Sunday, December 30, 2007 Offers 1,900 Print Advertising Opportunities

Mediabids' online marketplace for newspaper and magazine advertising provides buyers and sellers of print advertising with two ways of buying and selling advertising space. One platform is a straight-sale option – where local, regional and national newspapers and magazines can place last-minute advertising opportunities or rate-card space up for sale for review and purchase by advertisers. Right now, there are over 1,900 opportunities available at savings up to 80% off rate card prices. The second platform is a reverse advertising auction – where advertisers can place their print advertising budgets up for bid to targeted publications.

"Both advertising auctions and making existing advertising inventory available for immediate purchase via our website have enabled thousands of advertisers to secure outstanding pricing in some of the nation's top print publications in a faster, easier way," said Jedd Gould, President of Mediabids, Inc.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Writing E-Books as a Freelance Writer

Along with blogging and SEO writing, writing e-books is one of the newest forms of freelance writing. E-books involve a wide variety of subject matter and lets you stretch your writing abilities, rather than being confined to low word counts or narrow subjects. Because of this -- and because of the decent pay rate and almost zero overhead -- writing e-books is both creatively satisfying, and a lucrative one.


Writing an e-book is different in both content and structure than writing an article or a series of articles. An average magazine article of 2,000 words gives you time to introduce a topic, develop it, discuss some of its implications, and conclude neatly within the allotted word count. Shorter articles--maybe 400 words--give you a sentence or two of introduction, maybe three brisk paragraphs, and a hint of conclusion. E-books, at a bare minimum, give you eight single-spaced pages of material, or about 4,000 words. An e-book is going to reach the thirty, fifty, even hundred-plus page range and contain many more topics and sub-topics.

The vast length of an e-book precludes the simple “introduction-development-conclusion” model that applies to article writing. Instead, you have to develop sophisticated ways to lead your reader through all topics in your e-book. This doesn't have to be a chore: in fact, it's one of the most enjoyable, creative parts of writing an e-book.

For example, if you're writing about DIY home building, you can start your first chapter with the topic “Materials and Planning,” then lead your readers to the next chapter on “Building the Foundation,” and then to chapters on wiring, walls, and roof.

If you're writing about the history of soda, you may decide a different approach, moving chronologically and focusing on a single "era-defining" soda brand per chapter.

The structure of your book isn't just a "necessary evil": it determines the overall flow of your argument, and should be well nailed-down before you start writing. Once you start writing, you'll thank yourself for setting out a structure beforehand: it's easy to lose your creative flow in a complicated topic, and developing a good structure can keep you on the right path from start to finish.


In the actual writing, avoid the temptation to pad; your audience can tell. If a chapter seems too slight to you -- or if you just want the book to be longer -- add additional information from your research and write a subsection or add another chapter.

There's no topic so narrow that you can’t expand it or use as a starting point for another topic altogether. As long as you're not exceeding your original chapter structure (or going off on tangents that don’t relate to your topics), there's no reason not to include as much supplementary material as possible. If it's all well-integrated with your topic, supplementary material makes your book more comprehensive, more interesting to a wider audience, and a better product.

If you're writing an e-book for another individual, such as a corporation, or some other entity, you won't have to deal with marketing the e-book. Just make sure the client is paying you at or above your hourly rate.


If you're writing an e-book for yourself, you'll need to do some work to market your product. At the very least, your e-book should have its own home page, preferably with some free content or even a sample chapter from the book.

Link exchanges are another good promotional tool. Find someone with a web page that deals with the same topic, email the site admin, and ask whether they'd be willing to participate in a link exchange. A link exchange means your e-book's home site puts up a link to the related site's content and vice versa. Many people will say yes to a link exchange, and it's a good way to connect with a wider pool of online traffic (some of whom will hopefully buy the book).

If you have a number of different e-books, you can cross-promote them in one another. If you have a blog, you have a ready-made audience of people interested in your writing who might buy the book.

Finally, "portal" sites full of e-books (similar to for traditional books) are the closest approximation e-books have to a traditional bookstore, and a good way to make your book known to the e-book audience.


E-book writing is a much larger undertaking than other freelance writing projects. It involves the ability to develop a good chapter structure, to stick to it, and to keep the quality of writing consistent (i.e. never "padded") throughout the entire length of the e-book.

Once you're finished, you have a substantial piece of work behind you, and one that can earn you profits almost immediately and continuously through the e-book's lifespan. If you can write clearly and effectively on a broad and interesting topic, and if you can promote your work vigorously, e-book writing is one of the best ways to launch a career in writing.

Learn more about writing careers.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

VideoJug Wants Your Videos

Starting January 1st, 2008, VideoJug, the online video encyclopaedia of life, is running a month-long competition giving video uploaders the chance to win $2000. To enter, uploaders simply submit their videos to VideoJug and the prizes will go to the 3 films with the highest number of views during January 2008.

The winning films will also have to be liked by the VideoJug community – so, even if your film draws the biggest audience, it must also achieve a 3 star rating or above to be eligible for one of the three top prizes:

1st Prize: $2000;
2nd Prize: $1000;
3rd Prize: $500.
So far, VideoJug’s users have already contributed some great videos to the Made by You channel- showing other users how to spin plates, build a stink bomb, or get your dog skateboarding! Whether practical advice, hilarious skits or educational insights – VideoJug welcomes it all!

By submitting films, visitors to the site not only have the chance to get a little richer at the end of January, they will also be contributing to the vast knowledge-base VideoJug has built up. The site now hosts over 34,000 professionally made films offering helpful advice and information on life’s many pleasures and chores. Popular channels include Food & Drink, Sports, Pets, Technology and Beauty, amongst many more.

Being the home of how to, VideoJug is naturally offering a helping hand. They have handy instructions on how to produce and create the perfect ‘How To’ film (although submissions are not limited to this format); a helpful guide to uploading films and hints and tips on how to increase your chances of winning.

For more information about the competition and when to enter, visit:

How to Become a Freelance Copy Editor

People interested in other freelance writing careers usually look upon copy editing with disdain. Copy editing doesn't involve attention to the actual structure of a piece, they say, and involves little research and fact-chasing necessary to create a lively, memorable article or story. However, copy editing carries its own unique challenges; such as:

1) you need to pay careful attention to the basic mechanics of writing; and

2) you need to pay attention to accuracy, both in facts and in language.

Freelance copy editing isn't just a simpler offshoot of freelance writing in general, but an important discipline in its own right -- and a rewarding one.

To become a successful copy editor you need to know how to use style guides. With some exceptions, editors of newspapers, magazines, and other print publications require you to write in a homogeneous style, both to compensate for writers with occasionally sloppy spelling and usage and to ensure consistent terminology over time. (This is important with newspapers: the names of foreign leaders, organizations, and other foreign-language nouns are often subject to variant spellings.)

The most commonly used style guides include AP (Associated Press), MLA (Modern Language Association), and Chicago. Any budding freelance copy editor would do well to own a copy of each of these, and to become familiar with their use before applying for jobs. Prospective employers will not hire copy editors who lack knowledge of style guides. Use a product like StyleEase software to help with style.

Fact checking is another prime skill for copy editors, as it is a publication's first line of defense against accusations of libel or misrepresentation. Fact-checking is a simple procedure: call the author of the article, ask for his or her sources, and, if warranted, call the sources directly to confirm quotes or statistics. Different publications will have different procedures for fact-checking, all of which should be explained when you take a job.

Beyond that, all that it takes to become a successful copy editor is a sensitivity to cumbersome phrasing, grammar, and spelling, as well as a sensitivity to an author's personal style. Many novice copy editors take a far too forceful approach to their work, effectively rewriting a reporter or other writer's article for them in line with style guides and their own ideas about what makes good writing. This isn't the function of a copy editor. Yes, clarity, grammar, and other issues with writing mechanics are all important, but a writer's ego is important as well, and a too-free hand in the editing process can alienate a publication's staff reporters and foster general enmity.

Since rewriting someone's article causes you more additional work as well, why would you want to do it? Instead, just try to achieve sufficient clarity while leaving as much of the original article "as-is" as you can. If there are any substantial portions of text that inhibit clarity or exhibit serious mechanical errors, talk to the writer personally before making any changes. Yes, it’s an extra step, but one that ensures professional respect in the workplace.

If you don't want to work for a publication, there are plenty of opportunities available for freelance copy editing, both for corporations and for private individuals. Educational publications, in particular, are always looking for good copy editors, and book publishers and literary journals always have a few spots available. You can find out about these opportunities through classified ads, or by making inquiries directly to the company. There's typically a lot of competition in these sorts of jobs, so a solid interview technique and some excellent samples are mandatory for securing work. Once you have your foot in the door, though, corporate copy editing can provide a stable -- if occasionally dull -- source of income.

Copy editing projects offered by individuals are another option, and one which can bring you a more varied body of work and a much more informal attitude toward style guides and format restriction. But this option carries with it some heavy caveats. Often, copy editing projects given by individuals amount to ghostwriting without appropriate compensation, and pay rates can be sketchy as well, ranging from low to nonexistent (with a promise of "resume experience," maybe.) Although when work is consistent, low pay isn't necessarily a problem, individuals can rarely guarantee a sufficient volume of work to ensure your livelihood and a decent career.

Before you accept individual copy editing projects, make sure that you know how much you'll need to make per hour to make the project financially worthwhile (as well as an estimate on how many hours the project will take), and don't accept less than that hourly rate. You may get less work with this approach, but clients won’t rip you off either -- an important consideration for professional copy editors.

Copy editing is a good, low-stress writing job, enjoyable on its own merits or as practice for other freelance writing goals down the line. You can succeed as a freelance copy editor if you familiarize yourself with style guides, and have a good grasp of grammar, spelling, and style usage.

(C) Brian Konradt

Visit to learn about freelance writing careers.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Who's Your Favorite Aspiring Artist?

Do you have an eye for great art? Do you have what it takes to select the next great American artist?

You can choose the 2007 Kirkland's Home(R) Next Great American Artist right now at Take a look at the great paintings and photography on display on the Kirkland's Web site, then vote for one of the 10 finalists. Your vote, along with the votes of your friends and neighbors, will determine who receives the $5,000 grand prize and has their work reproduced and available for sale in Kirkland's Home stores across the United States. The nine other finalists will each receive a gift card for $500.

If you vote online now through December 17, 2007, you'll receive a coupon giving you 10 percent off your next purchase at Kirkland's Home. Voting now will save you money for the holidays. Need some help in determining what it takes to win? Check out previous winners in your neighborhood Kirkland's Home store.

From oils to acrylics, film and digital photographs, 1,770 artists from across the United States submitted their work earlier this fall. A team of Kirkland's Home judges narrowed the choices to 10. Now it's your turn to pick a winner by voting online.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Freelance Writing for Magazines

Freelance magazine writing can be one of the most rewarding careers available to a freelance writer. Successful magazine writers are articulate, have a wide variety of interests, and know how to research a topic. Many freelance magazine writers write for various magazines, not just one, and like to write on diverse topics and sell their articles to a variety of magazines and media outlets.

The key to writing for magazines and selling what you write is knowing your market. Most magazines focus on a fairly narrow range of content. One magazine might deal with the finer points of horse grooming. Another magazine might focus on the ins and outs of toy robot collection. And yet another might cover the beauties and travel opportunities available in Bali.

This degree of specialization means that magazine editors usually have a specific idea of what articles they're seeking, sometimes even down to a specific writing style or voice. Since magazines typically cater to a "niche" audience of educated readers, you'll need to write well-written and interesting articles; your articles will have to feel new to an established audience. If you're writing for a parasailing magazine, then submitting a 500-word article about the basics of parasailing just won't do.

You have two options to write salable articles. The first is to become deeply involved with the activities or topics which the magazine covers. If you're planning to write and sell travel articles about Germany, take at least one trip to Germany. If you're planning to write and sell articles about cat care, spend a few days with a cat yourself (or find a knowledgeable, cat-owning friend who's willing to give you some good, real-life information).

Writing magazine articles is a form of journalism, and often adheres to the same standards of quality and truthfulness. Would you trust a news article about declining air and water standards in a nearby town if you could tell the writer had never set foot in that town? Of course not.

Unfortunately, most of us don't have time to take on an entirely new hobby. That's why the second way is usually the best option: write about what you know. We're all complicated people. We all have stories to tell. We enjoy hobbies and activities that fascinate us. We can easily uncover material for a hundred or more articles. So think about what you can write about, and what interests you. It seems hard at first, but once you sit down and start thinking about it, the article ideas will flow. Once you have your article ideas and have written articles about what you know, start looking around for magazines that might be willing to buy them. Chances are good there's a magazine covering your interests or hobbies.

How do you find suitable magazines, and how do you ask if editors are interested? There are many ways to find appropriate publishing venues for your articles. For one, you could go to your local bookstore and search the magazine racks. If you have an independent bookstore in your area, so much the better: you may find some titles that don't circulate at the larger chains. You can also take advantage of Writer's Market, which list pertinent information about hundreds of magazines, including typical rates and what editors seek.

Once you've picked your magazine, send the editor a query letter about your article. This should be short and sweet, briefly stating who you are, your previous publication history (editors like to work with proven successes--wouldn't you?), and your article topic. The length, topic and addressee of your query letter will depend on the magazine; you can usually find information on submissions policies in the "credits" section or on the magazine's website.

Send off your query letter and wait. Be prepared, as well, for rejection. There are many reasons editors won't take an article, and few of them have to do with your skills as a writer. If you get a rejection letter, just take a few minutes to mourn before starting on your next article. The hardest sale to make is always your first sale; keep up a steady stream of good, well-marketed work, and the sale will come. When it does, pat yourself on the back; you're on your way to freelancing as a magazine writer!

(C) Writing Career .com

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Breaking into Freelance Speech Writing

Freelance speech writing is the champagne of freelance writing; it offers a high degree of creativity, a high-profile clientele, and the chance to have your work heard among elite people. Of course, there are downsides as well: your style is restricted to that of the speaker, and the pool of jobs is substantially smaller than many other forms of freelance writing. But on the whole, the advantages make it very attractive to pursue gigs as a freelance speech writer.

Speech writing is one of the oldest forms of communication. Much of what we consider good rhetorical practice today goes back to the Romans and Cicero. Until the previous century, long rhetorically-polished speeches were a central (and enjoyable) part of serious literature, from the hieratic diatribes of Shakespeare's Lear to the long burlesque flights of Dickens's heroes and grotesques. Today, speech writing is mostly confined to large formal parties, serious events, and political careers, but something of the dignity of the art's long history still adheres to people's ideas about roaring good speeches. Speech writing is the art of making people appear both persuasive and dignified, of turning ordinary people into sources of entertainment and wisdom. As expected, writing speeches effectively can be difficult to do well.

The key to effective speech writing--as well as the key to effective writing in general--is to know one's audience. In speech writing, the audience is a literal one: an employee pool, a group of wedding guests, or a rural electorate. The speechwriter should, before setting even one word to paper, find out who the speech is intended for and take this into account when structuring the work.

Once you know your audience, know your speaker. As Bernard Shaw once said, it's impossible to make a silk purse from a sow's ear -- or at least, people don't want to believe it's possible. If the CEO you're writing for is known as a good ol' boy, down-to-earth businessman, it won't ring true if your speech contains a number of high literary allusions and elaborate rhetorical constructions. If you're writing for a museum curator, opening with an off-color joke and referring to "the folks back home" is not necessarily the best way to go.

You not only have to know about your client's perceived character, but about his or her actual speech rhythms. Interview your client if possible, or if not possible, try to get access to videos, tapes, or other recordings. This should give you some idea of voice, and some understanding of how best to express your ideas in the "client's words." If a speech doesn't sound natural coming from the client's mouth, the speech won't work and you won't develop a good reputation that leads to more assignments. So put in the time, get a good idea of the client's voice, and use it exclusively in your work.

Framing your speech around the subject matter can be tricky, but fortunately all the prep work you've been doing will make it a much simpler proposition. If you know your audience, your client's speech style, and your client's public perception, you'll have a decent compass for navigating your speech through possible dead areas, out of dark, depressing moments, far to the lee of excessive frivolity, and generally on an even course from the first attention-getting moment to the conclusive point. It's difficult to know exactly how a speech will play before it's actually delivered, but you can get a rough idea by reading your drafts to a friendly audience (spouse, friends, children), or by tape-recording yourself delivering the speech into a mirror. A good speech doesn't have dead moments, doesn't bore, and reaches a series of short, conclusive points to keep the audience's attention from wandering over time. If you do plenty of revision work and get a real idea of how your speech sounds when read aloud, you can fine-tune appropriately in order to ensure a successful speech, and a satisfied customer.

Of course, getting customers in the first place can be tricky: the speechwriting market is usually fairly small and fairly exclusive, since only the very wealthy can usually afford to have professional speechwriters work for them. The Catch-22 here is that the very wealthy typically only want established, proven speechwriters, a difficult preference for novice speechwriters to deal with. You can establish yourself and build a reputation, however, by advertising heavily in local papers, club newsletters, and anywhere likely to need a speech writer at some point in time: wedding planners, local organizations, startup corporations in your area. This may not be the best-paying work, but it's essential to building a proven reputation as a good speechwriter. Once you have some gigs under your belt, start upping your level of advertising to include corporate newsletters and trade journals, and make sure to network at every event where you've written a speech. Word gets around, and eventually, if you promote yourself well, it'll get to the right people.

In any case, it'll be some time before your speech writing is well-known enough to command high prices, and to allow you to make it the exclusive focus of your freelance writing career. Keep up some other freelance jobs, write speeches whenever you get the opportunity, and keep up the self-promotion among the right circles. If you're talented and you're fortunate, you can make the switch to the champagne of freelance writing, and achieve that most satisfying of jobs: you can become a successful freelance speech writer.