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Why Writers Should Be Photographers

January 15th, 2021

I sold a 1200-word article to an American magazine for £200. They also used six of my photographs, for which they paid me an additional £600. So, which would you rather be: the writer who gets £200 or the writer/photographer who gets £800?

I will always remember the day I met the editor of a local county magazine who told me that her biggest problem was finding photographs.

“My dream supplier is someone who can provide the words and pictures. Every page in my magazine needs a words-and-picture package because every page is illustrated with photos. If a writer sends me an article I want to use, but it doesn’t have any photos, I then have to spend time trying to find suitable images. At particularly busy times, if I have a page to fill and I have a choice between a well-written article without pictures or a good article that needs some editing but comes with photographs, I will always go with the good article with pictures. As an editor, my skill is editing text. I can edit a good article into a great article in a couple of minutes. Finding the right photographs can take two or three hours.” Read the rest of this entry »




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Time To Try Something Different?

January 11th, 2021

A rather belated New Year to all our readers!  I’m sure many of you found your plans changing at the last minute and that, overall, it was a rather peculiar time. But, we’ve got through it and need to start looking to the future.

I’ve decided not to make any resolutions this year. I’m rather tired of listening to all the self-help gurus giving advice and suggesting we should be ‘mindful’ or that we think of three things to be thankful for before we go to bed each night.

Instead, I’m just going to try to get through this difficult time as best I can using my own inner resources (and the occasional glass of red wine!) I find I’m going to bed earlier at night (hibernation?) and that I’m reading a lot more. Plus, I’ve got to agree with those who advocate a dose of daily exercise, if it’s only to top-up your vitamin D levels. Read the rest of this entry »




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Happy New Year!

December 27th, 2020

We’re coming to end of a year that has been unique. Many people use ‘unique’ in the wrong way. They use it when they simply mean ‘different’ – but unique actually means ‘one of a kind’. I don’t think anyone making plans and resolutions last January could have imagined what 2020 would be like and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it has been truly unique!

For many it has been very difficult. So many people have been seriously ill or died; so many people now find themselves unemployed or the hours they work (and their income) have dropped. Both personal and government debt across the world has soared. Others have found the isolation of lockdown hard to bear and have not been able to access the non-Covid healthcare they need. Read the rest of this entry »




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Editing Your Novel – Stage One

December 20th, 2020

First, thanks to Keith for last week’s post. It was great to hear from someone who’s had a connection with Writers Bureau for so long and has done so well. And, I think you can read between the lines just how much pleasure he’s had from his career as a writer!

Moving on to something completely different, this week I’m going to provide the would-be novelists amongst you with a checklist that we recommend you follow before even contemplating sending off your work to an agent, publisher or self-publishing it.

Does the story make sense?

Have you made the journey from the beginning to the end in a logical way, with each stage clearly set out and leading on to the next? Is the ending believable? Is there one easily followed narrative strand all the way through the text? Is it obvious who your protagonist is and what that character is trying to achieve? Read the rest of this entry »




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Thinking Outside The Box

December 12th, 2020

Between 2003 and 2018 I made a living as a freelance writer, musician and historian. Prior to this I had been in charge of a secondary school history department for over 30 years. I ‘retired’ at 70 in 2018 but the Covid crisis of 2020 led to a reversal in my retirement plans and it was back to work to preserve sanity in lockdown. I also decided to organise properly the work I’d had published when I needed to make money as a freelance. At the time I had stored and catalogued them simply in date order. The new system has enabled me to share with you how I went about making part of my living through free-lance writing.

When I started freelancing in 2003 I had already published a number of academic and popular articles on family history and the history of traditional music, song and dance. I joined the Writers’ Bureau in order to seek advice on how to structure my proposed career. The advice given then proved both helpful and fruitful. Read the rest of this entry »




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