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"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."

-- Groucho Marx

T A B L E  O F  C O N T E N T S
  1. [Editor Notes; The Business of Writing]
  2. [Resource Notes]
  3. [Markets and Leads: Technical Writing and Some Markets to Get Started by Resmi Shaji-Jaimon]
  4. [C/Oasis- new stories]
  5. [New Forms of Publishing]
  6. [The Free Media ]
  7. [Community]
  8. [Etc/Etc/Etc]

Welcome back! Some changes have been made to Sunoasis. The premium and regular issues have been merged. Each issue will be dominated by one theme but will have plenty of resources to pick and choose from. Every issue will have up-to-date market information.

I'm not charging for subscriptions but will use the Amazon Honor System. I like to think I'm more like PBS than CBS.

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E D I T O R  N O T E S

My heroes were the Chinese poets who floated along the back roads of green mountains as "banished immortals." They survived on the good intentions of strangers they met on the road.

I would always recommend writers to venture out and bum around for awhile. Some of the mountains of youth can be downright dangerous. When you come back, if you do, start thinking about the business of writing. If you don't apply a little bit of intelligence to it you'll get cynical and hard and lose that fine balance between imagination and intelligent common sense necessary for anything good and decent.

"So, Mr. Eide, how can I become a professional writer?" Yes, I got this note a few weeks ago from Melissa of Iowa. She explained that she had a degree in journalism but wanted to be a freelance writer; "...a real professional."

Well, it's a crucial moment of discovery. A writer will spend their college days focusing on the inspired art or craft of writing and then enter the world without a clue as to what to do.

A staff writer is a professional writer as is the full-time freelance or contract writer. And I have to recommend the link in For Freelancers Only below, "Contract Employee's Handbook." Insightful, resourceful, with nice comments on Sunoasis Jobs.

It's my understanding that staff writers are being cut at magazines in favor of freelancers. A magazine once called me a contributing editor because I wrote a lot of articles for them. It felt like I was on staff but I didn't get paid any benefits. In fact, that is one of the many tradeoffs in deciding whether to go solo or get hired somewhere.

Wrangling with Sunoasis.com I've come across many business problems that confronted me with the question, "do you really want to continue this?" And I know from the questions I get many writers are lost when it comes to getting low- balled in salary negotiations or getting money from a publication that promised to pay in a timely fashion.

Some of the main principles to understand:

  • Know how much work you do per hour.
  • Know how to pick up the telephone and call someone who owes you money.
  • Know what you can deduct from taxes.
  • Know how to invoice publications.
  • Know how to sell the rights that permit you to re-sell the same material to different markets.
  • Know how to stay flexible so when an editor is removed at a magazine that has accepted a piece how to approcch the new one.
  • Know time-management.
  • Know what to do when no new assignments appear and the bills pile up.

Get into this habit: Whenever you do something you aren't sure about, like business, write out what your problems are, locate the key words and phrases and enter those into Google. I'm shocked when people don't know how to use Google. State the problem. Extract the key word from the problem and enter it in the search box at Google.

I recommended this article by Danielle Hollister, entitled "What You May Not Learn in College." It's useful to freelance and staff writers.

According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor there will be an increase of 28% in writing jobs by the year 2010

One of the first acts of the professional is to write down a "mission statement." This helps define what and what-not to focus on as you develop.

For instance, a mission statement could be stated as: "My writing business is going to explore all the diseases dogs get, how they are treated, with poignant tales of dogs and their illnesses. I will find every publication, consumer and trade, that carries material on dog diseases. I will speak to dog owner groups and, eventually, this mission will evolve into writing books." Once that statement is down then you can start developing "tactics" to get there. What will you have to research, who are your circle of experts, what is the universe of publications to choose from? And most importantly, what sort of revenue stream do you calculate from this mission?

By doing so you've eliminated 99% of other writing activities or markets that would simply confuse the matter. Go up you favorite mountain and think about the nature of writing you want to do.

The writer must define the business and set goals for that business. Some of the best advice deals with setting an income amount that will allow you to live and then quantify those goals down to a monthly, weekly, and daily total. The idea isn't so much to get exactly at the total as it is to set a goal as a target and see how close or how far you range from the target. Experience is invaluable. Experience will tell you how long it will take you to do a particular project. It will also clue you into the person you are dealing with and if they are going to pay you on-time.

Remember that up to one-quarter of your time is going to be spent in marketing. That means preparing cover and query letters, sending them to editors who might be interested in your material, going to writer conferences, approaching clients who might be interested in your services and so on.

Chip Scanlan chronicles his life as a writer; that is, "the life of a salesman."

We've said it before: Completely separate the business from the art. They do not mix. When the writing is good, everything else is good. When the writing is necessary, nothing else is necessary. Business is a chore and filled with a kind of dread. You have to get used to it. Accept it as a challenge and go forward.

Writers live to write. That is their mission and that is where their best energy should be put. But, like other things we're called onto do we, at times, must live in contradictory worlds and, even, enjoy it a bit.

Based on questions I get from young writers these are some common problems:

Setting Fees/Collecting Fees:
Obviously, most freelance rates are set by publishers, although many will negotiate a fee. However, if you are writing for business clients or individuals you need to find out what others are charging. This is a tricky area with no fixed method.

It's a fact that professional writers make more money writing commerical material like annual reports, speeches, direct mail advertising and so on then they do writing articles for magazines and newspapers.

Don't charge the highest rate and don't charge the lowest. Here are some considerations when you take on an assignment. What is the level of your expertise? Are you simply going to write or will you proofread and copy edit as well? What are your expenses and is the fee you charge going to cover those fees and more?

And when you are researching a magazine look to see the range of payment (usually assigned articles get more) and method of payment. If a magazine says it "pays on acceptance," it's more favorable than if they say, "pays on publication." There are magazines that will sit on a piece they have accepted and contracted for up to a year.

One of the crucial skills to pick up is knowing how long a project will take you to complete. This will come with experience but the quicker the better as they say.

Another item to look at is your invoicing system. At Sunoasis I created a simple invoice on a wordpad and FAX it to clients or e-mail it. It seems to work. On the invoice I put the date, client's name, company name, address, the invoice number, a description of the work, ending date for the work, fees, and some expectation of payment, as well as a thanks for your business. I used to wait a while before sending out an invoice but experience has taught me to send it out the day a job comes in. If you are dealing with a large organization it's quite likely that the paperwork gets shuffled around and lost. Make sure you note down the day you sent the invoice and contact the person or company after a month. Be courteous but stay with the person until the invoice is cleared up.

My experience is that established companies pay. They might not pay in a timely fashion but they will pay. I've run into a fair share of non-payers, especially during the dot.com craze.

And I have had more than one freelance writer complain that a magazine hasn't paid her yet. One writer was owed $700 from a reputable magazine and it took months and months of haggling to get the money. And some publishers are out and out crooks. They usually don't last long but we've run into them.

The best thing to do is be persistent. Give the publication two or three tries at it. Don't be beligerent. Simply let them know they have an outstanding bill and it isn't going to be forgotten. The link above is useful.

Resource Links for Setting Fees:


Writers learn over time that ideas are what excite editors. It is ideas that will get an editor to ask the writer to develop a proposal. Even though the editor hasn't commited to the idea, his interest is significant.

Every writer has ideas or comes across them. If you are in the business of writing you need to take those ideas and transform them into articles, books, and web pages that can be exchanged for coin-of-the-realm. It's important that in the business phase of writing you review the ideas you've written down and get them moving toward a solid project. This may seem more like art than business and they do blend a bit but the point is that the idea, hopefully collected in a folder or notebook, is nothing unless it is developed. And the development needs to take place in relation to the market you've studied.

Another significant point is that when you begin to research the idea you build up a base of facts and information that can be transformed into more than one article. Always keep that in mind!

Anything and anyone can be the source for ideas. The newspaper, magazines, TV, radio, conversations, observations can all be the source for ideas. Once you have an idea or list of ideas you can isolate them and begin asking pointed questions. What is the problem? What is the solution? What is missing? What is too obvious? These questions are naturally generated when looking at an idea.

Read in your area of interest. And read with a large dose of curiosity. Treat ideas as the best friend you never had. Read philosophy and social criticism. Read everything you can get your hands on. Read as though your life depended on it.

For the purpose of professional writing an idea is interesting in the way it lays out facts and in the imagination brought to the subject by the writer.

How Do I Become a Boss:
Be a dream boss and a dream employee all in one. The thing that stymies freelance writers is that they aren't prepared for the hard work involved. Assignments don't come floating down from the trees. Payment is often difficult to extract even from a reputable publication. You run into all kinds of personalities who don't communicate well. Be the most productive employee you, as your own boss, has. And be a good boss to your favorite employee. And treat all you deal with respectfully and as equals.

Have excellent habits when it comes to doing tasks and managing time. Batch similar tasks together and do them at one time.

I have a jaunty article around those buzz words: Blogging, Niches, and Resources with decent links. Go check it out.

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Excellent resource links for business journalists but could help any writer.
BiblioVault. A scholarly book despository.
This is The Rhetorica Network that analyzes political speeches and journalistic spin.
Internet legal resources for magazine publishers.
How journalists can better use the Net.

For Freelancers Only
Trade Writer's Resource Center
Making Valuable Freelance Contacts Online.
Contract Employee's Handbook.

C r a f t :
We came across one of the best outlines of what a book proposal should be.
10 Quik-Hints about Writing.
The art and craft of feature writing.
Art and craft of editorial writing.
The art of the interview.
O r g a n i z a t i o n s :
National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting
Committee to Protect Journalists
International Motor Press Association
National Association of Black Journalists
National Press Photographers Association
P u b l i s h i n g :
The cranky, retired editor looks at publishing scams and reality.
Story on the woes of academic publishing and its attempt to consolidate distribution.
Another tale of writers publishing their own books.

M A R K E T S  A N D  L E A D S

By Resmi Shaji-Jaimon

Technical writing, contrary to what many writers believe, doesn't stop at writing manuals, catalogues, policy guides, scientific and technical reports, magazines and ezines for the IT field alone. In fact, technical writing applies to any field where technology is covered - be it electronics, aviation, manufacturing and so on.

In most cases, technical writers do not even have a technical background as a qualification or a career. But, the technical writer should possess the ability to translate complex concepts and technical jargons into plain English. In addition, he should be a keen observer with the power to grasp technology at a fast pace, research efficiency and write concisely.

Here are a few markets for you to get started:

Email : submit@labmice.net
Pays: $60 -$100 depending on length, content, and illustrations for unknown / unpublished or non-commissioned articles. Discusses rates and commission terms with established authors. Payment made on publication.

LabMice is for IT professionals spread across the globe. The writer should share his expertise in the chosen topic to educate the readers.† 25% kill fee is given, in case the assigned article is not used.† Length varies between 1,000 to 1,500 words. Query at the first instance.

Nuts & Volts Magazine
430 Princeland Court
Corona, CA 92879
Email: editor@nutsvolts.com
Pays: $100.00 per printed page; $450.00 max payment for full-length, well-written articles. Pays within 60 days of publication.

Nuts & Volts accepts queries on various technological topics related to electronics. Article length is 1500-2000 words. Query by mail or email. Include SASE for reply. Allow 4-6 weeks for response.

Connected Home Magazine
Email: articles@connectedhomemag.com
Pays: Case-to-case basis. Payment is made upon publication. Covers various topics related to home-computing technology. Article length is 2000 words. Queries accepted only by email.

9-1-1 Magazine
18201 Weston Pl.,
Tustin, CA 92780
Email: editor@9-1-1magazine.com
Pays: 5 cents a word for columns; 10-15 cents a word for articles, paid upon publication. $50 for color interior photos, $25 for B/W interior photos, $200 - 300 for cover photo.

Dedicated to public safety communications industry. Covers technical, historical, products news, to name a few. High quality photographs should be attached with the article. Manuscripts accepted on speculation. No simultaneous submission and re-prints rarely accepted.† Typically, articles are between 1000-2500 words. Buys First North American serial rights. Query by email.

Pen Computing
Email: dave@pencomputing.com
Payment: $100 and $250 for one page columns; $100 and $500 for features.

Pen Computing magazine accepts articles on pen computing technology, PDAs, and mobile and wireless computing. Buys non-exclusive first time print and electronic publishing rights. Only email queries/submissions are accepted.

Slot Tech Magazine
1944 Falmouth Dr.
El Cajon, CA 92020-2827
United States of America
Email: submissions@slot-techs.com
Pays:† $.10/word and $10.00/illustration

Slot Tech covers all aspects that a slot machine technician would find beneficial. Feature length stands at 1500-2000 words. Mini articles are shorter. Buys perpetual rights. Queries as well as article submissions by mail or email.

Law Office Computing (LOC)
Contact Editor: Amanda Flatten
Pays: Case-by-case basis

The magazine is for legal professionals who want to increase their computing knowledge. Prefers writers with expertise in the subject and legal field. Feature articles are generally 2,500 to 3,500 words. Buys exclusive First North American Serial rights and the non-exclusive electronic media usage right.† Queries are preferred over manuscripts. Responds to queries within 30-60 days.

Don't hesitate to tell us what you are looking for.

Here is an index of writer guidelines.

Program Manager, Best Practices (FB04-36)
Location: Washington D.C.

This is a professional position in the Knowledge Resources department in which the incumbent cultivates and harvests high quality knowledge (content) related to best practices in architecture, and collaborative knowledge relationships of mutual benefit and interest.

Generating content, e.g. text materials for best practices product line, i.e. web postings, related publications, occupies approximately 75% of work time.

Developing and maintaining formal relationships to develop best practices, knowledge resources and industry standards on behalf of the Institute with other content providers, e.g. publishing partners McGraw Hill, John Wiley, Taunton, and other associations The Society for Marketing Professional Services [SMPS], Society of Design Administrators [SDA], the National Institute of Building Sciences [NIBS]) occupies approximately 25% of work time.

For Full Ad go here.

Editor for QVCís Information Services Division
QVC, Inc., a $5.5 billion company, is an e-commerce leader, marketing a wide variety of brand name products in such categories as home furnishings, licensed products, fashion, beauty, electronics and fine jewelry. QVC reaches over 85 million homes in the United States. The companyís world headquarters is located in West Chester, PA. To help continue our success, we are in search of a action/results oriented, hands-on, self-motivated organized and seasoned Editor for QVCís Information Services Division.

For Full Ad go here.

Managing Editor--Product Detail
QVC, Inc., a $5 billion company, is an e-commerce leader, marketing a wide variety of brand name products in such categories as home furnishings, licensed products, fashion, beauty, electronics and fine jewelry. QVC reaches over 85 million homes in the United States. The company's world headquarters is located in West Chester, PA.

To help continue our success, we are in search of a action/results oriented, hands-on, self-motivated organized and seasoned Managing Editor for QVC's Information Services Division.

For more detailed look at ad click here.

Award Winning Publication Seeking Managing Editor (Located at Stanford University)

Job Description:
The Stanford Social Innovation Review (www.ssireview.com), an independent quarterly published by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has an immediate opening for a managing editor. The managing editor will shape the journal's editorial approach, and work collaboratively with leading academics, journalists, and thought leaders, editing research-based articles on nonprofit and social enterprise strategy.

For full ad go here.

A T    C/ O A S I S

The Road to Elgin by D.F. Mitten I must have been a rotten soul in a previous life, because this one is not much better. It's not to say that it started out that way, but recently, events have worn away at my psyche and drained my soul.

Strange Lands And People by Martha Nemes Fried Almost halfway through our stay in China I had the opportunity to live and work fairly close to Mort's field site, Ch'u Hsien. China Relief Mission established a branch office in Nanking in February and I asked Jim Moody, our Deputy Director, for a transfer.
Add Extra Impact Using Facts and Figures by Resmi Shaji Statistics add more value to your article. So how about including numbers, percentages or graphs in your work for an extra impact?

Hey, we even have a new literary newsletter and you can get it free if you click here!

Job Links for new leads!

If you have any suggestions about markets you want guidelines for, just drop a line

Shaw Guide for Writing Conferences in February.

>>>>>>>N e w    f o r m s   o f   p u b l i s h i n g<<<<<<

Random House is contemplating selling its books directly over the internet. This comes at a time when book sellers, like Barnes and Noble, are becoming publishers. "What a mess it all makes..."

For a well-thought piece on "what the future holds," as far as media read this article from the New Statesman. The key to media will be higher degrees of personalization and more and more fragmentation and personal involvement in "news." Everything old and top-down is in danger of irrelevance. It is the way of the future short of the asteroid-collision scenario. Publishing is an implicated as anything else.

Here's the story of a book seller in India who saw the writing on the wall. "Repackage, rethink as Lucknowiites show preference for professional, personality development books over fiction."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> t h e   f r e e   p r e s s <<<<<<<<<<<<<

Here's an Australian account of "citizen journalists." "The news media are beaten to the punch by internet amateurs..." In the long-run this will shift journalism into a much more complex, comprehensive activity since the "citizens" will do so much of the grunt work. Yes, the first video's of the tsunami are stark and powerful, news worthy in every sense of the word. But, after awhile, I want to know how it impacts my area, is my coastline threatened, will it be threatened in the future? To answer these questions we need the journalists. The journalist of the future will also need to to be trained how to use these new resources and to filter out the good, bad, and ugly.(Registration required)

Steve Outing has an article that covers some of our concerns about blogging and journalism. It does remind me of the early days of the "alternative press," when anyone and everyone published their opinions. The saying at that time was, "if you don't like the news, go out and makes some yourself." There's a kind of spirited immaturity about it all but good things will emerge.

Business Week looks at the New York Times and the changes being wrought by the new technology. "The Roman Empire that was mass media is breaking up, and we are entering an almost-feudal period where there will be many more centers of power and influence," says Orville Schell, dean of the University of California at Berkeley's journalism school. "It's a kind of disaggregation of the molecular structure of the media." Ah wonderful. I enjoy those disaggregations of the molecular structure.

There is an extensive article by Ignacio Ramonet of Le Monde Diplomatique on the state of the world's press. He paints a pessimistic picture of falling revenues, fold-up of daily newspapers, and loss of jobs. He mentions "give-away dailies," and the internet as two sources of problems. But, "...this crisis also has internal causes, which are mostly due to the loss of credibility of print media. One serious reason is that the press is being taken over by industrial groups that both run the economy and are in league with those who control politics. Another is that onesidedness, lack of objectivity, lies, manipulations and fraud are on the increase."

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Web logs come of age as source of news. If nothing else they are a source of stories.

This is a story on a recent conference at Harvard on blogging, journalism, and credibility. The managing editor did admit that blogging is "hugely" an area to look for talent. Hint, hint.

Those utterly interested in all of this should visit this site: citizen+participatory+media+journalism which highlights links about blogs, social, political, and technical.

Look at the Public Journalism Network too.


FEBRUARY 18-20, 2005 ~ The 2005 San Francisco Writers Conference balances the craft of writing and principles of publishing in an information-packed weekend in the heart of San Francisco. The conference boasts an outstanding faculty bursting with best selling authors, respected literary agents, and top publishing professionals. The event will held at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel over Presidentís Day Weekend- February 18-20th, 2005. Details.


Want to keep Sunoasis going? Donate through the Amazon Honor System and wonderful things will happen!

Thanks to Lynda Lester from the Digital Information Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado for her generous contribution to Sunoasis! Thanks Lynda!


Put an ad in Sunoasis 2005 and reach its 4,400 subscribers. Just $25 a month! Contact mailto:eide491@earthlink.net

* * * * * * * *

Staff of experienced editors, including several published authors, will edit your fiction and nonfiction Free sample and critique. First-time writers our specialty. www.alphaediting.com

* * * * * * * *

Looking for a seasoned Web content, PR, and marketing writer?

With a career spanning 30 years and a client list that includes a number of the world's largest corporations, Jeff Berger has the credentials to deliver the results you want on any project. Jeff specializes in high technology, finance, and hospitality; see www.jmbcommunications.com for a spectrum of writing samples. Email him at info@jmbcommunications.com or call (508) 830-3456.

* * * * * * * *

Sunoasis--You're amazing! A mere five hours after I sent in the text for my classified ad I got a call for a writing project, and within two days, the project was mine. Thanks so much for your invaluable services! Debbie Lerman, freelance writer

E T C/ E T C/ E T C

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