© Cheryl Wright - All Rights Reserved
Last year my main goal was to boost my writing
income considerably. I mapped out ways I would do that, and stuck as much as
possible to the plan.
I had decided to use a combination of wall
planner, conventional diary, and electronic diary to help me stick to my set
dates. However, I found this wasn’t sufficient as the wall planner was too small
to cope with the loads of notes I needed to add, and as a result, I didn’t use
it to its full potential.
The electronic diary also proved to be a flop.
It was way too easy to hit snooze, or to simply
Yes, my income did receive a good boost, but I
feel it could have been better had I been more organised, and also if I’d had
the right tools at my fingertips.
So I’ve changed the game-plan this time
This year I’ve purchased a massive sized
wipe-off wall planner. That is, a wall planner that works like a whiteboard. And
when I say massive, I really do mean massive. This planner is almost as big as
my work-desk, which is pretty large.
Here’s my plan to again boost my writing
Firstly, I recently purchased Nick Daws’
Quick Cash Writing ebook. If you’ve read my
you’ll know I was extremely impressed with that book.
I made several submissions after reading the
book, and have already had some bites. One of the magazines I submitted to
(which I found through a bonus book that came with
QCW) was quite taken with one of my ideas.
However, unbeknowns to me, I’d submitted outside their set reading period.
So they asked me to resubmit during the
appropriate time, which is January to March, but also asked if I would include
any other ideas I had.
This magazine is quite large, but
unfortunately doesn’t have an editorial calendar. I was wracking my brain trying
to come up with something unusual or unique, but couldn’t think of anything.
(Perhaps panic had set in!)
Then I got to thinking about all the magazines
around the world who do have editorial calendars. What if I could use
some of their ideas and put my own spin on them? So that’s exactly what I
I went to
Google and searched the internet
for appropriate editorial calendars. I found gazillions of them.
Basically what I did was type "editorial
calendar+TOPIC". For instance, if you want to query a travel magazine, type
"editorial calendar+travel" or if you want to query a parenting magazine, type
"editorial calendar+parenting" and so on. Sure, you’ll get some duds, but mostly
I didn’t. The majority of the editorial calendars that
Google found for me were exactly
what I was after.
Most of them were in pdf, so I just saved them
to my computer in a specific folder, so I can easily find them in the future.
Those that weren’t pdf were easily copied and saved to a Word document. I then
used the pdf option on my computer to save them to the same folder as the
others. (If you don’t have that facility, go to
I searched on several topics of interest, and
have already brainstormed quite a few ideas I can use throughout the year.
With all this information on hand, I was able
to come up with some re-slanted ideas, and within days of the New Year, resent
the original submission and several more ideas to the magazine in question.
The next thing I did to assist in boosting my
income, was to purchase Hope Clark’s
Tis the Season
This book is chock full of ideas for each
month of the year. What I did was print the book out, (I like to scribble little
notes to myself!), then flick through and see what I could gain from the book.
There was so much information that I didn’t
know where to start. So I began all over again, this time I had put aside an
hour to go through the book properly.
As I turned over the months and read all the
holidays, I could see the potential dollars clocking up. For instance, let’s
look at a few months:
March – Shrove Tuesday in the UK. How many
people know the story behind Shrove Tuesday? Many non-profit associations use
this day to create awareness and raise funds for their cause. This would make an
interesting article, especially if some quotes could be obtained.
November – Lung Cancer awareness month. I’ve
now lost two parents to lung cancer, and am a contributor to an anthology about
lung cancer. Plus I’m one of the spokespersons for the World COPD Day activities
in Australia. I feel certain I can come up with an idea for a magazine. Personal
experience counts for a lot with many editors.
October – National Spina Bifida Awareness
Month. Some years ago I lost a brother who was severely handicapped because of
Spina Bifida. A personal essay from a sibling’s point of view should fit nicely.
June – National Zoo and Aquarium Month.
Perhaps one or more US magazines might be interested in learning about some of
our Australian Zoos or Aquariums? June is also Adopt-A-Cat Month. I’ve already
queried a magazine about that one, putting a different spin on the idea.
Between Hope Clark’s
Tis the Season
ebook, Nick Daws’
Quick Cash Writing ebook, and the editorial
calendars I snafued via the internet, I’ve got more than enough ideas to keep me
going most of the year.
The next step is to map out the queries on the
wall planner, keeping in mind that most magazines have a lead-time of at least
three months and sometimes six. I have to ensure this is taken into
consideration when querying. This has been one of my major problems in the past
– I simply haven’t planned well enough ahead.
So the March query would have to be sent
immediately (January), November’s query needs to be sent August, and the June
query would have to go in March. These would be the latest dates I could send,
and earlier would certainly be better.
Having a wipe-off planner means I can add and
move things as necessary, including ensuring everything works around my regular
Next you need markets. Nick Daws’
Quick Cash Writing
ebook provides you with loads of markets (and details of exactly
how to submit to them to be successful). One of the bonuses – which I mentioned
earlier – is Nick’s little black book of contacts. This is where I found the
magazine that is very interested in my ideas.
I also use Hope Clark’s
Short and Sweet, which
is absolutely full of markets for fillers, and also
Hope’s newest book Just Hit
Send is another book I’ll be investing in soon. As you can see,
several of Hope’s books will assist my quest to make more money from my writing
in 2007. (All these books contain paying markets only.)
Another book in my personal resource library
is Moira Allen’s
How to Write for Magazines. In
addition to information on how to actually write non-fiction articles, the book
comes with several market guides.
I’m gradually building up my personal
resources, all the time knowing the small investment for each book will also
build my bank account if I work diligently and in an organised fashion.
Book reviews are another great way to earn
extra income. Hope also has a book on this subject –
Get Paid to Write Book Reviews.
I read a lot of books about writing, as you
probably realise, and I’ve recently finished reading
The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success (The Renegade Writer's Freelance Writing series)
by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell. Our resident book reviewer Beth Morrow
recommended I purchase this book, and although it cost quite a bit to get it to
Australia, I’ll really glad I did. It’s put a whole new perspective on a lot of
things, and I found myself brainstorming while reading it – much the same as I
did with Nick Daws’ book. (Beth’s review can be
Another book I highly recommend for
non-fiction writers is
Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction--and Get It Published
by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato. This book was the basis of a course I did
when I first began to write. The information is extremely valuable, but the book
is quite inexpensive.
Okay, I hear you – you’re not interested in
writing non-fiction. So here are some ideas to boost your fiction writing
Doing much the same as I’ve outlined (above)
for non-fiction writing, there is no reason you shouldn’t outline your game plan
for submitting and writing fiction.
A great way to break into the novel market is
to write and sell short fiction. Last year Lee Masterson released a new book on
Writing Short Fiction that Sells
is a terrific book for those interested in writing short stories. Lee
also included her private collection of markets from around the world as a
bonus. Our own Beth Morrow reviewed this wonderful book, and
you can read her
You can also find a gazillion fiction markets
via Hope Clark’s books, especially
Funds for the Fiction Writer.
If you feel your skills are not good enough to
start submitting your work to paying markets, then it’s past time you took a
course. Even today, I continue to take at least one, and more often than not,
two workshops or classes per year. I’m a sponge for knowledge, and believe you
can never know enough.
As we already know, the start of a new year is
a great time to think about what you want to achieve for the coming year, and
it’s also a good time to think about what courses you would like to take, or
need to take, to improve your skills and chance of having your work accepted.
There are a number of courses on a variety of subjects available via the
University. I suggest you check them out sooner than later to start
your year off on a positive note.
With the wide range available, there’s sure to
be something that suits your personal requirements. If you haven’t visited for
awhile, you’re in for a surprise, because I’ve added
courses in the last few weeks.
There are also a wide range of books available
for fiction writers, and here are just a few of my personal recommendations :
How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author
by Janet Evanovich and Ina Yalof.
How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling (How to Write a Damn Good Novel)
By James N. Frey (there are several books in this series)
The Art of Romance Writing: How to Create, Write and Sell Your Contemporary Romance Novel
By Valerie Parv (Valerie is an Australian romance writer with hundreds of
Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies
By Leslie Wainger (Leslie is a senior editor with Harlequin, Mills & Boon)
How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (Genre Writing Series)
By Orson Scott Card
You Can Write a Mystery (You Can Write)
The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile
By Noah Lukeman
By Stephen King
Writing the Breakout Novel
By Donald Maass
Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Making Your Novel Stand Out and Succeed
- also by Donald Maass
Write Any Book in just 28 Days or Less by
Nick Daws (this book is also suitable for non-fiction writers)
Rob Parnell’s Easy Way to Write a Novel
More than 50% of these books are in my
personal resource library, the others have been highly recommended by friends.
All are written by best-selling authors and/or editors who know their stuff.
There are hundreds more books, many covering
genres not dealt with in these books. For more ideas or information, check our
resources page at Writer2Writer, which has hand-picked ebooks for
fiction writers, or go to
and search for books in your area of interest.
Another excellent source of income for writers
is ghostwriting. This is an extremely lucrative form of writing, and can pay
exceptionally well for the talented writer. If you think you’ve got what it
takes to become a ghostwriter, here is my recommendation for you.