Friday, May 26, 2006

New Free Site for Fiction Market Listings

I get a ton of newsletters about writing. Well, maybe not a "ton", because I'm not sure they've figured out a way to measure the actual weight of online proliferation of reading material. Anyway ...

This morning I received Erika Dreifus' "The Practicing Writer" newsletter. There's always information on conferences, retreats, internships, contests, and markets packed into her newsletters. It's on my "do not unsub" list.

It seems Erika is discontinuing the sale of her fiction markets e-books because she's happened upon a free site offering much of the same information. She is now offering her e-books for free even though they contain more markets for fiction, essays, and poetry, than does the free site.

Check it out! Duotrope

And while you're at it sign up for a look at The Practicing Writer newsletter.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pricing Your Copy

It's a situation you'll find yourself in time and've got a client who describes the job, and then asks for pricing. But you don't know where to begin!

Well, the smartest advice I've ever heard comes from Bob Bly. He says simply ASK for the client's budget. It would go something like this:

"Well, do you have a copy budget for the project?" And sometimes they'll say yes.

"What is it, if you don't mind sharing," you say. And they say, "we figured about $3,000." And you can say, "That was about what I was thinking." Or if appropriate, "Wow...we're way off. Let me do some thinking."

This is the ideal situation...that they'll willingly share, but it'll happen only a fraction of the time.

What do you do when your client says, "We don't have a budget" or "Yes, we have a budget (but you'll never know what it is)."

Here's how to figure out what your client can afford to spend for your copy...

#1. Find out how many pieces are going to be printed or (e)mailed.

#2. Determine whether your work is for gaining a lead, a sale, or something else, and what percent is likely to convert (ask the client for this information).

#3. Find out the price of the service or product, then calculate what the potential campaign revenue is to the client.

#4. Come to a potential figure for your client's profit possibility, and then see if your pricing appears acceptable within that framework.

Here's a quick exercise to see what your initial pricing might be for a lead-generating direct mail package.

Imagine you're being asked to write copy for a 6" x 9" envelope (including concepting), a 2-page sales letter, an 11" x 14" brochure, and a 3" x 11" reply device.

What would you charge? Go ahead, just give it a ballpark and write it down somewhere.

Ok, now let's go through a logical process of estimating your fee using a hypothetical software company (my favorite niche market):

The client's product is a practice management software for veterinarians. The product sells for $10,000 per installation. The client has a rented cold prospect list of 5,000 veterinarians and is hoping you can generate 2 percent in leads, which would be 100 inquiries.

Let's say of the 100 leads, a third are "cold" and won't close for awhile. Another third are "warm," and the rest are "hot." That would mean 33 hot leads, with a projected immediate conversion ratio of 10% (based on the client's past conversion ratio history). So figure 3.3 percent times $10,000 and projected IMMEDIATE revenue is $33,300.

This doesn't count revenue from cold and warm lead that move up to hot over time. So considering this, what do you consider a fair price for your work? Is it anything like the price you threw on the table earlier?

There's no rule of thumb for what to charge, but considering your client's other costs...list rental, postage, printing, design, etc...I'd certainly start at $3,000 for my services, and probably try for more, perhaps $4,000 or $4,500.

What if your client is a big mailer like Intuit...selling a $1,000 product in a one-step to a list of 50,000, with a projected profit of $230,000? Now your job is harder (selling versus getting leads), and they stand to profit more...MUCH your work. A job like this would go for about $10,000, depending on your track record and experience.

Bottom line, the more you know about the math behind your client's campaign, the better, and more fairly, you can price.

They call this a "Resource Box":
Chris Marlow shows freelancers how to land the high-quality, high-paying clients in corporations, organizations, and institutions. Check out her coaching program at The Copywriters Coach.
BTW, you can publish this article for free! As my subscriber, you can reprint this article as long as it's reprinted in its entirety...and the resource box stays intact of course :)

ALSO, if you liked this month's article and know others who could benefit from the marketing ideas found here, please do THEM a favor and ME too and send them a copy of this newsletter! They can sign up at: Freelancers Business Bulletin

(And now you know where we find this stuff! Linda)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Got Reviews?

I don't know this site, but I do know that writers need reviews. If you are an author looking for reviews of your book, you may want to check this site out.

--Irene Watson is looking for books to review for her new book reviewwebsite called Reader Views at "As a new author, I struggled to get reviews. Considering there are over 200,000 books published yearly, most books don't get the proper review they should. I gathered a team of reviewers throughout U.S. and Canada interested in a variety of genres and we are reviewing books." Read the submission guidelines at

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Linda's New Website Photo?

My son got a new Harley motorcycle last week. I've been thinking about changing my website photo...

Here's the one I've been using...

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blogs and RSS

These are the links we used for the Blog and RSS chat tonight.

There are lots of places to get a blog. (My favorite)
and there are many more

Blog search engines:

RSS Readers:

A variety of readers:

rssreader (the one I use) (web-based reader, so you don't have to download and install a program)

Seven Ways to Inject Suspense into Your Novel

Compliments of Lynette Rees, freelance writer and author

Certain genres are renowned for being more suspenseful than others: horror, crime fiction and romantic suspense, but each and every book, no matter whether it’s a Historical Romance or a Paranormal Fantasy, HAS to have a level of suspense interwoven between the pages!

All stories need to have an element of suspense in them, otherwise the reader isn’t going to want to turn the page -- it’s as simple as that. So if you’re interested in what makes a suspenseful page turner, then please read on…

Creating conflict in your novel is a given, otherwise there would be no story. If all went smoothly it would be as dull-as-dishwater, wouldn’t it? They all lived happily throughout the story and ever after, yawn…

I’ve listed seven ways you can inject suspense into your novel:

1. Introduce your characters to their worst nightmare!

Find out about your characters as much as possible beforehand. If possible, write up their likes and dislikes etc, and most importantly of all, find out what it is they fear most? What is it that causes their hearts to thump loudly, beads of perspiration to form on their upper lips, and the hairs on the back of their necks to stand on end? Find out what that thing or things are, and then give it to them, both barrels. For example, if your heroine is petrified of flying because her parents died in a plane crash, create a story where she HAS to take a journey on an airplane. If your hero fears water because he almost drowned as a young child, put him in a position where he HAS to get back in the water to rescue someone.

Introduce them to their worst nightmare and watch how they react!

2. Lull them into a false sense of security

When your character is really frightened of something, throw in a red herring. For example, if your heroine thinks she hears a noise outside, allow the plot to let her fears grow and grow. Let it be something quite innocuous, like the dustbin blowing over in the wind. Then, when she has reassured herself, breathing a sigh of relief, petrify her to death by placing a prowler outside her back door!

3. Throw the spotlight on at least two people

This might sound a little obvious, but for goodness sake, don’t make the villain of the piece stand out a mile. Instead, have suspicion fall on at least two, possibly three characters. This will have the effect of your reader not really being sure until the end, when the other shoe falls! But, by all means, leave some clues and some red herrings along the way!

4. Pacing

Pacing is important to create suspense. In general, short, snappy sentences will enable the reader to race ahead so they feel their heart is beating in time with the frightened protagonist. Longer sentences tend to slow things down. You might want to speed things up for a car chase or slow it down for a love making scene. Imagine your novel as if you were watching it on the big screen. How would it be filmed? What would that particular scene look like to the audience?

5. The calm before the storm

Make use of the weather to good effect. Thunderclouds brewing overhead, often give the reader the feeling that something is about to happen: a bolt of lightning hitting the night sky; power lines down; a stranger at the door, etc. Think of the last time you watched a horror film; didn’t the weather come into somewhere?

6. When all goes well, throw in a dead body!

When you hit the sagging middle of your novel and there’s no where to go, why not try throwing in a dead body? This doesn’t necessarily mean that a character has to be killed off, although you might want to do just that, it can mean that something unexpected happens, such as the birth of a baby, etc. Something that injects a little more oomph into the plot!

7. Setting

Setting is very important as a tool to create suspense. What about that dark stone staircase, covered in cobwebs? Or the elevator that suddenly stops in between floors? Choosing the right sort of setting can make or break a novel. And sometimes, placing the object or person the protagonist fears in an innocuous setting can make the story all the more horrifying.

Be cruel to your characters and watch them run for their lives!

Lynette has generously donated this article as an aid for The Writer's Chatroom members.

Author’s Bio

Lynette Rees lives in South Wales and has many short stories and articles published, both online and in print. Her first romantic suspense novel, IT HAPPENED ONE SUMMER, is available from Wings Press Inc: Her second romantic suspense, RETURN TO WINTER, is due for publication at the same site in November 2006.
Wings Press
Visit author’s website here:

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

To Write For Free--or Not

This article may be published freely so long as the complete author’s bio box is included.

by Linda J. Hutchinson

Word count: 495

Put a bunch of writers in a room, virtual or real, and it won’t be long before at least two heated discussions ensue, typically: traditional publishing vs self-publishing, and whether or not to write for free.

I like to be paid for my work. I imagine that you do, too. There are times, however, when writing for free can have huge paybacks, whether that was the intended purpose or not.

Consider this:

You have a favorite charity. They need a letter written for the annual fundraiser. You volunteer to write it. Even though your name may not go on the bottom of the letter, the committee knows who wrote it and your name will go on their list of volunteers—which does go out to the masses on a regular basis. The committee is usually made up of local business people who may hire you to write copy for their sales campaigns. You’ve just gotten your foot in the door with them. Or, if they can’t hire you, they just might float your name around the lunch table to their friends who can. Or, the charity itself may hire you for upcoming fundraising campaigns.

You are an aspiring writer. You know you could be successful but you have no published clips. You can’t get any published clips because you have none. We’ve all been there. Consider writing an article for one of the many free article mills on the net. The first one I put out there a couple of years ago is still being picked up and re-published! Lately it’s been flying under the CarFax banner. Voila! Your first clip! Here’s a short list to try:

You have a product you’d like to test market. That product could be copywriting, or letters from Santa, or a school play. Target your market with your article and put it out there using the free article services. Track the responses.

Blogging: Either you love to blog, hate to blog, or just don’t get what all the fuss is about, but blogging is here to stay. It is the newest form of free expression and it is everywhere! Corporate America “gets” it and has hired bloggers to push their products.

Those search engine ‘crawlers' and ‘bots’ pick up comments in blogs quickly, so be careful what you say. (Some immodest souls have lost corporate jobs due to their rants in blogs.) And by all means, leave a courteous comment on someone’s blog! With your name and website address, of course.

Writing for your own website can be the most satisfying of all the writing you will do for free. At least it will be for free in the beginning. After you’ve shown what you can do with your website, you can then get paid to write all that copy for someone else’s website!

It’s all called marketing. Unfortunately, sometimes as writers, we must do it for free. Sometimes. Pick your times carefully.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda J. Hutchinson is a multi-published freelance writer and photojournalist who lives in TN and OH. Her articles and features have appeared in magazines, trade journals, newspapers, newsletters, on websites and in e-zines. Her first novel is in process.