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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 14:02          13,240 subscribers          January 16, 2014
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: When I Have the Time, by Moira Allen
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: The Reader's Emotional Journey, 
by Victoria Grossack 
FEATURE: Planning The Series Novel, 
by Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson 
THE INQUIRING WRITER: Setting Your Freelance Rates, 
by Dawn Copeman
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf   
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When I Have the Time...
Perhaps one of the most common complaints amongst writers is "I
don't have enough time!"  And one of the most common promises we
make to ourselves is, "I'll do that... write that novel... write
that screenplay... finish that poetry collection... launch my
writing career... WHEN I have time!"  Or, more accurately, "When I
have MORE time."

When we're in school, for example, it's easy to convince ourselves
that, with all those lectures and papers and research and
everything else that goes with "study," we simply don't have TIME
to write.  So... we'll do that when we graduate, or obtain whatever
degree we're pursuing.  Today's workplace takes up more and more of
one's time and energy, and when one gets home at last, one simply
doesn't have the energy to write, so... we'll do that when our
lives get just a little less complicated.  Parents have perhaps the
greatest time burden of all (for one is rarely JUST a parent; one
is also an employee or self-employed or four or five other things
at the same time).  So... we'll write when the kids are older, when
they're in school, when they've grown up and moved out...

If you're self-employed at some job OTHER than writing, chances are
that you are barely able to find time to  handle all the tasks
associated with ONE job, let alone two.  And so writing takes a
back seat to the things that are necessary to keep a roof overhead
and food on the table.  When things get easier, when the finances
improve, when the economy gets better, when I can afford some help,
then I'll have time to pursue my dreams...

Sound familiar?  Somewhere out there, I suppose, there may be a
writer who's saying, "I don't know what she's going on about!  I
have SOOO little to do in life that I thought, heck, I don't have
anything better to do, why NOT spend eight hours a day writing?" 
If so, I don't really want to meet that person.  I'd rather hang
out with you REAL writers.  Provided, of course, that we can find
the time!

Don't worry, this isn't going to turn into yet another article on
"how to find more time to write."  Volumes  have already been
written on that topic; you'll find plenty of helpful articles on
time management in our "Writing Life" section (
http://www.writing-world.com/life/index.shtml).  This isn't even a
plug for our "Writer's Year" planner! (Though, of course, THAT was.)

Instead, I want to encourage you to take a look at the whole "when
I have time" question from a slightly different angle.  I've been
doing quite a bit of this myself, especially this fall as I
realized that I was shuffling ever closer to my
fi-(mumble-mumble)-th birthday.  It began to occur to me that
there's a fundamental problem underlying our continual promises to
ourselves to "do it when we have more time."  And that problem is
this: When we make such promises to ourselves, it's because we
actually believe we have ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD.

Whenever we say, "I don't have time to do this now, but I'll do it
later, when I have MORE time," we're assuming that we actually DO
have "time."  Time in the present seems to us a limited, even
nonexistent, commodity.  But time in the future appears as a
never-ending possibility.  It will be there when we want it.  It
will be there when we are able, somehow, magically, to get rid of
or past all the time constraints and consumers that we're dealing
with today.  We WILL get there, someday.  In short, we imagine that
we have all the time we need in which to find the time we currently

Now, I don't want to get all existential (or morbid) here and point
out the obvious: That none of us knows, really, "how much" time we
have, and that any one of us could find, abruptly and without
warning, that our time has suddenly run out.  I think we all know
that, deep down, just as we know that it's a "truth" we prefer not
to examine too closely.  I'm not talking about that kind of "nobody
knows the date or the hour" problem.  Rather, I'm talking about the
problem that (barring the "abruptly and without warning" bit) faces
us all.  And that's the problem of getting OLDER.

There comes a moment in our lives, as we acknowledge the arrival
(or passage) of the latest birthday, when it suddenly hits us: 
Oops, I don't have as much time as I thought!  I don't have as much
time as I fondly imagined I'd have back when I was, say, 25, or 30,
or even 40.  Or perhaps back when I was 60 or even 70 (because
right now I can hear some readers chuckling over the fact that I
still look back upon 40 as being not THAT far behind me).

What hits us is the realization that regardless of how much "time"
we have in the present, the amount of time we have available to us
in the future is limited.  And that means that what we have the
potential to accomplish is also more limited than, perhaps, we've
been imagining.

Let's assume, for example, that I could write a novel in a year,
and better yet, write a novel EVERY year.  Let's also assume that
I'm going to be able to go on writing novels until I'm, say, 85
(whereupon I'm going to settle down at last and pursue my lifelong
dream of raising Gypsy Vanner horses).  If I'd begun when I was 30,
I could expect to complete 55 novels in my lifetime.  (Why not? 
Agatha Christie managed to write 72 in a bit less than 57 years!) 
But if I don't start until I'm 50, that number drops to 35 novels. 
If I wait until 60, the most I can hope to produce is 25 novels. 
And so on.  

Of course, I have the option of writing FASTER.  But no matter how
old I am when I eventually do start, there's one thing I don't
have, and that's the option of STARTING SOONER.  And neither do
you.  No matter how old you are today, there's one sure thing you
can count on: Barring the unforeseen, you're going to get OLDER. 
The balance in your time bank will get smaller.  

In a way, we're talking about two types of time here.  One is like
money.  You never seem to  have enough to "make ends meet," so
you're constantly putting off expenditures until tomorrow, until
you have "more," or at least "enough."  The other is like... well,
TIME.  Imagine winning the lottery and gaining a million dollars --
but finding that once you have it, you only have a month left in
which to spend it all!

There's no single answer to "how to find more time to write."  Each
of us has to find our own answers to that question.  But the key is
not so much HOW we answer the question... as when we start asking
it.  Because if we wait too long to ask, eventually we risk
reaching the point where the answer no longer matters.

-- Moira Allen, Editor
This article may be reprinted provided the author's byline, bio and
copyright notice are retained.  (For an author bio and complete
details on reprint terms, please visit 

Link to this article here:


A WRITER'S YEAR is the ONLY 365-day planner designed specifically
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brings an inspirational writing quote.  Best of all, it's F*R*E*E.
To download an electronic version in PDF or Excel, or information
on how to order a hardcopy (this year in two formats!), visit


The Reader's Emotional Journey 

By Victoria Grossack

In a recent column we introduced the concept of the SATISFIED
READER EXPERIENCE. In that column, we determined that a SATISFIED
READER EXPERIENCE means that readers are enthralled while reading,
that they put their books down only with great reluctance, and that
they will sacrifice their own well-being (by skipping meals and
full nights of sleep, as well as subjecting themselves to headaches
brought on by eye-strain) just so they can keep on flipping pages.
In fact, a mild-mannered reader will become cross and rude if
interrupted, while a reader with an aggressive bent may kick and
bite if someone attempts to remove the book from his hands.  In
that column we took a closer look at the READER in the phrase
SATISFIED READER EXPERIENCE. In this column we're going to focus on
the EXPERIENCE part of the phrase.

What Do Readers Experience? 
The reading experience can be analyzed from many different angles.
For example, reading makes some physical demands on the reader. 
Reading electronically is different from reading an old-fashioned
book. We won't cover the physical demands made on the reader in
this column.
Instead, we'll focus on the emotions that people experience while
reading. My theory -- and it's only a theory -- is that many people
read so that they can experience events without actually being
there. For example, readers can feel the rush of adrenaline as a
character is being stalked without actually being threatened
themselves, and understand a little of what it's like to climb
Mount Everest while lying on the couch. They can even spend time in
fantasy lands, something which is very difficult to do without the
assistance of fiction. In other words, through reading, readers
live vicariously.
A related reason for reading is to experience the peaks and valleys
of profound experiences -- but quickly, easily, in an accelerated
manner, with most of the boring parts removed. In other words, one
can experience joy and sadness or triumph and despair without
having to experience the dull mundane trivia of daily life. Fiction
provides readers with emotional journeys -- even the chance to
learn from these experiences -- without the suffering and the time
that often accompany such experiences when they occur in real life. 

Emotions or Qualities that Can Be Experienced by the Reader 
Here is a list of some of the different emotions that readers often
experience while reading and qualities that can stir the reader to
experience emotions:

Admiration, Aggression, Amusement, Anger, Anticipation, Anxiety,
Apathy, Apprehension, Approval, Awe, Beauty, Boredom, Charity,
Cold, Confidence, Confusion, Contentment, Comfortable, Curiosity,
Depression, Despair, Disappointment, Disapproval, Disgust, Dislike,
Embarrassment, Empathy, Euphoria, Excitement, Failure, Fear,
Frustration, Glory, Gratitude, Greed, Grief, Happiness, Hate,
Honor, Hostility, Hunger, Identification, Indifference,
Indignation, Inferiority, Irritation, Isolation, Jealousy, Joy,
Kindness, Laughter, Laziness, Loneliness, Love, Lust, Madness,
Misery, Nervousness, Optimism, Outrage, Pain, Power, Pride,
Querulousness, Rage, Reassurance, Relief, Reluctance, Sadness,
Satisfaction, Shock, Sorrow, Superiority, Surprise, Terror, Thirst,
Thrills, Treachery, Truth, Ugliness, Vanity, Virtue, Warmth, Worry,
Wrath, Xenophobia, Yearning, Zeal 

The paragraph above, although not by any means complete, may seem
to go on and on. This is intentional, in order to remind you of the
many sensations that readers can experience while reading. I
personally find that it's easy to forget, and thereby neglect, many
possible emotions or states that lead to these emotions and the
rich and nuanced experience you can offer your readers. Let me
continue by adding some comments on several items in the paragraph:

BEAUTY -- This is not an emotion, but it is nevertheless a quality
that stirs some readers profoundly. 

BOREDOM -- Obviously the good writer does not want the reader to be
bored. Nevertheless, this is a sensation that happens all too

CONFUSION -- There are several types of confusion. One leads to
negative reading experiences, such as may be experienced by those
trying to keep straight the characters' names in a Russian novel --
although reading Russian novels can lead to many other positive
sensations. Another type of leads to a positive reading experience,
such as when you think Mr. X committed the crime when it was really
Dr. Y (as long as the clues were given fairly beforehand). 

CURIOSITY -- We all want our readers to be curious about what
happens next -- in the next scene, the next paragraph, the next
chapter, even the next book in the series. 

HUNGER -- It may seem odd to include hunger as an emotion or
quality to aim for, but making someone feel hungry by writing can
be worth a lot of money, especially if you are an advertiser.

SURPRISE -- This is one of the most important things you can aim
for as a writer. I read in an article, completely unrelated to
writing, that people get addicted to being surprised. If you can
get people addicted to surprises in your writing, then you're in
good shape. 

Aiming for Certain Emotions 
Besides the observation that boring your readers tends to be bad
and surprising them tends to be good, this column will not make
recommendations regarding which emotions you should include in your
story to create a SATISFIED READER EXPERIENCE.  Different genres
demand different emotions.

I believe firmly that you should have goals for the emotional state
of readers. If you KNOW how you want your readers to feel while
reading your story, you are another step further towards creating
the satisfied reader experience. You can't expect to hit these
emotional tones by accident. You should know WHICH emotions your
readers are supposed to experience, and at WHAT POINT in your

For example, I told my agent that when the readers peruse a
particular passage, I wanted them all to cry. Hence, much of that
writing project was focused on making everyone have this reaction
when they reach the scene in question. With this objective in mind,
there were choices that I had to make along the way. 

Of course, you will occasionally evoke unintended emotional
responses. For example, something which you intended to be serious
may come out as funny. At this point you will have to determine
whether or not you want to edit or to take your story in a new

Recommended Exercise 
If you want to deepen your understanding of the reader's emotional
journey, pick up a book and observe how you feel while reading it.
Jot down your emotions so that you can return later and see how you
were affected by particular pages. Or else review a book you have
already read and determine which passages stirred you the most. 

Then, when you have become aware of these emotions, study the book
in question and ask yourself how the writer constructed the story
that made you feel this way. Remember that the emotions that you
experience while reading one scene are often the result of many
prior scenes. For example, if Tom and Sally marry in chapter two,
their wedding may not mean much to the reader. But if the reader
has to wait a thousand pages for them to marry -- if, in the
meantime, Tom and Sally have loved and suffered and struggled --
then the readers may feel tremendous joy and relief by the time
they wed -- assuming, of course, that the readers did not give up
during those first thousand pages. 

In other words -- and this is a very important point -- it is not
just one emotion that you want your readers to experience, but a
complete emotional journey which brings your readers at last to a
special emotional destination.  That final destination is extremely
important.  Do you want them to feel as if all is well with the
world?  Or that all is well with the fictional world?   Do you want
them to feel sad, or content?

You may not be able to give your readers the emotional journey you
want to give them, but I believe you are more likely to do so if
you are trying to do so.  It is like making a cake.  You are much
more likely to make a cake if you are trying to make a cake rather
than if you are throwing random ingredients together and simply
Some of the above may seem manipulative, because it is.  There are
some authors who want to avoid manipulative techniques, because
they do not seem "honest."  I wish them luck.  Still, I have no
problem with manipulating the reader, who, in my opinion, has at
least tacitly agreed to be manipulated by me by entering my
fictional world.

Note, too, that I have concentrated on the reader's emotional
journey.  Your characters, too, will be undergoing emotional
journeys -- sometimes known as character arcs.  Frequently the
reader's emotional journey is a reflection of the characters'
emotional journeys, because the reader identifies with one or more

There's much more that could be written on the SATISFIED READER
EXPERIENCE -- even on the experience part, we have barely scratched
the surface.  I hope to develop this concept more in future
columns, if my muse is willing.  In the meantime, thanks for
joining me on my journey through some of the facets of storytelling.

Keep on writing!

Victoria Grossack studied Creative Writing and English Literature
at Dartmouth College, and has published stories and articles in
publications such as Contingencies, Women's World and I Love Cats.
Victoria is co-author with Alice Underwood of the Tapestry of
Bronze series (Jocasta; Children of Tantalus; The Road to Thebes;
Arrow of Artemis; and Antigone & Creon), based on Greek myths and
set in the late Bronze Age. On her own she has written The Highbury
Murders, in which channeled the spirits and styles of Jane Austen
and Agatha Christie.  Her newest novel is Academic Assassination (A
Zofia Martin Mystery) - available now on Kindle and coming soon in
print.  Besides all this, Victoria is married with kids, and
(though American) spends much of her time in Europe. Her hobbies
include gardening, hiking, bird-watching and tutoring mathematics.
Visit her website at http://www.tapestryofbronze.com, or contact
her at tapestry (at) tapestryofbronze (dot) com 

Copyright 2014 Victoria Grossack. A version of this article
appeared at Fiction Fix.

This article may not be reprinted or posted without the written
permission of the author.

Want to learn more about crafting fabulous fiction? Victoria now
offers one-on-one writing classes; find out more at: 

Link to this article here: 


WritingCareer.com is a free online resource to find paying markets
for your poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Updated daily, we report
on current needs of editors and publishers who are open for
submissions, pay competitive rates, and do not charge reading fees.



'Modern' Versions of Shakespeare to include crime noir Macbeth
The Hogarth Shakespeare Project has commissioned a range of modern
authors to write new versions of many of the bard's plays.  It was
announced on January 14 that Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbo has
been commissioned to re-write Macbeth.  Other authors commissioned
include Jeannette Winterson and Margaret Atwood.  For more on this
story visit:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25713842
Ebook Subscription Service Receives $14m Investment
Oyster, an ebook subscription company that started in September,
has announced that it has received a $14m investment.  The company
charges subscribers $10 a month, for which they can read an
unlimited number of ebooks from the company's catalogue of over
100,000 books. For more on this story visit: 

Bad Economic Conditions Linked to Gloomy Novels, Study Finds 
If you are writing a novel in this recessionary time, it is more
than likely, according to academics in Bristol and London, that
your novel will be gloomy.  The researchers have studied the
literary output of the 20th Century and found that in times of
recession, or just after a recession, the literature is gloomy.  To
find out more on this story visit:  http://tinyurl.com/ozt6bm6


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Writing Jobs and Opportunities

Beginnings Publishing Inc. is back!  The award-winning literary
journal is looking for fiction or poetry submissions!  We only
publish never-before published or minimally published writers.
Simultaneous submissions are accepted. 

Please limit your fiction to 3,500 words. Up to thirty lines per
poem is accepted; please send only five poems per submission. Along
with your submission, please include a brief cover letter or your
work will not be considered. We'd also like a short biography of
the author for publication - no longer than 150 words. Please send
fiction and poetry in the body of the email. 

If your work is not accepted, we try to offer a reason why - no
form letters here. Sometimes, if time permits, we like to offer a
review/critique, which might be used on the site.  
Email editor Jenine Boisits at beginnings2014@yahoo.com if you have
any questions not addressed here.
Arterra Writing Residency Open to Applications
Arterra is a private multidisciplinary rural artistic residency in
north/central Portugal. We are placed in a very green and quiet
village with good connections between the local community and
Tondela, the nearest city (5km distant.) Our residency has
different work rooms and possibilities.

Artists can apply to our residency by sending an email to: 
arterra.geral 'at' gmail.com and sending the requested materials and
application forms. To learn more about us visit our website, blog
and facebook page. 


EVERY WRITER NEEDS A HOLIDAY!  Moira Allen's new "The Writer's
Guide to Holidays, Observances and Awareness Dates" offers 1800 of
them for instant inspiration on those days when you can't think of
a thing to write about?  Holiday topics are a perennial favorite of
magazine editors around the world -- so fuel your inspiration and
jumpstart your articles today!  Available in print and Kindle
editions; visit http://www.writing-world.com/year/holidays.shtml


FEATURE: Planning the Series Novel
By Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson 

You've just finished your novel and a strange thing has happened. 
You don't want to let the characters go.  You begin to feel
strongly that their work is not done, that there are many more
stories this particular hero or heroine has to tell.  Suddenly, an
idea for another adventure for your female sheriff or male private
eye inspires you to write yet another book.  If so, you may be well
on your way to developing a series.

How does Launching a Series Differ from Writing a Single Title?
Do you really want to develop your book into a series?  There are
definite pros and cons.  Some writers believe series books are
easier to sell.  Is this true?  Not necessarily, but there is
definitely a potential for repeat business.  

The first step is to decide whether you want to market your book as
a single title or the first in a series.  Creating a series takes a
little more careful planning than developing a single title.  You
must plan not only for the first book, but the next several books
as well.  

If you decide to develop a series, then before you send the novel
off, make sure that the character's lifestyle and history are
sufficiently established in the first book to sustain two or three
more books.  If not, you may want to make some changes in the first
novel, because once it is published, it will be too late. 

Creating a Likeable Protagonist
In a series, the main character starts developing a past in the
very first novel.  This life history will remain with them through
the duration of the series. Every decision the main character makes
in one book will affect his or her future in subsequent books.  To
make a character real, they must have some kind of past, and you as
an author must choose that past with care.  If your heroine gets a
divorce, she will remain a divorcee until the end of the series.  
If the hero is a widower with three children, his kids must play
some role in the story from that point onward.

Personal Problems
Giving the main character a personal problem to solve can make him
seem real to the reader.  But the particular life dilemmas the
protagonist is facing must be chosen with care, for any problem you
introduce in the first novel must also be dealt with in following
books.  A personal problem can give the character depth, but after
the third book it could become a tedious burden for both reader and
author unless the problem is an integral part of the storyline and
arises naturally from the character's personality.  

Writers tend to be creative with giving their characters personal
problems and handicaps.  You will find blind detectives,
quadriplegics, dyslexics, obsessive-compulsives and alcoholics. 
One important point to remember: once a permanent problem is set in
a series, there can be no "miracle cure."  This will be part of the
story from now on.  The main character must deal with the problem
throughout the series.

It is wise to avoid stereotypes such as the alcoholic unless you
can put a new slant on it.  Ian Rankin succeeds in making this work
for Rebus in his series because the need for alcohol grows
naturally out of the character's situation and unique personality;
it is almost a part of his overall makeup.  If a character is
portrayed as an alcoholic, then he must act like one and experience
the emotional setbacks that go along with his particular weakness.

When developing a character, try to create a healthy balance.  Too
many problems and you're stuck with the emotional baggage from book
to book.  Not enough and your character appears one-dimensional. 
Sometimes a smaller problem for the character to solve will work
just as well as a big one, especially if the book is action-based. 
If your character has six criminals to bring to justice before
midnight, he may not need the added burden of a messy divorce, a
broken leg, and three rowdy children to raise.  But he does need to
have some personal dilemma that will bring him to life for the

Developing Minor Characters 
Friends and family play an even more important part in a series
because they will no doubt play a recurring role.   Each character
you introduce must be considered in the next book, whether or not
they actually appear.  It is easy to make careless mistakes, so
charting a brief family history helps. This can be especially
tricky if you did not plan to write a series from the beginning.

In a series, your character's life is under the microscope. 
Consistency becomes all-important.  If he has a mother in the first
book, she can't disappear in the second.  If someone dies in the
third book, they have to stay dead.  This can affect the entire
tone of the book more than a single title.  If you kill off a minor
character the hero loves, the grief does not miraculously disappear.

Romantic Interests and Subplots
Romance often develops between the hero or heroine and another
character as a sub-plot.  An on-going, off-and-on love interest can
spice up a series and keep readers curious.  However, in a
long-running series it can sometimes be necessary to bring a love
affair to a close. 

For example, if your heroine is getting serious about one of the
side characters, you may have to get him out of the picture by
having some unresolvable difference of opinion come between them,
or take extreme measures and have him meet up with a "rather nasty
accident."  Many authors use the accident ploy, but don't overuse
it or your heroine will appear a black widow. 

If romance leads to marriage in a series, then keep in mind that
the spouse from that point on will have to have some important role
to play in the series, such as joining the investigation.  There
have been many successful series where the investigators join
forces to be a husband-wife team.  But if that's not the kind of
story you want to write, then leave your main character single.

Constructing a Believable Setting
In a series you build a setting you and your readers will return to
again and again, so make it as real and as charming as possible.  A
quaint British village, a  picturesque New England fishing
community, a Navaho reservation have all been used to create unique
settings for series novels.  A setting can enhance a series,
especially if your character seems a natural part of his
Plan your town or fictional community carefully.  If the bank is on
the corner of Fifth Street in the first book, it must be on that
same corner in the following books.  Inconsistencies will be
quickly spotted by readers.  Once you have set a plan for a town or
community, it cannot change unless changes are a result of natural
growth or some disaster. The main character will interact with many
of the people in the town, and will form relationships with them.  

Dealing with Time in a Series
Time does not stand still. In the series, the time element is
all-important. Many series authors deal with the time element by
freezing their character at a point in time and roughly keeping him
or her the same age throughout the series.  This technique is often
used in a series where the detective is there as an objective
observer to solve the crime, and his or her personal life is an
interesting "aside," not an integral part of the story's main

Another way of dealing with time is to have the character age
naturally with each book.  This works best with a series where the
protagonist's personal life is deeply involved in the storyline.  
Life-changing experiences such as promotions, facing retirement, 
and other issues that come at different points in life can play a
meaningful part of the story.  However, if one character in the
story ages, they all have to age, even the side characters. 

Whatever method is used, it is important that the author be
consistent throughout the series as a whole, either by having the
characters remain basically the same age or aging a little at a

Tying up the Loose Ends
You should plan from the beginning whether you want your series to
come to some kind of a close after three books, or keep running
indefinitely.  In a three-book series, readers expect some kind of
closure, a happy ending such as a marriage, and a tying up of all
sub-plots.  An on-going series remains open-ended, always
introducing fresh ideas and new characters.
Whatever you do, don't kill off your hero unless you are absolutely
sure you never want to write about this character again!  

A series novel takes a lot of planning.  Once the first book has
been published, all others must fall in sequence and there is
little margin for error.  If you take the time to do that planning
at the beginning, it will save hours of time and heartache at the


Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson are the authors of forty-three
novels.  Their works include the Jeff McQuede High Country Mystery
Series: Murder in Black and White, Whispers of the Stones, and
Stealer of Horses, and the 8-book Ardis Cole Archaeological Series.
 Please visit their blog at http://vbritton.blogspot.com/. 

Link to this article here: 
For more advice on writing fiction check out our archive here:    


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

THE INQUIRING WRITER:  Setting Your Freelance Rates

By Dawn Copeman

Before Christmas I received an email from Marcia Friedman, who
wanted help in setting out freelance rates.  Marcia wrote: "I
submitted a query, then an article to a magazine for seniors.  They
want to know how much I want for them to publish the self
help/motivational article. It's about 525 words. Is there an
industry standard rate or what?"

Ah, the perils of the freelance writer.  Most of the time, if we
are lucky, then we know in advance the pay rates of the publication
we are querying.  They state it in their writer's guidelines as
either a payment per piece, or a payment per word.  Sometimes, they
offer pay ranges, stating that the amount paid will depend upon the
experience of the writer.  But at least you have a rough idea of
what to expect. 

But that is not true of every publication and especially not in
today's economic climate. It is very common, these days, for no pay
scales to be given and for writers just to be told "this is a
paying market."

In these cases, as in Marcia's, it is up to you to state what you
would like to receive. Which is what life is like, every day, for
us copywriters.  We have to work out how much our work is worth. 
We don't want to come across as too expensive, but likewise, we
don't want to price ourselves too low.  Believe me, I know how
tricky it is trying to work out how much you should charge.  

Thankfully, however, you can find guidelines to help you work out
how much to charge for your articles.  

Use Your Past Experience
If you have submitted to similar markets, you know how much you
generally receive for an article of this length and from this size
of publication and can happily state this as your rate. 

Even if you haven't submitted to this type of market before, but
have been published before, you should be able to work out roughly
what you think your work is worth.  

Check out the Competition
If you have never written for this type of market before, or any
type of market, you can use Writers Market (
http://www.writersmarket.com/) and see what similar magazines pay. 

Either way, you should soon have some guidelines to help you work
out what you should or could get paid for your work.  

The Writer's Dilemma
There is a tendency, however, amongst many writers to undervalue
their work.  Don't. If you are willing to sell your work for less
than it's worth, or worse, for nothing at all, you will begin to
resent the time you spend writing. Believe me, you will.  It will
start to seem a slog.  A lot of work and effort for not a lot of
reward.  Don't go down that road. 

You need to put a realistic value on your work, a value that the
publication would not balk at paying and a figure you would be
happy to receive. 

This doesn't mean, however, you can arbitrarily decide that your
work is worth $1 a word!  You must tailor your earning potential to
the type of publication you are querying and submitting to. 

Generally speaking, for a modest publication, not a big national,
for a short article of 525 words you could expect to be paid
anything from $10 to $50, based on my experience.

If this is not what you were expecting, then maybe you are
targeting the wrong publications and need to rethink your whole
querying strategy.  Maybe you need to query only magazines where
the payment rates are clearly advertised. 

Or, if you want to hit the higher paying markets, you need to build
up to approaching them.  Work on your query letters, work on
focussing your articles and work on your article structure. 
Gradually move up the publication table to earn the higher fees.  

I hope this helps.
Our question this month comes from Kathy in Canada.  Kathy wrote:
"I have a question(s) about blogging for pay. When I write a blog
article (for content for a website), can I rewrite another version
and sell it again? How much does it have to change in order to
qualify as a new version? Is this even ethical? If I sell the
article/blog then what rights am I selling, i.e. can the employer
then use it (or part of it) in print (hard copy) advertising?  Hope
you can help."

If you can help Kathy, please send me an email with the subject
line "Inquiring Writer" to editorial 'at' writing-world.com.

If you have a question to put to our worldwide community of
writers, also email me at the same address.

Until next time,


Copyright Dawn Copeman 2014

Dawn Copeman is a British freelance writer, copywriter and eBook
ghost-writer who has published over 300 articles on the topics of
travel, cookery, history, health and writing. An experienced
commercial freelancer, Dawn contributed several chapters on
commercial writing to Moira Allen's Starting Your Career as a
Freelance Writer (2nd Edition). She edits the Writing World
newsletter and can be contacted at editorial "at" writing-world.com
and at http://www.linkedin.com/in/dawncopeman
This article may be reprinted provided the author's byline, bio and
copyright notice are retained.  


SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING? Join the National Association of Independent
Writers and Editors, the professional association with a
career-building difference. We partner with you to create a
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10 Tips for Writing Haiku
If you are in the mood to try writing poetry and have always
fancied having a go at a Haiku, this site has lots of articles and
tips on how to write this sublime poetry form.

Write a Haiku.com
This is a simple online tool that helps you to write your own

Copywriting Exercises
If you want to learn how to be a copywriter, or just how to break
into new copywriting niches, this page at about.advertising.com is
full of exercises to help you develop your copywriting skills. 



This section lists contests that charge no entry fees. Unless 
otherwise indicated, competitions are open to all adult writers. 
For a guide to nearly 1600 writing contests throughout the 
world, see Moira Allen's book, "Writing to Win: The Colossal 
Guide to Writing Contests"
DEADLINE: February 1, 2014
OPEN TO: US Citizens aged 18+
GENRE: Nonfiction
DETAILS:  "Every woman has an inspiring true story inside her, and
we want to hear yours. Is it about time you tested your own courage
or found your passion?"  One essay between 2,500 and 3000 words.  
PRIZE:  $5000 and possible publication in Glamour magazine and a
meeting with a literary agent.

DEADLINE: February 11, 2014
GENRE:  Poetry, Nonfiction
OPEN TO:  Undergraduates worldwide.
DETAILS:  Nonfiction may be personal essays and narratives, travel
pieces, feature articles, or literary criticism, 3000 words
maximum.  Submit 1 - 5 poems.
PRIZES:  $250, $175, $100 and publication in Collision magazine.
URL:  http://collision.honorscollege.pitt.edu/guidelines.html

DEADLINE:  February 15, 2014
GENRE:  Short Stories
DETAILS:   2,000 words maximum.   
PRIZE: 500, publication on website and tuition at an Arvon
Residential Writing Course worth 600.   
URL:  http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/competitions 

DEADLINE:  February 15, 2014
GENRE:  Professionals, freelancers and aspiring writers are invited
to write articles that describe their experience living abroad.
1000 - 3000 words.  
PRIZES: $500, $150, $100 and publication on website
URL: narrativewritingcontest@transitionsabroad.com
DEADLINE: February 28, 2014 
OPEN TO: UK Residents aged 18+ who have previously been published
in a print publication. 
GENRE:   Short Stories
DETAILS:  One story, maximum 8,000 words  
PRIZE: 15,000, 
URL:  http://www.booktrust.org.uk/prizes-and-awards/1   

DEADLINE: February 28, 2014
GENRE: Poetry
DETAILS:  Renku is a collaborative Japanese form consisting of 36,
20, or 12 stanzas written by two or more persons. The 2014 contest
calls for 36-line kasen renga. No simultaneous submissions. 
PRIZE: Up to $150 and publication in Frogpond Literary Journal and
URL:  http://www.hsa-haiku.org/hsa-contests.htm#einbond 


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

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

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