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>If YOU were just getting started, how would you go about presenting
>yourself as the potentially disciplined, prepared employee you know you can
>be? Do you go volunteer to local businesses and create documents for them,
>then use those as samples? Or do you just fake them?
Personally, I schlepped around all the magazine articles I'd had published,
plus my book.
The answer to the question, "How do you start out as a magazine article
writer?" is simpler: write copy that a magazine editor can use, and he
will buy it. I wrote mostly for hobby magazines (DRAGON magazine and
CREATIVE COMPUTING were my best markets at the time). Hobby magazines
often don't pay well, but they're chronically short of usable material,
and are pretty easy to sell to. I wrote "nuts and bolts" articles --
short or medium-length articles that told the reader something concrete
and useful. Nothing fancy or pretentious; nothing with front-cover
potential. Editors gobble such articles up like popcorn.
Editors don't give a damn about your track record or job history if
they have a complete, usable article in front of them. They're buying
the article, not your future services. (Against normal advice, I rarely
queried editors about article ideas, since it took them a long time
to reply, and they're always in a lead-article mindset when reading
a query, and will nix an idea that they'd buy in a second for the
back half of the magazine if the manuscript were put in front of them.)
The downside of the magazine article biz is that, in general, everything
takes forever. Editors take forever to respond, and then it takes
forever for the article to see print. If the magazine pays on
publication, there is another delay before they cough up your money.
(These are reasons why the non-slick magazines are not oversupplied
with usable copy -- writing for them is no way to make a living.)
But it's easy to break in, and then you have professional writing credits.
Robert Plamondon * High-Tech Technical Writing
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (503) 453-5841
"I regret that I have but one * for my country." -- Nathan Hale