Writers who want to use their creative talents to earn a living as a jobbing writer can often find magazines, periodicals and special interest magazines a potential source of income. But to make the most of the opportunities this market presents they need to be prepared.
There are a few skills a writer can embrace to ensure they take every opportunity presented to them and maximise the living they can earn from their writing simply by being aware of upcoming relevant dates of significance. These could be an annual festival, Sabbat or holiday like Samhain or Christmas, a decade in memorial of an event or significant political or social moment – for example on 24th October it will be a decade since Concorde took its last commercial passenger flight. It could also be the Anniversary of a famous artist, scientist or authors birth or death.
There are always events in the near, mid and far future that a writer can use as a creative source for submitting articles and magazine features. Dare I say it they may even inspire writers to write a poem, short story or novel and if they’re time smart they can arrange for their publication’s release to be in line with that significant date as one aspect of their marketing campaign.
As you probably all know I’m currently working on my SF/Fantasy novel, Beyond the Mist and the Sabbat of Beltane (the fire festival celebrated in May by some Pagan paths) plays a significant plot feature in the story, so if I can ensure that the book is written, edited, and ready for publication then I will use the date as part of my marketing campaign and strategy when I release the book on or near Beltane next year. Writers should take advantage of significant dates that relate to their writing and use them to maximise audience interest in their work.
As an aside writers should also be aware that Christmas in the western world is by far the best time to get sales as people buy presents for others for Christmas and spend a few pennies on themselves as a winter treat. After all what beats curling up in a warm house with a good book on a cold winter’s day.
So how do you as a writer make the most of upcoming seasons, festivals and anniversaries?
- Be prepared – Find out significant upcoming dates and keep a calender or wall chart to map when you will need to have your writing completed by. To really take advantage of upcoming dates you will need to do this at least a year in advance.
- Know your market – Research, research, research magazines, periodicals and special interest publications to ensure you understand the style and length of acceptable material. It is essential to ensure that you read, understand and comply with the publication’s guidelines for submitting material.
- Be organised – Make sure you have given yourself enough time to research the market, write the submission, check it for errors and make sure it reaches the relevant person in good time. Make sure you know how much time you will need to complete all these tasks. You may need to register with HMRC (UK) or other tax authorities in countries outside of England to declare your earnings. You will need to understand what the local rules are regarding earnings and make sure you have put aside enough money to pay tax on your earnings.
- Keep an Excel spreadsheet of earnings and payments – Tick off when the payments are due,when they are sent to you and when they clear. Make sure you recieve payments for all paid submissions.
- Be willing to chase late payments – You can make sure you know when payments for submission are late using the Earning and payments spreadsheet. You may have to sometimes send a friendly reminder that a payment for your published article(s) is due.
Although Beltane will be significant to Beyond the mist, the next big holiday for me will be Samhain and although it will be too late to submit Samhain/Halloween articles for publication this year, as I’m never one to miss a good opportunity I will be writing a short story or poem and using it to direct people to my writing and my blog.
So whatever you persuasion or preference as a writer there are plenty of opportunities if you prepare for the season, to use your creative talents to earn money, advance your sales and increase your presence as an author.