“I’m firmly convinced that the very best way to break into professional nature photography is to write an article to accompany your photographs.
In other words, create a vehicle to carry the pictures,” advises John Shaw in his book, John Shaw’s Business of Nature Photography.The acclaimed photographer knows what he’s talking about: Shaw’s gross income doubled within a year once he began using writing as a serious marketing tool to promote his photos.
Whatever your photographic specialty – nature, travel, wedding, digital — creating a saleable photo/text package is a multi-faceted endeavor that requires not only excellent images, but also interesting, error-free writing and strong marketing skills.
The following eleven websites will help in every facet of the freelance writing process: grammar and punctuation, identifying potential markets, the nuts-and-bolts of promoting your work, and guides to help independent contractors during tax season.
- Writing-World.com (www.writing-world.com):Started by Moira Allen, former editor of Inklings at Inkspot.com, this site is virtually a one-stop resource for your writing questions and needs. The “Basics/Getting Started” page is packed with excellent advice – from how to write a query letter to manuscript formatting to coping with rejection.Other categories to explore include the Business of Writing, E-publishing, Freelancing Tips, International information, Rights and Contracts, Self-Promotion, and many more.
- writersdigest.com (www.writersdigest.com): Writersdigest.com, based on the popular magazine, is produced by the same company that publishes the annual Writer’s Market and Photographer’s Market.
- The site includes a searchable database of over 1500 writer’s guidelines.Many include information about submitting photographs.A free e-newsletter, “Tips & Updates from Writer’s Digest” is also available.
- Each May, the site includes an updated list of the “101 Best Web Sites for Writers” – an absolute must-read for any serious scribe or wannabe.(Apogee Photo Magazine was listed among the top 50 earlier this year!)
- WritersMarket.com (www.writersmarket.com):Associated with writersdigest.com, WritersMarket.com is a subscription-based service that gives users Web access to the annual Writer’s Market–including book publishers, magazine markets, literary agents, contests and more.
- The on-line market guide has some distinct advantages over the book form, the most important being a constantly updated database with a fairly comprehensive search feature.Writers can create their own portfolio and be notified at every log-in of changes to their target markets.At $29.99* per year, the service is reasonably priced and includes a thirty-day money-back guarantee.A $2.99/month option is also available for less frequent users.
- Inkspot (www.inkspot.com):Until it was dropped by its sponsor Xlibris, Inkspot was one of the most vibrant writing sites on the Web.The award-winning site’s fate remains unknown, so search the archives while you still can.
- “Freelance Writer’s and Beginning Writers’ FAQ’s” cover many of the marketing basics for new writers.The travel writing, international marketing, and writing for children sections are particularly strong.Commit to some serious “click time” once you arrive.Inkspot’s on-site organization tends to ramble and is not always intuitive.
- The Writer’s Place (www.awoc.com):The bi-monthly newsletter “Writing for DOLLARS!” lists only paying markets and includes useful articles for writers looking to break into different genres and higher-paying markets.WFD also accepts “first-sale stories” – a great place to crow your published writing debut and get paid for it once again!
- Funds for Writers (www.fundsforwriters.com):Funds for Writers is an interesting concept: Help writers find grant money and help grant writers find organizations that need their services.The weekly newsletter includes grants, jobs, contests and freelance markets.
- Because many of the grants are arts-related, some also pertain to photography.The Web site has an extremely strong links section to assist with writing research and additional grant sources.
- WritersWeekly.com (www.writersweekly.com):The persistent self-promotion in WritersWeekly.com can be a serious turn-off, but many writers give this site’s e-zine a thumbs-up for its collection of current freelance jobs (all less than a week old), including some for photographers.
- Helpful business-related articles are featured on the site, including a question-and-answer column.With over 49,000 subscribers, WritersWeekly.com has the largest circulation of any freelance writing newsletter.
- Worldwide Freelance Writer (www.worldwidefreelance.com):One of the best ways to increase sales – whether photos or articles — is to expand into international markets.The monthly “Worldwide Freelance Writer” newsletter helps writers meet that objective by highlighting markets outside North America.Explore the articles section for valuable tips; especially informative are those written by WFW’s founder, Gary McLaren.
- The Burry Man Writers Center (www.burryman.com): This unusually named site includes over 1800 writing-related links from around the world listed under nineteen different categories.“’The Freelance & Nonfiction’ page features seventy places to find freelance writing jobs – the largest list of writer-specific job resources online.”
- GrammarCheck (www.grammarcheck.com): It’s difficult to make grammar and punctuation interesting, but the authors of GrammarCheck, a weekly e-newsletter, have done an excellent job.If English is your second language or you simply need a refresher course in the basics, this is a very useful resource.Archived issues also include helpful tips on business writing.Can’t find an explanation for your personal grammar glitch?Submit your question on the home page and you may see it addressed in future GrammarCheck issues.
- FormSwift: Two guides provided to help out independent contractors and their employers during tax season. A Tax Guide For Independent Contractors AND The Companies Who Hire Them at http://formswift.com/1099-form-guide and The Freelancer’s Essential Guide to Business and Taxes at http://formswift.com/independent-contractor-guide.
by Kimberly Baldwin Radford
Article: © 2001 Kimberly Baldwin Radford. All rights reserved.