In a packed edition this month you receive advice on how to make money over and over from just one idea, tips on writing readers’ letters, plus much, much more!
Hello dear readers,
THE WRITERS BUREAU
‘It felt a little bizarre when I received my ‘Certificate of Competence’ in the post this morning. My tutor is still awaiting Assignment 6 and has been now for just over a year! I am too busy writing to complete it.
Have a look at some of Jayne’s work using the following links
‘I signed up for the Freelance Journalism course in early 2005 and was quite eager to embark on my studies. I started off on a good note completing and submitting assignments on time. I had my first published article appear immediately after submitting my first assignment. The comprehensive study materials had given me such helpful hints.
Thanks to Jayne and Steve for sharing their stories with us. If you would like a prospectus for the courses they are studying please email us here with your full name and postal address.
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We have winners! This month we have the winning entries for our Poetry and Short Story Competition 2008 – they are well worth a read and should give you some idea of what standard is required should you wish to take part in next years competition, which is accepting entries now – first prize £1000.
Plus, if you think you need a little help with writing either poetry or short stories have a look at our courses by clicking here.
E-zee Writer Special Offer
Save £25 on your Non-Fiction Writing Course
Offer Ends 30th November 2008
SAVE £25 ON YOUR NON-FICTION WRITING COURSE
up to 30th November 2008
(This offer is ONLY available to subscribers of E-zee Writer)
Undoubtedly the quickest and easiest way into print is with non-fiction writing. It provides by far the largest potential market for you, whilst at the same time it gives you the opportunity to use your existing knowledge and experiences.
After studying the basics of the craft, that every writer needs, you quickly move on to readers' letters, fillers and then all forms of article writing. Next, you cover journalism and interviewing people before learning how to plan, develop and write non-fiction books.
Your course comprises 20 fact-packed modules and two additional handbooks. Plus, there are 10 assignments with which you can work one-to-one with your experienced tutor. All this for only £164.00 (Easy Payment Terms available).
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Remember, this offer closes 30th November 2008!
RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE
Don't waste ideas, recycle them! If an idea worked for you once, why throw it away? Too many writers complain that they don't have enough ideas. To get started though, all you need is ONE. When you've used it, use it again! And again! And again! The recycling writer becomes the regularly published writer, and that experience is one that many of us want to recycle several times over, isn't it? Even better, is that whilst the idea is recycled, the accompanying payment is brand new every time!
So how do you recycle an idea? Here are some experiences from my very own recycling bin of ideas:
Heritage Coasts: Heritage Coasts are a protection status here in England and Wales. Similar to National Parks, they are designed to stop the inappropriate development of our most beautiful stretches of coastline. Three counties were chosen in the 1970s as ‘trial' areas: Suffolk, Dorset, and Glamorgan in Wales. After researching this protection status and their history, I decided to write an article about them. But, I didn't write one, I wrote three. I wrote an article for the county magazine of Suffolk, one for the local newspaper in Dorset and one for a small history magazine in Wales. My idea was ‘Heritage Coasts', but I tweaked each article to include the local information needed for the publications in those areas.
Heritage Coasts were deemed a success (I certainly thought so!) and the protection status was expanded across more coastal areas of England and Wales. This meant that most of my historical information was just as valid for articles in those regions too. I've since sold articles to the local magazines in Sussex, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Devon, Kent and Northumberland. And because the Heritage Coast status means the coastline retains its natural beauty, it's a lovely place to walk, so I wrote an article about Heritage Coasts for a walking magazine with details of footpaths that readers could explore. So for those of you who haven't been counting, this was one idea, which I've recycled (so far) into ten different articles.
Self Catering: I love going on holiday, but I can't be doing with having to eat at set times in Bed & Breakfasts or Hotels, so I enjoy renting a cosy cottage somewhere. It struck me that other people need to be flexible for various reasons and might benefit from some advice on how to choose the perfect self catering holiday cottage. And there was my idea - how to choose the perfect self catering holiday cottage.
My first sale was with Country Walking magazine. I provided ten top tips for walkers looking for that perfect cottage from which they could step outside the door and start walking. I then gave dog owners similar advice for Dogs Monthly magazine. Not only do they want the ideal holiday cottage they want one that is dog friendly too. And then of course there are us. Writers. I've sold two articles to two different writing magazines advising writers how to choose the perfectly quiet and peaceful cottage to rent in order to write. And did I mention Garden Ideas magazine who published my article about how to choose the perfect self catering holiday cottage for readers looking to visit lots of gardens open to the public whilst on holiday? Again, one idea, five different articles.
The Royal Yacht Britannia: I love this yacht. Berthed in Edinburgh, it's the only place where visitors can see a bedroom used by our current reigning Monarch. But it's also homely and welcoming. So I wrote about it for the in-flight FlyBe Uncovered magazine. The Royal Yacht Britannia is a great all year tourist destination and FlyBe have a service to Edinburgh airport. But the Royal Yacht also has a wealth of history behind it, so I wrote about this for Heritage magazine. I've just sent a query offering the idea to an editor of a boat magazine too. However, that's not the end. I have even sold a short story to People's Friend magazine that was set on the Royal Yacht Britannia. See? This recycling lark works with fiction as well as non-fiction.
These are just a few examples. But what about the practicalities? Let's consider them using the traditional recycling mantra, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reduce your research time. Every idea has to be researched and this can be immensely time consuming. Yet as a writer, this isn't what you are paid for. You are paid to write, so write more, re-using existing research. If it takes a day to do research and a day to write an article, that's two days to produce one article. If you then tackle a new idea, that might mean another day for research and another day to write the article. That's two articles in four days. But if you can write two more articles using the research undertaken on day one, then you can produce three articles in four days, not two.
Reuse your research. When I wrote my short story set on Britannia, I had one of my characters describe some of the yacht's history. For the article used in Heritage magazine, I used this same history to explain the yacht's background to readers. There's no copyright in facts, so you can reuse this information time and time again.
Recycle your information for different markets. Recycling usually entails different uses. An empty yoghurt pot for example, can become a plant pot for a new seedling. So aiming your knowledge at a different readership produces a different article. My Heritage Coast articles all carried the same background information but to each I added the local angle about Heritage Coasts for the local readership I was targeting.
So next time you have an idea, do some thorough research. Always collect more information than you think you need for the first article you want to write. Whilst out and about, take photographs of everything. That picture of the fountain might not be useful for your article about places to eat and drink but it may be a perfect illustration for a travel article about the town. Then sit down with five completely different magazines in front of you and think about how you can use that research in each of those different publications to produce five different articles. They say that being ‘green' is the new ‘black'. Recycle your ideas and your writing bank account will definitely be in the black!
Simon Whaley is a full time writer and tutor for the Writers Bureau. His non-fiction articles have been published in The Lady, In Britain, People's Friend, Cumbria, The Countryman, Writers' Forum, SelfBuild & Design, Heritage and FlyBe Uncovered to name a few. He is also the author of seven books. His eighth is scheduled for publication this year, and his ninth will be published in 2009. For more information visit his website www.simonwhaley.co.uk or visit his tutor's blog at http://simonwhaleytutor.blogspot.com
10 Top Tips on…..Writing Readers’ Letters
Some people dismiss writing to the letters pages of magazines as beneath them. True – it’s never going to earn you a fortune, but we know many writers who make enough money to fund their leisure activities, or win themselves interesting and useful ‘gifts’. So here are some tips to make the most of your letter writing. 1. Keep your letters short and to the point. Study letters in past editions of the magazine you are targeting and write to a similar length. www.ifj.org Inspiration 1st April 1918 An amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Flying Service creates the Royal Air Force. 2nd April 1840 French novelist Emile Zola, also the founder of a school of fiction writing known as the Naturalist movement, is born. 4th April 1968 The assassination of the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King took place 5th April 1837 The scandalous Victorian poet, Algernon Swinburne – most famous for his poem named ‘Dolores’ – is born (you can read the poem below). 7th April 1739 Dick Turpin – the notorious highway man – is hanged in York. 11th April 1821 One of the greatest French poets and critic, Charles Baudelaire, is born on this day. Famous for such classics as ‘Les Fleurs Du mal’ and ‘Les Paradis Artificiels’. 13th April 1919 Soldiers of the British Empire carry out a massacre at Amritsar killing hundreds of Indian civilians. 15th April 1755 Samuel Johnson published his remarkable Dictionary of The English Language, which was 8 years in the making! 17th April 1951 Britain’s first national park is established in the Peak District. 20th April 1902 The radioactive element radium is first isolated by Peter and Marie Curie. 23rd April 1616 The greatest playwright in history, William Shakespeare, dies on his 52nd birthday in his home town of Stratford-upon-Avon. 26th April 1986 The Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine is the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster. 27th April 1521 The first man to circumnavigate the globe, Ferdinand Magellan, dies in the Philippines. 30th April 1945 Hitler, the German dictator, commits suicide in his Berlin bunker.
2. Make sure letters are chatty, but they must still be grammatically correct and be free from typos.
3. Stick to one main point. For example, the letter could be in response to a previous letter or an article that has been published in an earlier edition of the magazine; it may recount an amusing incident that happened to the writer or their family; it might tell about something funny that has been seen or overheard or it can give a helpful tip on how to do something more effectively and save money.
4. Injecting humour into your writing, if appropriate, can make your letter more saleable.
5. Most magazines now accept letters by email as well as by post – but very few welcome hand-written offerings!
6. However you send your letter, make sure you include full contact details, including your phone number(s) – landline and mobile.
7. Even if you are writing to a reader’s column that usually only prints initials at the end of each letter, the editor will expect you to provide your full name.
8. Get the tone of your letter right. The ‘Disgruntled of Dagenham’ style doesn’t go down too well nowadays. So don’t carp and criticize or lecture the readers. Instead, make your letter positive and punchy.
9. If writing on local issues don’t attack people personally – you’re just wasting the price of a stamp. There are libel laws – and editors won’t risk their paper’s reputation.
10. And finally, don’t send your letter to more than one magazine at the same time. You can write on a similar topic (if appropriate) to a number of magazines, but make sure each letter is original.
USEFUL SITES FOR WRITERS
This is a website for our budding journalists out there! UK students can join the NUJ, www.nuj.org.uk, as students but those of you overseas should contact the International Federation of Journalists. Established in 1962 it is the largest organisation of journalists in the world and takes action to defend the rights of journalists all over the world. An advantage of joining is that you will be issued with a card that is recognised and respected around the globe.
If you want to save trees, this is the online version of the Writer’s Market. In their words Writer’s Market ‘is for all writers, and is specifically intended to help writers find UK markets for their work. However, it offers much more than that.
‘It provides advice about the writing and publishing process, gives contacts to organisations and groups of many kinds, and includes resources such as links to actual and online libraries and other research and reference resources. It is also an online community, where you can interact with the Writer's Market team and talk to writing professionals, as well as sharing views, news and advice with the wider Writer's Market community.’ All you need to do is spend a few minutes registering!
Reading through work we receive from students it has become clear to me that sometimes people from, let’s say, the older generation and some of our overseas writers have problems expressing correctly how those from the younger generations might say something, especially when it comes to profanity. This website will give you a good place to start looking for how to swear like a youngster, as well as containing lots of other useful slang terms which can make your dialogue more authentic sounding.
Remember, if you run a website that you think may be of use to our readers, let us know. If we like it, we’ll publish a link to it giving you a free plug. What could be better then that?
END NOTE and a little inspiration
Some people dismiss writing to the letters pages of magazines as beneath them. True – it’s never going to earn you a fortune, but we know many writers who make enough money to fund their leisure activities, or win themselves interesting and useful ‘gifts’. So here are some tips to make the most of your letter writing.
1. Keep your letters short and to the point. Study letters in past editions of the magazine you are targeting and write to a similar length.
InspirationCould you write an article about ...
1st April 1918
An amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Flying Service creates the Royal Air Force.
2nd April 1840
French novelist Emile Zola, also the founder of a school of fiction writing known as the Naturalist movement, is born.
4th April 1968
The assassination of the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King took place
5th April 1837
The scandalous Victorian poet, Algernon Swinburne – most famous for his poem named ‘Dolores’ – is born (you can read the poem below).
7th April 1739
Dick Turpin – the notorious highway man – is hanged in York.
11th April 1821
One of the greatest French poets and critic, Charles Baudelaire, is born on this day. Famous for such classics as ‘Les Fleurs Du mal’ and ‘Les Paradis Artificiels’.
13th April 1919
Soldiers of the British Empire carry out a massacre at Amritsar killing hundreds of Indian civilians.
15th April 1755
Samuel Johnson published his remarkable Dictionary of The English Language, which was 8 years in the making!
17th April 1951
Britain’s first national park is established in the Peak District.
20th April 1902
The radioactive element radium is first isolated by Peter and Marie Curie.
23rd April 1616
The greatest playwright in history, William Shakespeare, dies on his 52nd birthday in his home town of Stratford-upon-Avon.
26th April 1986
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine is the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster.
27th April 1521
The first man to circumnavigate the globe, Ferdinand Magellan, dies in the Philippines.
30th April 1945
Hitler, the German dictator, commits suicide in his Berlin bunker.
This is the scandalous poem written by Algernon Swinborne – seems quite tame by today’s
This is the scandalous poem written by Algernon Swinborne – seems quite tame by today’s
Could you hurt me, sweet lips, though I hurt you?
Men touch them, and change in a trice
The lilies and languors of virtue
For the raptures and roses of vice;
Those lie where thy foot on the floor is,
These crown and caress thee and chain,
O splendid and sterile Dolores,
Our Lady of Pain.
In the words of Loony Tunes, that’s all folks!
I’m shocked that it will nearly be Christmas by the time I send the next issue to you – it comes around so quickly each year.
If anyone’s running any special Christmas writing events, such as writing circle get togethers, please let me know and I will give them a mention.
If you found something of use to you in this issue please pass the word on to all your writer friends – and even those who don’t! You never know, you might inspire them to take it up. They can sign up here www.writersbureau.com/resources/ezewriter.htm
P.S If there are any of our overseas readers who would like me to promote literary events in their country, please let me know and I will do my best to mention them.
As usual, if you've any suggestions or would like to comment on anything you have read then please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE WRITERS BUREAU, SEVENDALE HOUSE, 7 DALE STREET,
MANCHESTER, M1 1JB, ENGLAND.
In the words of Loony Tunes, that’s all folks!
“I’m currently working on my fourth book, have been paid for my writing by at least 15 different magazines, and now earn half my income from writing – all thanks to The Writers Bureau’s course."
Sarah Plater - Writers Bureau Writer of the Year 2017