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Making Your Query Letter Work For You

April 19th, 2019

As you probably already know, some magazines are willing to accept articles and features  on spec – others won’t consider unsolicited material. So, how should you approach the latter?

Nowadays, most professional writers prefer to sell an idea to the editor first, before writing the article. That way, they don’t waste time writing something that no-one wants to publish. It’s a far better use of time and resources if you know that an editor is interested in and has commissioned your work. Ultimately, you’re far more likely to be paid for your writing!

But to get that commission, you need to sell the editor the idea by making a pitch. This is a sensible way to approach it because: Read the rest of this entry »




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A Day In The Life Of A Literary Agent

April 12th, 2019

Just recently, I seem to have had a number of guests who have given advice about self-publishing. But what about the many writers who want to go down the more conventional path and publish via an agent? So this week I’ve been talking to Susan Yearwood, who runs a successful London agency, about what her work entails and what she is looking for when taking on a new author.

“My day consists of editing, arranging and attending meetings as well as signing writers to my agency.

I recently met with a writer and discussed edits before he re-submits his script to me. His will be the second signing to Susan Yearwood Agency in just over a week, the first of which pertains to a psychological thriller writer; her script is at the line-by-line editing stage. Read the rest of this entry »




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Make Money From Standing On Your Soap Box

April 5th, 2019

First, thanks to Cheryl for last week’s blog. I’ve got a copy of Vengeance Is Mine waiting for me and I’m really looking forward to reading it this weekend! I will, of course, report back and let you know what I thought about it.

One of the modules in our course deals with writing readers’ letters to magazines and newspapers, and ‘filler’ items. These days ‘fillers’ can be quite difficult to put your finger on as they can range from short articles and tips on travel, food or money-saving through to quizzes and humorous anecdotes. Some students complain that working in this market isn’t ‘real writing’. It may not seem like it, but it can certainly bring in a bit of extra money – not to mention the enticing free gifts that various publications offer in lieu of cash. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Perils Of Self-publishing – Part Two!

March 29th, 2019

I write, for no other reason than I like it, under the pseudonym of Maritta Jayne, and I thought that I would carry on from an earlier blog by Cheryl Russell and tell you about my experience as a first time, self-published author too. Beware! This is a cautionary tale.

It was not until 2000 that I decided to try to make a go of my writing. Since then, however, I have completed two courses with the Writers Bureau; the first in 2007 when I completed the ‘Comprehensive Writing Course’.

After almost three years, I decided to write my first book and, at that point, had a bit of a rude awakening. I was just beginning to think that all I had to do was hand it to a publisher, and I could sit back and wait for the money to start rolling in. Read the rest of this entry »




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Deconstructive Criticism

March 22nd, 2019

First, thanks to Alex for last week’s post. I always have to check that I don’t use the words ‘very’ and ‘really’ too often in my writing. I’ve found that in most cases, I can delete the offending words without altering the meaning of the sentence.

Last Sunday I noticed that The Sunday Times AA Gill Award had been launched. AA Gill was The Sunday Times food critic who died from cancer in 2016, and loving both food and his acerbic wit, I miss his reviews bitterly. Gill was dyslexic and the organisers say … in line with this, your spelling and grammar will not be taken into account, but your entry should be bold, insightful and witty. Read the rest of this entry »




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