Wednesday 19 October 2011

Some tips on writing for a living

For over 20 years I have worked as a freelance writer. In that time I have written for many different publications on so many different topics - football, vegetarianism, humour and lifestyle pieces. I've done them all. Check out some of my published articles here

1. That's why my first tip would be to that you need to DIVERSIFY. Don't think that you can just specialise in one topic and that will be enough to make you a living. You must be able to write about anything even topics that you didn't have a clue about until you did your research.

2. You haven't been paid until you've been paid. Don't spend money you don't have. Trust me, publications can take ages to pay and sometimes they need reminding. Always be polite.

4. Editors are a fickle lot. They change their minds all the time. One minute they love your ideas and will say things like 'we'll take it to a features meeting' or 'these are great.' The next they are ignoring your emails or telling you 'we decided to go with another feature.' Until you have a firm commmission stating work count, what should be in the piece, the fee and the deadline DON'T treat it as a commission.

5. Try and have as many ideas out at one time. DON'T pin your hopes on one one or two. Remember mud sticks. Throw as much mud as you can.

6. Improve your chances by offering a pictures and words package. Editors love these as these pieces can be used quickly. Make sure pictures are at least 300dpi and of good quality. Get yourself a decent camera.

7. Follow the brief to the letter (the commissioning email). Don't make the piece too long, too short and make sure you know if the ed wants box offs (boxed off pieces of information).

8. Look up for special dates coming up. Many editors struggle to get new material for say Valentine's Day and Halloween. Help them out and do it way ahead of time. Around 4 months if aiming at a monthly and 4 weeks if aiming at a daily newspaper (allow three times that for a weekly magazine).

9. Study publications before you submit ideas. A movie magazine is not going to be interested on a piece on flower arranging.

10. Never give up no matter how many nos you get. Some of my best ever yeses have come when I was on a losing streak.

Good luck and get writing.
Note - I also have writing tips on my blog.

Yet another great review for Bullying - A Parent's Guide

I'm always delighted when people not only take the time to read my book, but also to review it. When that review is a good one it makes all the months of research into a distressing topic worthwhile.

Here's some extracts from -
'it’s packed with practical advice and useful contacts.'

'This valuable and empowering book will arm parents with all they need to fight for their children’s right to a happy childhood.'

Read more by clicking here

The main reason I wrote the book was that I wanted to help bullied children. I hope I've achieved that aim.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Review of Coping With Chloe by Rosalie Warren

Some of my all -time favourite books were the ones I read as a child; books that introduced me to new ideas and views of the world. One of my favourites was Stranger with My Face by Lois Duncan and in some ways Rosalie Warren's Coping With Chloe reminds me of that.

While the earlier book introduced me to astral projection, in Coping With Chloe we have life after death. Anna's twin sister Chloe may have died in an accident, but Anna can still speak to her. We all know the bond between twins is a special, even unbreakable one, but can it really transcend death?

In this book it seems it can and it's a pleasure to read for that.

The bright and breezy first person narrative carries you along, making you want to read on. And, the good news for reluctant readers is that reading this book isn't an effort; it's a joy. Anna is smart and witty and immediately she feels like a friend. You care what happens to her and you want to find out what happens next.

Coping with Chloe is an engaging read that children will enjoy. The themes of loss, bullying and first love are important ones to explore.

Coping With Chloe is available on Amazon

Friday 2 September 2011

Crime Scene - Vile City

Vile City is set in Glasgow, a place I know quite well as I lived there for over ten years. In March 2011, it won the Scottish Association of Writers' annual Pitlochry Quaich award for a crime novel.

This is the place where one of the Glasgow Grabber's victims are taken.

It's dark.

 Would you dare walk here alone?

One woman did. Her name was Shelley Craig.

To find out what happened to her read Vile City.

Coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Hello and welcome

Welcome to my new home.

After two years with a cluncky website that made me wince every time I looked at it, I've decided to piggy back my domain name onto a Blogger account.

Now Blogger has its critics, but its way easier to use that the woeful templates 123reg lumbered me with. And, its more asthetically pleasing. I think so anyway.

Come in and have a look around.