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Living Rich as a Writer
by Connie Werner Reichert

You don’t have to make a lot of money to be rich. You can simply live the rich and glamorous life through many experiences as a writer and make a little cash at the same time. As a freelance journalist and publicist, I’ve had several barter and trade agreements with my clients and also through travel writing.

For my 12-year-old daughter, I’ve arranged for three years of ballet lessons in exchange of publicity for the dance studio. My child has also benefited from a year of horseback riding lessons. I’ve also gone hot air ballooning and rode on a Jeep tour in the mountains I didn’t pay a cent, rather, charged each of these places a $300 initiation fee.

As for myself, I’m enjoying a full year of haircuts, facials, microdermabrasion, and massage from one of Northern California’s elite spas, all for the task of writing articles and press releases about their business. I have even joined a gym for a full year free of charge.

As a travel writer, I’ve been wined and dined in fabulous resorts, such as Sedona, Arizona and Ogden, Utah, all with the power of my laptop. In Sedona, I found myself in a luxurious four-poster bed with a fireplace in my suite. Towel warmers were in the bathroom, and even the bathroom floors were heated. Outside, rich adobe walls surrounded as hot tub. In Ogden, I went on a five-day trip that was stunning in its beauty I stayed in a different B&B or hotel every night and enjoyed their hospitality. Often, welcome gifts were found in my room such as chocolate, flowers and fresh fruit and locally made honey and jam. You, too, can live the high life as a travel writer. Comb through various Visitors & Convention Bureaus directories and hook up with travel related web sites for further details and pointers. The Visitors & Convention Bureaus are all searching for viable journalists. You will need to send samples of your writing and possibly an assignment letter from a publication.

How can you go about living a “rich life” as a publicist? Start with small businesses. They often don’t have the working capital to hire large PR firms, yet they desperately need the exposure so their business can succeed. Many of these small businesses are willing to work on trade of products and services. I charge a small initiation fee of $300 to begin my contracts to cover expenses such as copies, mileage, postage and fed exes. Your contractual agreement must spell out exactly what your trade is, i.e., 10 haircuts for one press release and article placement.

Nevertheless, make certain that you really want what the business is offering and are willing to work hard to get it. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t be a good fit. I’ve established an excellent rapport with my clients who otherwise couldn’t afford to hire a public relations agency, and enjoy the services they offer immensely. Remember, you’re not taking advantage of them. Small business owners want and need your services and trading services makes good sense.

Start your new year by living rich. The rewards are worth it and will enrich your life and your practice.

© Copyright 2006, Connie Werner Reichert

Connie Werner Reichert is the President of Write Side Up Freelance Writing & Publicity. The home-based business near Lake Tahoe specializes in broadcast publicity placement and personality profiles for small business owners and non-profits. Visit www.authorsden.com/conniewreichert or hear more ramblings on her blog at http://conniereichert.livejournal.com

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