Thursday, June 7, 2012

Armchair BEA: Beyond the Blog

Today on Armchair BEA, the topic is Beyond Your Blog. We're discussing ways to make money with your writing. I started writing before I started blogging--really the blog was a way to connect with other writers, and reach out beyond my living room.

Like many writers, I started writing picture books for my child. However it soon became clear that selling a picture book was going to be an uphill battle and I really wanted more immediate gratification. If for nothing else, so my fragile ego could more easily take the rejection from the PB publishers.

I've been a freelance writer of nonfiction books for kids since 2008. This spring marks my tenth contract with Capstone Press--and it's been a wonderful thing for the ego and my writing. Working with a variety of editors on numerous topics has been amazing. This year, I've also started working with a book packager (basically an intermediary who connects writers with publishers).

How did I do it?

Query, baby, query. I didn't have any connections. I didn't have any insider information. I looked at the submission guidelines and I submitted. Writing samples, resume, cover letter--just like applying for a job.

My best advice for writers is to diversify your writing. Love writing YA? Try writing picture books. Try writing nonfiction. Try short stories. Try a book review. Don't pigeon hole yourself into one genre--be flexible. And once you feel comfortable, apply for a freelance writing gig. You can't get a freelance job without applying for one.

Good luck! (And I'm  happy to answer questions, either in the comments or privately.)


Laura Pauling said...

I think diversification is a great way to become a better writer! congrats on all your contracts!

Anonymous said...

It's so encouraging to hear that you didn't have any contacts, that you just went for it and it all worked out! Hearing things like that makes me feel much better about my chances :-)

I may take you up on your offer to answer some questions, as soon as I'm able to formulate them that is!

It's nice to meet you and check out my post on today's topic:

-Sarah @ Breaking the Binding

Leeanna said...

Diversifying is a great idea. I know it helps me come up with ideas I probably wouldn't have thought of otherwise.

It's inspiring to know that you succeeded by just going for it!

vikk simmons said...

Great advice. Like you I came up the old way before blogging. Congratulations on all your successes.

Kay said...

Where do you look for places to query and submission guidelines? I'd love to try my hand at freelance writing, but have no idea where to even start.

The Housework Can Wait said...

So where does one find freelance writing jobs to apply for? Love your advice on diversification.

Great post! Here's my Armchair BEA Beyond the Blog post.

Amanda @Stuck In YA Books said...

Congrats on the contracts!! Thanks for great advice!

Kristine Asselin said...

There are a couple of Facebook pages you can follow for freelance work. Also, this is a great post on the Verla Kay message board about Work-for-hire:

Kristina said...

Lot of great advise today. I think diversifying is key