I've blogged about this topic before, but in celebration of my three new books coming out this week (see blog post here) I thought I'd talk a bit about my experiences.
In the summer of 2007, I had decided that my picture book writing wasn't going anywhere. I'd tried my hand at a short narrative about Deval Patrick, the first African American governor of Massachusetts. I loved the idea of nonfiction that came across as a high-interest piece. I sent it off to a few publisher's acquiring nonfiction, but didn't get any bites.
It was then that I came across the submission guidelines for Capstone Press. I didn't have anything to lose, so I send off my resume, my coverletter, and my writing samples. It took while to hear back from them, but eventually I got my first writing assignment. I remember signing the contract and feeling like, "Wow, my first writing contract." Honestly, it was more like "WOWOWOWOWOW."
Actually, here's my post announcing my first contract. I had forgotten, I actually journaled about the process a bit.
Anyway, the first one sort of kicked my butt. The deadlines are tight. The research can be overwhelming. And it's different than writing fiction. But, when deadlines are tight, things get done faster. When you're overwhelmed by research, you know you're on the right track. And different can be good. I always say, "it's good to be able to write to spec." Writing what you're asked to write. Working with an industry editor. Getting a pay check.
Did you hear that last piece? Getting a pay check.
There's a great list of Work-for-Hire FAQs that Vijaya posted on the Verla Kay Blue Board.
I'm currently working on my ninth freelance book, and the first one not for Capstone Press. It's been a very positive experience for me, a great stretch of my writing chops. I still want my fiction to be successful, but work-for-hire has been part of my writing career that I would not change for anything.