EDITOR'S PIECE OF MIND
HOW TO START WRITING WITHOUT WRITING MILLS
I had this question posed to me recently, and it gave
me pause. "If writing mills aren't good for a writer,
how does a writer get started?"
Having written before there were writing mills, I was
puzzled why the writer didn't know. Then I thought
about new writers, and how a simple Google query pops
up mill after mill. Freelance gigs are awash with the
To a novice in the biz, these mills seem like the simplest
way to cut your teeth. As a result, they don't learn how
the serious writers got their start. Then when the gigs
quit working for them, or they discover that the pay is
worse than peanuts, they start scouting for "life after
Bottom line is this...you research markets, seeking an
understanding of what they need for their readers.
1. Subscribe or purchase a Writer's Market.
2. Subscribe to newsletters like FundsforWriters.
3. Read actual publications that you like.
4. Visit bookstores and study the periodical racks.
5. Visit libraries and study several issues of a
particular periodical so you can identify their
needs in trends.
1. Search for the online versions of the magazines you
enjoy or know well.
2. Offer to guest blog.
3. Accept column and blog gigs for commercial blogs
(but be careful for the scams and the 20 articles
for $5 deals).
4. Study the scam and warning sites like:
5. Search Facebook, Twitter and the like for magazines
and writing groups to follow and catch opportunities.
And nothing beats joining writing organizations and their
forums, chats and listservs where the experienced can
educate you for free. Scams are quickly slammed, and the
good markets are heartedly endorsed.
Yes, getting started freelance writing is like any other
freelance business. You start slow, work hard, don't
give up, and decide to weather the learning curve until
you have it down pat.
And yes, it's harder than slinging articles that took
you fifteen minutes to write. But oh the rewards when
you finally get it right.
9TH ANNUAL FUNDSFORWRITERS ESSAY CONTEST
FundsforWriters.com and Literary Database.com team up to
co-sponsor the 9th Annual FundsforWriters Essay Contest.
Theme: Writing that made a difference.
Both entry fee and no entry fee categories. First place
winner receives $300. Six awards given. Limit 750 words.
Deadline October 31, 2010. Winners announced December 1, 2010.
MISSOURI WRITERS' GUILD - FLASH FICTION CONTEST http://www.missouriwritersguild.org/
ENTRY FEE $8-$10
Flash Fiction - Get to the point in 500 words or less.
Subject is open, but no gore or pornography. Deadline
September 30, 2010. Maximum of three entries per person.
Checks payable to: Missouri Writers' Guild. 1st place -
$100, 2nd place - $50, 3rd place - $25. Three honorable
mentions will receive certificates. Short stories must be
in English, unpublished at the time of submission, and
original work of the contestant. Contestants retain all
rights to their stories.
BERKELEY BRANCH WRITE ON! STORY CONTEST http://calwritersclub.wordpress.com/new-page/writing-contests/
$13 ENTRY FEE
Grand prize: $250
Second prize: $100
Third Prize: $50
The three prize-winning stories will be published on our
website at: cwc-berkeley.com. Authors of honorary mentions
will be credited by name and title of their work. All
submissions must be in English, previously unpublished,
2,200 words or fewer. Deadline October 1, 2010.
50th ANNIVERSARY POEM CONTEST http://www.anniversary-gifts-by-year.com/50th-anniversary-poems.html
NO ENTRY FEE
This year's 50th Anniversary Poems Competition has started,
send in your best themed golden anniversary poems, there is
$100 for the best 50th anniversary themed poem and $50 for
the funniest poem that makes us laugh the loudest! Posts
should be non-commercial/non-promotional in nature. Must be
original (not copied), in good taste, legal, accurate and true,
non-defamatory, non-threatening, non-confidential, non-
infringing of copyrights owned by others. Deadline September
PITTSBURGH FLASH FICTION GAZETTE http://pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com/submission-guidelines/
NO ENTRY FEE
All submissions that include an e-mail address are automatically
eligible for the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Honorarium. The
honorarium is a cash award of $30.00 that is awarded to a writer
whose flash fiction story epitomizes the kind of "show don't
tell" fiction The Gazette is looking for. The honorarium will
be awarded on November 1, 2010. The contest ends on October 1,
2010. Submissions should be between 300 to 800 words long.
CAVEWRITERS FICTION WRITING CONTEST http://www.cavewriters.com/Articles/Articleview.aspx?id=33
NO ENTRY FEE
Prize: $150 CAD (Canadian Dollars); Featured Author position
on Cavewriters.com. The top 3 stories will be featured on the site.
The fictional short-story must star you as the protagonist. Make
it as unrealistic as you want, but it must be coherent. All content
must be original. You must be a registered user on cavewriters.com
in order to participate in the contest. After logging in, send your
story via a personal message to the administrator with the username:
Admin. You will receive a confirmation of receipt of your story.
Length 1,500-3,000 words.
WORKERS WRITE JOURNAL - TALES FROM THE COURTROOM http://www.workerswritejournal.com/
Issue seven of Workers Write! will be Tales from the
Courtroom and will contain stories and poems from the
legal worker's point of view (lawyers, judges, court
reporters, bailiffs, and so on). Your story should be set
anywhere legal work is performed, but we are not looking
for stories about court cases or whodunits. Drop us a
line if you have a question. Deadline for submissions
December 1, 2010 (or until the issue is full). Submit
your stories via e-mail email@example.com
or send a hard copy to:
Blue Cubicle Press
P.O. Box 250382
Plano, TX 75025-0382
Word count: 500 to 5000 words
Payment: Between $5 and $50 (depending on length and rights
requested). We will consider previously published material.
CATS & KITTENS http://www.petpublishing.com/catkit/guidelines.shtml
In the pages of Cats & Kittens, you'll find touching feline
stories, special reports on feline medicine, breed profiles,
training advice, cats at work and play. The compensation
structure is 10 cents a word on the final edited published
word count, payable upon publication of the article. Short
articles are defined as 500 to 1,000 words, and features are
defined as 1,200 to 2,000 words.
DEVOTIONAL STORIES FOR TIME OF TROUBLE - CHICKEN SOUP http://chickensoup.com
Deadline February 28, 2011. Please share your true stories
written in the first person of no more than 500 words, along
with an applicable Bible verse (from the NIV version of the
Bible) and a 2-3 sentence prayer. Here are some suggested
topics, but we know you can think of many more:
Cancer or other health issues
Death of a loved one
Job loss or economic issues
Divorce or separation
Crisis of faith
Disappointment or unfulfilled dreams
Depression or mental illness
Miscarriage or loss of a child
Bad days or bad luck
Tragedy of any kind
... and any other stories you would like to share
If your story is chosen, you will be a published author
and your bio will be printed in the book if you so choose.
You will also receive a check for $100 and 10 free copies
of your book.
The starting rate for full-length, original work appearing
in the print issue is $50. All online contributors will be
paid in a subscription to the print issue. A literary and
arts journal printed biannually and updated weekly online.
Annalemma's print issues are a lavish celebration of colorful
artwork and photography that accompany short stories and essays
from writers of all ages, nationalities, disciplines and
echelons of the publishing world.
ADVERTISING FOR WRITERS
Are you one of those people who never submits your writing for
publication because you think it isn't good enough? What if there
were someone you could show it to -- someone who would be both
objective judge and supporter?
I'm Nancy Wick, a Seattle-based writer, editor and writing coach.
Send me your manuscript for a developmental edit that will help you
make the next draft better or a copyedit that will polish a finished
piece for submission. Let me be your partner in prose.
AWARD-WINNING WRITER, PUBLISHER
WILL EDIT YOUR NOVEL, MEMOIR, POETRY
Have your writing edited by an award-winning, professional
writer, editor, and publisher, one who knows how to help
you prepare your writing for publication. Richard Krawiec
has published novels, biographies, text books, plays, and
a story and poetry collection. He won the 2009 Excellence
in Teaching Award from UNC Chapel Hill. His essays, feature
articles, and reviews have appeared in major newspapers and
magazines across the US. The NY Times, LA Times, Publishers
Weekly have reviewed his work. Awards include National
Endowment for the Arts and NC Arts Council grants, as well
as nominations for the National Book Award, Best American
Short Stories, and Pushcart Prize. He is founder of Jacar Press.