By Guest Blogger JaneA Kelley
There’s no shortage of tips on how to get a writing job. Whether you want to write articles for magazines, blog for well-known websites or publish your Great American Novel, you can find literally millions of people who want to tell you how to go about it.
Where the “how to be a writer” world seems to fall short is in telling people how to keep those writing jobs, so I’ve decided to help. Although my advice comes primarily from blogging experience, I’m sure these things hold true for the print world, too.
1. Even if you’re writing without pay, be professional. Those unpaid guest posts can lead to paying gigs — as long as you stick to your deadlines, write well, and maintain a good relationship with your editor.
2. Listen, and don’t fear change. If your editor suggests a modification in style or tone for your blog, it’s because she knows what her readers are looking for and she wants to help you get their attention.
3. Your editor isn’t your enemy. Although some of us have plenty to say about why writers hate editors, your editor really wants to work with you to put your best writing out there — not just for her company’s sake but for yours too.
4. The publishing world is very small. Don’t diss other writers, companies or editors. Even if the word never gets back to the badmouthed party, an editor will be hesitant to work with someone who plays such childish games.
5. As a corollary to Item #4, keep in mind that a freelance gig could lead to something much bigger, if you’re fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time … and you’re in your editor’s good graces.
6. Return your editor’s e-mails and/or phone calls promptly. You wouldn’t blow off your boss at your “day job,” so why would you blow off your freelance gig editor?
7. Don’t be a prima donna. Once you start getting paid and your blog develops a following, that doesn’t mean you’re the Queen of Kitty Litter Hill and that all should bow their heads before your awesomeness. And don’t assume that just because you’re “internet famous,” you can’t be fired.
If you find this advice – which basically boils down to “be respectful and get some social skills” – unbearably cumbersome, then by all means, start your own blog! But keep in mind that these tips are just as important for making money from your own blog. You’ll need to apply the same lessons to keeping the sponsors you’ve landed after following Yvonne DiVita’s advice on the subject, as well as the people who provide you with products to review, and even your audience.
Ultimately, your skills will land you a gig, but courtesy and respect will keep you on the payroll.
JaneA Kelley is the webmaster and chief cat slave for Paws and Effect, a cat advice blog, and the author of Catster’s Kitty News Network blog.
Great advice for newbies and seasoned pros, Jane!
Great work, Janea. I hope people will also remember that sometimes your sponsor or editor will seem out of touch or just not “with it”. Don’t stress over that. Be patient, ask questions, work it out by looking at things from their viewpoint. And, move on if you can’t resolve the issue, but do so in a friendly, upbeat way.