This is the dream of every academic and, I imagine, every blogger, two worlds in which I now find myself.
One of my best friends, LG, has encouraged me to contemplate writing professionally as a freelancer. It’s nice to have that sort of support in my life – I’ll take all the encouragement I can get at this point. And, of course, I love the idea of being a paid professional writer.
Here is her explaining his first piece of advice (of the two pieces of advice he gives):
He suggests that you can avoid the pitfalls of primarily writing for free by altering and re-posting the content you get paid to write. And how does someone get paid to write? They pitch. He encourages that smaller magazines are a great place to start and develop your niche.
I released a huge sigh when I read that final sentence. I think I have a niche (my dream? To be Jill Lepore at The New Yorker). But where do I pitch? Do I simply Google “smaller magazines”? I guess this is how you start and I need to just embrace the messiness of the process. I need to look around the interwebs.
I think my frustration with simply saying, “find some smaller magazines!” is that I feel this vague and unhelpful guidance is so similar to much of the advice I have received in my graduate career. I have been told for years to publish (and I’m gonna…just you wait. But don’t hold your breath). I have been told multiple times that I have publishable ideas and papers. But beyond the, “Go out and publish something somewhere!” line, I have been given little help. Where do I publish? How do I know when something is publishable? I find the answers to my oft-repeated questions rarely receive concrete answers no matter how hard I push.
For all kinds of publishing, it feels like you have to be inside to be inside or you have to have the ability to dedicate all those hours to locating the many, many places you can publish and then be lucky enough (and good enough) to break through to the inside.
If you have any advice, please let me know. I have today for the first time ever seen She Writes, which says that it is,
a community, virtual workplace, and emerging marketplace for women who write, with over 13,000 active members from all 50 states and more than 30 countries. Leveraging social media tools and harnessing women’s collaborative power, She Writes is fast becoming the destination for all women who write. Right now, emerging writers and established bestsellers are finding services, support and actionable advice on She Writes. In the future, the site will empower women writers further by connecting them directly to readers in a marketplace distinguished by its commitment to the production and distribution of high quality content.
So, I am going to poke around there later (like two years from now) when I have the time.
Help a lady out. Any “smaller magazines” or journals that you read and enjoy? Advice from those who have tried to put their work out there (either successfully or not)?