One of the books I recommend aspiring freelance writers is ‘The Complete Book of Feature Writing’ edited by Leonard Witt (1991, Writer’s Digest Books). Despite being written before the Internet Age, it contains numerous entries by established authors, journalists and freelance writers. I picked up this book when I first worked in a publishing firm as a budding feature writer. My freelance rate was then 10-40 cents per word (and it took me about a year to climb up the higher paid limit). International magazines then paid established writers up to US$1 per word. Translate that to a 1,000-word piece and you can survive as a professional writer. To clarify, the number count is based on the final, edited piece – the finished product (sans photographs).
What is a feature story? It is, essentially, a fun-to-write story that focuses on personality profiles, travel articles, how-to guides, criticism and reviews, and human-interest stories. The guide for writing features (which means an essay) is to focus on your subject matter expertise. Write what you are most knowledgeable on. Your hobby, favourite sport, discipline, work or travel experience can matter to your potential readers.
Today, the search engines have made it absolutely easier to source for data on almost any subject. Just Wiki it up! Years ago, we spent hours getting out-dated information from books (defined as historical background) and magazines (known as recent developments). Copyright was lesser an issue then, than it is now.
I wrote professionally for several years before I decided to focus on leadership development. Writing is an intrinsic part of instructional design for workshops and keynote speaking. I, recently, submitted my film and book reviews to Amazon.com. I hope that these submissions may help you on your reading and writing decisions. Get your writing out on your personal blog, other people’s blogs (such as Me, Myself and Tesky; Triathlon Training Diary of John Cooke; Indoor Diva), online reviews, and online forums. Pen a journal. Get scratching!
Write here. Write now.