I will write you your tale
Good sir, without fail
If you would but put money in my pail.
That’s an old, old ditty but the sentiment it expresses is still current. We all write tales, others and our own, hoping to make enough to put bread on the table. I started down the word-strewn road rather late in life. Although I have not reached the dreamed for six-figure income level I’d like to share the steps that garnered me my first guest blog post.
1. Go where your passion leads you.
Think about it, it is the same advice given to incoming college students: choose a major that interests you. A deep and abiding interest can turn any knowledge into a paying opportunity. It is hard to write well on a topic you are indifferent about.
2. Contrary as it may seem, once you have chosen your topic read other (but related) subjects.
The advantages of such reading are many:
a. You get a broader perspective. Say you want to pitch an article on the latest aircraft to an aviation magazine. You read all about that particular plane. Now if you read about the physics of flight you will be able to give a much more detailed analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the plane.
b. You will get fresh ideas. To continue the example, after understanding the physics you may decide to write a second article on the Coriolis Effect.
c. You will know all the angles that have been dealt with and so will not end up
writing an article, even unconsciously, that has already been written.
d. It will help you decide where you want to pitch your article: blog, magazine , newspaper, or scholarly journal.
3. After the choice of topic start the market research.
Now you are sure what you want to write about and will not be swayed by the latest market demand. It is good to be aware of the market, but obsessing on the latest, greatest trends only weakens your writing.
4. Craft your best essay.
Then put it aside for a day. Soups and essays are tastier the following day. Reread it. Make the edits you think are essential, and send it on its way.
Some market links:
Funds for Writers http://www.fundsforwriters.com/ provides the most carefully curated links.
FirstWriter http://www.firstwriter.com/ has categorized its links so you can hone in to the particular market you are looking for.
Media Bistro http://www.mediabistro.com/ is a veritable gold mine of information, with detailed market analysis and advice.
ProBlogger http://jobs.problogger.net/ lists blogging and other writing opportunities.
Poets &Writers lists Literary magazines and poetry markets.
This is just a very tiny sample of what is available on the internet. Do exercise caution. Not all postings are for honest and fair opportunities. And as Hope Clark says, do not undervalue and underprice your writing.