Saturday, September 19, 2009
Published: Tip #8 Interview with Dominique
Join social networking sites that cover topics of interest to you. I joined the site, “Moms Like Me,” because I wanted to post information about congenital CMV, figuring that those women are in the high risk group for transmitting the virus to their unborn children. One day, thinking they might also be interested in knowing I just published a free e-book on how to get published, I posted the link there. Dominique, a freelance writer and founder of Mommy Writers, downloaded my “How to Get Published” e-book, read it, enjoyed it and then contacted me for an interview to be published on her blog and incorporated into a future article. A book reviewer, she also reviewed my memoir, Anything But a Dog! (See her straight-to-the-heart reviewing style at: http://freelancerforhire.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/anything-but-a-dog-by-lisa-saunders/)
I, in turn, was so impressed by Dominique's work and mission to help writing moms find publishers, that I included her in my updated version of my free e-book on publishing.
Here is Dominique's interview with me on publishing:
How long have you been a writer?
I started writing a humorous column for my high school paper in 1977 but no longer had anything to say so stopped writing. I later resumed writing after the birth of my severely disabled daughter in 1989. I first tried to get published in 1994.
How long did it take you to land your first paid writing job?
When I first started getting stories published, I was only paid in free issues of magazines. When I self-published my first book, “A Time to Weep; A Time to Laugh,” I received some money through its sales. When I signed a contract with a publisher for it, I received a $1,000 advance. I was finally paid as a freelance writer for a local magazine after I first offered to do a piece for them for free.
What would you do the same starting out your writing career?
Join a local writers group.
I should have taken a writing course at a local college or writing center where I could meet more local editors/writers.
Did you have help from more established professional writers when you were starting out?
I received good advice from writers in my group on editing myself and how to find work.
What has been the most helpful tool to you as a writer?
The biggest obstacle?
Writing what I felt like writing instead of trying to write what would sell. I actually started getting paid for my writing when I asked a local magazine what they were looking for instead of just submitting stories I had already written. They assigned me a story, at no pay, but later they offered $400 to write their cover story. Some aspects of the story they told me I had to cover, others things were left up to me. At first I didn't like writing for an assignment. It felt like homework because it wasn't my own idea. The editor liked my style, however, so he started asking me for my own ideas. Becoming a regular freelance writer for the magazine gave me an audience, which made it easier when seeking a publisher for my memoir because I could tell them of at least one magazine (there were others of course) that would review it.
Who has been your biggest support system as a writer?
My husband Jim. He puts up with a messy house and very simple meals so I can use my spare time to write.
Have you been a part of a community for writers in your career? If so how big a role has that played in your success?
I needed my writers group early in my career—you need others to critique your work. Now I just reach out when I need advice.
What would you say has to be in place in order to have a successful writing career?
Meeting people in the industry is important. You can’t spend all your time behind your computer. I am a full-time writer now for a college because I took a Journalism course there and met the woman who would later offer me a job. [Note: It is also important to join LinkedIn because you can made many mutually beneficial contacts there through their discussion boards for writers.]
What would be your best advice for beginning writers?
Find out what audiences want to read and then find a way to write about that while remaining true to your “voice”—your unique way of expressing your thoughts. Only when you have developed an audience can you can branch out and truly say what you want to say. When you write from your heart, really share your soul—don’t write what everyone else is writing. If you lay your heart bare, your readers may just find a kindred spirit in you.
Visit Dominique’s blog at: http://freelancerforhire.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/qa-with-published-writer-lisa-saunders/
P.S. For my advice on publishing and promoting your book (and articles), which includes tips on self-publishing, download my FREE e-book: How to Get Published