Student Log In
33 Years of Success!

Tel: +44 161 819 9922

This month there’s a double helping of expert advice, Ten Top Tips to help you generate new ideas, inspiring success stories and useful websites.

E-zee Writer
Top Tips For Writers

E-zee Writer Top Tips for Writers

Issue 106
July 2009

Hello again and welcome to the July issue.

We are glad our students are liking the newly opened forums – they are still undergoing a bit of tweaking but should be there soon. Thanks for your feedback.

Phew! It’s really hot and humid here with lots of spectacular thunderstorms too. July, named after Julius Caesar, is the official start of summer and, along with Wimbledon, strawberries and cream are a traditional favourite for this time of year in the UK. However, in Chile you’d probably be eating Pastel de Choclo – a summer dish made from a mixture of ground corn, meat, chicken, onions, olives and hard-boiled egg. Or you could treat yourself to a Korean Samgyetang – a hearty soup of chicken and ginseng for the hot, muggy season – meant to rejuvenate the body. And Julius Caesar had some interesting tastes in food too, including dormice dipped in honey and rolled in poppy seeds and sows' udders stuffed with sea urchins....eeeek! If reading about food gets your creative juices flowing, perhaps you should consider writing about it too! Are there any traditional or weird foods you could write about or particular favourites of yours that you’d like to share with others? Well, it’s something for you to chew over – pun intended! And if article writing is something you think you’d like why not enrol on one of our courses and learn the secrets to getting your work published.


Student stories feature Kate who lives in France and Trish from the UK. Expert advice covers finding markets for and promoting your work using the internet. Tutors Sue Wilkes and Lorraine Mace share their secrets to reaching as many people as possible. Sue advises on how to promote your writing using a blog in ‘It Never Sleeps’ and Lorraine, who lives in France so is well aware of the obstacles overseas writers can come up against when trying to find UK markets, offers some new avenues for you to venture down in ‘Easy Magazine Research’. If you are not sure how to utilise the Internet fully our course ‘How to Write for Profit using the Internet’, will show you the tricks and tips to maximise your exposure and gain the most from it. Ten Top Tips helps you discover how to generate new ideas for yourself in all kinds of interesting ways.

Useful Websites features only one site this week and there’s good reason for this. In expert advice you’ll have 11 sites to wander around. The site I have chosen to feature is a great little site with endless travel writing opportunities for the beginner and the seasoned writer alike. It’s a fantastic springboard for those wanting to get their name known and everyone can write about at least one place they know – where they live!


This month you could meander along to the 2009 Polyverse Festival held at Loughborough University, Leicestershire, starting on the 24th July for three days. Featuring performances, some exclusive, by a plethora of renowned poets, including Sue Guiney and Siobhan Logan, the weekend also boasts free workshops – this looks like an interesting one, ‘Why do poets die younger than other writers?’ by Mike Wilson. You do have to book for the workshops, so get in early if you fancy attending one. Tickets are £20.00 and further information is available here.

Or you could amble across to Buxton in Derbyshire (my home town, so a little smidge of pride creeps in when I talk about it) for the Buxton Festival. Events run until the 28th July and are as diverse as they come with speakers – ranging from Jeffrey Deaver to Rabbi Lionel Blue to David Cameron! – talking about their experiences and work. This is also a music and opera festival so there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Tickets for literary events range from £9.00 to £15.00 and further information can be found here.

We are currently in the process of updating some of our marketing materials and I am looking for students who have had work published in magazines and newspapers and are prepared to tell me how much they were paid for it. There’ll be no names on the information – it will simply be a list of what you can earn for your work so that newbie writers have some idea about what kinds of figures they can quote if asked to name a fee and what to expect when offered a fee for a piece of work.

Don’t forget you can send your work in for Chapter and Verse too! Rob, the editor, is looking for submissions each month and the theme is detailed in the current issue – remember you can send anything you like as long as it’s on the subject area. Please also make sure you adhere to the submission guidelines.

Finally and sadly, it seems no one wanted to take part in the Tanabata poem challenge! Come on people – you can use this newsletter to get some constructive feedback from other students about your work, if you are brave enough to send it.

Have a great month.

Shelley x

NB. Thank you to those of you who entered the Poetry and Short Story Competition. It has now closed and entries are being devoured and digested. The winners will be online for inspection in September – good luck!



“Before I started the course, I always knew I wanted to write, but didn’t have a clue how or what to do or how to go about it. Thanks to the course, I now know how to structure my writing, how to set the work out and how to start with an attention-grabbing title and first paragraph. Getting the facts right is also very important.

“My first published article was about finding out our house was built on the site of a Georgian Rectory. I also had two letters published in magazines – one about how I tried to teach my grandson that wolves are lovely creatures to which he replied, ‘They do eat people. They eat Grannies!’

“I’ve had other work published, for which I didn’t receive payment. This is just as rewarding because you feel that you are being taken seriously. I wrote a piece for the U.K. Wolves Conservation Trust, of which I am a member, and they published it in their quarterly magazine.

“I also wrote about a visit to Wellington’s former home – Apsley House in London. I wrote it and sent it off immediately to my chosen publication. I received a letter thanking me for my writing and advising that it would be published in the autumn newsletter.

“My most recently published work was a very small piece about Tummy Tuck jeans on the radio. A work colleague of mine was invited to talk about fashion and I wrote about it for the local newspaper.

“I would never have had the courage to do any of this writing if it hadn’t been for The Writers Bureau and my tutor.”

Trish Christie, UK


“It is said that you are the author of your own destiny. So I decided to change my destiny and become an author. No, I haven’t written a best-selling bodice ripping saga ……yet!

“I joined the Writers Bureau in 1994 and, shame on me, I still haven’t completed the course. Events overtook my life and things had to be put on hold including the course.

“But my pen, or rather keyboard, has not been dormant. Avidly writing long letters and, latterly, emails to all my friends and family all over the world. Freelancing as a copywriter (still creative writing!) and since coming here I have been able to continue this with the help of ASDL. I have been writing a family history for my children and grandchildren, although not famous enough to have it published, and drafting my first novel. I even tried a few competitions, without any luck, (will take note of Simon Whaley’s advice in the April edition of E-zee Writer) but it kept my writing muscle going. I have had one or two items published, letters and articles and of course, brochures and press releases.


“Moving to France in 2000, I set up a bed and breakfast business with people coming from all over the world (which meant more letter writing and emails as many of them stayed in touch) and in the winter, various people came on a retreat, one or two to conceive, draft, write and edit their books or essays. It has all been a lot of fun.

“Now, in the next couple of months I am going to complete my course, my family history and my novel which is in its third and final synopsis. Now being able to sit back and bask in the success to come, you see how positive I am, I have jotted down ideas for my second novel.

“I realise that time is not on my side but I take heart from Mary Wesley who published her first novel in her latter years.

“Although my success is not in the conventional way, The Writers Bureau did open up doors for me, it gave me the confidence to freelance and to carry on writing.

“So you see success comes in many forms.”

Kate Baldwin, France


If you would like a prospectus for the courses studied by Trish or Kate 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.

Please remember there is no issue of FMN in the month of July!

Boost your income online with our

Write For Profit Using
The Internet Course

Enrol before 31st July 2009 and save £30!


This offer is ONLY available to subscribers of

E-zee Writer

For all writers – new and established – the Internet is a source of almost limitless potential. Whether you use it to research, network, find news of writing opportunities and competitions or to blog and self-publish – it's all there. But how do you tap into its potential in an effective and time-efficient manner?

Our Write For Profit Using The Internet course quickly shows you how to make the Internet work for you. You’ll learn:

- how to find and exploit paying markets

- how to present your work what rights to offer

- how to protect your work from unscrupulous operators

- and more

In short, we provide you with the techniques and strategies to give your writing the best possible chance of being accepted and paid for – whilst expanding your portfolio all the time.

All you need is the commitment to take the lessons laid out in the course and to put them into practice – then you could have success in this lucrative market, just like Writers Bureau student Noel Gama (see right).

Writing for the Internet has boundless possibilities for all writers – enrol today to find out more. Course comes on 15 day approval. No obligation.

Click here to enrol

or call

If you live in the UK:
0800 389 7360

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

(Please quote WFIC/EZ to claim your discount)


It never sleeps...

Promote your work for free with your blog

By Sue Wilkes

You’ve published or written a book? Congratulations! Now the hard slog of promoting your work begins. If money’s tight, you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds on a custom-built website. The beauty of using host sites such as and is that they’re free.

A blog (weblog) or online journal will work for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It never sleeps, and will enable you to reach a worldwide audience. And you’ll be in good company; top authors such as Nick Hornby, Scott Adams and Neil Gaiman have their own blogs.

Nervous about the technical side of blogging? You don’t need to learn a computer language. The host websites usually have ‘templates’ or sample layouts which you can choose from and customise to suit your needs. Online tutorials are normally available to show you how to add images and hyperlinks (links to other websites) to brighten up your ‘posts’ – the latest instalments to your blog. Or you could ask a computer-literate friend to help you.

Think carefully about what form you want the content to take. In its simplest form, a blog is just an online diary – you can update it several times a day, or once a week; it’s up to you. Or you can upload samples of past work you’ve had published so editors - potential customers - can see your writing style (assuming you’ve retained copyright and didn’t sell ‘All Rights’).

Blogging has an advantage over ordinary websites because it’s an interactive medium. You can leave comments on other bloggers’ websites using your blog name, and vice versa. Make sure you enable ‘comment moderation’ on your blog so you can vet comments and weed out any spam.

If you’ve written a book, but haven’t found a publisher, you could consider putting short extracts online to tempt an editor. A famous example of blog-to-book success is ‘Belle de Jour – the Diary of a London Call-girl,’ the titillating adventures of the eponymous author. ‘Belle’ has now had two books published, one of which was made into a TV series starring Billie Piper.

Author and illustrator Jane Odiwe self-published her first book, Effusions of Fancy (Paintbox Publishing, 2003). She couldn’t find a publisher for her second book, Lydia Bennet’s Story (a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice) so she self-published it, and put ‘tasters’ online in diary form as blog entries. Shortly afterwards, Sourcebooks, one of the publishers who’d originally turned it down, contacted Jane to say they’d made a huge mistake, and would love to publish her book. Lydia Bennet’s Story appeared in 2008; Sourcebook are planning to publish Jane’s third book, Mr Willoughby Returns, in the autumn of 2009.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Make your blog stand out. Use labels or ‘tags’ to help search engines like Google find your website. Tags are just words summing up the subject you’ve been blogging about.
  • Add a free site meter (e.g. so you can see who’s been visiting your site, where from, and how often.
  • Be topical. Comment on the latest news stories, issues, or even TV programmes to generate lots of visits to your blog.
  • Keep your website clutter-free and easy for visitors to navigate around. Too many bright colours or animations detract from the content and make it hard to read. It’s what you have to say that’s important.
  • Only use your own photos, or illustrations which are copyright-free. If you want to include photos (e.g. from film or TV), for which you won’t have copyright permission, just put a link to the appropriate website – don’t copy the image itself.

    So, have fun and see how much traffic you can generate – you never know where it might lead.

    Free blogging sites:


    Live Journal  

    Author blogs of note:

    Neil Gaiman
    Scott Adams
    Nick Hornby
    Belle De Jour

    Jane Austen Sequels (Jane Odiwe)

    Sue Wilkes is the author of ‘Narrow Windows, Narrow Lives’ (History Press, 2008) and ‘Regency Cheshire’ (Robert Hale), which will be published soon. She's currently working on two books: ‘Stolen Childhoods’ (Robert Hale) on Victorian child workers, and an introduction to canal history for family historians, ‘Tracing Your Canal Ancestors’ (Pen & Sword). Sue's website is at:

    And here’s your second helping of tutor advice.

    Easy Magazine Research


    Lorraine Mace

    One of the problems writers abroad have is getting hold of English-language magazines to analyse and study so that we can pitch successfully. Most of us badger friends and relations to bring some with them when they come to visit, but how many of us know all the titles that are available for our specialist subjects? And why limit our research to the UK market when we could be making the same pitch to three countries at the same time? This article looks at ways to get the magazines we need, without taking up our visitors’ valuable weight allowance.

    Ask for a sample copy

    Sometimes the simplest way is best. Many magazine editors are happy to supply sample issues to prospective contributors on receipt of a stamped addressed envelope, but it’s also worth asking if they would provide a PDF version by e-mail attachment, which is easier for them and cheaper for you.


    Most magazines now have websites where a selection of previously published material can be studied. This is essential viewing prior to making a pitch because you can check to see if your idea has appeared recently. There is often an editorial calendar and/or media pack for download, which will give you more information about editorial needs than is available in the actual magazine, including topics for forthcoming issues (see January 2009 issue).

    What, who, where?

    I subscribe to three online services to find out which magazines are available in the UK, the USA and Australia. These enable me to search by magazine titles, specialist subject matter, or article type. The service provides all the editorial details I need, from the editor’s name and e-mail address to submission guidelines. Most of the listings give the magazines’ website addresses and state whether or not sample issues are available and how to obtain them.

    One additional benefit of subscribing to the services listed below is that I have pitched successfully to magazines I wouldn’t otherwise have known existed. One of which, in Australia, has since given me some regular work. Considering I live in France, it shows that being overseas doesn’t stand in the way of finding freelance opportunities.




    The fees I’ve paid to subscribe to the USA and Australian services have been covered many times over. It is free to subscribe to the UK service. Worthwhile to most writers, for ex-pats and overseas students these are essential tools.

    Lorraine Mace is a columnist with Writing Magazine, winner of the Petra Kenney International Poetry Award (comic verse category), writes fiction for the women’s magazine market and is a writing competition judge. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she is the author of The Greatest Moving Abroad Tips in the World and co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of The ABC Checklist for New Writers.

    TOP TIPS...

    Ten Top Tips for

    Getting New Ideas.

    1. Probably the most obvious – read as widely as you can. It doesn’t matter if it’s a newspaper, novels, non-fiction books or magazines. They all contain information that might spark new ideas. We’re always amazed when would-be writers tell us that they don’t read other people’s work!

    2. Song lyrics and titles can be a great source of ideas. And it means you can combine work with pleasure.


    3. Listen to other people’s conversations in bars, cafes and restaurants, or on the bus, train or tube. You’ll be surprised how frank people can be when talking to friends and what interesting snippets you can pick up.

    4. Travel really does broaden the mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s an exotic holiday or a day out at the seaside. Not only will you be seeing new sights and having new experiences but the change from daily routine will boost your creativity.

    5. Dare we say it, but watching TV and films can be useful. There’s lots of rubbish out there but you might just see something that gets you thinking and writing. You can’t pinch plots and storylines but you can use basic ideas and then give them a new twist.

    6. Talk to people – and listen to what they are saying. Too many people are so interested in talking themselves that they don’t listen to what they are being told. It doesn’t matter whether it’s face-to-face or in an Internet chat room – but you’ll get all kinds of different views on the world that you might be able to turn into copy.

    7. Browse the Internet and let yourself roam from link to link, going where your enthusiasm takes you or use a random site generator such as Stumbleupon.(www.stumbleupon .com) But it may help to put a time limit on this kind of general surfing or you could find yourself with no time left to write.

    8. People watch. Look at their body language and mannerisms; how they are reacting to the people they are with; whether they look confident or are worried and uneasy if they are on their own. Put two and two together and make five! You might not get a story out of it but you could get some great descriptions for your characters.


    9. Give yourself some personal space. Clear your mind and allow yourself to day-dream (if it was good enough for Wordsworth, who are we to argue?) Do whatever it takes to make yourself relax. Stop writing shopping lists in your head or thinking about picking up the kids from school – just let your mind wander and see where it takes you.

    10. And don’t forget to network. Think about joining a writers’ group (or a reading group if the former makes you feel nervous). Go to writers’ conferences and literary events. You’ll hear professionals talk about their work and may even get a chance to chat to them. Even if it doesn’t bring immediate results it may make you feel less isolated as a writer and inspire you to continue.

    And a final word… When you have a good idea don’t forget to jot it down immediately. Good ideas don’t grow on trees and it’s all too easy to forget your thoughts when there are so many distractions all around.



    As there are plenty of websites for you to look through in the two expert advice articles featured this month I have decided to only give you one website to look at here, but it’s a really good one!

    This is a great site for budding travel writers plus you can earn a share of the profits. All you need to do is register, add a profile and away you go. You are now free to upload as many travel guides as you like. All they ask is that the guides are “intelligently structured and well-written, the spelling must be checked” and “they must include recommendations for a hotel or other accommodation.” It’s as simple as that. You can track how many views your guide is getting, what the average reader rating is and how much you’ve earned from people clicking through advertisements or using the recommendations in your guide. The possibilities for guides are endless. For example, if you live in a popular holiday destination you could write several different reviews such as a guide for families with young children, those with teenagers, those who are on a tight budget and so on.

    Remember, if you run a website that you think may be of use to our readers, let me know. If I like it, I’ll publish a link to it giving you a free plug. What could be better than that?

    END NOTE and a little inspiration


    Could you write an article about ...


    1st January 1962

    Beatles attended an audition at Decca records and failed. 

    2nd January 2008

    Oil prices rose above $100.00 a barrel for the first time in history.  

    3rd January 1496

    Leonardo da Vinci tries out his flying machine without success. 

    4th January 1972 

    The Old Bailey welcomes its first female judge, Rose Helibron.  

    5th January 1944

    The world sees its first trans-oceanic newspaper – the Daily Mail. 

    6th January 1907

    The first school and daycare centre for working class children is opened in Rome by Maria Montessori.

    7th January 1927

    The first transatlantic call is placed between London and New York City. 

    8th January 2006

    The island of Kythira, Greece feels the greatest effects of an earthquake of magnitude 6.9 just off its coast. 

    11th January

    Coming of age day, Japan – all those who have reached the age of 20 over the last year are reminded that they are now adults with coming of age ceremonies held at local offices as well as parties with friends and family.

    12th January 1528

    Sweden sees the crowning of Gustav I.

    13th January 1938

    The theory of evolution is finally accepted by the Church of England.  

    15th January 2005

    The solar system is blasted with X-rays following an intense solar flare.  

    16th January 1605

    The first book of Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, is published in Spain.  

    18th January

    Martin Luther King Day, United States of America – to commemorate his birthday.  

    19th January 1977 

    The first and only time, so far, that snowfall has been recorded in Miami, Florida, USA. 

    20th January 1885 

    The roller coaster is patented by LaMarcus Adna Thompson also known as ‘Father of Gravity’. 

    21st January 2008

    The last surviving native speaker of the Alaskan Eyak language dies aged 90.

    23rd January 1978 

    Ozone damaging aerosols are banned in Sweden, making it the first country to do so.

    25th January

    Burns Night, Scotland, in memory of the poet – most famous for ‘Auld Lang Syne’ sung at New Year Celebrations – Robert Burns. (See end note)

    26th January

    Australia Day – commemorates the arrival of the first fleet of British Ships in Sydney Cove in 1788.

    27th January 1888

    The National Geographic Society is founded in Washington DC.

    28th January

    World Leprosy Day.

    29th January 1933

    French singer-songwriter Sacha Distel is born in Paris, France.

    30th January 1982

    The first computer virus, called ‘Elk Cloner’, is written by Richard Skrenta.

    31st January 1990

    Moscow is the venue for the opening of the first McDonalds in Russia.

    I thought I’d put a link to the song ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as I, for one, have never been absolutely
    sure of the words. I sort of know the first line then mumble though the rest, so here it is.

    Next month expert advice comes from tutor Lesley Cryer who shows you how to ‘Say Goodbye to the Nine to Five’ – I’m sure there’ll be a lot of you eager to read that one. Ten Top Tips shows you how to present the perfect manuscript and I’ll hunt down some more inspirational success stories and useful websites for you.

    And now a little light-heartedness. I love the animation on this game – it is quite endearing and I actually really wanted to help Little Wheel. I find these kinds of games incredibly hard, but completely addictive – it will not beat me!

    Don’t forget to let us know what you think of the new website!

    And finally, 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.

    See you next month.

    Shelley x


    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:






    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


    Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

    Bookmark and Share