C. Hope Clark Rocks! AND Writing in the Buff Has a New Address
Welcome to the new Writing in the Buff! Blogger issues precipitated this change and it turned out to be a good move. I’m still learning about WordPress which, coming from Blogger, is like trying to fly a 747 after manning a hang-glider. If you find any glitches, especially with the widgets on the sidebar, please let me know. The new Writing in the Buff URL is easy peasy. Here it is for your cut & paste convenience: www.LisaRicardClaro.com.
On Saturday I had the good fortune to attend, with my pal Debra Mayhew, the workshop “Streaming Funds for Writers” led by the knowledgeable and engaging C. Hope Clark. For those who don’t know, Hope is the founder and force behind the popular FundsforWriters.com, a weekly newsletter service that focuses on markets, grants, contests, jobs, and other things pertinent to the writing life. Writer’s Digest has lauded the site for more than a dozen years in its annual 101 Best Web Sites for Writers. In addition, Hope is also the author of several books including the award-winning Low Country Bribe. As if all of that weren’t enough, she’s also a Dachshund lover. (I know—perfect, right?)
The workshop lasted two hours, and Hope kept a steady stream of information rolling. Here’s a rundown of the highlights:
- Social media is a necessity for writers. There are many to choose from, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. You don’t have to work all of them. Choose the two you like best and own them. Devote 10-15 minutes a day and no more. Focus the rest of your time on your writing.
- **Put your signature on everything. Your name, tagline, website, blog address—all of these should be included. Even after commenting on another person’s blog make it a practice to skip a couple spaces and type in your blog or website URL. (But only the address. Anything else may come across as shameless self-promotion and won’t be appreciated.)
- If you’ve decided to seek traditional rather than self-publishing, consider pitching to small or mid-size presses. These are the middle ground between self-pubbing and going with one of the big houses and may act as a gateway for either.
- Entering writing contests is a great way to get your name out and add credibility to your writing. As a general rule, if the contest entry fee is greater than 5% of the first prize being offered, then it is too much and you should pass on the contest.
- Become familiar with the Arts Council and Humanities Commission of your city, county and state and sign up for newsletters from these entities. They will provide information on grants, festivals, conferences, etc. Get your name on the list as either an artist-in-residence or artist-in-education; if you’ve published anything, you are qualified to apply for this. Don’t be afraid to personally contact people to ask questions. (Visit www.foundationcenter.org for links and info.)
- Linked-In is a great source for job postings. (I didn’t know this. Did you?)
- Trade magazines pay better and respond faster than most big magazines. (Tip: Don’t pitch the same article to competing magazines.) For trade magazine contacts visit these sites: www.freetrademagazinesource.com, www.tradepub.com, www.freetrademagazines.com, and www.bpubs.com/free-magazine/subscriptions.htm. (Tip: Trade mags love to publish interviews. When interviewing, ask 10 questions only and end with, “Is there anything else you can tell me?” which provides the interviewee an opportunity to share information you may not have thought to pursue.)
- Before pitching to any magazine editor read the masthead, be sure of each editor’s submission guidelines (online versus paper), read the magazine so you know exactly the sort of articles they publish, and look at the ads in the magazine to get a feel for the target audience.
- Choose your target magazine with care (see above), query well, and build a stable of editors who will recognize your name and know your work. Always have 13 queries out at a time. A rejection should be immediately followed with two submissions (the rejected query to a new publication and a new query to the editor who sent the rejection). Keep a spreadsheet to track your queries, rejections and wins. (Tips: 1. Use evergreen topics for a variety of magazines. 2. Use press releases for story ideas—visit www.PRLog.org.)
- Warning sites for writers:
Believe me when I say the above is just a superficial smattering of the information provided in this workshop. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of Hope’s events, jump at it. The information she provides is invaluable.
**With regard to #2 above (e-mail signature) I use the free version of WiseStamp. I like using WiseStamp because it automatically updates the blog information and link every time I publish a new post, right there in the e-mail signature. It’s pretty cool.
Thanks for visiting! I hope you’re having a great week. Please come back here next Wednesday for more of the naked truth. And if you’d like to be in the Buff yourself (and really, why wouldn’t you?) please leave a comment.
See you next week –
P.S. With regard to shameless self-promotion, I’m looking to up the “likes” on my author Facebook page (not the same as my personal page, for those of you who have already friended me). If you’re so inclined, please click the “like” widget on the side bar. Thanks!