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A $100-a-Day Marketing Plan
by Kathryn Lay

Every January and February I find that my writing income decreases drastically. Generally, it’s because in November and December, I am busy with holiday plans and preparations and do little marketing with my writing. The time that I have, I generally spend writing instead. This is a good thing, but, at a time when I need more income, I am desperately searching the mailbox for acceptances and checks.

In March, I began a new plan. A $100-a-day plan.

If you really desire to make your freelancing a business that helps you supplement your families income or reach that goal of quitting and freelancing full-time, you will need to make a commitment to market.

Look through the yellow pages. Every business imaginable finds a way to advertise to their potential buyers of their product or services. Your queries and manuscripts are your way to advertise your work and yourself as a writer.

I decided it was time to seriously consider my writing a business. And like any business owner, I know I must take time to advertise and promote my product.

Now, every day during the week (and if you work full time at another job, this may be more feasible on the weekends), I commit to marketing at least a $100 (or more) worth of writing a day. This may mean four pieces that would bring in $25 each if sold, or one for $100. It may be a contest entry that would be $75 if I won first place, as well as a reprint worth $25 or more.

I certainly don’t limit myself to $100 -- that is just my minimum goal. I may submit a manuscript to a Chicken Soup book, worth $200. Or a query to a major magazine that would bring in $500 or $1000 or more if accepted.

How do I find all these market possibilities? I join online writing lists, I buy writers magazines and market books and subscribe to online magazines such as Writing for DOLLARS! I print out guidelines and contest information. I take newsletters such as the SCBWI Bulletin and Children’s Book Insider and Children’s Writer that list markets. Then, I put all this information as it comes in each day into a file folder next to my computer.

When my time to market comes, perhaps early in the morning or after I’ve done my creative writing for the day, or late at night when everyone else is asleep –- I pull out the folder and begin looking for one or more places to send my reprints, new articles or stories, queries, and contest entries.

What have been the results?

In 5 weeks I have sent out 37 manuscripts, queries, and contest entries. I have had 8 acceptances, 6 rejections, 3 publications holding manuscripts or query ideas, and waiting to hear from the rest. So there are still 20 possibilities out there.

I’ve also begun sending out brochures to writing organizations on my speaking topics and publicity to schools and libraries about my upcoming children’s books and my talks I can provide to them.

I’m excited about the possibilities of acceptances and checks and requests to see manuscripts and contest wins and speaking engagements. It sounds like a difficult commitment to find the markets to do this every day. But once you begin watching for and collecting markets, looking over your written work that hasn’t been sent out lately or pieces available for reprint, you’ll soon find that your marketing sessions take up less time and bring great rewards.

© Copyright 2004, Kathryn Lay

Kathryn Lay is the author of 26 books for children, over 2000 articles, essays and stories for children and adults and the book from AWOC.COM Publishing, The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. Check out her website at www.kathrynlay.com and email through rlay15@aol.com

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