An adapted and unedited chapter from my upcoming SkipJack Publishing book (release date August 15, 2013) What kind of loser indie publishes, and how can I be one too?
Inevitably, the process of writing and publishing your book takes time. Monetizing that effort is not an overnight event either. Wouldn’t it be nice to establish your writing creds, improve your writing, and possibly make a little cash in the meantime? Bonus: anything you do to get your name out there ultimately helps sell your books, whether pre- or post-publication. Even publication of excerpts or adaptations of your book work. That, my friends, is called multi-purposing. I love multi-purposing my efforts.
Here are some ideas for that downtime you’ll face:
Greeting cards: Want to write one-liners, poems, and narrative for greeting cards? It’s surprisingly lucrative. Take just one greeting card company, for example: Blue Mountain Arts (http://www.sps.com/help/writers_guidelines.html) pays $300 per accepted submission. I have a successful writer friend who made thousands writing greeting cards before she published her novels. Just type in a web search of “greeting card writer submissions” and watch the opportunities gush forth.
Freelance articles: You can submit for consideration your short works of fiction and nonfiction to online and print periodicals. Most publications post their writers submission guidelines online. For instance, I published a short piece for parents of ADHD kids in ADDitude Magazine (http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/writers-guidelines.html). While they don’t announce their payment policy for freelancers on their site, I will share that they paid me a rate I was happy with for my piece, and they allowed me to simply repurpose content from my indie published book The Clark Kent Chronicles, with attribution to our publishing company name, SkipJack Publishing. Ah, the magical word of shimmery awesomeness, by the way: REPURPOSE. I highly recommend as much of that as possible.
Anthologies: Here’s a space where I’ve gotten very lucky. My local writers group, the Houston Writers Guild, put out a call for submissions for an anthology a few years ago. I landed a REPURPOSED piece excerpted from one of my upcoming novels in their Ghosts. That worked so well I answered another and placed REPURPOSED pieces from another novel and two nonfiction books in OMG – That Woman! A website I wrote for hooked me into two other anthology opportunities. None of these anthologies paid me, but I did get free copies of the books, and, better yet, I got my name and work out there. What’s to stop you from putting together an anthology project yourself, if you can’t find one? I’ll share more on searching out submission calls, below.
Local periodicals: You know how Jan Karon got her start on her beloved Mitford novels? Writing a column for a local newspaper called The Blowing Rocket in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Why not contact local periodicals in your area and try your hand at building a local readership?
Short stories: Here’s a fun one for writers 50 and older: HuffPost50 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/24/huffpost50-fiction-seeking-short-stories_n_3141218.html). Or, if you want to aim higher, try Glimmer Train (http://www.glimmertrain.com/writguid1.html). If you type in a search for “fiction short story submissions” — or nonfiction — you’ll unearth some gems.
Answer other calls for submissions: In general, calls for submissions go out every day. The question is how to find them. Two great places to start are Poets & Writers (http://www.pw.org/classifieds) and Writers Relief (http://client.writersrelief.com/writers-classifieds/anthology-calls-for-submissions.aspx). Or just get to Googling.
Pamela Fagan Hutchins is an employment attorney and workplace investigator by day who writes award-winning and bestselling mysterious women’s fiction (Saving Grace) and humorous nonfiction (How to Screw Up Your Kids) by night. She is passionate about great writing and smart author-preneurship. She also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.