Be Ready for Your Writing Career

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Last week, I was lucky enough to land a freelancing job thanks to timing and being ready. I saw the call for writers, and I already had my resume and basic cover letter ready to go. I took ten minutes to look them over, tweak them for the job, and send them in. Some people might say I landed the job because I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I don't completely agree. I landed the job because of that reason but also because I was ready.

If you are a writer--freelancer, novelist, children's picture book writer--you need to be ready to take advantage of opportunities you see IMMEDIATELY. If you don't, someone else will. And the ready writer is the one that is going to land the job, get the book contract, or receive assignments from the editor. What can you do to BE READY?

Keep an updated resume and basic cover letter on your computer, so when you see a call for writers that interests you--all you have to do is take a few minutes to send them in. AS SOON AS you see an ad for writers, answer it. If you wait a couple days until you get around to updating your resume or editing your cover letter, you have probably lost the opportunity--unless the ad states an application deadline or is REALLY specialized, such as a certain type of science writing.

If you are a novelist ready to turn in a manuscript, create a folder on your computer just for the submission process. You should have a file of the first 50 pages, a file of the first 3 chapters, a query letter, and a synopsis. Different agents and editors will require various pieces for the submission process. If you have all these files ready, all you have to do is open them, copy, and paste them into the body of an e-mail; attach the files to an e-mail; or print them out to send them in snail mail. When you see a new lit agent on the scene or a publishing house that is opening their doors to unsolicited submissions for one month, you'll be ready to take advantage of these opportunities and won't have to spend time getting your submission together.

In the few years since I've been regularly submitting my creative work and depending on a freelance income, I've learned that being ready and being able to take immediate advantage of a call for writers or manuscripts is extremely important. In the writing business, talent and persistence are important. But, so is being ready. Are you ready? What will it take you to get there?

post by Margo L. Dill. To read more of Margo's work, check out her blog:

photo by kevindooley


PatriciaW said...

Margo, I'm fairly new to freelancing. What does a writer's resume look like? What does it include (or leave out)?

Unknown said...

Excellent advice. As a literary agent, I always recommend having two synopses ready: a short one of perhaps a page, and a more traditional longer one.

Donna Volkenannt said...

Hi Margo,
You are a go getter! Thanks for the great advice. I agree it's more than being in the right place at the right time.
One of my favorite quotes is Louis Pasteur's, "Chance favors the prepared mind."
And thanks to Evan for his synopsis comment.
Donna Volkenannt

Angela Mackintosh said...

Congratulations on the job, Margo! :)

Unknown said...

Congrats to you, Margo!
Thanks for the reminder to keep our writer info up-to-date.
The PG is such a great resource that I was able to apply for two items right away. An interview was published at WOW and I am waiting for a children's article to be published next month in another publication. It was so helpful to have my info current.

Lynn said...

Great post and important advice.

Kristi's Book Nook said...

This is a great post. I have a resume ready just need to work on the rest of it. Thanks Margo.

Margo Dill said...

Thanks to everyone for the congrats, and I'm glad you found the advice helpful. :)

Patricia, for more information on a writer's resume, I found this link:

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