Tips for Earning Money Writing Globally: Part 2

Beth Fowler headshotPart 1 listed half a dozen sure-fire ways to get published internationally. Here are more that have worked for me.

Gesture judiciously: Describing gestures adds life to personality profiles and fictional characterizations, but gestures don’t necessarily impart universal meanings. Thrusting fingers upward in a V signifies an insult, victory, two or peace, depending on where thrusting occurs!

When gestures are important, global freelancers include explanations that flow naturally in context. (“Making a circle with finger and thumb, the captain indicated that the trip was successful.”)

Be worldly: I once read a query promoting an area of India as an ideal tourist destination …never mind that two so-called religious factions were killing each other’s devotees. Worldly freelancers demonstrate global awareness and intercultural sensitivity. Being worldly means not sending pork recipes to a publication with a Muslim audience and not using nicknames (Yank, wetback). Lazy journalists use phrases such as “inscrutable Chinese” and “friendly natives.” Being worldly means banishing dogmas, romanticized images, stereotypes and prejudices. Read articles about cultural customs at http://www.executiveplanet.com.

Write the truth: Hundreds of magazine and newspaper editors speaking about what they look for in articles concurred, “We are unhappy with writers who get their facts wrong.”

Don’t assume that a “fact” in magazines, newspapers, online and on TV is accurate. Inaccuracies get repeated. Calling a monstrous hodgepodge “Frankenstein” is a common mistake. Frankenstein was the monster’s creator’s name. The monster killed his creator, therefore, Frankenstein is a person who is destroyed by his own works.

Re-verify facts with interviewed subjects, check multiple and unbiased sources, proofread final drafts against your original notes, and ask a nitpicking, skeptical, truthful reader to review your manuscript. Check on-line reference resources such as http://www.refdesk.com.

Write the right editor: You live in France. You want to pitch an idea about hand-knit sweaters to Gentleman’s Quarterly. A query addressed generically to “Dear Editor” shouts “Amateur!” So you open GQ and see 28 editors listed. Six handle fashion. One is the “European Editor.” Aim for editor-in-chief, and you risk irritating this VIP who’d delegated some of his editorial load to capable sub-editors, and you risk snubbing the fashion editor and the European editor.

Some individuals of the editorial team might have left after the magazine you have on hand was published, so verifying the appropriate recipient is wise in any case. Contact the magazine and ask to whom to address your query. If you send something to the managing editor and an assistant editor replies, continue communications at that level.

Nancy Flannery, an Australian journalist, author, editor and publisher, told “Southern Write” (www.sawriters.on.net) readers, “Attention to detail, visualizing the needs of the reader as well as conforming to the publication’s house style, integrity of one’s own voice, reasonable observance of spelling, grammar and syntax rules are surely still important. If text doesn’t flow and doesn’t have entertainment or information value, then it won’t be read.”

She ought to know. Nancy received her first check (that’s cheque Down Under) for writing when she was 12 years old.

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Article by Beth Fowler, author of the beloved coming-of-age novel “Ken’s War.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjZBjqFNzs&feature=youtu.be

 ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

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Tips for Earning Money Writing Globally: Part 1

Beth Fowler headshotWhen editors in other lands see your work, they ask, “Is this foreign writer professional?” And, “Does this foreigner’s work fit our publication?”

Read on to learn how to get a si, oui, ja and hai.

Multiply earning power: I sold one article to magazines in Australia, Malaysia and the United States. By offering rights to one country at a time (i.e. First Australian Rights), you can re-sell an article to different countries. Offering reprint rights multiplies the earning power of one article, too. The chances of, for instance, a reader in Scotland seeing the article reprinted in New Zealand is so remote that editors of (off line) national publications accept second or reprint rights.

Write their way: “Study our publication before submitting,” is excellent advice for global freelancers to follow before sending manuscripts over the border. Is it travelled or traveled, lift or elevator? Style preferences are in submission guidelines, but basics that citizen writers know aren’t.

Malaysia and Australia, two English-speaking countries use British spellings. The Philippines and Taiwan use American spellings in English-language publications. Find help with American and British spellings at http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/words/british-and-american-spelling.

Manage metaphors: UN members published a document depicting an owl to symbolize wisdom. The image flopped because in Asia owls symbolize stupidity. Metaphors, similes, idioms, clichés, slang and jargon are gobbledygook when they have unintended connotations. Avoid them.

Cite specifics: In anticipation of a trip to England, a Bombay couple scanned a travel article in which a British author had characterized London in July as “red hot.” The Indians shivered for a fortnight because London temperatures never rose above 50 F (10º C).

Global freelancers replace relative words (hot, heavy, tiny, expensive) with specifics (32º C, five tons, one centimeter, HKD$200,000).

Write comparisons of relative scale that appeal to readers’ experience. For instance, because Indonesians play badminton more often than basketball, a Western journalist writing for a Jakarta newspaper described a building as ” . . . five times the length of a badminton court.”

Convert consistently: As an editor, I’ve received manuscripts with inconsistent measurement systems. Inches inched along with centimeters (and centimetres), Fahrenheit warmed up to Celsius, and miles traveled with kilometers. Global freelancers use the system the publication uses and are consistent within one document. On the other hand, international publications include two measurements, as in “A 20-mile (32-km) path follows the coast.”

Global writers specify which country’s dollars are quoted by inserting the country’s name as in “$5 million Hong Kong,” or “HKD$5 million,” or including a statement: “All prices in Hong Kong dollars.” Find currency and measurement converters at http://www.convertit.com/Go/ConvertIt.

Hold the humor: A Singaporean reading an American editorial remained stone-faced at the journalist’s supposedly humorous reference to Governor Christie’s weight. Who’s Governor Christie? What’s weight got to do with anything? Trans-cultural humor requires intimate knowledge of psychology, zeitgeist, politics, history and language. What’s so funny about a chicken crossing the road?

If an amusing anecdote is integral to developing a theme, recruit a local from the country whose ribs you hope to tickle to review the piece. Rewrite or delete accordingly.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of how to make money freelancing globally.

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Article by Beth Fowler, author of the beloved coming-of-age novel “Ken’s War.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjZBjqFNzs&feature=youtu.be

 ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

Eat, Drink, Make Money: Part 2

salad-210717_150You’ve been dining out ever since you were knee high to a Grasshopper pie. That experience accompanied by a generous serving of solid writing skills, and a side dish of smart market research, ensures that you can eat, drink and make money.

 

Getting restaurant reviews published in e-zines, blogs or sites such as http://www.tripadvisor.com/ is easier than getting your byline in traditional media, but it’s harder to find good pay, typically.

However, the ‘net is an all-u-can-eat buffet of facts to spice up your articles. One of my favorite food websites is http://www.epicurious.com. In addition to the ‘net and reference staples such as a thesaurus, the restaurant review writer’s larder should be stocked with ethnic, foreign, specialty and classic cookbooks.

A file folder stuffed with samples of other writers’ restaurant critiques is inspiring, especially after you’ve written several reviews and are starving for a fresh way to say “delicious.”

As always, you’ll ascertain the target publication’s preferences in word count, slant, attitude and so forth to avoid rejections. There are questions to sift out that are unique to writing restaurant critiques. My sumptuous article about a French restaurant was rejected because the magazine only accepted restaurant reviews of restaurants that had advertised in their
publication. Getting the mag’s submission guidelines would have spared me from disappointment.

Find out if reviewers are paid a standard fee. Are they reimbursed for meals? Who provides the photos? Are menu prices listed? Is dinner dinner or is dinner supper? Are restaurants rated on a five-fork scale? How are negative opinions expressed? (Most editors prefer to publish positive, yet honest critiques.)

Are readers likely to know what fricassee means? Is the chef’s or manager’s bio mentioned? Is the writing sensual or businesslike or technical? Are storytelling techniques used? Apart from all those permutations of policy and style, the prime objective of restaurant reviews is informing readers what to expect if they dine at the reviewed restaurant. The second objective is entertaining readers, regardless.

Before zeroing in on a specific restaurant to review, look for gaps in the target publication’s coverage. Have previous articles covered downtown cafes, but skimped on bistros and diners in the ‘burbs and hinterlands? What about vegetarian restaurants? Kosher restaurants? How about an article that focuses on restaurants serving wild game? When a new restaurant pops up, be the first to pop your piece de resistance in the mail to an editor.

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It’s 1965 and Ken Paderson is itchin’ to get his driver’s license, but his world turns upside down when he and his dad are whisked off to a remote army outpost in Japan. Bento, moshi and udan replace lunch box, rice and spaghetti. The novel, Ken’s War, is slated for publication this May by Melange Books LLC. Please like the brand new site https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

article by Beth Fowler

article by Beth Fowler

Eat, Drink, Make Money: Part 1

by Beth Fowler

If you like to dine out and you like to write, then earning money writing restaurant reviews might be your cup of tea. Cracking into this market requires the usual strategies and some specialized tactics for writers ready to dig into the smorgasbord of opportunities.

Look for restaurant reviews in the pages of newspapers, magazines and websites that have already published your work. Editors are more inclined to consider work from writers they know than from unknowns. The newspaper features editor, who knew that his boss had accepted my travel articles, bought my first restaurant article. (Since then I’ve sold a baker’s dozen of restaurant reviews.) If the editors of publications (hard copy and online) in which your byline has appeared haven’t published restaurant reviews, maybe they’d be open to the idea if it’s pitched right.

Let’s say that “The Town Times” doesn’t publish restaurant reviews. The editor might be amenable to publishing a restaurant column if he or she feels confident that you can deliver. Approach the editor with a mouth-watering proposal, samples of your work, that is, a buffet of two or three restaurant reviews with quality photos from eateries within the geographical area the newspapers’ readers live, work and dine. The length of each restaurant review should be about the same length as the newspaper’s other lifestyle pieces, such as those covering gardening, music, art and literature. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – be clear about how often you’re expected to eat out and write a column. Weekly? Monthly?

If a newspaper or magazine currently publishes restaurant reviews, check if the same person always writes the articles. Unless the authors are big names with their own TV shows on the foodie channel and cookbooks to their credit, you could, without stepping on the steady writers’ tacos, offer to be a “guest contributor.” A magazine I frequently wrote business articles for published batches of restaurant reviews in each issue  – all written by the editor, so I continued happily submitting business articles.

If the reviews are under various bylines, this is an indication that freelance submissions are accepted and chances are better for gaining entrée into that publication. Some publications publish reviews without bylines. Compare the
style and tone of the reviews, and you can probably tell if the same person or several people wrote them.

In-flight magazines feature restaurant reviews and travel articles that include verbiage about restaurants. As always, study “house style” and take note of the photos. In-flight magazines tend to publish high-quality photos. The slicker the magazine, the higher the odds that the editor requires professionally shot images and might even assign a photographer. In-flight magazines need articles about the destinations and popular tourist sites close to the airlines’ normal routes. Articles highlighting restaurants serving regional cuisine are popular with in-flights. You don’t have to live in an exotic locale to write for in-flight magazines – every place is someplace else to someone else.

“Follow” to receive Eat, Drink, Make Money: Part 2 as soon as it’s out of the oven.

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(C) Beth Fowler 2014It’s 1965 and Ken Paderson is itchin’ to get his driver’s license, but his world turns upside down when he and his dad are whisked off to a remote army outpost in Japan.  Bento, moshi and udan replace lunch box, rice and spaghetti. The novel, Ken’s War, is slated for publication this May by Melange Books LLC. Please like the brand new site https://www.facebook.com/kenswar

Make Money Writing Travel Articles – Part 2

Take lots of photos to jog your memory when you write.

Take lots of photos to jog your memory when you write.

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, your experiences could make great reading and bucks. Here is the second batch of reasons to take notes and photos.

6.      Work when you want.

It’s 2 a.m. Your body clock is four time zones out of whack. Ideas for articles flood your mind. Wearing your bathrobe (or not), you brew a pot of tea, turn on the computer and crank out an article explaining how to minimize jet lag. If you don’t feel like writing for a spell, no 9-to-5 honcho will hassle you. Assuming you’re not counting on living on income generated from travel writing (at first, anyhow) you can write when the mood strikes.

7. Boredom isn’t an occupational hazard.

Readers who haven’t “been there, done that” crave to know What’s it like to be there, to do that? Authors writing about a place notice details, recreate scenes accurately with word pictures, capture the atmosphere of a place and observe nuances that epitomize a location. The writer’s experience becomes a jumping-off place for others. To write interesting travel articles, the writer must be interested.

8.      There’s a niche for every writing style.

No doubt there’s a publication buying the works of authors who write in a style similar to yours. Whereas one publication features concise articles liberally spiked with distances, dates, addresses, costs and other numerical information, another publication prefers articles brimming with impressionistic descriptions of splendid sunsets, roaring waterfalls, noisy marketplaces. Other publications feature articles covering an entire nation in 1500 words, and yet others assign 3000 words to a single attraction or event such as a new zoo or annual regatta. While certain publications want authors’ personalities to show through, other publications solicit articles in which authors remain invisible. Study the market to find publications matching your style. Or adjust your style to your target. Sites dedicated to travel writing such as www.freelancetravelwriter.com/ and  main.travelwriters.com/ feature techniques, markets, pay scales, editors, specifications and trips for writers.

9.      Travel writing covers a vast field.

Topics for travel writing are as varied as the world itself. Writers have sold (and resold) pieces about hiking the Appalachian Trail, bicycling in Malaysia, sipping green tea in Kyoto, pub crawling in Dublin, chewing betel nut in Taiwan and touring Pearl S. Buck’s Pennsylvania home. People preferring to stay close to home can succeed as travel writers because every place is some place else to someone else, and travel articles aren’t about places only. Furthermore, locals like reading about and exploring their own neck of the woods. Advice articles with tips on traveling with children, handling money on the road, avoiding food poisoning and packing economically, to name a few practical concerns, fall into the travel writing category.

10.  Job satisfaction guaranteed.

Satisfaction comes from raising the curtain on little-known destinations, from assisting sightseers in making the right turn, from taking armchair travelers along for the ride. Satisfaction comes from seeing your name after “By” in a publication and after “To:” on a check.

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It’s 1965 and Ken Paderson is itchin’ to get his driver’s license, but his world turns upside down when he and his dad are whisked off to a remote army outpost in Japan. The novel, Ken’s War, is slated for publication this May by Melange Books LLC.

Make Money Writing Travel Articles – Part I

Photos help sell articles.

Photos help sell articles.

Around the world, billions of people read articles and books that transport them to Bali, explain Italy’s public transport, describe where to shop in NYC…Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure your experiences could make great reading and bucks. Here are the first five of ten reasons to take notes and photos.

1. You travel.

That’s a plus, although travel isn’t a requirement for writing and selling travel articles.

2. The need for travel writers is growing.

United World Tourism Organization forecasts a “4-4.5% growth in international tourist arrivals in 2014.” Tourism is the world’s largest growth industry with no signs of slowing down in the 21st century. Travel writers provide a vital service in this humongous market.

3. A humongous market demands well-written travel articles.

As one travel editor put it, “If the article contains information that’s unique and useful to readers, I’ll buy it.” Find markets listed yearly in America’s Writers’ Market, and Britian’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. Numerous magazines and newspapers not listed under “Travel” in these resources also buy travel articles. Tons of publications aren’t listed in market compendia, so keep your eyes open for periodicals on newsagents’ shelves and friends’ coffee tables, in lobby magazine racks and secondhand stores, at club and association venues, and in mainstream bookstores and offbeat book nooks. Google phrases such as “magazines that pay travel writers,” “websites that pay for travel articles” and similar combos of those kinds of words to find paying markets.

4. Travel writers can earn high returns for low investment.

You probably already own the electronic gizmos you need to write articles, shoot photos and email them; so capital outlay is virtually nil. If you happen to be in Salzburg, say, on business or vacation, jot notes, snap photographs, collect tourist brochures and send a query to several magazines and newspapers. Doing exactly that, I earned US$500 for an 800-word article. Travel writer compensation ranges from to free copies of the publication to payment amounts that need a comma.

5. Literary brilliance not essential.

Luckily for those who haven’t attained the celestial levels of Bill Bryson, L. Peat O’ Neil and their ilk, plenty of markets exist. (Study these and other masters. They are our mentors.) Even renowned travel writers didn’t start out super-talented. Most publications can’t afford the fees big-time writers command. Countless editors are eager to buy travel pieces that are professionally presented, interesting and appeal to the targeted audience. Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing, The Travel Writer’s Handbook and other how-to books are available at http://www.amazon.com, in bricks ‘n’ mortar bookstores and libraries. Writing books are shelved in your library’s 800 section; travel in 910.

If this article was helpful, then “like” and share it with other writers who want to get published.

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(C) Beth Fowler 2014

(C) Beth Fowler 2014

It’s 1965 and Ken Paderson is itchin’ to get his driver’s license so he can escape his parents’ tight control. But his world turns upside down when he and his dad are whisked off to a remote army outpost in Japan. The novel, Ken’s War, is slated for publication later this year by Melange Books LLC.