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  "He who asks is a fool for five minutes, 
                    but he who does not ask remains a fool forever."
                   
                   ~ Chinese Proverb

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here's an opportunity to ask a question about jobs, writing jobs, careers, etc. Or, if you simply want to make a comment!

Make sure you read the questions recently sent in, plus, the archives! Those are below.

Send your question to eide491@earthlink.net

We'll try to get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!

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Ruby asks:

I'm a content strategist and online copywriter for large corporate companies. I never got a degree, and at 32, I feel very guilty about this and inferior in many ways. I worked my way up through advertising and PR (writing) roles overseas and at home instead.

Recently, I have developed a love for advocacy journalism and have been writing op-eds in my spare time for non-profits, which much to my surprise, have been well received by government policy departments. I'm passionate about social justice and wish to make a difference day to day, in so much as I can. I would love to make a career out of advocating for social justice, but I'm not sure what my options are that combine writing too. I would also love to get an undergraduate degree to expand my knowledge, prove that I can, and pave the way for postgraduate study in the (not necessarily immediate) future.

However I cannot afford to go to university full-time. I also wish to have children within the next two years, so I'm seeing this as my last chance to get my career fit right, and I don't have time to work my way up through the ranks of a new career. I've considered copywriting for non-profits, but even the big-name ones pay extremely poorly in my country. I've also considered social work, but I'm more interested in advocating for social justice than being hands-on with people. Also, again, social work pays extremely poorly in my country (a third of what I'm paid now). This is a concern because when I have children, I want to work less hours for more money so that I can spend the majority of my time with them. I also have an interest in psychology, sociology and philosophy, and read extensively on them in my spare time.

My current job pays well but I find it meaningless and unfulfilling.

Many thanks in advance for your advice,


Hi Ruby,

It's a real dilemma you have described and shared by many people all over the world. Some points:

  1. You can get degrees online and over time.
  2. Go with your strength: the op-ed writing you are doing for non-profits tells you the direction you should go. You enjoy doing it and it is accepted by other people.
  3. There are many ways to advocate: writing speeches, writing white papers on social justice issues, organizing for social justice, etc etc. Some involve writing and some don't but writing can be integral to pressing for social justice.

You need to research all the social advocacy organizations where you live. They usually operate out of the big cities of countries so try and check that out in local libraries. Build up a file of clips of the op-ed pieces and put them in a portfolio. One of the best things you can do is write a person in charge of a group, a non-profit etc and simply articulate your passion for this path and his or her recommendations. Include some of the op-ed pieces you've written.

Don't shame yourself over not having a degree! Believe in what you want to do and go out and do it, persist, connect with people, ask questions, and continually look for opportunities in your area. Once you start connecting with people and moving towards your goal all kinds of good things can happen.


Leanne asks:

Are there any guidelines that provide how drastic an editor's changes can be to an article? For example, if an editor changes the tone/creates a slant to an article that the journalist did not use originally - is there any recourse?

Besides finding another job, of course!


Hi Leanne,

It's a delicate balance between ownership of the article and the relationship between the editor and writer. A good editor is not going to change the copy so radically without consulting with the writer and explaining why she is doing it and letting you argue against changes. To do that without respecting the writer is tantamount to losing a good employee.

However, a writer is usually under a "work for hire" provision and has assigned his or her copyright away to the publication and as owners they can do with what they will.

The best recourse is mutual respect and open communication so the writer can freely approach the editor about the changes. If the writer has that sort of relation with the editor they are blessed.


Tia asks, "What programs would it be best for me to take in college or university to help me get into a career with a magazine company? I am interested in everything... marketing and publishing, and eventually working my way to become an editor."


Hi Tia,

You should try to get into a college that has an excellent program or courses in magazine and publishing. Stanford, Columbia, Missouri, Northwestern are some of the better schools for that. Usually editors come from English, Journalism, or Communications programs.

There are some excellent seminars run by Columbia, University of Denver, and Stanford U. to look into.

The best thing you can do is study the publishing industry starting now. Work on all publications that are open to you in your college career. Try to get an internship at a local magazine.

Join this group.

And subscribe to this site.

Editors come from many backgrounds. They are heavy readers. They have a solid knowledge in many areas and have usually travelled.

The important thing is to keep your passion for editing and for the magazine industry alive through college. Magazine publishers love young people who embrace the industry and want to have full careers in it.


Julie asks, "Do you have any advice on how to write a synopsis for an autobiographical memoir and the proper format?"


Hi Julie,

The synopsis is a reflection on how you organize the memoir itself. If it is organized as a chronlogy then the synopsis would reflect that. If the memoir is organized around a personal theme then the synopsis would reflect that.

In other words, know your memoir! You know it better than anyone else so tell its story in a very short space. Just write out an objective impression of the memoir without trying to be perfect. Put it aside for a bit and when you return to it make sure it is organized logically and will make sense to an editor or agent.

A memoir is like fiction in that it's the flow of narrative and the events in the story that are the meat of the matter. It is not an argument, an essay, or a fact-ridden book. So, make the synopsis a narrative of the core reasons you wrote it with attention to the high points or selling points that would attract an editor or agent.

Read this link about formatting a synopsis for a novel. It has pretty good guidelines for typeface and so on.

This advice should be helpful:

"The actual synopsis format should be typed in traditionally accepted fonts such as Courier, Arial, or Times New Roman. On the upper left hand of each page should be "Synopsis of #title of the book#" by #author's name# and #the word count#.

A one page synopsis can be single spaced with indented paragraphs. The rule of the thumb is: with detailed synopses, the accepted practice is one double-spaced page of synopsis for each 10,000 words, if the writer has 30,000 words in his work, he would have a three page synopsis.

To sum it up, keeping the synopsis short, to the point, and in respectable form attracts the attention of the editors."


Paul asks, "I'm going for a job interview next week for a full-time job as a writer-editor at a university. They've asked that I bring a few of my writing samples to show the interviewers. Do you think it's best to simply bring the samples in a little stack -- all just paper-clipped together? Or do writers ever put that kind of stuff in an actual portfolio book -- the way that photographers or other artists do? And if so, where do you think you'd purchase such a book?


Hi Paul,

Every writer should make a portfolio. It doesn't have to be extensive, maybe six to ten clips of your best stuff. If nothing else it provides a means for the interviewer to talk about your qualities as a writer. The stories to include would be the ones you spent the most time with, did the most research on, with the most interviews. Be prepared to talk about the clips!

It's also advisable to take copies with you rather than the original so you can leave them with the interviewer.

You don't have to be extravagant in preparing the portfolio. Just use a three-ring binder with plastic sheet protectors for the clips. Make sure you keep three copies of each article you use in your portfolio.

If you have the time make an attractive cover with your name, a resume of writing jobs or freelance assignments after that. Write a brief overview of your background and experience as a freelance writer or anything you've done in relation to writing. If you have business cards slip those in somewhere.

Keep the portfolio growing! Take it with you to conferences and seminars.


Greg asks, "As part of my personal volunteer service I write articles for local charitable or non-profit organizations. Are the publishing rights transferred to that organization even though I have not been paid or do not have a formal contract?"


Hi Greg,

I can't give you legal advice. But generally it is agreed that absent a formal contract it is implied that the copyright holder (you) holds the right to the material. Make sure that anything you've signed or agreed to does not include a "work-for-hire" clause in which case the organization could claim all the material you wrote.

Review your relation with the service group. Was there anything written that you signed? Absent any agreement with the organization you are the copyright holder and can use the material any way you want.

If you have any doubts about this contact the National Writers Union and speak with an attorney for that group.


Lynn asks, "Where can I go to get specific technical help in my writing? I live in an extremely small town with no resources."


Hi Lynn,

Fortunately the internet has many resources you can use, depending on what your exact need is. If you need a critique of your writing try some of these resources:

Online writing and critique groups from WritersDigest.com

Critique and discussion groups from Writing-world.com

They are not all created equal! And find the one's the fit your type of writing; poetry, stories, feature articles, professional writing, etc. If you are looking for academic editing you might try this link:

Online English Editing and Proofreading Service

If you are looking for personal attention to your manuscript try these sites. They will proofread, edit, and make the manuscript better.

Expert Editing Services
Edit-Avenue.com

For a personal touch try these:

Jerine Watson
SAGE Editorial Services


Bo asks, "I've started a small nitch magazine and I'm looking for the best route to protect my rights on photo/stories/graphic design as well as those writing for me, contracts, publishing, digital rights, agreements etc. Any help or direction to keep cost to a minium would be appreciated."


Hi Bo,

First read these instructions on protecting the copyright of a serial publication.

Then go to this link and find the serials portion of the forms and find the one appropriate for your publication. It is form SE. Read the instructions. See if you can use the short form. The registration is now $45.

It protects each issue. Each contributor to your magazine automatically owns the copyright to their contribution and don't have to register. So, for instance, if someone wants to reprint an article you run simply refer the person to the author or copyright holder to get permission.

It's a complicated affair to get all the legal protections you need on a magazine. Try to read all the resources you can about the legal ramifications of running a publication. Libel is certainly one legality you need to be aware of.

Short of consulting an attorney on this get these resources: The Writer's Legal Companion by Brad Bunnin and Peter Beren. This book will key you into some very important points about copyright, libel, and other legal pitfalls in publishing.

Go to this website:

Check out his "Writers and Publishers" section.


Diana asks, I'm a 31-year-old newspaper reporter that has begun to feel jaded, bored and disillusioned after many years in the field. I have a BA in print journalism and a MA in media studies. I long to make a career change but feel trapped as I don't have any other skills per se. I'd like to give up writing altogether, maybe something creative in a different vein associated with theatre, art, art cars, advocacy or nonprofits. At the same time I don't have the time or money to head back to school (or the desire). I don't really want to do PR but have thought about it to do something else but they all seem to want actual PR experience. Any suggessions?


Hi Diana,

The first thing you want to do is see  what transferrable skills and core competancies you have.  For a seasoned reporter it would be writing, self-editing, interviewing, researching, computer skills among others. That is something to write down on a list. If you are a self-starter, disciplined, work well in organizations, etc write those down.

The key is to know precisely what you want to do. With your degree and experience in journalism you can do a great deal. When you know precisely what you want to do, then you find out those who hire that type of job. Write down all the possible employers, research them, ask them questions, go find a person in a management position who is doing what you would like to do and set up an informational interview with him or her. It's not quite a job interview but is fairly formal and it's purpose is to find out what more you need to qualify for a position and what recommendations an experienced person can give you.

It could be you are ready to transition into a more managerial position. That often happens to writers who finally get burned out. In newspapers, editing is the natural next step. If that is out of the question for you then you need to look at different industries and see what opportunities exist for your skill set.

Remember that writing editorial for print, on a daily basis can be very stressful. But, if you were in a position to write catalog information for an art museum, for instance, you might find it a bit more enjoyable. So don't eliminate writing altogether.

It's very natural, too, for journalists to go into PR or into business communications. Don't be afraid of looking and leaping from one career path to another. Prepare. Outline. Go through each step. Connect. Network. Give yourself a time-line.

You really don't need to go back to school. If you have the time try and develop some freelance public relations work and use that to start connecting and networking in the pr world. Often these jobs are "who you know." Even though public relations and journalism are different every journalism program I'm familiar with includes a class or two in PR. That tells me that the real concern is writing ability. And you should have enough clips from your newspaper to make a substantial portfolio.

Remember that luck and paper don't give you opportunities; people do. Network in the area you want to transition to. Do it online, do it in real time, do it often; give and receive.

You might take a course like this one. It's an audio tape and costs $30 or so.


Diane asks: I have Master's of Science degree in Natural Resources (that is Environmental Science). Jobs are very scarce these days with all the recent lay-offs in this field and I am facing some pretty stiff competition for every job opening I come across. Would an environmental organization be more likely to hire me as a copy editor than an individual with just a communications degree? I value your opinion. I am committed to finding a career in the environment, but I am currently working as a secretary at a business office "to pay the bills."


Hi Diane,

That would depend on the organization, its needs and what you would apply for besides copy editor. What you need to do is target the job you most want to get, design a resume around that, and then connect with environmental organizations.

I will say this, every half-decent organization has communications material and all that material must be copy edited. Whether they hire full-time copy editors or use freelance editors is a policy issue, different for each organization.

You need to go with your strengths. An organization needs you just as you need them. If you go with your strengths you help them make their hiring decisions in your favor. So look over your job experience, your college experience, the achievements you have, the responsibilities you've undertaken in whatever capacity, your skills that are intangible (leadership, for instance) and tangible (like developing budgets) and get more aggressive in trying to get into the industry of choice.

The general consensus is if you want to work for an industry get in anyway you can and then move in the industry as you begin to get some experience.

What you need to think about are these things: "What are my skills, how do they fit into an organization, and what can I bring to an environmental organization to help solve their problems?" A company in any industry does not just hire people. They are trying to solve some problem either because they've gotten too successful or are not successful enough.

Remember too that when an industry goes down and cuts jobs it will only be a matter of time when it goes back up. Also realize that while looking at an industry is important you must look at the local economy as well. If, in your region, the economy is performing well, hiring is up then it is likely an environmental organization in your area will be doing well and looking to hire people.

To answer your specific question a company is much more likely to hire a person with experience in copy editing over someone with a degree in communications.

If you have experience in copy editing and are interested in it here are some links that will be helpful to you.
http://www.copydesk.org/
http://www.edsguild.org/become.htm

This is a terrific resource and should help you.

There is a special field of copy editors who are involved in the Scientific, Technical, and Medical publishing field (STM). There is a demand for these specialized copy editors; it is something you should research.

The best thing is to take your science background and target the environmental organizations you want to work for.


Pam asks,"Can you help me understand more about when to cite material read and when not to do so? I am interested in doing some non-fiction writing and want to be certain that I give credit where it is due. I understand that I am to cite another person's ideas. The line just gets hazy! Thank you."


Hi Pam,

This is an excellent question, one all writers face at some point in their career. It is very easy to inadvertently incorporate someone's idea in an article and claim it is yours.

Let me quote from an article I wrote on the subject:

"When reading something we are always mentally cataloging that material in one form or another, arguing with it, skimming over it, and so forth. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to write down the story you intend to write, in your own style, thinking through what you are going to say, and then start the process of research. And when you come across something you didn't know before, note it in the article, then, if justified, attribute it to the person who came up with the idea. That is the safest way to go, the fair way, the right way."

These two links have some good guidelines in the matter.

Plagiarism
On plagiarism from Northwestern U.

I think it can be boiled down to this: If you come across a piece of information that tells you more than you knew before, cite it.

If you come across a theory or an idea, paraphrase it and give the creator of the idea credit.

You don't worry about common knowledge. For instance, if you were to read that there was a hurricane in the Gulf called Katrina you could write that without indicating where you read that. However, if the story went into factual details you didn't get yourself then you need to cite where those facts come from. "According to the New Orleans Picayune...," for instance.

There are honest mistakes made but if you are trying to trick readers in believing you came up with an idea or got a quote directly then let the red flag go up and take care to credit the sources.

Quoting and paraphrasing are the two main ways to keep from directly taking from source material. If you read something that can be extracted and used in your article you would do so after you are certain you understand what the author had in mind, write the interpretation in your own words and then credit the source.

Use your common sense and you'll be ok.


Lisa asks, "Hi, I'm currently in my final year of school studying psychology, but all I really want to do is write. I have great chick lit novel ideas, and am writing one at the moment, but people keep telling me I need a 'proper job' before I can become an author. Is this true? How do I go about getting my work published? Could I really have a career in this?"


Hi Lisa,

Ideally, you don't need anything but to write. That's the ideal. But, the reality is that unless you're wealthy or have a decent boyfriend or husband, writing can be a precarious existence that has no guarantees. A lot depends on what life style requirements you have and how spartanesque you can afford to live.

What a writer needs more than anything is devotion. Whether you get a "proper job" and write on the side or get odd jobs and write when you can, you need to be devoted to what you're doing. If you are, you will accomplish a good deal.

To get published you write and write and write. Study the market. When a novel, chic or whatever, comes out find the publisher of that novel, get hold of a market book and write the publisher, address, editor names, phone numbers, etc down in a file.

Keep writing and get portions of your novel published in a small magazine or ezine. Editors and agents look kindly on that.

Ultimately what you need to do is find an editor or an agent that will handle your manuscript and turn it into a book. England may have a different process than the United States. Here in the U.S. a writer usually prepares a cover letter, a proposal, and some sample chapters and sends it out to an editor or an agent.

Until a manuscript is accepted you need to keep believing in your manuscript and market it at every opportunity. I would suggest strongly that since you're in college, spend some free time studying market books, compile those lists of publishers and agents who specialize in chick-lit, and get all that prepared because it's hard to do while you're writing and making a living.

Get as familiar with the writing profession as you can. There is a ton of resource on the internet. There are magazines and books. There are writing groups that would valuable for you to discover. If you see any announcement for seminars or conferences on chick-lit writing try to attend. Get to know editors and let them know you.

You especially want to have patience and give yourself some time because the whole process can be aggravating and nerve-wracking.

The most important thing is to write and don't let anyone, including friends and family, discourage you from the act.

A career in writing chick-lit novels depends on whether you can sell your first novel. If you can, then you have a chance at it but the market changes very rapidly. What is popular now may go out of favor. Keep that in mind.


Illana asks: "I live in California and would like to know if a writer has any recourse in this situation. I signed a contract with a gentleman one week ago. To date, he's never paid me the down payment to get started even though I've reminded him twice already. It doesn't look like he's going to honor the contract. What is the best thing to do?"


Hi Illana,

The simple answer is, if he doesn't honor the contract don't do any of the work. There really is no recourse if no money is involved except don't recommend him to anyone in your network. Sometimes just being persistent is enough. I would not do any work for this particular person unless he advances some money.

If, however, you have done work for him and he reneges you need to determine how much he owes you based on the agreed amount. Then you invoice him, call him, invoice him again, call him, invoice him again until he answers. If it is a large amount threaten to take him to small claims court. If it is not a large amount you'll have to write it off as an expensive lesson, unless his conscience catches up to him.

It's best in a situation like this not to be belligerent but remind him he has a moral obligation to fulfill his end of a contract and that it is not good business to renege on contracts.

Those are very non-legal opinions based on some experience. However, if you are talking a large amount of money it is best to seek some legal advice. Try the National Writer's Union and see what they say.


Ted asks: "One newspaper editor told me the articles I submitted are his paper's upon publication. An editor at another paper say it is my "intellectual property" and may be sold elsewhere after publication. Which is correct?"


Hi Ted,

The answer is that both are right. The copyright belongs to you and you negotiate the rights and assign them to the editor you are dealing with.

What it appears happened is that there was no negotiating; the editor simply told you their policies about freelance material. And usually an inexperienced writer is going to accept those policies without question.

In the first case the editor accepted the piece as a "work for hire," which means the newspaper owns all the content that goes into it. This is a lousy deal for a writer because your copyright is very important.

In the second case the editor bought, perhaps, one-time rights which means he has exclusive right to the material you submitted for a specific time, after which all the rights revert to you. Then you can go resell the article with reprint rights and so on. That is the deal you want as a freelance writer.

Next time you run into something like that try to negotiate with the editor to retain the right to reprint your material to another market. On magazines this negotiating goes on all the time. But, on newspapers it can be very cut and dried and is an established policy editors get fixated on.


Sarah asks: "I just graduated with a BA in English Writing from Loyola University. I would like to do freelance editing work, but I'm not sure how to go about getting jobs. Can you help me?


Hi Sarah,

There are several things to consider. One is that when you start to freelance you are in business. And you need to know how to get clients to sustain that business. The other thing to consider is the type of editing you wish to do. If you are talking about proofreading and copy editing that is one thing; if you are seeking to edit the content of magazines, newsletters, etc. that is quite another. That would be very difficult to do without experience.

Freelance copy editing is very popular, is used quite frequently by publications. You get jobs by:

  • Developing a portfolio of work that you can show someone.
  • Developing a nice presentation with a cover letter that spells out what you can do for the client and why you are the one to do it.
  • Preparing for rejection by having a good plan on how to market yourself.
  • Availing yourself of the online job boards and the freelance auction sites. The resources are plentiful in these areas but focus on only those that will further your goals.

Most of the work you pick up first will be local. All local areas need copy editing in one form or another so look at where, what, whom has opportunities to copy edit. Because of your inexperience you'll have to start with low-paying, fast turnaround type jobs. But that is good because you want to start putting things in your portfolio.

The single best way to get freelance jobs is to cold-call businesses that have writing that needs copy editing. And that is just about all and every business in existence. Call them and ask if you can speak to the person who hires freelance copy editors. If they don't have any such person, ask if they hire freelancers at all. If they say no, go on to the next call. If you get two or three contacts this way it's worth all the time spent having people say, no we don't hire freelancers.

The key is getting those first jobs and paying attention to who is hiring you. Try to get referrals from former clients.

Don't be afraid of making mistakes and be prepared to go up a learning curve.

These links may help you:
www.copyeditor.com
www.copydesk.org

Good luck in your pursuits!


Amanda asks, "I am about to graduate with a BA in Sociology. I am interested in pursuing a career as a magazine staff writer. I have had one internship with an online magazine and have acquired a couple of clips. I have also been accepted to a couple of master's programs in print journalism and found some internships that interest me. I am currently trying to decide whether to get a masters or do an internship for a couple of months and then try to get a job. So I guess my question is: What matters more- experience or education? "


Sherri asks, "I have an Associates Degree in Art with a major in Graphic Design. A Copywriting career seems to be very interesting. What kind of Bach degree would you recommend or major should I pursue in order to get the most experience in this area?"


Kenneth asks, "I have written a 55,000 word manuscript. How do I get it published without costing me an arm and a leg. This is my first book but I have started on a second."


Faith asks, "I am interested in finding a job as a web content staff writer. I have a B.S. Degree in Communication Studies and have done some writing on the net. I've written for Suite101.com about Siamese cats and have had 5000 hits last month. I have also written a couple of articles for associated content.com. I just signed up with them. Where do I look for web content staff writer jobs and how do I market myself for this type of employment.


Jennifer asks, "I am an Accounting Technician working for the Department of Agriculture and I would like to change my career to writing. I can write on any subject given enough research and exposure. Do you think freelance writing will be good for someone like me? Please let me know what avenues I need to take in order to become a freelance writer if I seem fit for it. Do I need to go back to school first?"



Dave asks: "My career has included stints as sports editor of a small town newspaper, associate editor of a national trade publication, and copywriter for an ad agency. In running my own business, I have often been required to write ad copy, for which I have received numerous compliments. I recently turned 50 and did a little self-analysis. I decided that I wasn't happy with my financial situation.

But my question is, "What is the best way to get exposure and work, as a free lance copywriter?"


Stephen asks: "Is it possible for me to get a comprehensive list and e-mail contact details of national daily newspapers in America, Europe and Asia?"


Alicia asks, "I'm a young, fiction writer and I've never felt so helpless. Can I find some one to help me edit? What if EVERY literary agent turns me away? Where am I to turn? Do I just keep writing and sending and submitting until some day? I do have a bachelor's degree, but I'm not in any "writing" community", nor was I an English major (philosophy) (so it's not like I have professors to help me out in the practical part of publishing). Thanks for dealing with my confusion.


David asks, "I am interested in possibly pursuing a career as a copywriter. I am 29 with an undergraduate writing degree, and I currently reside in New York City. I have been a sketch comedy writer and actor for a number of years, and have nothing to put on a professional resume now that I am seeking a job in this new field.

Could you offer any advice as to what steps I could take at this point?"


Paul asks, "Hi, there. Your thoughtful and thorough answers to others' questions have been very helpful to me, so I first wanted to thank you for that. I worked as a staff writer and sometimes editor for daily newspapers in California for about 12 years; for the past year or so, I have been trying my hand at freelancing. But while I try to broaden my base and get more assignments -- especially from larger publications that pay more -- it's definitely hard to make ends meet financially. To supplement the writing, I'd like to get a part-time journalism job...


Jan asks, "I have been an advertising copywriter for the past 15 years. I have also done work as a stringer for a few small newspapers and magazines, and wrote a column for a major market newspaper. I would like to move more into journalism but am not sure how to position experience so that I don't have to start over.


Stacie asks, "I do some freelance editing at the time, but for a friend's newspaper. I am looking to expand my clientele, but am not sure which direction I should take when it comes to getting paid for freelance work. Should I set up PayPal? Should I trust the client will send me the check after the work is completed?


Donna asks, "I will graduate with a BA (Psychology & Writing)/BEd this year. I also have extensive experience with working within major organizations. I am hoping to study a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology next year. I would also like to work in the editing/publishing industry - where do I go from here?


Brian asks, "I am a budding free-lance writer, British by nationality and I live in central China. I am asking for some advice on how to reach editors in the US. I have had some successes in London, Singapore and in an American aviation magazine. My forte is aviation and related matters, and I also have done some stories on “day by day life on the streets in China.” ( believe me - there’s a bottomless pit of material here!) Regards , and Thanks for your help.


Marc asks,"I graduated with a BA in Magazine Journalism in 2002. While in college I wrote a couple of articles for the school newspaper. I also researched, edited, archived more than 2000 pages of historical Georgia documents as an assistant to the Project Manager. I've been out of journalism for a year and a half now. What could I do to get back into the swing of things and what type of job in journalism do you think would best fit my experience."


Don asks: "I'm lost. I just completed college about a year ago and I don't know what to do with myself. I love creative writing, but am unsure how to go about finding a job in this field. I have a bachelors in communications and have written hundreds of poems. I would love to get them published, but am utterly frustrated. Can you offer me any advice?"


Veronica asks: "What is the role of a public editor for a newspaper?"


Jason asks: "I'm a college senior at an excellent university in Washington, DC. I'm majoring in Literature and I've been wanting to write a column. How would I approach a newspaper or magazine about my idea? How do I build a writing portfolio? Is it okay to photocopy my clips?"


Mark asks, "I have over sixty-five pieces of music and arts-related journalism. How can I approach getting a job with a newspaper or magazine doing reviews, interviews, etc.? I live in New York City."


Sharon asks: "I am currently doing freelance writing on a part time basis in South Africa. I am very eager to break into the international market but am unsure of the formats used in business or technical writing. Is there a specific book or site with examples?"


Steve asks: "I currently write for a sports website that has been operational for a few months. I'm looking to find other freelance, full-time or part-time opportunities, preferably in online media.


Karen asks, "Hello, I graduated with a B.A. in Creative Writing from a reputable University several years ago but have since found myself stuck in an unstimulating job in order to "pay the bills." I find it very difficult to know where to begin. Do you have any advice for me on where I can start looking and how I can sell my skills to a potential employer?"


Diane asks, "Over the last 7 years (while at college and since graduating) I have worked at a college newspaper as a Staff Writer, for several years as a Film Reviewer for web sites and a film festival, and most recently in Advertising (doing some ad editing) for a small, weekly newspaper. My dream is to eventually work full-time as a Film Reviewer.


Jenifer asks, "I have recently gotten back into college and am trying to figure out the right type of degree to pursue. I am very interested in writing/literature. I don't even know where to begin or the steps to take as far a obtaining a career in writing.


Cheryl writes: "I am a substitute teacher and a parent counselor. I have always loved writing and have been told I am very good. I have a real passion for writing and would love to write for a magazine like Essence or Ebony.


Don writes: "I recently contacted a literary agency; the agency is interested in my work. They sent me a packet of information as well as a profile to fill out. They told me that contracts would be on the way should they choose to represent me. One thing made my leery though. The agency charges a $450 annual contract fee.


Nikki asks, I'm thinking about getting a job in public relations. What are usually the main aspects of a career in P.R. and do you need a lot of experience to nail a great paying position?


Pam asks, "I have always loved to write. I, however, never considered a career in writing. I am making efforts at a career change.


Andy asks: "I am a writer, first and foremost. But my resume details an experience writing for television. How do I break out of the pigeon-hole I'm in and get employers to see me as a capable writer for any medium?"


Amanda asks:"I am about to graduate with a BA in Sociology. I am interested in pursuing a career as a magazine staff writer. I have had one internship with an online magazine and have acquired a couple of clips.


Melissa asks: I am looking for any advice or guidance you might have to offer on the subject of freelance writing/reporting.At the present time I am completing my first children's book. In addition to this I have begun writing a thriller.


Steve asks: I am a mid-level professional who is in the middle of a career change quest. I have experience as a news promotion writer-producer at a Top 30 market television station.


Margot asks: Where can I get training in proofreading/editing? (I have a BA in English.)


Dawn asks: I am very interested in becoming either a copywriter or proofreader for educational publications. I have a BS is special Education and love to write.I'm unsure how to get started.


Grant asks: "I was wondering if you could point me in a good direction for fact-checking jobs? Thanks!"


Hi, At age 27, I'm just beginning to try and convert my passion for writing into a way to earn a living. I graduated from a well-known university with a degree in English Literature and subsequently went on to work in the insurance industry. How that happened is a mystery. Where can I go to learn how to find and land contract or freelance opportunities?


Hi there. I'm a freelance journalist who would like to write social and political stories about Zimbabwe for any online publication. How can I get in touch with those interested in receiving such stories? I also have five years experience in sub editing and would be glad to offer my services.


Bill asks: I'm a senior with aspirations of writing for profit. I'm looking for a mentor. Can you help direct me to one?


Maria asks: I am a single struggling Mom, and am very interested in copywriting. I have a Graphic Arts degree already, and a passion for writing, I also do fine arts. This sounds like a way to do what I love. and make ends meet at the same time. Does this sound crazy? Or like something I should peruse?


I just came across your web site and wonder if you could help me. I have 40-plus years' experience as a medical transcriptionist and editor/QA. These jobs are drying up here in the U.S. thanks to so much outsourcing overseas and sacrificing quality in favor of quality. I love to write and am an excellent editor. I would like to find a way to break into editing for publication or writing. Thanks, Karen.


Anna asks: I'm interested in finding information on what sort of jobs are available for writing for magazines. I need to declare my major soon in school, and I'm trying to decide. If you have any information or ideas that would be great.


George asks: In your opinion, what is the most effective method for tapping into freelance markets (besides subscribing to your excellent newsletter)?


Leslie asks: I may sound a little green in asking this, but freelance writing poses no medical benefits. If you are attempting to pursue a career manipulating the written word, is there a way to get medical benefits through say the state? Thank you very much.


Tricia asks, What does it take to become an editor of a magazine or some sort of publication? I already have my bachelor's and my bilingual teaching credential. What are the typical undergraduate and graduate degrees for this position? Thank you.


Robert asks, I'm in a strange conundrum regarding my career. I've been searching for "Right Livelihood" my entire adult life. And it's reached a critical juncture.


"I would like to get an internship to help me gain experience, but most internships require you to be a student and they require several clips. I don't fit either of those prerequisites. What can I do to get some experience?"


"I have 3 years experience in proofreading and editing of STM books and journals. I want to work as a freelancer. How can I get jobs?"


"I'm a book editor in New York with 3 years' experience trying to make the transition to advertising copywriting..."


"How does a writer, with no professional experience, get started?"


I write poems of varied nature and I am looking for someone to help me copyright them and then publish them."


"To be a copywriter what kind of education and training do I need?"

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*Disclaimer: I try to get the best writing jobs I can find but I can't guarantee a job is still available. And I can't vouch for the credibility of those who post jobs. Use at your own risk.


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