SIWC 2010 Round-Up, Part 3

November 4, 2010

Building A Freelance Portfolio, Chuck Sambuchino

In freelancing, common rights allocation include giving up first serial rights, or all rights. In the former, you can often find a market to sell the work to again once the rights period has expired. In the latter, you can't sell the piece again, ever. It's not preferable, but is common in Work For Hire contracts.

One way to get in on the ground floor is to look for new publications that don't have a stable of writers. Once you prove that you can provide good content, on time, they will send you ideas. A common career path is to work with half a dozen different clients. Who you know is often key to breaking into the larger markets.

Where to search for markets: newsletters, Absolute Write,, Writer Gazette, Mr. Magazine.

If you're looking for ideas, start with something that's current at the national level, and bring it local, try selling your spin on it to a local or regional publication (but don't plagiarize, natch). Look at articles that were popular in other regions and bring them to your own market. Alternatively, take something small, and look for the big picture.

Writing Bootcamp for Procrastinators, Ivan Coyote

This was more of an inspirational session. Some takeaway:

Get over your fear. You are your own worst enemy. Instead, think of your own creative potential and what it could do if it were unleashed.

Eliminate obstacles to your writing. Make sure you have the right space, and the tools you like to use. Figure out what kind of writer you are, and write at the best times for you. What works for others may not work for you - experiment. Trick yourself into working if you have to. Give yourself external deadlines.

Practice. No one thinks they can get good at a sport or a musical instrument without practicing, and yet everyone thinks that they can be good at writing without putting in the time. Put. In. The. Time. Don't not write for months on end and then expect to pop out something great the next time you sit down.

Research is great but writing is better. Research later. Write the story first.

Be pushed by people who are better than you. This means pick the calibre of your writing group carefully.

Selling Directly To Readers, Crystal Stranaghan

I thought this might be more about eBooks, but the session was more about branding yourself.

As a writer, your brand is your career. Just know that you can't keep everyone happy. However, these days, your reputation is your value, so be careful what you put out on the web, because it WILL stay there forever.

If you manage to develop something called "1000 true fans", these are the people who will spread the word about you and your work. They are into everything you do.

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