Writing Professionally – Have Some Self-Respect

Editor, Author Annette YoungI have been writing professionally for many years. My first tentative steps into the creative writing and freelance writing arena taught me a lot. It taught me that this is a tough profession with ever-increasing demands but as such, you have to treat it like any other work stream and you have a pride in your work. Work hard, work smart and be professional.

Over the years I have noticed a decline in the respect that writers give their work, and worse, a decline in the respect given to professional writers by clients. Quite simply, it makes my blood boil because we, (professional writers everywhere) have collectively allowed it to happen. If you have some skills as a writer, you should get paid for your work. It’s that simple.

I am not talking about people who write creatively because they just love the written word. I am not talking about those who are trying to build up their brand as a writer and dipping a toe in the professional writing arena, and I am not talking about those who are creating their own websites and producing content for it. I worked hard and without pay on my creative competitor site in the early days, but that was for my own purpose. I am talking about those who provide a professional service for clients, writing articles, web content, eBooks or even creative writing.

I am seriously sickened by the fact that writers work for peanuts or less.

If it’s their choice because they wish to target a new niche to add to their writing portfolio, well, ok, sometimes it is a stepping stone. But I am seeing writers accepting 1 USD for a 500 word article.

1 USD for a professional article?

Now, granted, many of these writers are living in countries where the conversion rate is so much better, and for any writer living in an Eastern country, 1 USD is worth vastly more than 1 USD for American, Canadian and British writers or in fact, anywhere where the conversion rate is small. But even so, it belittles the job. I know that financially times are tough, but we have to turn this tide around. Don’t betray your professionalism just for the sake of picking up a job where the client does not appreciate or value your worth. It’s the principle that I am getting at.

I’m a professional writer but I also have a long list of academic qualifications in addiction and stress management and even as a professional, I was offered 3 USD an hour to write a book on stress management. Needless to say, I turned it down rapidly. I am sure the client found someone willing to do it for peanuts but for that amount of money, I really hope he didn’t get a professional writer. I just want ALL writers to get paid for a decent job.

I may be using this as a platform to rant but come on, writers worldwide, let’s unite. We all have to take work that is paid less than what we think it is worth sometimes. Hell, I’d happily double my rates, but as long as I have a fair price for my work, that’s fine. But, unless as writers collectively, we say no to low paid jobs, this industry is going to truly crumble. We all have to live and we should aim for quality of life, not merely scraping by on the basics that clients are prepared to give us.

There is a minimum hourly wage for workers in Britain and yet I know some professional writers who don’t even get that. Writers – I don’t care where you come from, or what your circumstances are, if you can write and with quality, get paid properly. Why work like a slave to achieve a basic wage? Ask for $10 or $15 for a short article at least and get 15 x the money for the same job. Take some time out then with your family, have a quality of life,  but above all, get some self-respect. Show that you care about your writing and you have faith in yourself. Up your rates and sell yourself through your words, not through a pitiful proposal. Get repeat custom by doing a good job, show that you are worthy of a decent paycheck.

Once upon a time, writing was a revered industry, now those days are gone, and sadly, we are letting it.

Writing Tip of the Week 22

Don’t get left behind with what is hot in the publishing industry. Read the latest best-sellers to see just what publishers’ are interested in right now and plan your writing to tie in with those hot, topical works of fiction. Whilst you should never emulate, if there is a trend brewing, you can be one step ahead of other writers.

Writing Jobs 07/10/2011

Writing jobs for 7th October

If you are interested in any of these writing jobs, then don’t forget to apply in a timely manner as they will get snapped up quickly. If you like these jobs, then why not sign up for our Premier1 newsletter where you can have writing jobs, articles, discounts sent to you by email.

Fashion and Art Magazine Seeking Contributors

XXXX MAGAZINE, the “Untitled” Magazine, (http://www.4x-magazine.com & http://untitled-magazine.com) is currently looking for writing contributors interested in writing on fashion and art topics for the print edition & blog. If you are interested in writing for the magazine, please send samples of your work + resume, noting where your writing has been published and some ideas for articles you think could be interesting.

Compensation: Negotiable

Find out more details here: http://london.craigslist.co.uk/wri/2635235374.html

Research/ Writing/ Managing/ Editing

I am planning to self publish a book on politics and am looking for a person to help me take the completed draft from fact checking to finished book. It may involve some blogging. The person will help identify and select a book designer, help with the marketing, and all other aspects of the publishing process. Need someone with strong follow through, interest in politics, good digital skills, etc.

Compensation: Full-time at the rate of $350-$500 a week depending on qualifications

Find out more details here: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wri/2636125168.html

Freelance Writer for New Fashion/Retail Blog

We are launching an exciting new startup in the New York fashion / retail sector. In addition to web and smartphone applications, we will also be running a blog that will cover shopping in Manhattan, with a particular focus on in-store sales and discounts. We are a talented team that has a history of launching successful web businesses.

We are looking for someone with experience blogging or writing about fashion and shopping in New York. This is an ongoing freelance position, with a commitment to post 2-4 articles a week. In addition to relevant experience in the industry, we are also looking for someone with the ability to write extremely clear prose in a casual, down-to-earth style.

Compensation: To be discussed

Find out more details here: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wri/2635726605.html

Crime Reporter for CBS News.com

CBSNews.com is looking for a freelance writer in New York City to join our crime reporting staff. The person in this position will handle producing blog posts and slideshows on breaking crime news. The position will last for three months.

Candidates need a strong eye for detail with the ability to generate interesting angles on trends and breaking news. Candidates also need to have a firm grasp of CBS News standards and a strong journalistic background.

Compensation: Not stated.

Find out more details here:http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wri/2635741312.html

Copywriter- Beauty-Freelance

Position: Copywriter – beauty – freelance
Location: Manhattan
Status: Freelance
Estimated Duration: Weeks
Starts: End of August
Rate: DOE

Job Description:
Our client is a well known beauty brand and they are presently looking for a freelance Senior Copywriter.

To be considered for this position you should have 7+ years of experience with a specialty in beauty, fragrance, fashion and/ or luxury. Looking for candidates who can do everything from marketing materials and ads to editorial.

Compensation: Not stated

Find out more information: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wri/2634287282.html

SEO Writers – Anywhere

WE’RE LOOKING FOR FREELANCE SEO WRITERS ~ FOR ALL KINDS OF CONTENT …

AT THIS TIME, WE’RE IN NEED OF WRITER(S) FOR TECHNICAL SERVICES

Compensation: Competitive per assignment

Find out more here: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/wrg/2634282340.html

Ghost Writer

Looking for a published experienced ghost writer for self help book.
Major Literary Agent network highly appreciated.
The book is a cutting edge an operating system for human mind for 21st century.

Compensation: $300

Find out more here: http://boston.craigslist.org/sob/wrg/2633218340.html

Writing Jobs 01/10/2011

Take a look at the writing jobs available this week. If you would like more writing jobs, sign up for our Premier1 Membership and have an abundance of writing jobs and articles sent through to you.

Green Auto/Transportation Freelance Writer

EarthTechling (http://www.earthtechling.com/), a rapidly growing Web site from Portland, Oregon focused on informing consumers about the latest in green technology through news, reviews and in-depth features, seeks a Detroit-based freelance writer to assist us in coverage of green transportation issues, particularly around hybrid and electric vehicle related news and features.

To start, you’ll be freelance writing for us news stories M-F, 150-300 words in length, that are assigned to you from our editor. We are trying to educate consumers about what’s upcoming and positive about green tech as it spreads through their lives, while at the same time helping them to separate the wheat from the chaff around bogus green tech ideas.

Compensation: $12 per article

Find out more: http://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/wri/2622170724.html

Writer for Website/Seo

Experince with google – local search and reviews. Please send CV and/or proposal.

Compensation: Does not say.

Find out more:  http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wri/2621733117.html

Writer for Scuba Magazine

Regional scuba diving magazine is looking for a local Maui resident who can write a story on scuba diving Maui. We’re looking for someone who is an experienced diver and a great writer, conversational in style, and able to give both a general overview of diving on the island as well as information on specific dive sites. Our magazine is read by beginning, intermediate, and experienced divers and many have been to Maui before, so it’s important that it appeals to a wide audience of divers..

Compensation:Pay and Publication credits

Find out more: http://honolulu.craigslist.org/mau/wrg/2621259147.html

Computer Related Article Writer

We are looking for someone to write articles related to computer repair. They can be about reviewing new computers, troubleshooting existing problems, specific repair guides etc. They just need to be about computers and occasionally laptops. Articles should be 500 words long.

Compensation: Writers to quote price.

Find out more: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/wrg/2620099884.html

Freelance Editor Required

I’m looking for a freelance editor for my 320 page YA novel.

If interested please see bethfred.com for more details.

Compensation: Negotiable
More details here: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wrg/2621525220.html

Content Writers Required

Modern furniture distributor is looking for someone who can create content about furniture designs, trends, and mostly, about our furniture products. Contents of different length are needed for our websites, blogs, marketing materials and other website properties. There is a constant demand of writing materials each month.

Requirements vary by individual project, and rates vary by article length needed. We will inform writers the rates and details of each task.

Compensation: To be discussed

More details here:http://newyork.craigslist.org/jsy/wri/2626024679.html

Writer Required

Creative, growing media company active in print, web, radio, and TV, is looking for an experienced writer with a witty, intelligent style to work with best-selling author on a variety of projects. Ideal candidate will have a demonstrated fluency in covering current events and social issues in an engaging and lively manner

Compensation: Salary

Find out more here: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wri/2624054550.html

General Article Writer

COMPANY INFORMATION:
We are an educational media company focusing on test preparation materials. We strive to provide top quality content to our customers, and we are looking for writers who can provide this type of material.
Our current needs include a general article writer.

JOB DUTIES:
The duties include, but are not limited to:
1. Working with our project managers to ensure that your work meets specifications.
2. Providing top quality unique content.
3. Responding to feedback in a timely manner.

Compensation: Pay to be discussed

Find out more details here: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wri/2622370897.html

Writing Jobs 23/09/2011

Every Friday we will publish the latest in writing job listings for writers so please bookmark the Creative Competitor and check out our site regularly.The following job listings have all been recently advertised online. We do not endorse any of the listings here and as with all Internet based advertisements, we recommend caution when applying.

Technical Writer/Editor

We are seeking to hire a technical editor for a full-time, on-site position. A competitive salary, insurance, retirement fund, housing and auto compensation are included.

Responsibilities of this position include:
• Writing and editing end-user guidance for consumer electronics (mobile phones, cameras, digital printers, etc.)
• Evaluating user manuals and producing professional reports that recommend how to improve the documentation
• Maintaining and applying style guides and standards at customer, project, and organizational levels

We develop user guidance for many of the world’s most popular consumer electronics, manage translation for content that is distributed across the entire globe, and provide B2B communication consultation for several of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers.

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:
• Native English speaker
• Minimum 4 years technical editing experience
• Minimum 2 years experience dealing with end-user guidance
• Proficiency with MS Office Suite (primarily Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)
• Proficiency with Adobe Technical Communication Suite (primarily FrameMaker, InDesign, and Acrobat)

Compensation: Negotiable

Further details: http://london.craigslist.co.uk/wri/2611842226.html

Travel Writing Posts  Edinburgh/Berlin/Madrid

City Travel Review — citytravelreview.co.uk – Gap project travel writing/researchers new positions 2012- Berlin, Edinburgh, Madrid.

City Travel Review attracts participants/candidates each year to take part within our study/working gap placement programmes. Participants are usually undergraduates, post graduates, working young people taking a short sabbatical or those taking a gap year before or after University. Participants come from all different backgrounds, with the following purpose to gain valuable diverse working experience, learn a language from scratch or improve on foreign language skills already acquired. (Berlin and Madrid programme only) Many participants wish to gain a new experience possibly changing career direction in order to move into creative/history/arts/culture/language/media/communication/PR/journalism/research/travel writing/reviewing,design, photography/fashion industries. Participants are selected and usually placed in peer groups that have members of the team with complementary skills. The guide project is a project designed to test at all levels and is designed as a gap experience to add to the CV/resume. The actual guide produced upon completion of the team working project is displayed as an E-Book which is usually published with an IBAN number available to download online or ordered as a book by the public. Any profits made are kept solely by the participants themselves which always depend on the quality and how well the participants promote the guide after the programme. Participants are rewarded with bonuses in the form of project related activities, field trips, excursions, company visits and fun target related bonuses according to project deadlines being met.

Compensation: Negotiable

Further details: http://london.craigslist.co.uk/wri/2611179469.html

Work-at-Home Writers (Anywhere)

Our company is currently seeking for freelance workers/writers with the ability to work from home. We are providing our writers with the opportunity to receive projects from employers in one or more of the following job categories:

● Creative writing
● Website content
● Tech writing
● Translation
● Copy writing
● Printing/pagemaker
● Sales copy.

Working gigs are available in other fields as well (Administrative support, Business service, Design Arts and Multimedia,Web development, etc).

Compensation: Depending on the project

Further details:http://london.craigslist.co.uk/wri/2581478892.html

Writer/Organizer-Technology Lover and Researcher (Mid-Town East)

We are a small technology firm that needs to get organized both literally, and on a company-wide level to give greater precision for accountability. This includes files, old computers, categorizing documents. As a small Midtown company, you would be required to wear many hats and be able to work independently.
The person must be able to work at least 2 days a week.
The person would be required to work Thursday afternoons 12pm-8pm, as well as other hours that are mutually agreeable.

Compensation: $15 per hour

Further details:http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wri/2612182211.html

Got a Razor Sharp Wit?

Hellooo! We are a social commentary publication looking for talent. It’s pretty straightforward: if you make us laugh, we give you money. You’re happy. We’re happy. Society benefits. GDP increases. Flow charts, pie charts, graphs. Good times.

What you need for this gig:

(1) a sense of humor.
(2) a digital stills camera.

You’ll get to submit 10 submissions a month, at 8 dollars a piece. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. This is really is the perfect slacker’s job.

To apply: submit two original photographs of anything – absolutely anything you want. It could be animate or inanimate, from a public space or a private one — and write a caption for it. Each caption should be comprised of at least one sentence, but preferably closer to a 120-word paragraph. Submit photos as attachments in your reply to this ad.

Compensation: $80 per month

Further details: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wri/2611135933.html

 

Writer for Magazine (Port Chester)
Freelance writers needed for each of the four categories below–to qualify, you must have a proven track record as you will be responsible for a complete section. Please apply to one section only, we are not looking for jack-of-all-trades:

A.) “Home and Garden” Section. Responsible for coming up with fresh ideas and trends for the whole “Home and Garden” section. Article Topics: 1. Do-it-Yourself/ crafts projects; 2. Gardening; 3. Cooking/ Recipes; 4. Holiday Fare; 5. Ecology

B.) “Life” Section. Responsible for coming up with fresh ideas and trends for the whole “Life” section. Article Topics: 1. Cover celeb biography; 2. Secondary celeb bio; 3. Travel; 4. Finances; 5. Books and Movies; 6. Last Word

C.) “Health” Section. Responsible for coming up with fresh ideas and trends for the whole Health section. Article Topics: 1. Fitness; 2. Women’s Diagnosis and Prevention; 3. Women’s Health; 4. National event tie-ins: Heart, Diabetes, Breast cancer etc.; 5. T/B/D – Example: Self Improvement, Hygiene, etc.

D.) “Style: Fashion and Beauty” Section. Responsible for coming up with fresh ideas and trends for the whole “Style: Fashion and Beauty” section. Article Topics: 1. Trending Fashion article/Layout; 2. Celeb View – Hollywood red carpet trends; 3. Beauty Products; 4. Optional Trending article; 5. Optional Trending article

Compensation: To be discussed

Further details: http://newyork.craigslist.org/wch/wri/2610467753.

Eco Friendly Website Seeking Writers (Anywhere)

Chosen by Time Magazine as of the best designed green websites, EcoHomeResource.com provides inspiration and information to help people create and maintain healthy living environments. We are looking for talented and enthusiastic writers. We are looking for a minimum 4 month commitment, contributing 1-2 articles per week, plus minimal data entry to continue to build the green products and services database. You will work primarily from home, so access to a computer and the internet is essential. We have monthly Skype calls and typically check in once a week. There will be an initial orientation/training session.

Compensation: Non-Paying Internship

Further details: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/wri/2608990452.html

 3D Printer

We need just a handful of great articles, by a few talented writers, to help jumpstart a new blog on 3D Printing (3Dprinter.net). We will pay $100 for a 1,000 word+ article. These are the requirements:

– You have a good understanding what 3D Printing is
– You have a significant social profile and will use these social networks to promote the article you wrote, upon publication (tweet, share, stumble, etc)
– You are an excellent writer

The purpose of the blog is to present articles on 3D Printer technology that interests, and is understandable by, the average technology reader. It’s not a hard core techie site for 3D hobbyists. But it’s for people interested in technology in general.

Compensation: $100 per article

Further details:http://jobs.problogger.net/view/5197
Write about the Outdoors

Examiner.com, the fastest growing local content network in the nation, is looking for experienced online freelance writers (Examiners) to write. Examiners are passionate local insiders who come from all backgrounds but have two main traits in common – a lot of knowledge about a specific topic and solid writing ability.

DESCRIPTION:

We seek Examiners to write in our RECREATION category, focusing on one specific topic area, especially the following:

► Backpacking
► Camping
► Cycling
► Green Recreation
► Fly Fishing
► Hiking
► Mountain Biking
► Nature
► Outdoor Adventure
► Parks
► Trail Running

Examiners write from a local perspective in the third person. This generally includes tips and useful information on upcoming events, specials/deals/promotions, vendor and product reviews, interviews, reports on national or global issues relevant to the topic along with local resources, and other topic-related articles.

Compensation: Not stated

Further details:http://jobs.problogger.net/view/5099

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Taking Advantage of the New Ebook Revolution

By Jerry Holliday

When Amazon announced that their Kindle digital download sales had eclipsed both their hardback and paperback sales combined, the moment of the new ebook revolution had arrived.

The launch of the Amazon Kindle in 2007 allowed people to simply click and buy to download ebooks from the Kindle marketplace onto their device. In 2009 the Apple iPad exploded onto the scene bringing with it the iBook app that also enabled ebook sales via other Apple family of products such as the iPhone and iPod.

Other ebook readers such as the Nook range of readers opened up the Barnes and Noble marketplace with Sony and others joining the fray.

This is truly exciting time for writers and information publishers throwing open a mainstream marketplace that is quickly expanding.

Firstly why should you publish an ebook?

You establish yourself as an expert
You can use your books and guides as lead generators to build your list and sell backend services and products
It doesn’t have to be a mammoth book. You can publish guides, short reports, whitepapers and even publish your blog posts as a book.

The global ebook market grew by 200% in 2010, so the question is how can you take advantage of this huge market?

There are plenty of Publish on Demand platforms out there that can help you publish and distribute your books. You can ‘Google’ publish on demand and see what is available and best suits your needs.

Lulu is probably the most well know of POD (publish on demand) services with a range of add-on support services such as marketing, proofreading, design and editing.

Fastpencil also offers publish on demand but with a unique book writing wizard that templates the process to produce professional standard book creation. These two will also be able to publish your content as physical paperback or hardback as well as an ebook.

Smashwords give authors a route to a wide range of platforms including the iPad, Nook, Kobo and soon the Kindle.

A more direct approach can be taken using the Kindle Direct Publishing Platform for Amazon’s digital marketplace or Nook’s PubIt! You will need to convert your word document into a.mobi file for the Kindle and the other common format is called ePUB.

These are just a small handful of examples but the main point to take from this is that there is no better time to start planning, writing and publishing your content!

For a free guide on setting up your content directly for the Amazon Kindle and preparing books for the Smashwords platform click on the link below.

Your Internet Pie: A Guide to Building an Online Information Business –
Get Published on the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad for Free [http://www.yourinternetpie.com/freereport.html]Click for Free Report

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Taking-Advantage-of-the-New-Ebook-Revolution&id=6546619] Taking Advantage of the New Ebook Revolution

Television Writer

By John Halasz

Becoming a successful television writer is the dream of many TV script writers who are interested in creative writing for this most popular means of entertainment. A television writer holds a prominent position in bringing programs to television because he or she is responsible for penning the plotline, the dialogues, characters, and creating situations for the story. The TV writer furthers re-writes and polishes the script until it is ready to be used for filming. The “show runner” or producer takes care of hiring the crew, cast, budget, and overall quality of the TV program.

Typically, each television writer contributes to writing the TV show, collaborating with several writers who work as a team of 4-20 writers. There is a well-defined hierarchy among the group of people working together on a script for the television. This consists of the following:

1. Executive producer – The executive producer is the main man to oversee the development of all the aspects of the TV show in making. This person performs the task of the chief television writer, hiring the directors, crew and the selection of the cast. The executive producer is the central figure who takes all the important decisions.

2. Co-executive producer – The co-executive producer helps and works closely with the executive producer. The co-executive producer is the spokesman and assistant to the executive producer.

3. The core group of middle level writers – This team consists of supervising producer, producer, and co-producers. All have clearly-defined tasks, each one assisting in the show’s production.

4. Lower level writers and editors – The executive story editor, story editor, and staff writer form the lower level of writers and editors who carry out the work of composing the story and developing the characters and dialogues.

Anyone who wants to become a television writer in any capacity must have the dedication and yearning to write. An inherently prolific writer will be a successful candidate to take up the reins of composing scripts for TV. An inner craving to give an overt expression to creativity can be a wonderful motivation to turn to writing for TV. When wanting to step into this profession, you are hired based on your quality of work output. As a sample of your writing prowess, you should keep ready spec scripts to show others that you are comfortable with the format and style for writing for television.

There are a limited number of positions for a budding television writer, but if you practice endlessly to hone your skill, you can be sure to carve out a niche for yourself. Write in the genre of your choice. This is a piece of the most practical advice because by following it you are likely to put your best foot forward and be a raving success. Watch a lot of TV. This is a self tutoring method and an enjoyable one too! Brainstorm and come up with novel ideas to compose scripts that are totally engaging and worth turning into great TV programs.

If you’re looking for a [http://screenwritersforhire.com]screenwriter for hire, visit [http://ScreenwritersForHire.Com/]http://ScreenwritersForHire.Com/, call (716) 579-5984, or email ezine[at]GhostWritersForHire.Com

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Television-Writer&id=6521534] Television Writer

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The Double Edged Sword for Writers

By Jeffery M Anderson

For nine years I worked for an online publicity firm for authors. The company was one of the first, if not the first, dedicated solely to online publicity. When I joined them, in 2000, none of the major publishing houses had online publicity departments. Some of them didn’t yet have company email or Web sites. It sounds archaic, by today’s standards. Publishing, as an industry, had not yet seen the potential for online book marketing, or the migration that media was making to the Internet.

What a difference a decade makes. By the time I resigned in 2009, we were competing with dozens of other online only firms. We were competing with all of the traditional publicity firms who had incorporated online marketing into their campaigns. We were even competing with our own clients, the publishers, who had created online marketing departments in house.

The internet had captured the lion’s share of many marketing budgets and discussion time at meetings. Newspapers and even television had almost taken a back seat. Or, at least, they were riding shotgun.

What the internet has done for writers is a double edged sword. Published with a major house, or self published, a writer is open to taking the helm on much more of her/his own promotion than it is possible to imagine. Billions of potential readers are out there and the writer can connect to them, personally. But the road is littered with vicious petards. I recall one author, several years ago, that made the New York Times, not for the quality of their book, but for the shame of spamming millions of internet users with unwanted advertisements. It was a career death sentence. Other authors have sunk themselves by shilling for their books, surreptitiously, on message boards, sabotaging competing books with bad Amazon reviews or simply annoying bloggers, by not knowing the professional way to approach them. A writer has to think of themself as a brand, even if they don’t want to. A writer has to remember that everything that leaves their computer has their name on it and it could remain online for all eternity.

For self published authors, like myself, the duality is even more distinctive. On the right hand, a writer who decides to publish themselves is able to write, edit, publish and market from their computer. They can reach the infinite number of readers out there and decide what direction they want to go. There are a lot of success stories for the writers who have done it correctly.

On the left hand, there is the stigma still attached to self-publishing with the media. Although that stigma is dissipating, it is not gone. Many major media outlets, even a lot of middle of the road media, will not touch a self-published book. As someone who worked on the other side, I can tell you exactly why.

I read the statistic once that 52,000 novels were published by respected houses every year. Most every editor, online, or in traditional media, was probably offered or sent a copy of each one. I worked with these people every day and they were stressed by the amount of books coming in to them. It was a monumental task to decide what to ask for, read and write about. I don’t know how many self-published books are created every year, but, it adds to an already staggering amount of work for these folks.

And the truth remains that there are a lot of self-published books out there that are pretty terrible. Hence the reason they could not find a publisher. Sadly, there are also a lot of great ones. I never read any, until I became a self-published author. Since then, I have come to realize that there are a lot of people, like me, who have self-published because they got frustrated with the process of finding an agent and publisher. They spent seven years on a novel and didn’t want to wait two more for it to be available. Some just didn’t want to share the deep cuts into their work that an agent and publisher take to publish. Differentiating yourself from the pablum in the crowd is incredibly difficult, but, for some, that is worth the potential reward. We owe the Internet thanks for making that a small possibility.

Jeffery M. Anderson is the author of the acclaimed novel, Ephemera, a stay at home father and writer from New Jersey. http://www.theephemera.com

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?The-Double-Edged-Sword-for-Writers&id=6389816] The Double Edged

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How to Add ‘Bestselling Author’ to Your Resume

By Sandra N. Peoples

As authors, this is the ultimate goal: to be able to add the words, ‘bestselling author’ to our resumes. Well, while it’s not impossible, it does take much effort from you as the author. You have to believe in yourself enough to know that earning this title is well within your reach. Here are three things you need to consider doing to help you achieve the status of, ‘bestselling author’.

1. Study other authors that have become bestsellers. What are their habits? What do you see them doing on a consistent basis that you are not?

2. Revamp your marketing plan. What are you doing to get the word out about your book? Perhaps a simple tweak to your plan could help you find an untapped audience.

3. Explore all the sales channels. Your book is your product. You have to look at your book as a product that must be sold and look at all the areas of which you could do so.

We all know that in order to be successful at anything we have to work hard at it. The same thing goes for becoming a bestselling author. Along with hard work, there is also the need for the author to possess the time and energy needed to reach this coveted status. Here is a breakdown of the three steps listed above in further detail:

When studying other authors, it means to do your research. The vast majority of bestselling authors keep some sort of blog or have a fan page on Facebook or tweet on Twitter. Join their circles; and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. On their blogs, the authors will often share with you a bit of their daily ritual. Adapt your own version. Consistency always creates a powerful outcome.

Take a second look at your marketing plan to see what ground you may not be covering. You will be amazed at the types of places you can hold events such as book signings, seminars and the like. Your ultimate goal is to find as much of your target audience as possible. They may be in some places you never would have imagined.

You have to treat your book like any other product out there. Study sales techniques. Take sales courses, so that you can learn how to apply the principles of a salesman without actually being one. This way, you can help to propel your book sales to astronomical heights.

You as the author have the power to take your book to a totally different level. You simply have to make the decision on just how successful you want your book to be.

Sandra Peoples is fast becoming known as the go to person for all things self-publishing. She is the creator of the blog, ‘The Truth About Self-Publishing’, and the author of ‘The Truth About Self-Publishing: How to Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book. You can visit the blog and become an author in the know by visiting [http://www.coachsand.blogspot.com]http://www.coachsand.blogspot.com.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Add-Bestselling-Author-to-Your-Resume&id=6545470] How to Add ‘Bestselling Author’ to Your Resume

Image: © Dawn Hudson | Dreamstime.com

Green Up Your Home Office

Green living is an important concept for everyone to embrace and as writers, we should be equally conscious about our own contribution to the planet. If you mention green living, people immediately think of recycling, composting or swapping traditional light bulbs for energy efficient ones and whilst these are fantastic changes to make, you can also make some smaller and yet significant changes in your own home office environment and it just means altering the way that you currently work.

Years ago I was a demon for printing off all of my research materials- some of it was useful of course and I did like having paper to wade through as I made my notes but if I’m honest, a lot of my research material was unnecessary and I wasted reams of paper. As writers we do tend to use a lot of paper, and if you think about your own writing processes, how much actually ends up in the waste paper bin?

Becoming a little environmentally conscious and starting in your work space is a good thing and it’s not difficult to do. Firstly, can you keep your research material online? It may not be as easy but you can mark the pages that are the most relevant and print off just these pages if you really need a hard copy. Most times now, my research material stays on my laptop and I just highlight the content that I am likely to need, therefore saving many trees in the process and of course, keeping my money in the bank.

Recycled paper is readily available these days so if you do need to print, reach for the recycled instead. When you visit your local stationers, keep a look out for paper at sales prices and then stock up if you can. It’s worth keeping a bin next to your desk where you can store unwanted printed paper, this isn’t for throwing out, you can print on the other side, make notes or simply use for scrap paper but at least you can maximize your usage.

Printer cartridges can be quite expensive so try to have them refilled rather than just throwing them away and replacing. Sometimes, you will need to buy new but make sure that you dispose of your old cartridges sensibly. There are many cartridge disposal places and some companies enclose a pre-paid bag so that you send the old cartridges directly back to them. Got a printer or old electronic equipment that you no longer need? Don’t send them to landfill sites, sell, part-exchange, or offer them up free on any ‘freecycle’ sites as some people will enjoy the chance of repairing them or will be grateful for your old equipment. You could even donate them to charities or shelters.

Of course this list is by no means extensive, but it’s a good starting point and can make a substantial difference and it’s amazing how once you start, you can ‘green up your living space too’.

Image: © Julien Tromeur | Dreamstime.com

Writing Tip of the Week 17

 If you are having a bad day with your writing, the words won’t come and every page is painstakingly hard, it’s very easy to be tempted  to discard your work, but resist that compulsion and simply put your writing away for another day. On a bad day, your perception of the standard may well be tainted and you will be particularly hard on yourself.

On another day when reviewing that material, you may be pleasantly surprised by how good your work actually is. Plus, as you had a reason for writing that material previously why not make use of the content? Re-write it, edit it or  simply use snippets from it, and see how you feel on a day when the creative process is flying. Remember- no writing is ever wasted.

Writing Tip of the Week 13

Ready to start writing your synopsis? Make sure you write it in the present tense and in the third person and tell the WHOLE story, yes, even that wonderful secret ending.  This is your one chance to get the publisher interested in seeing your manuscript so make every word count and summarise your book into individual chapters making sure you write no more than a maximum of two pages.

Brand Management – Press Release Fundamentals

Copyright (c) 2011 Enzo F. Cesario
BrandSplat
http://www.Brandsplat.com/Certain concepts just carry over well from print journalism. The
press release, the tried and true method of updating the public
on an organization’s affairs, is an example of just how well
such a concept can survive. While there have been a few
adjustments to the specifics, such as the use of keywords and
SEO-oriented writing, the core structure of the press release
remains the same.

Of course, as with all well-established writing conventions, the
press release has seen its share of abuses. Press releases are
such a routine part of any organization’s operations that they
often see quality sacrificed in the name of quantity. They’re
viewed as a source of easy SEO rankings if they’re given any
thought at all, and naturally the quality of these publications
suffers in line with the degree of neglect.

Of course, no one has to follow this trend. There are a number of
things one can do to create a solid press release. Here are a few
of the simpler but oft-overlooked steps that can redeem this
marketing tool into a primary force.

Hook with the Lede

The lede is that first sentence in a journalism story, a press
release included. The lede must contain everything the story is
going to talk about. If nothing else, it must boil the story down
to its most relevant points, because very often people read the
first few lines of a news story, then move on.

The key then lies in finding the most interesting part of the
story and making the lede into a verbal “hook” that people can
get ahold of. Don’t hide your big announcement; sure, it works
for Steve Jobs because attendees at the Apple conferences aren’t
going to leave mid-speech. But people reading a press release can
always click away, so make sure you get the “what’s that now?”
out in front of them immediately.

Keep the Headline on Topic, Not on Company

The headline is not the place to brand your company. There are
many wonderful venues for promoting your brand or company name;
trying to sandwich it into the headline is simply asking for
trouble, because all it does is give the press release away as a
marketing effort. The story may well be solid journalistic gold,
but it will still be ignored because people were turned off by
the marketing.

Instead, treat the headline as a summary companion to the lede,
with catchy writing and an on-topic message that draws readers’
eyes down to the lede in order to see what the headline is
talking about.

Simplify

Remember Strunk and White’s eternal maxim: omit needless words.
Remember once more that people tend to read a few lines into any
news story, then move on. The longer a story can keep the
reader’s attention, the better it is doing. Words that hinder
this process are introducing friction into what should ideally be
a smooth process. This includes words that are obscure, very long
words and, worst of all, jargon.

There is a place in the world for jargon. That place is between
experts in a field who want to communicate more precisely and
effectively. It is not in the lines of a press release. Most
people are not experts in any given field, so using highly
specific terms such as jargon is not going to help. It does not
make a publication sound more intelligent — it makes it sound
like it’s geared toward someone else at best, or pretentious at
worst. Discard the jargon and go for simple explanations instead.

Dress it Up

Simplicity is ideal for the core message of a press release, but
there are ways to amplify the effectiveness of each part of the
release given the power of online media.

Given the widespread access to broadband, embedding photos and
videos is no longer a faux pas. If you’re doing a press release
on a trade show, include some pictures of the booths from the
last year’s show, perhaps a video of a short interview talking
about the highlights of this year’s events. Again, keep the
material on-topic; the goal is to amplify what you’re talking
about in the release, not to distract from it.

Additionally, linking content is easy and efficient. Perhaps your
release cites a major study your organization just completed and
is releasing. Include a link to the study in the headline or lede
so that people can click over to it immediately. This technique
works for all manner of content, incidentally. If you’re
mentioning some manner of content that your organization is
providing, be it product or service, put a link to it in the lede
or near to the lede, so people can go right over and take a look.

The Basics

It shouldn’t have to be said anymore, but there is always a need
to remember the basic principles of good writing. Pay attention
to grammar and punctuation. Use brief and active-voice
statements. Don’t editorialize. Keep the press release
straightforward and cite the facts you want conveyed.

These are not options, they’re important fundamentals. If you
break the rules of the basics, your credibility will suffer.
Remembering to mind them will help reduce the polish that has to
go into a release later on.
———————————————————————
Enzo F. Cesario is an online branding specialist
and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content
agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos
and social media in the “voice” of our client’s
brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more
recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to
http://www.BrandSplat.com/ or visit our blog at
http://www.iBrandCasting.com/

Authors: The Only Marketing Secret You Need To Know

By Jay Harmish

Since you are reading this, it is pretty clear that you are already aware of the popularity and prospective value of information based marketing. It’s so popular that there are more than enough articles on the Web to keep the average person reading for several lifetimes, even without taking time out for a coffee break.

However, there has been a basic fact that many aspiring writing marketers have fallen prey to avoiding, and it is this: effective marketing involves more than putting a bunch of words together in an article format, throwing your link up, and waiting for the big bucks to roll in. If that’s your mindset, you’ve got a rocky road ahead of you. But don’t despair, because if you’re open to the idea that your strategy up to now is not going to take you to Millionaire Avenue, and you’re willing to reconsider and restructure your approach, chances are pretty good that success will not elude you.

Here is something you need to make yourself aware of, if you’re not already: the reason you write is to inform people. People are not jumping fences to find resource boxes with links they can click on just so your bank account balance will hit the high digits. No one cares about that – except you, of course.

But here’s the secret that will change it all for you (a secret to many, and only a relatively select few top-quality writers out there have a handle on this): Remember “The Golden Rule.” Ask yourself this question: “Why would I read an article?” Once you come up with the honest answer to that question, your entire perspective of writing will change. That’s right, you’re not the only one who reads articles to learn something valuable. People are in it for themselves. However, as a writer, you have to remember that and create content that is for others, not for you… and certainly not with the primary focus on your making money.

Write from the heart and the rest will follow. If you write an article while your first and foremost reason is to get people to click on that resource box, then it’s almost inevitable that the quality of your article will suffer at least to some extent. So, that said, get into what you’re writing and have a passion for it. Keep in mind that not a person in the world is interested in giving you a buck if you’re not willing to give something worth more than that buck in return.

When it comes to submitting your articles to article directories, you’ll notice that guidelines are set in place. They are there for a reason. They’re not there to make your life difficult. Remember, directories need you to thrive, too, and when you really think about it, they put those guidelines in play to help you maintain the integrity of your content and, ultimately, your reputation as well as theirs. More important than any of that, the reader enjoys a quality experience.

Now, here’s the real secret to effectively dealing with article directory submissions: don’t “try” to fall within guidelines. Does that seem contradictory? It’s not in the least bit. Consider this. If you honestly write for the benefit of your readers, you will naturally adhere to guidelines. You won’t have to go crazy with keywords, conforming to rules, etc. In short, write with integrity and everything falls into place. Don’t act with an intention to “trick” anyone. Again, treat others as you would want to be treated. Write as if you were writing for a reader who is looking for the same quality that you would be.

There is no way around this, and that’s a good thing. When you truly act from a standpoint of integrity, everyone wins. That includes your readers (most important), you and the directory that you are submitting to. When it’s a win/win/win situation, there’s only room for success. Yes, that includes the results that you ultimately want. So, it’s a bit of a paradox, isn’t it? Don’t be focused on your rewards and you’ll get them. As you act as your own judge regarding all of this, here’s a promise: you can try all the marketing tactics in the world, but nothing will bring home the bacon that good, clean, public-serving intentions will. You can take that to the bank. It’s one deposit whose interest will accumulate quite rapidly – and at a very high rate of return.

Jay Harmish is a marketing and writing enthusiast who acts as senior editor for [http://www.articlesahoy.com]ArticlesAhoy.com, an article directory that focuses on providing quality reading and content for all.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Authors:-The-Only-Marketing-Secret-You-Need-To-Know&id=6286701] Authors: The Only Marketing Secret You Need To

Image:© Christian Delbert | Dreamstime.com

Getting Started as a Travel Writer: Basic Tips on What You Need and Don’t Need to Begin Your Journey

By Thomas Schueneman

What does it take to effectively start your path toward becoming a freelance travel writer? What skills, experience, tools, education, and temperament are best suited for success as a travel writer?

The requirements to begin your career in freelance travel writing are pretty basic.

Most of us have heard the slogan from the popular athletic shoe maker – “Just Do It”. That’s applicable here. You’ve just got to start writing. If you aren’t interested in writing, if you can’t discipline yourself to write regularly, then you shouldn’t try to be a travel writer. Yep, that’s the hard truth of travel writing – you do have to write. But you don’t have to write a novel, you just need to take notes, observe, and write regularly.

You need to have an opinion, a voice. As you regularly write about your travels, or just your daily experiences, your voice will begin to develop in the words you put on paper. By nurturing and developing that voice, the articles that you submit will stand out and be more interesting. Editors will be more likely to take notice and publish your work. Tell the reader what you really think! (Well, within reason)

Working hand in hand with the emergence of your written voice are your powers of observation. When you walk down the street near you home, try looking at it like you’re a visitor and have never seen it before. What things do you notice that has escaped your attention in the past? Learn to exercise your powers of observation every chance you get. Watch people, notice the subtle changes in the afternoon light as summer turns toward autumn, take nothing for granted.

You now have gotten into the habit of writing regularly, you’re developing a unique writing style and voice, and expressing that voice with your thoughts and observations of the world around you. You’ve got a good start on becoming a successful freelance travel writer. There are a few more things you’ll need to complete the picture of an aspiring travel writer.

You need to be able to do some research. These days, most of your pre-trip research can be done online in the comfort of you own home. But you don’t necessarily need a computer, you can always go down to your local library to do your research. But research is a must. For instance, if you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica, you’ll want to find out the basics like climate and weather, population and culture, main tourist attractions, principal industries, government, and any additional information that may be pertinent to what you plan on writing about. You want to get a feel for the country or region and its people before you leave home. After you’ve arrived at your destination, you’ll want to seek out the unique and interesting aspects of the area and its people. Try to find things that the average tourist would find interesting and unique – dig a little deeper. Seek out and talk with the locals, read local newspapers, arrange to interview people that can help bring your articles to life – business people, historians, tour operators –  Or perhaps just the person on the street to get some of the local color. The more research like this you can put together the more saleable and unique your articles will be.

The last thing is a willingness and desire to learn. Read books and take a course on travel writing. Many good books are available on the subject. There are college level courses available as well as some excellent home study travel writing courses.
 
You’ll want to get your hands on as much travel writing as you can. Subscribe to one or two travel magazines, read the travel section in your local newspaper, buy travel books. Find out what editors are looking for in a travel article. See if you can spot the basic structure of a well written travel article. In particular, pay attention to an article’s lead; how does it draw you in? How well does it state its theme? After a few sentences, are you motivated to read any further? After the lead and theme are established, how well does the article prove that theme and paint a picture. Do you have a sense of place as you read the body of the article? Again, is the writer drawing you through the article in an interesting and compelling way? If so, how is he doing it? If not, what is lacking? Finally, how well does the writer bring the article to a close? Does he effectively reflect on the lead and restate the theme? Does he leave you with an urgent feeling inside of you to visit a destination or try an activity or find out more?

The elements described above comprise the basic structure of what most editors are looking for in a travel article. Learn to spot what works and what doesn’t. You’ll find that once you start looking at travel articles with a critical eye, you’ll start thinking like a travel writer. Before you know it, you’ll get your first byline and editors will start thinking of you as a travel writer as well! Your journey has begun!
What You Don’t Need…

You don’t need a degree in journalism or even a college degree at all (though both those things certainly don’t hurt either!). Editors aren’t going to ask to see your diploma. What they want to see are well written articles appropriate for their publication and submitted within the stated submission guidelines. You can learn how to do that without stepping inside a college classroom. (But remember, taking a home study or other type of course on travel writing can be a big help).

You don’t have to spend a lot of money. All businesses require some investment in both time and money to get off the ground, including freelance writing. But you don’t need to spend a fortune. Invest in some books, a travel writing course, and investigate some other resources available to travel writers like publisher databases, websites, etc. (find out more about these resources at   rel=nofollow http://www.TouristTravel.com/travel_writers_wanted.htm), but save your money so you can eventually travel to exotic locals rich in fodder for your travel writing.

But remember, you don’t really even need to travel; everyplace has a story to tell. Many are lucky enough to live in or near a popular tourist destination. Local excursions and your own personal knowledge and experience can easily form the basis or your travel writing career.

So there you have it, some of the ins and outs, needs and don’t-needs that will get you started on your own exciting path toward freelance writing success!

Happy Trails!

Tom is a freelance travel writer, copy writer, and web publisher. His popular website TouristTravel ( http://www.touristtravel.com) features a section of resources for both beginning and seasoned travel writers.
Tom lives and works in San Francisco and is a member of the Bay Area Travel Writers Association

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Getting-Started-as-a-Travel-Writer:-Basic-Tips-on-What-You-Need-and-Dont-Need-to-Begin-Your-Journey&id=15934] Getting Started as a Travel Writer: Basic Tips on What You Need and Don’t Need to Begin Your

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Twist in the Tale Winning Submission

Changes

 by Penny Carter 

Twenty years of marriage and this was the worst set of arguments that they had ever had. Not even the trials and tribulations of raising twins had caused them to fall out on this scale. Marilyn breathed in the familiar scent of her husband’s cologne, loving his silent form so much that it hurt. She had brought the cologne for him on his birthday a few months ago and now the evocative scent brought her memories rushing back. They had spent such a perfect day together, no children, just a peaceful day out on the river, splashing about as if they were young and carefree and not venturing into their 40’s. Who could have predicted that their love would be under such pressure just weeks later? His anger and hurt, resolute and firm from the moment she had told him her news.

 Marilyn couldn’t sleep. Butterflies danced in her stomach and she felt sick, more than sick, terrifed. She had made a mistake, the biggest mistake of her life probably.  Marilyn turned over, sliding her arm around the sleeping form of her husband, sighing as she realized that he had fallen asleep as far away from her as possible, and he lay facing the wall in preference to her.

The alarm clocked ticked away the minutes until the pale streaks of dawn stretched fingers of light across the sky and through their partially drawn curtains.

Marilyn slipped out of bed, throwing her silk dressing gown around her ample frame. She needed coffee, hoping that the caffeine would filter energy into her tired body. Nursing the hot cup and sipping the strong black liquid, she considered her options, not relishing any of the suggestions that popped into her mind. She had never been one to quit but now….she would do anything to turn the clock back and to avoid making the decision that was threatening to tear her life apart. Perhaps she should apologize to Malc, say that it wasn’t worth falling out and it was just a silly, silly mistake and that she had changed her mind? Marilyn didn’t realize how long she had sat there with tear blurred eyes but she was suddenly aware that she wasn’t alone, she glanced hopefully in Malc’s direction but he was intent on making his own coffee, ignoring her as if she was no longer a part of his life. His grey eyes were remote and showed his disdain for her actions.

Marilyn walked away to get ready for work. It seemed Malc had made the decision for her, he didn’t want her and she couldn’t afford to lose everything. Fortunately, make-up held the power to dim the shadows under her eyes and to reduce the sleep deprived strain away from her features but this wasn’t how she had imagined looking and feeling.

Her arrival at the office caused a stir and she hardened her resolve to paste a confident expression on her face when every little step only increased her sense of dread. She hadn’t realized just how long the walk was through the open plan office and it seemed as if everyone was there witnessing her journey through the plush suites towards the office where no doubt a confrontation awaited her.

Swallowing her sense of dread, she re-played the years of study that she had endured to reach this moment in her career, months of juggling home-life with study, caring for their children and forcing herself to push her work to an ever higher academic level that had kept her active brain from turning to mush.

Finally, she entered her own office, the brass plaque on the door ‘Marilyn Walters – MD’ on the door silently mocking. The office led to an outer reception where her PA’s worked, she knew one but not the other and still hoped she would receive support of sorts in these early stages, Marilyn wasn’t sure she could cope with this role if she was truly alone. All those years of study hadn’t prepared her for the sense of isolation she felt right at this moment and any feelings of achievement were marred by the tattered remnants of her marital situation.

Sighing, she noticed a large bouquet of flowers lying on the desk, and reaching for a card, reading eagerly, tears welling up as she recognized the handwriting…

 

You have my support..as always..Good luck in your new role, boss!  Malc

Tears welled up in her eyes as she turned to look at the PA’s desk, absorbing the look of love emanating from her husband who was big enough to welcome her into his work environment as his boss and yet, who would still be there to support her in this brand new role after all.
 

The Perfects

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfects have risen from the earth to save the planet from total destruction.

It is 12/12/2012; the end of the Mayan calendar. The world leaders, through their greed and lust for power, have triggered their arsenal of nuclear weapons.

As the final hour approaches, the Perfect’s chosen ones; the pure of heart, called the ‘Kudos’, must find the underground world of Avalon, so that they may survive, when life as we know it is wiped out

once and for all.

 

The Perfects

by Wendy Reakes

Chapter 1

Thomas Stone was a photographer; freelance, with a contact in every paper in New York City. He told them he was twenty-five when he went touting for work, but the truth was he had only just turned seventeen and he still lived at home; living with his mother and her boring boyfriend who were trying for a baby of their own to seal the deal of their alleged love for one another. Or so they said.

Tom didn’t see it that way. The walls were thin, and the grunting and groaning that came from the room next to his was the reason he left at night, climbing through his window to the city below their apartment; their home on the lower-east side. And wherever he went, his camera went with him, like a conjoined twin, never leaving his side, working with him as he ate and slept and even when he peed. As far as Tom was concerned, his camera was his lifeline, a perpetual rope-ladder to drop out of his window so that he never had to go back; so that he could afford to stay on the streets where he dreamed and flourished.

Now tonight, as Tom left the apartment, going down the rusted fire-escape to the stench and the sirens and the sin of his favorite city, he wondered if this would be the night he caught the Perfects on film. The night when he would at last record their entities for prosperity, spreading the word of their magnificence and their power to defend us against evil, forever and ever.

 They called Melissa Lake, Mia, but on the Internet she was known as Lakey, a picture of Loch Ness her avatar.

“I’m so goddamn fed-up,” she typed, shaking her head as the words formed on the screen.

“LOL. ‘Goddamn’! That’s not very English!” he responded.

“I wish I was American, like you. Live in NY and see you each day.”“Instead you have the English countryside…poor old you.”“Stoney, have you any idea how boring it is living here, surrounded by goddamn trees?”“Whoa, there’s that word again.”“LOL” Mia chuckled. He always made her laugh.

“Well…Anything?”“Nope. Not last night.”“Don’t worry you’ll see them. It’s just a matter of time. I’m going out soon. I’m waiting for the parents to go off. Not hard when you live in the country. There’s nothing else to goddamn do, but sleep.”“Right” “Look, I’ll let you know if I see anything, but if not I’ll IMS you at our usual time tomorrow.”“Gotcha. Be careful, Mia.”“Hey, you know me…I’m goddamn cool!”Mia turned off the message box and checked her emails. Not much happening there either. She went into Firefox and checked the news. There had been a sighting. ‘Perfects out of hiding’ the headline screamed. Last week a man reported a sighting….’

“Whatever!” Mia muttered, shutting down her net-book.

 It was then, that night, the Perfects came.

“Hey, Mia.”

Mia turned and saw two of her friends across the road standing near the entrance to the park, next to the post-office, closed and barred with metal shutters.

“Hiya” she called back, crossing the road, looking left to right dodging the cars that were passing.

“Anything happening?”

“Nah, it’s quiet.”

“What about number nine?” Mia strained her neck to see over the railings.

The two girls laughed. “Yeah, they’re at it again.”

Mia raised herself on her toes. The York’s house was over the other side of the park. She could just make out a light through the trees coming from their bedroom. The curtains were closed but the glow allowed the silhouettes inside to dance within its folds. She could imagine him, with his fists flaying, knocking old Doris to the floor.

“Why don’t you come?” Mia whispered. “Why don’t you come?”

She had driven here every night for the past ten days. It was a town called Devizes, in the South-West county of Wiltshire, where the countryside presented itself over rolling meadows and pockets of villages sitting between folds of fields. Mia lived in the nearby village of Avebury, accessible only by car from where she lived in a large house surrounded by grass and trees and cows chewing the cud over rickety crumbling walls of stone.

“Shush!” Anna said.  She, Charlotte and Mia hushed, as they gazed over the fence of the locked park to the house where the York’s lived.

“Something’s happening,” Mia said. “I can feel it.” She stood for two more seconds pausing for a noise to fire into the night. Then, as if no longer able to wait for what she knew would inevitably come, she charged towards the gate of the park and climbed over it.

“Mia!”

“I’m not waiting here. They’re close. I just know it.”

She ran stealth-like, across bordered flower beds and neatly mowed grass, past trees reaching to the stars in the blackened sky to the fence on the other side, directly opposite the house where the York’s lived.

Mia stood near a tree just inside the park. She jumped when she heard the sound of old Doris, suddenly wailing inside her house. He was starting again, regardless of the damage he must surely be inflicting upon her.  Why don’t they come? Mia pondered. It must be time.

It was.

Suddenly as if a draught had blown past her, she saw a figure in front pacing towards the York’s house. Then another stepped out from behind the tree next to her.  She saw another and then another until finally five Perfects were watching the house where Doris York’s audible whimpering broke into the night.

They were men with no skin. Not ‘visible’ skin; only an impenetrable translucent film, covering muscle, fibre, sinew, arteries, and cartilage. Their veins were molded within the landscape of muscle, pumping the blood and making it look as if the blackness of it was racing around their forms, like charges firing through live wires. The sinews in their necks were taut, synchronizing with the strains of their movements, liaising with their brains and the workings of their bodies, pulling it all together; collaborating with it.

At six-feet-six tall, their limbs were long and powerful; calves and forearms like a giant’s fingers, working and laboring over a task of precision and accuracy. Their hands and feet were weapons, so powerful and manipulative that to confront them would be perilous. Their shoulders, like great mounds, held a protruding chest, breathing as if a thunderous storm was about to offload onto a daisy swaying peacefully in the breeze.

Their backs were like rods of steel, unyielding with no arch to take away their erectness.  Their buttocks, tight and pert were rounded above thighs of bulging magnitude. And their manhood’s were tucked into a pouch of skin, protecting it from the day.

And above it all, their heads were their guides. 

A visage of grey, white coloured bone, covered their delicate brains and the flesh of their faces like a gladiator’s helmet. From the skull there branched protrusions, protecting the cartilage of the nose, covering the brow and the cheeks and the chin that pointed outwards, as if to go up against its authority would be to face certain death. Two round holes perforated the molded bone, enabling them to see with their penetrating blackened gaze. And the only flesh, pink and human-like, was the flesh of their ears, like ours, listening and twitching as they responded to cries of distress and torture.

Mia couldn’t take her eyes off them. She had heard all the myths, but she knew it was speculation, since no one who had actually them had lived to tell the tale. Now, she was processing the vision in front of her as if she watching a movie for the first time, wondering about how much of the legend was true.

It was said they worked in groups of five and they were standing before her now like the five points of a star. They were tall and formidable; all the same height and the same build. On the backs of their whitened skulls she could see random markings carved there, distinguishing one Perfect from the other, like fingerprints etched on bone.

One turned and looked at her. She took a step back, but somehow she wasn’t afraid. She was fascinated by his gaze, even though his face was covered in that skull-like structure, she could still see his expression. It must have been his eyes and she could have sworn he was telling her to follow them.

Then he tilted his head. ‘Come,’ he said without speaking. ‘Come and see.’

 His name was Varquis. He was the overlord of the perfects, the one who ruled them all on England’s soil. But instead of remaining aloof, separate as a leader should, he had his own unit; four perfects, who were his sons.

This night they were grouped outside a house where pain and suffering happened each day. They had been alerted to it many nights before but they could not come. Too many other issues needed attending, matters of extreme importance; matters which, had they not descended upon, disaster would have surely resulted.

Varquis was now waiting for Urigon, his youngest son, to focus into the group so that they may begin.  ‘Uri,’ he said, his words connecting with the others through their souls.

‘She is still here. She is not afraid.’ Urigon turned his head towards his father.

‘Very well.”Urigon turned back to the girl standing behind them, next to the tree where he had once been hiding. He tilted his head. ‘Come,” he said without speaking, ‘Come and see.’ Mia watched them move forward. The gate on that side of the park was open. They went through it and crossed the narrow side-road, moving towards the house where the York’s lived.

Mia followed them, keeping her distance. She watched them walk with sure strides and climb the steps. She saw the door open, just as she fell against a thick hedge protruding above a low brick wall. She could feel her heart racing and her pulse throbbing in her neck.

She gasped when she saw Mr. York. He had opened the door as if he was responding to a gentle knock, as if he was expecting friends for tea.  And as he stepped forward, Mia saw his face as a light from inside the house illuminated it. He seemed so startled by the vision he saw there, that he was transfixed as he watched one of the Perfects step forward.  It reached out and took him by the throat. Then raising him into the air, as if he was weightless, the Perfect held him with his powerful arm outstretched as old Mr. York’s legs flayed beneath the bulge of his large sagging belly.

He was dropped to the ground as he cried in shame. He knew his time had come, as all the perpetrators knew when the Perfects came. He stepped forward and he sobbed as he walked inside the group of five, down the steps to the road where Mia was hiding next to the hedge.

She watched as they crossed the road, heading for the park and then she heard a scream coming from the open doorway to the house. Old Doris was leaning against the frame, panting from tearing down the stairs. She was covered in marks over her swollen face. “Alfie,” she screamed. “Alfieeee.”

Mia, no longer interested in the tribulation of old Doris York, scampered across the road in the Perfects wake.

 Varquis could feel her following and he could feel Urigon sensing her presence, like a dog sniffing for sustenance for his empty stomach. She was right behind them, moving from tree to tree, disguising herself from the light spilling into the darkness.

The man in their midst; the creature in the void, was muttering as he stumbled along with them. He was praying to a god he had never worshipped before that night, praying for him to be rescued from certain death. He didn’t deserve it, he assured his god. He was provoked. She deserved his wrath. She was always getting things wrong.

Varquis instructed his unit to halt. They stilled and they turned to the creature in the void. They were in position, like the five points of a star, joining forces with their strength and their souls, closing in, moving slowly forward as the man in the middle screamed for his life.

They were touching him now. Their chests were bulging forth and the veins in their necks were throbbing as the power of their being, surged through them like water breaking through a dam, rushing over new soil. Their feet were shuffling against the hardness of the ground and their insteps were arched allowing more weight to be funneled into their torsos so that the strength there was unrivalled. Their arms were at their sides and their hands were almost touching, but as they moved in, they lifted them, and locked them around each other’s shoulders like comrades discussing strategy.

But here, there was no discussion. No intent other than to destroy. As their bodies touched the man in the void and as he screamed his last strangled breath, he was expelled of life, crushed to oblivion, his parts turning to ashes as the force of the cage of flesh obliterated all traces of him, other than the remnants of his sorry, miserable life.

The Perfects parted. They took a single step back and the ashes of the creature in the void fluttered to the ground like powder from a shaker, falling into a pile of dust.

Varqis banged the earth with his heel to dig a shallow hole and then he spread the ashes into the soil, crushing them like a pestle would crush peppercorns in a mortar. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the man in the void was sent back to the earth from whence he came.

Wendy is 49 and lives in Bristol. She began writing over five years ago, when she lived in France. ‘It’s hard not to write when you live in France,’ Wendy says. ‘Especially, when it’s a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse surrounded by acres of vines.’ The Perfect’s is Wendy’s second novel and she is currently working on her third, ‘The Song of the Undergound’, about a lost subterranean city, beneath London. Wendy has written several prize-winning short stories, and many of them have been published in various anthologies: more recently with Little Acorn Press; to be published in July this year. She has recently delved into script-writing, when she wrote a four part drama for TV and whilst she is working on her new novel, she is developing her web site, where she offers a not-so-serious daily blog about that elusive road to publication. You can find more about Wendy and her work here.
 Http://wendyreakes.weebly.com/
 
Wendy says, ‘Writing for me is like having a fire in my belly, sometimes the flame dies but most of the time it rages and I am startlingly bright.’

Is the fear of rejection holding you back?

Is the fear of rejection stopping you from progressing with your writing and taking that crucial step from amateur to professional?

Having doubts about your own creative skill set is natural; it is what makes you strive to improve your writing technique and to be able to write to a level where you are satisfied with your work. But even when you reach that plateau of achievement, many writers fall short of taking that next step. Why?
I remember getting my first rejection letter and sobbing profusely for a while, blatantly taking the whole standard rejection thing as a personal attack. Once I had finally come to my senses, I realised that it wasn’t the end of my writing at all, far from it; it was the start because at least I had taken that first step to sending work out and now had a benchmark to follow.

Rejection is never a pleasure of course but it is an important part of writing. No one can possibly write without receiving a standard rejection slip and if everyone got published immediately, what would that say about the standard? If you can change your perception of a rejection letter, you can make it work for you and not against you, try viewing the letter as a challenge instead and determine that you will get your work published with that publication specifically and sharpen your focus.  Dig deep into your stubborn reserves and rise to the challenge.

Your writing could be just what the publishers are looking for but if you never submit any work, how will they ever discover you? Change your negative response to a positive one and increase your chances of publication through grim determination.

Never let the fear of rejection prevent you from fulfilling your potential!

Writing Tip of the Week 3

If you struggle to get started with your writing in the morning, then plan out your writing day the evening before. This way you can maximise whatever time is available for your writing pursuits and you will be amazed at just how much you can achieve.

Writing Tip of the Week 2

It might be horrible to receive a rejection letter or email and to have your manuscript come winging its way back but don’t despair, it might make you feel like giving up but don’t throw in the towel. See any rejections merely as stumbling blocks en-route to publishing success and learn from them.


Going on Holiday? Write Travel Blogs

 
It’s human nature for people to share in the experiences of others and that’s why travel blogs are so popular.  Not everyone can afford to travel to exotic locations certainly on a regular basis so why not marvel at the experiences of those who do travel across the globe and who are willing to put pen to paper and share their adventures. I’m probably not the most well-travelled person although I hope to change that, so getting a feel for an area through the simple perspective  of another is quite frankly appealing. I have stayed in hotels and locations that are  in direct contradiction to the glossy travel agency publications and so to hear a firsthand account of a particular area is much more interesting as it denotes the human angle and not a sales one.
 
For example, I had a chance encounter with an old friend the other day and he regaled numerous stories and anecdotes about areas that I had often thought about going to, his truthful and yet enthusiastic approach to travel made me wish that I had travelled more and witnessed the same scenes as he for myself.
 
If you are going on holiday and enjoy writing, then seriously consider putting your skills to good use and sharing your stories with the rest of the world. Not only is writing a blog strangely therapeutic (dear diary syndrome) but it captures your thoughts and feelings and memories of your trip forever.  Writing a blog post is not difficult and if you haven’t already established a web presence as a writer, it really is time to do so.
 
When planning your holiday, research the area thoroughly because planning in advance will help you to see beyond the main tourist areas (unless of course that’s exactly what you want from your holiday) if you are prepared to be a little adventurous, going off the beaten track and mixing with the locals, will afford you a much greater opportunity to see the location from a more human and realistic perspective. Whilst you are enjoying yourself, allow one part of your brain to stay analytical and remember to make  notes and take photos too. Whatever your thoughts and feelings of the place, be honest when writing your travel blogs,allow your personality to shine through and connect with the reader, that’s what makes writing  travel blogs so much fun because it’s a universal connection as we all go on holidays and sharing the experience will allow you to reach out and connect with others on a worldwide scale.

Writing Tip of the Week 1

If you are applying for writing jobs, don’t make it a static proposal, give a little of yourself and allow your potential client to see the real you. Being professional is great but it’s still important to build rapport with a client. Writing jobs don’t just land in your lap and you are far more likely to secure that writing job if they know they are working with someone who is easy to communicate with.

 


Writing A Crime Novel? Plan The Death Scene Carefully

 If you are writing a crime novel, then planning the death scene is of the utmost importance. Not only should it be written creatively but with careful attention to detail. As a writer, you should not be short on imagination and should be able to picture those crucial final moments quite vividly in your mind’s eye. This visualisation process is important because in order to hook your reader and to be able to write convincingly, you need to be able to describe the scene in detail. Planning your crime story initially is important too because this will help you to be able to build the tension leading up to the murder and draw the reader along with you. Writing with a sense of confidence and purpose will also have the reader believing in the plot and help them to become absorbed in the storyline as it unfolds.

 

When writing a crime novel, consider how many death scenes you are planning to have and whether your antagonist has a certain macabre style or whose murderous acts might be designed with a meticulous edge. Either will create tension and add all -important dimensions to the plot but consistency is useful so that the reader feels a sense of credibility with your character. Knowing why the antagonist kills will help you to plan the perfect murder scene, for example:

 

  • The antagonist has a fear of women and finds himself in a situation where a woman is aggressive in her behaviour towards him and he reacts violently from panicking.
  • The female antagonist was previously raped and is out for revenge against all men.
  • The antagonist feels invisible and unimportant so murder is a way of achieving notoriety and fame. 

It will help too if you know your character’s foibles  when writing these scenes.. There would be no point creating a blood bath at the scene of crime if your character is squeamish and would be ill at the sight of so much blood. This immediately would make the plot seem unrealistic to the reader and you do not want to give the reader any opportunity of putting your book down. If you want to get your book published, it is crucial that you consider these aspects fully and through careful consideration and your connection  to the character will grow much stronger.

 

Other points to consider are:

  •  Will there be any witnesses?
  • How did the murderer leave the scene of crime and was any evidence left behind?
  • What is the murder weapon and where is it now?
  • Was death instantaneous?
  • Did the murderer enjoy the act and has a serial killer been born?

 

All of these questions are ones that you need to be aware of and to be able to answer prior to planning your crime scene. When writing a crime novel, you need to live and breathe the plot and any complex twist and turns if you wish your book to be successful.

Set up a Freelance Writing Blog in your Spare Time

Writing Course

By Annette Young

Many writers think that they have to invest a great deal of time and effort into their writing but it is possible to set up a freelance writing blog and start to have a dedicated readership in no time at all. If you are reading this and thinking that it would be impossible to dedicate enough time to really make the blog successful, think again, you just need to write smart.

Writing is about much more than indulging a few creative impulses, it’s about knuckling down and writing to order, it’s about planning a meticulous schedule and trying your utmost to stick to it. If you’re worried that this will curb your creative impulses, don’t, with practice you obtain a more refined and controllable flow of creativity.

You can plan your freelance writing blog weeks or months ahead. Make the most of periods of creativity and just blast out numerous writing posts and save them as drafts until you are ready to publish, a little forward planning will make the whole venture so much easier. It’s also easier to think blog topics whilst creativity is flowing and this will save you having to really work those brain cells if you are not in the right frame of mind for writing.

Your freelance writing blog is what you make it, one post a day will have your dedicated readership growing steadily but two or three blog posts a week are sufficient. You can inject a little of your own personality, or you can share your trials and tribulations with the thousands who get to read you regularly, the content is entirely up to you.  You can be as creative as you like with your freelance writing blog and you can monetise it through google ads and display other paying writing related ads, but don’t think that you can’t set up and manage a freelance writing blog if you only have a few hours to dedicate to it, you will be amazed at how much you can achieve.

Manuscript Critique- Why You Should Invest In Your Writing

You have sweated blood and tears and poured every emotion into writing thousands of words and have finally finished  and yet requesting  a manuscript critique may be the last thing on your mind..why?

Whilst there is no hard and fast rule that writers have to have their manuscript appraised, it does make sense to have someone check your manuscript over in a professional capacity prior to sending it to an agent or publisher.  I see hundreds of manuscripts each year and there are very few that don’t need a fair bit of editing or rewriting and this is not detrimental to those writers, it’s simply the way it is. Even those writers who have gone to considerable lengths to edit as they progress throughout the novel will still have a fair bit of work to do at the end.

I have the utmost admiration for those writers who complete their novels. Writing a novel is a tremendous commitment and as so many people these days are overly stretched in terms of time and personal commitments, it is astounding that so many novels are actually completed at all. I have run several novel writing courses at college in the UK and one term, some students were completing upwards of 70,000 words within a ten week period, that’s a lot of words  pouring out on to paper and with this much time and dedication, it makes sense to give your novel a fighting chance.

Requesting a manuscript critique shows a determination to address any issues that might be apparentand therefore reduces the chances of receiving unwanted rejection slips.  I personally think that many writers are concerned  about hearing ‘bad news’ when the critique comes through but I’m a writer myself and  I know how difficult it can be to hear any type of criticism. Just remember that a professional manuscript critique is not there to slate your manuscript, it’s a positive tool that supports your goals and ultimately raises your potential to be published.

Could You Become A Freelance Writer?

Editing

by Annette Young

So you’d like to become a freelance writer? You may have heard that it is a great way to supplement your income or perhaps you have a burning ambition to become a full-time writer, whatever your goals, it is important to realise that the freelancing lifestyle isn’t for everyone and to be successful you need to be prepared.

If you become a freelance writer, planning ahead is vital. It is likely that you will work longer hours, earn less and have more demands on you than in any current job, especially in the early stages of your new career. I would always suggest that you put a stack of cash aside first if you decide that you want to write full-time as it can take a while to build up your writing credits initially.

 The questions to ask yourself are:

1. Can you write well? If your English skills are poor then you will find it difficult to be successful

2. Do you have enough money coming in or put by to cover for times when earnings are minimal?

3. Are you self motivating?

4. Are you determined to succeed against the odds?

5. How thick skinned are you? Rejections can hurt.

 This may all sound like I’m trying to put potential writers off freelancing and this couldn’t be further from the truth as I live and breathe writing myself. For me, it’s the most wonderful job to have and irrespective of the long hours, the rejections or the sometimes erratic pay, I really wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. It’s just important to not rush in without learning the ropes first. Become a freelance writer by all means, just make sure that you are an informed one and ready to take on the challenges of the writing world.