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Writers Advice You Can Bank On
by Beth Fowler
Beginning writers know that theyll get bylines
without bucks from time to time, free copies of magazines in which their works
appear, and a few dollars here and there. No pay and low pay are typical during
the apprenticeship phase of writing.
Following the advice of paid writers
representing nearly 200 years experience can advance your career and
compensation to the next phase.
Q: What separates paid, published writers from
A: Discipline, persistence, hard work and the
ability to "get back up on the horse" were common responses from the interviewed
writers. Francesca Kelly, Tales from a Small Planet editor (www.talesmag.com), says, "You don't have to have brilliant talent to be
published, but you DO have to have incredible persistence."
Lucy Clark, prolific medical romance writer for
Harlequin Mills & Boon (http://www.eharlequin.com.au), is the personification of persistence. "I received the
contract for my first book the same day I found out I was pregnant with my
daughter. Life happens! Its hectic. Its busy, but if we dont make time for
the things that are important to us, we might have regrets later on. I now have
two adorable children who commandeer most of my time. I dont have time for
writers block. I dont have time to waste. My stories have to be planned, the
research done, so when I sit down, I can build up word count. Theres no such
thing as writers block just lack of planning." Persistence spawned her recent
Harlequin release, The Registrars Wedding Wish.
Q. What rumor about the business of writing
turned out to be false?
A. Arlene Uslander, editor of the newly released
The Simple Touch of Fate (www.uslander.net), discovered three falsehoods on the road to
publication. "Once you have a book published, its easier to have the next book
published and that when you send out a manuscript, no news is good news. And
that having an agent accept your work means youre going to get published." Not
true. Not true. Not true.
Karen Rose Smith (www.karenrosesmith.com) is a fulltime author with about 40 books to her credit.
She sold her first book in 1991. "I thought after I sold the first few books,
life would become easier! That's not necessarily true. After ten books, I
remember being stalled and not selling for about ten months."
Silhouette (www.eharlequin.com) released Smiths Take a Chance on Me this
Francesca believed that editors were
unapproachable. "They're usually really nice people who are just overworked."
She should know. Shes an approachable and no doubt overworked editor.
Q. What advice do you wish you'd received (or
Karen Rose Smith learned to "Write to the
market. Study the line you want to write for."
Studying the magazine she wanted to write for
had a lot to do with an editor accepting one of Francescas articles. Being
published in Redbook was a "sudden breakthrough" for her.
"Its not enough that you have something to
say," is Karen Schmitts advice. "You have to make yourself understood -
connect." A freelance editor and author, Karen helped Taiwanese and foreigners
connect with FYI South (www.taiwanfun.com) and continues connecting by editing the book Hello!
USA (www.hellousa.com)."Rejection isn't personal," counsels Megan Hart
(www.meganhart.com), a paid writer for over a decade. "They're not
rejecting you, they're rejecting the work." Thanks to that nugget of wisdom,
Megans fantasy, historical, contemporary, erotic and science fiction books are
available from Amber Quill Press (www.amberquill.com).
"To be a successful writer, you must write
every day," recalls Writing for Dollars! editor, Dan Case. "I heard this a lot,
but really didn't believe it. When I read Stephen King's book, On
and he said write everyday, I believed it. (Hey, if the King of all writers
says it, it must be true.)"
Q. What would you tell a beginner about writing
A. Writers answers ranged from "Don't write for
pay. Write because you love it," to "Don't write for FREE!"
Lynn Wasnak, a freelance writer for 25 years,
explains that fulltime freelancers urge beginners not to write for free or too
cheaply because it allows editors to lower the going rate. Her article "How Much
Should I Charge?" is in the print and online versions of "Writer's Market"
As for me, I do the writing because I love it. I
donate some works to organizations where I volunteer. Otherwise, I sell my work
© Copyright 2004, Beth Fowler
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