn the Way You Teach... Teach the Way They Learn,
by Jacquie McTaggart

No Teachers Left Behind, by HBF Teacher

Perfect World: The First Chapters, by Gerry Hines

Find these and more great books at

Have you just had a book published?  If so, let our readers know:
just click on the link below to list your book.


on how to reach 60,000 writers a month with your product, service 
or book title, visit


Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com

Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors@writing-world.com) 

Newsletter Editor: DAWN COPEMAN (editorial@writing-world.com) 

Copyright 2009 Moira Allen
Individual articles copyrighted by their authors.
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