Archive for August, 2006

Negotiating Your Own Rate: Magazines

Even with your first magazine sale there is still some room for negotiation. There are basically three separate situations here.

Speculation:  When you submit an article “on speculation,” this means the editor is willing to look but not necessarily buy.  If he or she likes the article they offer you a standard fee. You can accept this, or you can counter that the article is worth a little more, and state exactly what you want.

I have been successful at this most of the time. A few times, however, I have lost my editor over this when I have inquired about payment. In one case, a trade journal paid $250 for something I had worked hard to research. When I asked for more, the editor blew up and said he’d decide what to pay. When I run into this attitude, I take that magazine off the list because I know, in the long run I’ll never make any money working for them.

Assignment:  After you have sold a few articles to a magazine you should stop doing anything on speculation, and start asking for an assignment. For assignments, all rates should be negotiated in advance. I make it a point to ask for either twenty percent above my last fee for that magazine or for about twenty percent above the rate stated in Writer’s Market.

Price the Query:  Since I frequently write articles for magazines I have never worked for before, I always state the price I want at the bottom of the query. Usually I set the price from twenty to thirty percent above the rates the magazine says they pay. Or if I have been working for similar magazines and have already established a rate, I ask for that rate, even if the magazine says it pays less.

Does this work? Of course it does. Most smaller magazines pay the price I ask. Actually I don’t use this system when working for major magazines. I simply negotiate the fee in advance. But for smaller publications this works.

This article compliments of: The Professional Authors Newsletter

Contact information:



PART-TIME NEWSPAPER EDITOR SOUGHT Success monthly business publication seeks part-time editor to edit content, compile news and probably do some blogging. Please send resume or letter of interest and any writing samples or reference asap. Compensation: DOE – to be discussed. Reply to:

TELECOMMUTE WEDDING BLOGGER WANTED New wedding website is looking for someone in the process of planning a wedding or same-sex commitment ceremony to blog about it on the site. Blogger must be willing and able to post regularly throughout the engagement (at least once a week) and be honest about the trials, tribulations, and joys of planning a wedding. Humor (when appropriate) is a big plus. Site will go live in fall 2006–ideally we’re looking for someone with a long engagement who is near the beginning of the process, but we’ll make an exception for the right person. No technical skills necessary; the actual posting of the blog will be done at our end. Interested applicants should submit a blog sample of approximately 700 words (could be one long post or a few shorter ones) as a Word attachment to the craigslist email address above, along with full contact information. Compensation: $200 per month for the duration of the engagement/blog. Reply to:

WEDDING-RELATED ESSAYS NEEDED New wedding website is looking for original essays about all aspects of getting married or entering into a committed same-sex union: practical, emotional, financial, humorous, and philosophical takes are all welcome. Essays should be about your own experience as a fiance/bride/groom/ newlywed, not about someone else’s (your best friend’s wedding, etc.). Essays should be between 500 and 3,000 words. Compensation is paid upon acceptance. Site will go live in late 2006, and essays will remain on site indefinitely (copyright to all individual essays remains with authors). Please submit essays as Word attachments to the craigslist email address above, along with your full contact information. Compensation: $150 per essay; applicants may submit multiple essays for consideration Reply to:

TELECOMMUTE ONLINE NEWSPAPER EDITOR SOUGHT This is a work from home position to edit a local online county newspaper in the Atlanta area. Raw Content will be provided, your job will be to edit and post articles to the paper. Time required is about 2 hrs per day. Must have a computer and high speed internet connection (DSL or cable modem). Compensation: $500 – $1500 per month Reply to:

EDITOR NEEDED I am an independent author of several books of fiction. My editor in the past is too busy with her new job as editor of a magazine to edit any of my new writing, and I need a new one that is at least equal to her. You must: * Have a Masters degree in some field of English. * Be willing to provide me with a photo copy of your degree as proof. * Sign an official document to protect me from any theft of my intellectual property. * Be willing to go through a phone interview with me personally. * If selected, be willing to give progress reports over the phone to me personally. * In addtion to editing grammar, spelling, typos, etc., must also be willing to write me a book review (min. 10 pages) after reading entire manuscript. The manuscript is about 450 pages long. I need it done by no later than December 1st of this year. Serious inquiries only, please. Email me your resume and cover letter with any and all qualifications and experience you feel is applicable for this job. Why you would want to do this, and what you wish to gain aside from just the money I pay you, would also be helpful. Compensation: $200.00 to be paid in cash upon completion of editing and book review Reply to:

TELECOMMUTE BOOK EDITOR WANTED Former CEO, now retired, has just completed “a clean draft” of his first book and is looking for an experienced book editor to assist in editing, organizing, researching and providing pre-publication guidance and assistance. This is a non-fiction work…a “labor of love” that was two years in development and is now ready for a trained eye and some professional touches. My preference is to work directly with an experienced editor not through a third party organization. More details about the book will be provided during the interview process. If you are interested and have a reputation for exceptional editing work, please provide the following information: 1) Recap of previous editing experience 2) Educational background 3) Availability to start: Full or part time 4) Editing format preferred: PC or working with actual draft 5) Fees and explanation of other charges Compensation: Hourly or daily rate to be determined Reply to:

FREELANCE MEDICAL WRITER SOUGHT Medical publisher of specialty books and journals seeking a freelance medical writer with experience in pharmacology to produce a clinician’s manual of approximately 10,000 words. Candidate should be available immediately as the project is scheduled to commence within the next two weeks. Please forward resume with salary requirements. Compensation: TBD Reply to:

FREELANCE WRITERS NEEDED We are a leader in industrial and manufacturing titles and are currently seeking fluent Portuguese speakers to conduct interviews with senior management over the telephone. Candidates should have commercial writing experience. To be considered please forward your resume plus two examples of your work in English. Compensation: Competitive Reply to:

TELECOMMUTE EXPERIENCED FREELANCE WRITERS WANTED NTW, Newport’s news and arts alternative, is looking for some solid, experienced writers to work on in-depth news and feature stories. Must be able to take a story idea/assignment and be able to report, research and write using competent, credible, local sources without much hand-holding. Must have previous experience reporting and writing for a publication. Attention to details and DEADLINES is a must!You probably won’t get rich off of us, but if you’re good and dependable, we can keep you in a steady supply of freelance work. Please note: We are NOT looking for columnists. We have lots of people who give us their opinions. Now we need some folks to help us with some solid, credible, objective writing. If this sounds like your gig, shoot us an email with some of your prior experience, a resume if you’d like, and your contact info. Compensation: $50-$100+ per article, depending on length, research, time and experience Reply to:

TRAVEL WRITERS SOUGHT If you think you have the passion for a certain destination and are interested in becoming a paid travel writer, we have an opportunity for you. Read on! WHO YOU ARE: We are looking for people who have enthusiasm, energy, great writing and a passion for a destination where they live, like say Costa Rica, or London. Although we’re looking for you to create an awesome resource for travelers, your personality is just as important. It should be reflected in your writing, be opinionated and grab the readers’ attention. THE WRITING: You would be writing and developing an online travel guide to your destination. You will write approximately 250 to 350 words per post, 4 to 5 times per day. Not only will you write about your perspective on traveling to the destination, but you will do hotel and restaurant reviews, interview travelers, and help give travelers a complete view of what it is like to travel and live there. More information at Compensation: You could earn between $200 to $600 per month to start Reply to: online

FREELANCE COPYWRITER SOUGHT CHEFS is a rapidly growing bi-channel retailer with a catalog and website. We’re building compelling assortments in cookware, bakeware, cutlery, electrics, specialty food and other items for cooking enthusiasts. 1) Write and/or rewrite catalog and website product copy, ensuring accuracy of information and compliance to style and brand standards. Write revisions and reconcile all input on manuscript and proofs; assume responsibility for complete accuracy of compiled information. 2) Write and/or rewrite copy for catalog introductions and feature editorial spreads, ensuring accuracy of information and compliance to style and brand standards. Write revisions and reconcile all input on manuscript and proofs; assume responsibility for complete accuracy of compiled information 3) Act as liaison with chefs and other food professionals to procure information for catalog and website. Conduct interviews with chefs and other food professionals for feature editorial pieces. 4) Develop strong familiarity with CHEFS merchandise in order to accurately identify and communicate features and benefits, and ensure that copy is thorough and accurate. Requirements: * Strong copywriter able to assume CHEFS brand voice * Ability to manage multiple writing projects in a deadline-driven environment * Prior specialty retail catalog copyediting experience preferred but not required * Knowledge of cooking, food, cookware and related kitchen equipment preferred but not required. Compensation: TBD Reply to:

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS FOR PARENTING PUBLICATION NEEDED “Tucson Parenting Today” is currently in need of contributing writers for the following topics: Parenting methods / discipline; Children’s activities; Family finances; Parenting children with special needs; Family relationships; Working parents / stay at home parents; Family vacations; Home schooling ; Family film reviews; the family mealtime; Children’s sports & recreation; Parenting infants, toddlers, tweens and teens, Adoption, Parenting resources and more. “Tucson Parenting Today” is a new bi-monthly publication with distribution totals of 30,000. Please send a one-page letter detailing the topic you’d like to address as well as your strategy for writing the story and a current resume. For those with experience, please make sure you list the publications you’ve written for and include at least 2 examples of your published work. All others, please submit a sample of your work of at least 300 words on a related topic. Compensation: $10-$20 per accepted/published article Reply to:

WRITING HELP WANTED I am looking for someone to help me finish a technical book that I have written. Someone with solid background in grammar. It is available on my website. So you can check it out if you like. Compensation: Negotiable. DOE. Reply to:

TELECOMMUTE ENGINEERING EDITORS WANTED Engineering editors to proofread and edit the writing of nonnative Asian speakers of English wanted. We are looking for native speakers of American English: 1) college graduates 2) knowledge of engineering 3) engineering writing experience 4) good writers 5) enjoy playing with the written word 6) with an eye for details 7) notice small mistakes 8) check their email at least two or three times each day The amount of work varies from minimal to overwhelming depending on how busy we are. If you are the right person, your monthly pay should average somewhere in the hundreds of dollars and the hourly pay should be significantly higher than $25.00 an hour. A very good month would exceed $1,000.00. We pay by check in the USA or PayPal elsewhere. Please contact us with a resume. We will contact the right candidates with instructions and trial documents. We look forward to hearing from you if you think you have the skillset. Compensation: Rates starting at $25.00 an hour. Reply to:

TELECOMMUTE/FREELANCE WRITER FOR MAGAZINE SOUGHT Independent School seeking freelance writer for alumni magazine. Will conduct interviews and write short profiles, reesearch and write feature articles, participate in the overall editorial development, contribute headlines, etc. A good spot to hone your skills under a good editor and to make some extra money. Working remotely is required. Compensation: $100-$400 per article Reply to:

TELECOMMUTE/FREELANCE PART-TIME WRITER WANTED Fast growing software and services company needs “business” oriented writer with editing skills for ongoing contract work. We write case studies and testimonials for our clients to post on their web sites and use as collateral material. Testimonials are typically two pages long (500 words) and case studies are around 1,000 words. You would be responsible to “interview” the case study contacts and elicit their candid and compelling feedback. This feedback must be synthesized into an article with appropriate pull quotes. You must be an experienced writer, a seasoned professional, articulate, good phone presence. Please send a cover email with your resume. Compensation: Hourly or by the article comensurate with experence Reply to:

FREELANCE PART-TIME EDITOR NEEDED LA online magazine is seeking a part time editor to manage website. Editor should have experience managing a website. Website consists of several news topic and the editor will be in charge of the following: 1. Managing the website 2. Adding new articles to the site 3. Updating the Calendar for local LA events 4. Managing online contributors This is a part time freelance position. Please send your resumes for review. Compensation: $200-400 per month Reply to:

Summertime blues

Though I’m really enjoying my job writing for the soap site, that’s about the only thing I’ve done that’s the least bit writing involved lately. It’s so damned hot it Texas this time of year. And even though I’m not out working in it, a sort of lethargy has set in. Or heck, maybe I’m just tired. I have worked non-stop for three years, so I guess if I take a break from writing and submitting for a little while, that’s ok. But it’s really hard to keep the enthusiasm going when Maddy is being rejected by agents, even though I’ve had good luck getting other pieces published, this is my baby. There have only been four agents who rejected the full manuscript and my writer buddies say this is just a drop in the bucket, but still….

Monologue of a Dog

Nobel winner Wislawa Szymborska triumphs over contemporary standards, which are simply silly.

Monologue of a Dog
By Wislawa Szymborska

Harcourt. 96 pp. $22

Reviewed by John Timpane

I’ve been reading this book for months, deriving pleasure, instruction, expansion of spirit, and much else from Wislawa Szymborska’s poems.

What most struck me was this: If Szymborska were an American poet and wrote the same poems word-for-word in English, she’d seldom, if ever, get published, and would be harassed and harangued in many a creative-writing class. The way she writes is at odds with many prevalent standards these days. She triumphs over them, utterly. That shows how good she is, and how dumb the standards are.

This Polish poet won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996 at 73; the award struck some people as a surprise, possibly because Szymborska is known for her lightness of touch, her fluttering irony. She takes on important subjects, but with distance, a bemusement that avoids self-indulgence or thought-

wallowing. But hey, she won. She has been a very popular poet for decades (little known in the United States until after the award), regarded as accessible and wise by many readers who don’t consider themselves especially “bookish.”

But you know what? If she sent in Monologue of a Dog as her application to a college or university MFA program, she might not get in. Because, as Billy Collins notes in his introduction, she is a “conceptual” poet. She picks a conceit, a notion, and spins out the poem from there. A poem called “List” is – a list. A poem called “ABC” uses the letters of the alphabet as the poem’s launching pad – with a bouquet of lovely surprises. “A Moment,” “Clouds” – the titles announce the conceit, and away we go. Old-fashioned? Some might say so. Who cares about ’em?

Some of her poems are nakedly allegorical or metaphorical. “Monologue of a Dog Ensnared in History” sinks us into the inevitability of abuse and violence. Many of her poems are, in the broadest possible sense, “philosophical” – they muse on the nature of life, and tell you they are doing so, no froufrou about it. In fact, the poems in Monologue – ably translated by Clare Cavanaugh and Stanislaw Baranczak – become more and more philosophical as you read on. They muse aloud about what it’s like to exist. They have a point – they tell you so – they make said point – it is packaged for you to take away.

That would not get you points with many editors and teachers these days. Would they ever drive a wooden spike through the heart of that enterprise? They would. Too bad, because, as Szymborska shows again and again in this book, these time-honored ways of spinning poems still sing.

“A Note” starts with the delectable couplet “Life is the only way/ To get covered in leaves,” and, in a string of images (the middles of Szymborska poems often cluster vivid instances, snapshots, encounters, given just enough space to be seen), proceeds to remind us of how single each life is, how only. Life is the only chance you get to “mislay your keys in the grass; / and to follow a spark on the wind with your eyes.” Then, again in a characteristic turn, she leaves with an ambiguous twist: Life is our only chance “to keep on not knowing / something important.” How nice: The frustrations of not-knowing are an opportunity, one for which to be grateful. We can’t have answers to our biggest questions – but in that piquancy somehow lies our big chance.

Szymborska hangs “A Ball” on the repetition of “as long as.” Since, so far, we have no evidence of any other world or life in the universe, we should “act like very special guests of honor / at the district fireman’s ball.” Can you just see the hard-wired reflexes of the creative-writing gatekeepers taking over? Too cute! Cliche! Too obvious! Sentimental! Don’t state this so outright.

They’d be wrong. They might strike out the title of “First Love.” And yet its ending is positively explosive: First love “does what the others still can’t manage: / unremembered, / not even seen in dreams, / it introduces me to death.” Unforgettable.

And, along with the poem “Monologue,” she offers “Some People,” one of the quietest and best of poems on the horrors of 20th-century oppression. Following those who flee oppression, it’s written with a restraint that forces the reader to build in the terror: “Some invisibility would come in handy, / some grayish stoniness, / or, better yet, some nonexistence / for a shorter or longer while.” Some writers whinge on and on about how to write a political poem. Szymborska knows how: Write with a light hand, a passionate heart, and faith in the reader.

Three pillars for a whole culture of poetry! Monologue of a Dog, quizzical and acid-etched, challenges us at every turn. This is poetry that shuts the schools and quiets the critics. Hurrah and again hurrah.

John Timpane is the associate editor of the editorial board for The Inquirer. Contact him at 215-854-4406 or

Two great sites I found

Anatomy of a Book Deal blog

The Modern Word

This Life

First and finally we are loners
from that beginning breath
until the last dying ember
we are given the task of loving
yet on our own.

It’s through the grace of God
and the hand of family
the compassion of a friend
the devotion of a pet
it could be as simple
as the peaceful repetition
of supper on the stove
or the wild passion of romance
that the journey is eased
the impact of life’s
storms lessened,
and delight is brought
to the act of living.

Still, when the day is done
and the last whistle blows
we leave like we came
unleashed from this earth
but as one.

Denise Kincy

Good writing advice

The Teacher’s Blackboard  Ó2006




Karen Newcomb


A column for teachers with tools to help their students understand the writing process.


To round out the three-dimensional character they have to have an emotional side. 


LESSON FIVE:  PART THREE:  Developing character traits


  1. Does the character have a best friend?
  2. What attracts them to that best friend?
  3. Does the best friend have traits that are opposite the main character?
  4. What are the character’s dislikes and pet peeves?
  5. Does the character have any secret desires?
  6. What is it that makes them happy?
  7. Does the character have any phobias?
  8. Is the character friendly and outgoing?
  9. Is the character shy and introverted?
  10. Does the character have any kind of talent or abilities?
  11. Is the character smart?
  12. What kind of music does the character like?
  13. What is the characters favorite color?  And why.
  14. What kind of humor does the character have?
  15. Does the character have any ambition in life?
  16. Does the character have any favorite hobbies?
  17. How does the character like to dress?  At home attire?  At work or school attire?
  18. What are the character’s strongest and weakest character traits?
  19. Does the character have any enemies?
  20. What is the character’s philosophy of life?
  21. Is the character educated?  In what?
  22. What is the most important thing that sets them apart from the sub characters in the story?
  23. How does the character relate to others?  At home? At school or work?
  24. Why will a reader remember this character?


You may have to go back into the character’s childhood memories to decide why they are the way they are emotionally.  Of course if they are children characters this is when their personalities begin.  But something will trigger them emotionally to make them the way they are.


Think of characters in books you’ve read and I’ll bet the names you recall were characters with strong traits that you’ll never forget.  For me Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind is the strongest character I’ve ever read.  Stubborn, pig headed, yet strong in determination when it came to her beloved
Tara plantation and especially to her family and those she thought she cared about.  This was one imperfect character!  She played beautifully against Melanie’s perfections.


Then we have one of my favorite child characters Tom Sawyer.  Tom is growing up and his selection of friends seems wide and varied.  And, those friends he associates with influences the types of scrapes he gets himself into. 


Every main character should have a dominant and a secondary character trait.  For instance, they may have a dominant trait of confidence in everything they do, but a secondary trait is that inside they are unsure of themselves. 





Using the character name you selected give him/her their personality by answering the character questions.  Once you start building the character, their personalities and traits should blossom.  Students should have fun doing this.


Using the books you’ve selected see if you can pick out the main character’s traits from the questions.  Not all questions will be answered of course, but the characters you love to read about do come to life to readers.  You now have the tools to understand why.


Next month I’ll talk about voice, getting into the consciousness of the character.

 This information is courtesy of The Booksite