Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Conference Notes-Periodicals Panel

This panel was composed of various editors of on-line, children's, and traditional periodical media. Although this isn't my first interest, I'm considering trying some free-lance opportunities to make a little money and get some experience under my belt. The following are some of my notes from the session:

Good qualities of freelance writers?
     -passionate about their topic
     -has an eye for detail
     -can spin a good tale (fiction)
     -stay within the word count
     -**make deadlines**
     -accurate query letter (query honestly reflects the focus of the work)
     -good communication/polite/thoughtful
     -solid, concise query
     -ability to write to fit the periodical (have read the media and are familiar with what is usually published, what has been published, etc.)
     -someone who doesn't argue with the editor/agent when turned down

The difference between print and on-line media?
     -print is somewhat slower in production
     -print can have more white space/margins
     -on-line is faster and more up-to-date

Don't query, "I have 3 ideas, pick one!" This means you are indecisive. Query the one you think is best, and if that doesn't work, do the other two one at a time.

Query look-fors:
     -CHECK THE GUIDELINES, because every media/company has different requirements
     -should be 3 basic paragraphs-hook, what it's about, & bio/credits
     -know what type(s) of articles each media publishes
     -include part of the lead (non-fiction)
     -explain where you see yourself/your article fitting in to their media
     -NOT TOO LONG, a short page is enough.

Platform/presence: how important is that in periodical publishing?
     -If you want to build a following, use your periodical publications to advertise your e-presence (Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.)

Enter contests. They make you a better writer, keeps you writing, and makes you write for a purpose.

Look for grants to help keep you afloat until you make your "big break", but don't quit your day job. ;-)

Tomorrow I'll review my notes on the session: Signing with a Literary Agent: Facts and Myths by Sandra Carrington-Smith