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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 12:05          13,105 subscribers            March 1, 2012
MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the bottom of this newsletter for
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: Filling in on Fillers, by Moira Allen 
THE INQUIRING WRITER: Fillers, by Dawn Copeman
FEATURE: How to Become a Successful Grant Writer, by Kathleen Ewing
COLUMN: Free Stuff for Writers: Distraction-free, by Aline Lechaye
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

WRITERSCOLLEGE.COM has 57 online courses. Prices are low. If you 
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offered. http://www.writingforchildren.com/H0639
* Feedback. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write.
* Contests. Over 40 contests are always open and free to enter.
* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.
DON'T GET SCAMMED!  Choose the right Self Publishing Company for
your book. What you need to know before choosing a self publishing
company and the questions you should ask.



Filling in on Fillers
This issue's responses to "Inquiring Writer" caught my eye.  Of
course, it SHOULD have caught my eye when the question was asked,
whereupon I could have sent a response to Dawn, but... my eye was
undoubtedly focusing somewhere else, like the ceiling or the bottom
of my coffee cup.

So.  Let's take a moment to fill in the blanks on the question of
fillers -- what they are, where you can sell them, and why no one
seems to know.

The first question is the easiest to answer.  No one seems to know
what fillers are -- because they are an outmoded concept.  Back
when I started out as a freelance writer, lots of markets claimed
that they accepted "fillers."  Lots of articles and books on "how
to get started as a writer" urged fledgling writers, like myself,
to write "fillers" as a great way to "break in."  Even then, no one
seemed to spend much time explaining what fillers were, but
everyone seemed to consider it just about "gospel" that this was a
great way for new writers to get published.

Folks, that was 30 years ago.  

To understand why no one seems to know, today, what fillers are or
where you can sell them, it's important to know what they are.  And
to do that, you have only to look at the name: "Filler."  Fillers
were originally designed to do exactly what the name implies: Fill
up space.  Back in the "olden" days (again, 20-30 years ago),
editors sent their articles off to the typesetter.  The typesetter
manually retyped ALL that information, and printed it out in long,
long strips.  These strips were the width of the publication's
columns, whatever that width happened to be.  

The strips then went to the magazine's art director, who would
paste them up on "boards" (big sheets about the weight of greeting
card stock, marked with lines like graph paper; for magazines, each
sheet accommodated a two-page spread).  Armed with the typeset copy
and any photos or illustrations that were going to be included in
the article, the art director "laid out" the issue.

Sometimes, articles would end up too long for the allotted space,
which is why, when you finally saw your piece in print, you'd
discover that entire paragraphs had been cut from it. But quite
often, articles would be too short.  You'd have a few inches left
over.  And that's where fillers came in.  Editors would stock up on
short pieces, such as anecdotes, light poetry, recipes, tips,
"household hints," etc., that could be plugged into these holes. 
Often, they'd be typeset and ready to go.  The art director would
simply rummage around for a piece of "filler" that was precisely
the right number of INCHES to fit into the gap. (Content really
didn't matter at this point!)

Back in the days when I worked at Dog Fancy (almost 25 years ago),
we still used typesetters and we OCCASIONALLY used fillers -- but
even then, fillers were heading the way of the dinosaur (and
typesetters would soon follow).  By this time, it was much more
appealing to simply stick in an extra photo, if we had one --
because it was no longer so horribly expensive to use images.  If
we didn't have a photo, quite often the space would be filled with
a "service ad" -- either an ad for one of the publication's other
products, or an ad for a charity.  This saved money all around,
because you didn't have to PAY for service ads or photos that had
been part of the author's original package.

Today, it's even less likely for a magazine or newspaper to have a
gap, because layout is done entirely on computers.  All you have to
do is tweak an image, increase the font size of your headline, add
a subhead, and your space is filled.  The problem of "leftover"
gaps is history -- and that is why there is no longer a large
market for what used to be known as "fillers."

These days, "fillers" tend to appear only in specific columns. 
News round-ups are a common place to find fillers, though they're
not usually a great place to break in, because publications get
most of that information free through press releases.  Reader's
Digest, of course, is famous for its humor columns, but the
competition is fierce.  Another place to look is some of the
women's tabloids that you find at checkout counters, which often
run lots of very short nuggets, like a round-up of herbs that can
prevent dry skin or something along those lines.  Often, too,
fillers aren't known by that name; here at Writing-World, for
example, the occasional humor piece that we run would officially
qualify as a "filler."

If you look in the Writer's Market today, you'll see very few
publications offering to buy "fillers."  Gone are the days when
this offered an easy "foot in the door" for new writers.  And
fillers were never a great way to build your publications list,
because, again, they sat in the file until a gap of the right size
appeared, which could be months or even years.

But here's the bottom line -- the part that concerns me most.  And
that is that there are would-be writers taking classes from
instructors who DO NOT KNOW THIS.  Any instructor who believes that
fillers are still being regularly published in today's market, or
that they are a viable tool for "breaking in," is out of touch. 
Any instructor who makes "selling a filler" a required homework
project is doing a disservice to his or her students.  Yes, fillers
can still be sold -- but it is no longer a matter of sending a
favorite recipe off to a women's magazine and waiting until they
need to plug a gap.  "Fillers" today are just as competitive as any
other writing market -- not the easy answer for "beginners."  

Copyright 2012 Moira Allen


Read by over 1,000 children's book and magazine editors, this
monthly newsletter can be your own personal source of editors'
wants and needs, market tips, and professional insights.  Get 2
FREE issues to start. http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/AK304


The Inquiring Writer: Fillers   

By Dawn Copeman

Last month we had a question from Bud, who is struggling on his
writing course. Bud wrote: "I started a writing course a few months
ago and I am stuck on one of my assignments. I need to get either a
letter and a filler item published.  I did the letter --
eventually.  But as to the filler, I've tried and tried but without
success. Do any magazines even accept fillers anymore?  Does anyone
actually write them?"

It seems from the majority of your responses that this is a
question that many of you would love to have answered.  Isabella
E.C. Akinseye can sympathise with Bud, as she's been in the same
position.  She wrote: "I did the particular assignment and sent my
fillers but till date, I am not aware any have been published. I
wrote different tips for Prima magazine. 

"Magazines and newspapers still publish them but they might ask
some of their more established writers to do them. Or they could
get their intern to do it. A mini list could serve as a filler --
maybe some useful websites or resources around a particular theme
subject.  I also have not finished the course (2 years) and was
recently speaking to a writer friend who has been stuck for 6

Barbara was also concerned about the possible lack of markets for
fillers and wondered "am I wasting my time?"

Not necessarily.  It does seem as though there are some markets for
fillers out there, but you have to work that little bit harder to
find them. 

Joyce, for example wondered: "Do you count reviews as fillers? I
had a lot of them published."  And yes, I think short reviews would
indeed count as fillers. 

Pocholo Peralta emailed in to say that "Reader's Digest still
accepts fillers but I think it's not worth the time."  Yes, many of
you wrote in to say that you'd spend a lot of time and effort
sending off potential fillers to Reader's Digest to no avail.

There was, however, one writer who has succeeded in writing
fillers. Her name is Terrie Leigh Relf.  Terry wrote: "Regarding
fillers, I have written a few over the years, most recently in an
information update box for a local newspaper."  Aha, those that's
where the fillers are!

Terry continued: "I used to know quite a few people who did this
and who encouraged me to do so as well. Once upon a time, a few
writers who were more published and experienced than I said it was
a great way to break into a particular publication. I remember
submitting short pieces as fillers to a variety of publications,
local and otherwise. For the most part, these weren't accepted. 

"However, one of the local newspapers I write for on occasion
needed some updates on an event, and they asked me to do it. I
believe it was about 150-200 words, and I think I was paid the
grand total of $20.

"I used to also get calls to write short-shorts for a few websites.
Some of this was "for the love," some for a bit more."

"I do want to say this, though; I would like to find some of those
markets again!"  

You're not the only one, Terrie! 

So it seems as though fillers do exist, but they have evolved from
their traditional form and moved on from their traditional magazine

From Terry's experience, you should be looking at local newspapers
and even at writing online to find markets for fillers.  Or you
could follow Joyce's lead and write reviews instead.  

If you've come across any unusual filler-type writing activities,
do let us know so we can share them with our readers. 

This month's question comes from Patricia, who has a question on
reprints.  She wrote: "I have heard someone say that if a
previously published magazine or newspaper article has been changed
by at least 20 per cent, then the new article is saleable again and
does not infringe on the copyright on the previous article.
Although this person did say it was a rather loose guideline, I
still find this hard to accept.  Is there any acceptable guideline
on how much you need to change an article to resell it?"

What do you think?  Do you have an answer for Patricia?  If so,
email me at editorial@writing-world.com with the subject Inquiring
Writer, and also email me if you have a question you'd like to put
to the Writing-World community. 

Until next time, 


Copyright 2012 Dawn Copeman



J.K. Rowling leaves Bloomsbury to Write Grown-Up Book
J.K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter book was rejected dozens of times
before finally being picked up by Bloomsbury, has now left the
publisher and signed up with Little, Brown.  The author has moved
publishers to work on her first book for adults. To find out more
about this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/88l76wa

Penguin's Profits Soars as EBook sales rise by 106%
Penguin has reported worldwide sales of over 1bn for 2011, with
eBook sales rising by 106% compared to 2010. EBooks now account for
12% of all the publisher's sales.  To find out more about this
story visit: http://tinyurl.com/77d8dd5

It's Diagram Prize Time
Every year since 1978 the Bookseller Magazine has awarded a prize
for the oddest book title, the Diagram Prize. This year's short
list for the prize include: "Estonian Sock Patterns All around the
World", "Cooking with Poo" and my personal favourite, "The Taxonomy
of Office Chairs".  The winner will be announced on March 30th.  To
view the shortlist and vote for your choice visit: 


how to negotiate agreements, choose pricing strategies, define
tasks, deal with difficult customers, and much more in the award-
winning "What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and
Consultants" (2nd Edition) by Laurie Lewis. In print and Kindle
from Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/setyourfees


Writing Jobs and Opportunities

Editor of NZ News UK Gets in Touch with news of an opportunity.
Hi Dawn,
Reading through the Writing-World newsletter this week, I noticed
your piece about fillers etc but was drawn more to the fact that
some new writers need a platform to get started. I'm happy to
consider publishing articles about expat living (particularly but
not only if they're of interest to New Zealand expats) if anyone
just needs to be published for course work, clips etc. We've been
around since 1927 so we have a small but solid niche reputation.
Hope this is of use to someone.

Joseph Hoye
Editor - NZ News UK

Stories Wanted by Pilot Magazine
Pilot is always on the lookout for exciting new talent. Pilot
currently provides a $100 honorarium to contributors.
Submit short stories, personal essays, poems, or excerpts from
longer works. Be advised, however, that the editors have a strong
bias towards story telling.

Raven Press Launches Earthlines
Raven Press is launching a new nature magazine and is looking for
submissions of essays, feature articles and poetry from writers who
are interested in working with them both to celebrate and to
develop the field of writing about nature, place and the

The editorial calendar is up so go and take a look at: 


FEATURE: How to Become a Successful Grant Writer 
By Kathleen Ewing 

With the economy slumping and private donations running on fumes,
the need for grant funds and grant writers has never been greater.
Yet many writers exclude grant writing from their tool chest for
the simple reason that it intimidates them. It sounds so formal, so
technical and so difficult. 

The good news is there really is a formula for success. The bad
news is there really is a formula for success. Like solving a
mathematical equation, you cannot deviate from this formula. Grant
writing is not a work of creative nonfiction. Artistic license
doesn't enter into the picture.

The first step is to find a client in need of your services. Start
small. Don't take on a half-million dollar project unless you have
the opportunity to work alongside an experienced grant writer.

The two best methods for finding a client:

1.        Check with your local United Way. They can provide you with a
list of the non-profit organizations they serve in your community.
At any given time, several of these groups will have shopping lists
of projects, facilities or equipment for which they need donor

2.        Join the Chamber of Commerce and attend the mixers. Chances are
excellent that someone at these events will represent a non-profit
that requires the services of a grant writer or will know the
representative of at least one non-profit that does. 
Next you must match the project with a funder. As with organ
transplants, the better the match with the donor, the more likely
the match will be successful. Do not attempt to alter the project
to suit the requirements of the funding source, however. By doing
so you reduce your chances of success and risk alienating both your
client and the granting organization.
Grant writing is the art of finding who has your client's money in
their pocket. Fortunately, you don't have to be a trained
detective. Most funding organizations will tell you right up front
whose money they have in their pockets. The best place to start
your search is foundationcenter.org. For a fee, you can subscribe
to their directory of grantmaking foundations. 

Depending upon how much of a fee you pay, you will be able to
access information for 10,000 to 100,000 of the top foundation and
corporate grantmakers. The directory is updated daily. You can also
find a hard copy of the directory at most libraries. Some entries
in the hard copy will be outdated and will require further research
to assure that you have the latest information available. 

Study each of the charitable organizations and corporate
grantmakers to discover what types of proposals they typically
fund. Find the ones whose mission statement, funding history and
guidelines most closely match your project.

Do they fund in your state or region of the country? If not, cross
them off your list. There will be plenty of funders that do. What
is the deadline for each funding cycle? If the cycle has expired
for this quarter, but the next quarter fits your timeline, add them
to your group of prospects. If they list a website, make sure you
visit the site. The more you know about a grantmaker, the greater
your chances of framing your proposal to suit their parameters. 

Note the name, address, phone and fax number and e-mail address of
the contact person. This is not optional, even if you are the
bashful type. Call that contact person. That's why the organization
has provided their name -- to save both you and the granting
foundation the waste of time and resources involved in submitting
an inappropriate, misdirected or poorly designed proposal. Give the
contact person a brief description of your project. Ask him or her
if it sounds like something their organization would fund. 

If this person agrees that their grant-makers would be willing to
review the project, ask how to prepare and submit your proposal to
their specifications. Speak to the contact person for each
prospective grantor you have identified for your proposal. Never
assume similar foundations or corporations will accept the same
style of proposal or the same format.

Whatever the funder's submission preferences, make sure to provide
precisely what that grantor wants; nothing more, nothing less. Some
grantmakers will ask for an informal preliminary letter outlining
the project, while others will insist upon a full-blown formal
proposal. Some will require the use of their own proposal forms. A
few are so finicky they designate preliminary reviewers who will
actually measure your margins with a ruler to make sure the
manuscript conforms, and will reject the entire proposal package
unread if it doesn't. Don't give a grantor a silly reason to reject
your proposal -- such as font, formatting or method of delivery.

If the foundation does not have its own form for submission, the
basic format is simple.

The Ask 
This should be the opening paragraph of your proposal. It should
look something like this: "Daisy Mae Center, a 501(c)3 company in
Grand Tanque, NM, provides daycare to children one to five years of
age with moderate to severe developmental delays. We are seeking
$15,000 for Safe Kids brand name playground equipment for the
thirty special needs children we serve. The equipment includes..." 

Remember, the purpose of a proposal is to secure funding for a
worthy project, not to show off your writing talent or to try to
impress anyone with your vocabulary. The Ask should be brief,
direct and uncomplicated. It should answer the who, what and where
that a funder must know at the beginning.

The Why
This is where you go into more detail about the need. If you can
make the funder care about your project on a personal level, you
are much more likely to be successful. If possible, describe a
couple of instances that demonstrate the need for your client's
project. But stick to the truth. And always explain any
terminology, jargon or abbreviations that are not common knowledge.
Example: "In 2006, Lindy, a four-year-old girl with benign
hypotonia (a chronic lack of muscle tone), was critically injured
when she fell from... As a result of her injuries, Lindy has
undergone five years of..." 

The How
This portion of the request delves into the nuts and bolts of your
project. Here you describe the playground pieces, their functions
and their special applications for your client's requirements.
Perhaps you can provide a few photos of the equipment, and of the
empty playground or the out-dated equipment your project plans to
replace. You can even include a website link to the manufacturer of
the products. Explain what company will do the installation and who
will train your client's staff to use the equipment properly.
Include a timeline for these events because most funding
organizations will check in with a grantee at various stages to
assure themselves the project is on time and making appropriate

The Budget
You will need to account for every dollar of the grant request,
plus any other contributions to the cause. If a person or company
has agreed to donate time or supplies to the project, this should
be included as "in kind" donation. If another individual or
organization has donated cash to the project, that goes into the
budget. If the client has a person who is being paid to supervise
the project, that must be added as well.

The Metrics
The grantor will ask you what measurements you will use to
determine the success of your project. Perhaps your client expects
a third of the staff to be trained on the functionality of the new
equipment every four weeks for the three months following the
installation. You will need to put that on your timeline and have
your client report to the grantor when it is accomplished.

A final success metric might be that all the equipment is in place
and inspected, all staff are trained and all thirty children at the
center have been introduced to each piece of equipment by a
specific date.

The Future
You will need to explain how Daisy Mae Center is going to pay for
repair, maintenance and eventual replacement of this equipment.
This might be through a combination of budgeting, local fundraising
or private donations. Grantors want to see a concrete plan for
sustaining a project after they have invested in it.

The Contact
Provide the grantor with full contact information for the person
they will go to for questions, details and progress reports during
the lifespan of the grant. Unless you are being paid to manage the
grant in addition to writing it, this should not be your name. Once
the grant has been made, your portion of the process is finished.
It is up to your client to provide whatever follow-up and
assurances the grantor has requested.

Funders have drop-dead deadlines. Make sure you take into account
time-zone differences. This is one deadline you don't want to miss
or try to fudge by even ten seconds. Being late is an automatic
disqualification. No excuses. No exceptions. If you have to drive
two hours to hand-deliver your proposal before the deadline, do so.
Otherwise, all the time you have spent working with your client,
researching and contacting grantmakers and developing the proposal
will be wasted.

Some funding foundations accept simultaneous submissions. In fact,
many grantors will request a list of other organizations you plan
to ask for support. If they are unable or do not want to fund your
entire proposal, they might be willing to partner with another
grantor to split the cost. Do not send this list unless the
grantmaker specifically requests it. 

On the other hand, some funders do NOT wish to know if you are
contacting another granting organization. So, when making a
simultaneous submission, you must be meticulous in removing all
traces of information for funding source number one before you send
the proposal to funding sources number two, three or four.

When you learn a granting foundation or corporation has accepted
your proposal, write a letter of thanks for your client to send to
the funder. This is a common courtesy that is often overlooked.

If your grant is accepted by more than one grantmaker, take a
moment to celebrate a great accomplishment. Then you must inform
the second organization that this has occurred. When you contact
them, you should have already prepared a request to apply the
additional funds to an upgrade for the project, to purchase
additional items or to acquire unrelated items which are on your
client's wish list. Once a grant has been made, grantors seldom ask
for a return of their funds, especially if you can show that the
money will be put to good use along the same lines as the initial

The good news is anyone can write a grant. The bad news is -- you
guessed it -- anyone can write a grant. You're going to have a lot
of competition. As any first-round grant reader can assure you, if
you stick with the formula and provide the funders what they want
precisely the way they want it, you will leave a third of that
competition behind you right out of the starting gate.


Kathleen Ewing is a successful grant writer and award-winning
freelance writer based in Central Arizona. Some of her articles
have appeared in American Falconry,  Hobby Farms and TrailBlazer
magazines. Visit her profile online at 

Copyright 2012 Kathleen Ewing

If you are want to learn more about grantwriting, check out this
article here: http://www.writing-world.com/tech/grants.shtml


An epublishing revolution is sweeping the industry. We explain what
is happening and show you how to self-publish your own eBooks.


Free Stuff for Writers: Distraction-free

By Aline Lechaye

The sun is shining and I'm starting to see flowers popping up in
gardens again. Looks like spring finally made it! Good weather
makes me happy and worried at the same time. I love going out and
enjoying the sun, but it's a pain having to make myself sit down at
my desk and work when all I'm thinking about is going out to enjoy
the sun. 

With that in mind, this month I'm focusing on distraction-free
software. Yes, we're writers. Yes, we live to write, and most of
the time, we love doing so. But sometimes, our discipline could use
a little help. 

Use Ommwriter to decorate your writing environment and play music
to keep you company while you type. Ommwriter takes away all the
distracting features of most word processing programs and just
leaves you with the basics: your words and a few editing tools. You
can choose from several screen backgrounds and audio tracks. The
software runs on both PCs and Macs. Go to http://www.ommwriter.com/
to download the software or watch the intro video. 

Several people have raved to me about Yarny (https://yarny.me/).
This is a web-based (read: no software installation needed)
application that automatically saves your work for you as you type
it. Want to go back to an earlier draft? Not to worry, the version
control slider at the bottom of the screen can take you all the way
back to the very beginning of your project. The "snippets" toolbar
to the left of the screen gives you an overall look at everything
you've written. To arrange snippets, simply drag and drop. You can
also group several snippets together to form a chapter or a scene.
To the right of your screen, you can keep track of the people,
places, and things that occur in your story, so you're not stuck
wondering what color John's eyes are at a crucial moment. Best of
all, the moment you start to type, everything except the text fades
into the background. 

Sometimes the problem isn't your word processor, but
procrastination. How many times have you sat down at your desk to
write and thought, "Well, I'd better check my Facebook page, and
maybe see a few videos on Youtube, and after that..." Before you
know it, a couple of hours have passed, and your word count for the
day is...a big fat zero. But what can you do? You can't turn your
internet connection off completely; you need to use your email and
Google and web-based writing software. 

Enter Cold Turkey. This wonderful freeware limits your access to
social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and
Youtube. You can also add additional websites that you've been
spending too much time on. You can choose to block yourself from
these sites for as long as you want. If you try to mess with the
settings (hack your way into those blocked sites), an
anti-tampering mechanism will activate and extend the blocked time
for a whole week. Download it at 
http://getcoldturkey.com/download.html. Currently, Cold Turkey only
runs on Windows. Mac users can try SelfControl (
http://visitsteve.com/made/selfcontrol/), which works in a similar


Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who
resides in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye@gmail.com.

Copyright 2012 Aline Lechaye


I've just come across this blog and I think it's quite new.  It is
all about good storytelling.  The posts are short, sweet and

Ask Allison
This is a great, informative and relaxed site where readers can ask
Allison Winn questions about publishing and agents and have them

Six-Word Memoirs
If you're feeling a bit bored then why not try and write your life
story in six words?  I'll warn you, this site can become addictive!


"Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests" is now
available.  This is the largest, most comprehensive guide to
writing competitions available in print (and Kindle). The 2012
edition features over 1600 contest listings for writers worldwide -
including over 450 listings new to this edition.  No matter where
you live or what you write, you'll find a competition that's right
for you! The guide is updated with the latest deadlines, entry 
fees and prizes. Get it now at https://www.createspace.com/3778183
or visit Amazon.com to order the Kindle edition.


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

The Legend of Rachel Peterson, by J. T. Baroni

When Youth Fades: Don't Wither on the Vine - How to Celebrate Life
After 60, by Lillian Rhoades

The Magic of the Wolves, by Faye Stine

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 more than 100,000 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 "at" writing-world.com) 

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

Copyright 2012 Moira Allen

Copyright © 2017 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