One Writer’s Journey

February 6, 2017

Submit Smarter, Not More Often: How to Increase Your Writing Income

balancing-marketsIf you’re anything like me, you’d love to earn more writing income.  Although I make my living as a writer, I’m to the point that I’d really like to make a “good” living as a writer.  In her newsletter Funds for Writers, Hope Clark recently told readers about a new approach that I’m going to try — the 25/50/25 tool.

Google “25/50/25 writing” and you’re going to find several different versions.  The way that Hope uses it is related to income.

25% of your pitches should go to easy markets.  These are your sure things, the ones that almost never turn you down.  For some people there are non-paying markets that simply give them a byline.  For me, they pay but not especially well.  But they give me exposure and they are sure things.

50% of your pitches should go to markets that pay better and are a bit more challenging but are in reach.  Not everything that you submit to these markets is a sure thing but you do get acceptances.  They pay a little better but probably aren’t going to pay the mortgage.

The final 25%?  These are your dream markets.  Want an agent?  Or a Highlights byline?  Then some of your work needs to go to these markets — 25%.

Keep submitting this ratio to each type of market — 25% to sure things, 50% to harder solid opportunities, and 25% to long shots — and slowly but surely you will find yourself getting more and more acceptance from better paying markets. That’s the theory anyway and I’m going to give it a shot.

In the need for more markets?  Spend some time looking through the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators market listings if you are a member.  Or you can check out the list of Children’s Book Council Members.  Or Evelyn Christensen’s educational markets for children’s writers listings. If you want a specific type of market, Google “Children’s magazines” or whatever.  Then look for the guidelines on their sites.  If you want to see what markets are buying, Google “Writer for Us,” “Writer’s Guidelines” or something similar.

I checked my submissions and pitches for January and had 3 sure things, 2 pitches to maybe markets, and 3 long shots (pitches to agents).  That puts me at 38/24/38.  Not sure what that means at this point but I’ll have to see how this works out over the next several months to a year.



December 5, 2014

Getting enthusiastic over an assigned topic

I just turned in my second book to Red Line Editorial.  When they contacted me about the first book, I was walking on air because the series was Ancient Civilizations and I got the Ancient Maya.  How cool is that?  My degrees are in anthropology and history so it was like they came up with this with me in mind.

When they contacted me about the second series, I took a deep breath and said yes.  The topic was World War II.  Yes, I’m a historian but this is not my favorite period.  Still I said yes and sent them my top three choices.  I got my #1 choice, Pearl Harbor, and got to work.  Soon I was following my family around telling them about the brilliant thing I had just read about the Japanese strategy, or why their code was so hard to break, or, seriously, how hopeless could we be?

It didn’t take all that long before I was finding something to love about my topic.  That’s what you need to do when you write something that’s assigned.  Find something to love.

For me, it generally isn’t all that hard.  I’m interested in a lot and am deeply curious – my husband would call it nosy.  How curious am I?  I saw a blog post about “What is a thaumatrope?” and clicked on it.  Yep.  A thaumatrope.  It could have been just about anything but it’s an awesome little spining optical illusion toy thing.

If you have a curious mind, getting interested in a topic is generally do-able.  Toss me anything history, geography, cultures, animals or early man and I’ll find an inroad.  If, on the other hand, you try to get me going on cars or finance, I’m going to have some problems.  Unless I can find a way to relate history.  Or geography.  Or cultures.

Those inroads don’t have to work for you because they’re mine.  What are yours?



September 18, 2012

Emily Brown’s Cut Paper Inspires

It comes as no great surprise — I love cut paper.  Love.  I find it highly inspirational.

But what is surprising about this artist, Emily Brown, is how she uses her cut paper.  Instead of simply framing it, which is amazing enough, she uses it to make a variety of prints including pillows with printed designs.

The next time you are thinking about how to make a living as a writer, think about Emily Brown.  Are there any “out of the box” ways that you can earn some writing income?

Although I still consider myself a children’s writer, I have earned income writing up organizational histories and even a family history or two.  I would never consider those my primary goals, but they have provided both income and experience.

What might you try?

Thank you Ann Martin of All Things Paper  whose blog inspired this post.



Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: