I’ve been busy blogging at Loconeal Publishing — and here are some snippets of recent posts:
“If the best journalists in the world lack credibility then they are nothing. All we have is our credibility. We aren’t granted ‘journalist’ status by earning a certain college degree or being issued a government license. We earn it by reporting responsibly.” (Society of Professional Journalists President David Cuillier, April 2014 issue of Quill)
Maybe you consider yourself a journalist – or a blogger or a magazine writer. No matter how you self label, when you write nonfiction, it’s crucial to report responsibly and to navigate ethical tightropes as carefully as possible.
Cures for Writer’s Block
First let me admit that I’m not a 100% believer in writer’s block. Sure there are days when writing happens more easily for me than others, just like there are days when my laundry seems to produce more dazzling whites without dulling any bright colors, and my cookies bake more thoroughly without becoming too crunchy – and then there days when grass stains don’t come out of our jeans and my brownies burn. But I wouldn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that I’m having a laundry or baking block when the latter occurs – so why give power and credence to the concept of writer’s block?
Right-Size Your Early Publishing Expectations
Here’s the bottom line: no matter how outstanding your idea or query letter, it can get crowded out simply because of the overwhelming number of submissions and queries that bigger magazines receive. If you get rejected or ignored too many times, early on, that can lead to a permanent case of discouragement and a promising career can fizzle before it even starts. So, be strategic!
Negotiating Money with Magazine Editors
The reality is that magazine editors usually have some flexibility in negotiating contracts and rates, but they, in turn, answer to the publisher. There are definite limits as to how far an editor can go – or will want to go, with a particular writer.
It’s perfectly reasonable, however, and good business practice, to discuss financial issues and concerns with an editor. Calmly point out why you feel you should receive more money. Here are some acceptable reasons.
Successful Magazine Queries
When you hear a tidbit of intriguing information, do you find yourself wanting to talk to the people involved, to get the story behind the story? Does your definition of happiness include researching? When you stand in line at the grocery store, do you long to see your name as a byline on one of those glossy magazines near the cash register?
Perhaps you’ve even gone as far as contacting a magazine editor with an idea, but you either received a rejection letter or never heard back. Well, first of all, you’re not alone. That happens to everyone who write for magazines. So, what’s standing between you and success? A compelling query letter – which is just a fancy way of describing a letter that shares your idea for an article along with why you’re the perfect person to write it.
Insights into Interviewing
One of the best things about the Internet: researching is SO much easier!
One of the worst things about the Internet: it is WAY too easy to research and write articles using hashed-and-rehashed secondary sources. Avoid the temptation!
If you’re going to write nonfiction (or fiction, for that matter), then you’ll want to do it right – and, if you want your writing to stand out, get original source material through interviewing subject matter experts and other intriguing people. By doing so, you’ll discover cutting-edge information, collect pithy quotes and otherwise significantly raise the quality of your writing.
In Defense of Nonfiction
Science fiction writers create and populate fantastic new worlds, while mystery novelists scatter compelling red herrings while deftly slipping into key clues. Romance writers make readers sigh sweetly when the heroine realizes that, yes, she really does love him, after all . . . and what about those daring pioneers as they bravely trek into unknown lands of the West. Compared to fiction writing, nonfiction writing – at first glance – can seem downright boring. But, the reality is that there are excellent reasons for pursuing the nonfiction craft. Here are just a few of them!