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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!

E-zee Writer
Top Tips For Writers

E-zee Writer Top Tips for Writers

Issue 97
November 2008

Hello dear readers,

Welcome to wonderful, colourful autumn. Although you would think winter is already here considering we have already had a smattering of snow – well those of us in the UK anyway! I envy all our overseas readers at this time of year. I am sure many of you are basking in lovely warm sunshine whilst we freeze. However, regardless of my moaning about being cold I do actually like snow very much – just as long as I can stay inside all snug and warm. So I thought I’d give you this fun little game to have a go at – nothing to do with writing, just fun. If you want to see mine it is #18099830.

Down to business! This month our tutor Simon Whaley teaches us the importance or recycling ideas. One idea can make you more money than you expect if you put some thought in to it – Simon shows you how to get started.

I have two inspiring stories from our students for you, Jayne from England and Steve from Kenya – if they don’t get you thinking you can be a world famous writer, I don’t know what will!

This month’s Top Tips focuses on writing readers’ letters, and as most magazines have a readers’ letter page of some kind it can be a nice little side-line income or, if like me you love to win stuff, great prizes. For example, you could send your letter to Prima, if printed you will receive a year's subscription for you or a friend and the star letter receives a great gift of L’Occitane pampering goodies – what could be better? Or have a look at this month’s Freelance Market News, which offers £10 in cash to the writer of the best letter, plus it features a whole section dedicated to readers’ letters and fillers so you should never be short of markets for your musings. To subscribe to freelance market news click here.

Remember, there are also plenty of local writing events you can participate in - many are free, but most charge a small fee. For example, this month you can go along to Southgate Circus Library, in Enfield, London for a workshop with Lucie Whitehouse, the author of ‘House at Midnight’, further details here: Or you could invest $5 if you live in the Takapuna area of New Zealand and go along to see best selling crime author Michael Connelly talk about his recent collaboration with lawyer Mickey Haller and LAPD detective Harry Bosch for his latest novel: And, finally, if you happen to be living in Kolkata, India and you can get along to the British Council Library on the 25th and 26th November and you have R8500 you can take part in a workshop to unlock your creativity – by registration only through the following link:

Have a great month!


P.S. If you are struggling to find markets for your work (and let’s not forget, what you see on the shelves in newsagents is only the tip of the iceberg) or you are new to writing there are a few books you can use to assist you. You would be wise to invest in a ‘writers’ bible’. The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, is the best bet for UK markets. Also available are The Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and the Poetry Writers Yearbook. Plus, roughly the same amount of books available for American markets too!


‘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.

‘I saw the advert for the Writers Bureau course in the back pages of a magazine. I had given up full time work to stay home after having my little boy and thought it was a wonderful opportunity to try to write and earn some money at the same time. I have always loved to write and to be paid for it is just a dream come true. My husband and mum paid the course fees for me. Sadly, I lost Mum to cancer two years later but I know she would be proud to know that I have earned the fees back - and more.

‘My first assignments really helped me to look at what I write. They taught me to write for publication and showed me that I have a tendency to use twenty words where ten will do! That was a valuable lesson and I am improving my editing skills all the time.

‘I spent a fair amount of time researching on the Internet and, with newly found confidence, signed up to a few sites offering my work as a writer. Since then I have landed two monthly contracts; one for VisitBritain and the other for Weight Watchers. I also write regularly for 3DsolarUK Ltd and I take other work on an ad hoc basis. I am earning £560 each month, sometimes more.

‘I have also started some creative writing, sparked by joining my local writing group. I have written a number of short stories and am planning to send them off to magazines very soon. I have also joined up to and will be attempting to write my first novel - in a month!

‘The future is exciting. There are so many doors to open, so many opportunities to grasp but I wouldn't have found them without the help of the Writers Bureau. Thank you!’

Jayne Grindell, UK 

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.

‘I was keener on seeing my work published than submitting assignments and though my articles were being published from time to time, the little income earned was not motivational enough for me to be serious with my assignments.

‘Then in early September, I received an unexpected call from a new Daily Newspaper – Daily Metro – a new up and coming publication. They wanted me to be their theatre/arts correspondent. I had a background of writing plays but had not done reviews before. What really helped me was the study module 12 on writing reviews. Though I had not done assignments on the same, that topic was covered comprehensively and I got useful guidance on writing reviews.

‘The paper recently celebrated its first anniversary and I'm delighted I have contributed to that success. Other than covering arts, I've been submitting features from time to time when I come across a good story.

‘I also intend to enrol for the comprehensive writing course so that I can polish my play writing skills and improve my technical knowledge which will help me when writing reviews.’

Steve Biko Oyugi, Kenya

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.

Or, to share your success stories with others, just send an email to with 'Success Story' in the subject line.


FREELANCE MARKET NEWSFreelance Market News Magazine
an essential guide for freelance writers


For up-to-date market information, Freelance Market News is invaluable.

Issued 11 times a year it's packed with information on markets in Britain and around the globe, plus you get all the latest news and views on the publishing world.

Every subscription comes with FREE membership of The Association of Freelance Writers. Your membership also entitles you to discounts on books and competitions, a free appraisal worth over £30 and a Membership Card which confirms your status as a Freelance Writer.

FREE sample copies are available to view at the website, along with more details about the magazine and how you can subscribe.

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

Enrol Today 

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). 

Click here to enrol now and to read a full synopsis 

or call

If you live in the UK: 0161 228 2362

If you live outside the UK: +44 161 228 2362

(Please quote NF/EZ to claim your discount)

Remember, this offer closes 30th November 2008!




Simon Whaley

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 or visit his tutor's blog at


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.

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.  


This is a website for our budding journalists out there! UK students can join the NUJ,, 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


Could 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



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. 

                                                                                                   Algernon Swinborne

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

Shelley x

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:



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Annemarie Munro Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2022

"I have seen my writing journey as an adventure: What can I write? What am I best at? What new aspects of writing can I discover and contribute towards? I have welcomed the wide range of modules covering different types of writing, challenging me to try new aspects in style and content, pushing me gently outside my comfort zone with encouragement.

"I signed up for the course in December 2020 as a Christmas present to myself and I started the first module in January 2021. I have had eight pieces published: three paid earning £1080 and a star letter where I won a £250 hotel voucher."

Annemarie Munro - Writers Bureau Student of the Year 2022

Read Annemarie's full story


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