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10 Ways To Not Be A “Starving Artist”
by Jennifer Brown Banks

Looking to turn your passion into profit? Moonlighting can be fun and lucrative and offer the opportunity to make a difference while making a living.

You can enjoy perks from pay to prestige to early retirement. "Starving artists" no longer have to be. The key is to work smarter not harder. It’s about effective management of your time and resources.

Here are ten ways to reap the fruits of your labor.

1. BE STRATEGIC- Writers often juggle many demands. Prioritization is key. Spend the hours that you would devote writing queries to researching markets, requesting writers’ guidelines, developing ideas and honing your work. Contrary to what "experts" contend it is entirely possible to have great publishing success without bombarding editors with queries prior to submitting your work. The exception being when a publication specifies, "query first."

2. REMEMBER, THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS- Always submit well-researched, professional, error free copy. First impressions are indeed lasting in this business. The easiest way to brand yourself an amateur is to produce shabby documents.

3. RECOGNIZE THAT IT TAKES MORE THAN TALENT- Writing is a business. Continued success requires marketing savvy, discipline, creativity, organizational abilities and follow-up.

4. DIVERSIFY- Don’t get stuck in a rut. The more genres you dabble in, the greater the odds of generating a steady income, creating an impressive portfolio and improving your craft.

5. RACK UP ON RESALES- Strive to create pieces that have marketability with various publications. Typically, articles on relationships, health and finance are staples. They can be resold to different general interest magazines, as long as you don’t sell away all your author’s rights. This gives you more bang for your buck!

6. IDENTIFY THE APPROPRIATE TARGET MARKETS- This will greatly enhance your chances of placing your work and saves time. The Writers Market serves as an excellent reference tool.

7. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MANY ON-LINE OPPORTUNITIES TODAY- Tapping into on-line markets will increase your visibility and expose you to an array of interesting E-zines, newsletters and contests.

8. BECOME AN AVID READER- It helps develop an eye for good literature and audience appeal.

9. NETWORK- As with other professions, it’s not always what you know, but who you know that counts. Writers groups and on-line bulletin boards are invaluable.

10. SET GOALS- Aspire to be the next Danielle Steel? Fashion yourself an award-winning novelist? Whatever your dream, it starts with a vision, a game plan and a time-line for making things happen!

By following these 10 guidelines, your checks will greatly outnumber your rejections and you’ll be "writing for dollars" in no time!

© Copyright 2002, Jennifer Brown Banks

Jennifer Brown Banks is the former senior editor of Mahogany Magazine. She holds a B.A. in Business Management and blogs at Penandprosper.blogspot.com

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