Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Calling All Short Story Writers

Good Day Fellow Writers and Avid Readers!

If you reside in Ontario, Canada, The Toronto Star Newspaper has announced its annual 2011 Short Story Contest. This contest is open to all Ontario residents over the age of 16 years. There is no entry fee and the prize breakdown is:

1st Prize
 $5000 plus the tuition fee free for The Humber School for Writers Correspondence Porgram in Creative Writing

2nd Prize - $2000
3rd Prize - $1000

Entries must be received by February 27, 2011. Winners will be declared on April 15, 2011

Please visit the link for further information:
The Toronto Star Short Story Contest

 I found this good article on how to increase your chances of winning a short story competition. Before you enter any short story contest, gain some valuable tips to increase your chances of success:

Short Story Competitions: Increasing Your Chances of Wnning

Until next time...good luck!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Ultimate Non-Paying Writing Gig

As a freelance writer, I have seen alot of writing scams but I think I have seen the lowest of the low today. Whilst I was researching exercises that will help sciatica (been suffering lately with it), I was directed to a website for women`s fitness. As usual when I have stumbled across a new website, I checked their article submission guidelines. The article submission guidelines tried to entice the writer by stating that their submission will  "reach out to potential customers and change their life for better. You can now reach out to millions of women all over the world and help them make better choices through our paid article submission service."

Fair enough, some individuals have a passion and want to share it with others however, when I got to the bottom of the submission form, I noticed the payment button. This website wanted the writer to 'pay' to submit their article on their site. It was a nominal charge but still this is absolutely ridiculous! This goes back to my previous blog that explains when a writer provides free content to a site that will generate revenue from that said article, the writer is enabling the website owner to prosper and the writer gains very little other than some exposure if the article is linked back to the writer's personal website and the website visitor actually clicks on it.

On another note, I submitted an article query to a prospective market and I got excited when I received a quick response. The editor informed me that he had visited my website and blog and admitted that his publication did not pay contributors. He expressed interest in my article but could only offer me a bio and a link to my website. He acknowledged that I probably would not be interested in this type of compensation. Although he was correct in his assumption, I was thankfully that he was upfront with his compensation policies and let him know that if he changed his policies to contact me. Although his payment policies didn't match my expectations at the present time, things can change. No point in burning bridges when you may cross the same bridge at another time.

Until next time...happy writing.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What's On Your BookShelf?

I never really thought much about it until a friend noticed that I had a stack of books sitting on the end table in my family room.

"How many books do you read at one time?" She asked.

I replied that it depended on what I was reading. If I was tackling one of the great literary classics, I am usually reading two books at the same time for the reason being that time may not permit for a 'heavy' literary read but something light will suffice if I want to read a few pages before bed or I have a free moment or two. (Coincidentally my 2010 new year's resolution to read all the great literary classics has spilled over into 2011 and no doubt will continue into 2012).

Presently, I have 4 books on the go. I started reading Tatiana De Rosnay's, A Secret Kept, after reading her other novel, Sarah's Key. I enjoyed Sarah's Key immensely and was anxious to read another of the author's works. Unfortunately, A Secret Kept, reminded me so much of the first one with its infusion of French words and notable famous French landmarks, that I lost interest midway through. Next, I picked up a 'cheapy' read off the discount table at my local bookstore; The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger. Unfortunately, with the busyness of the holiday season, I only managed to read the first few chapters, however, this book shows some promise so I will get back to it at a later date. It is not a literary masterpiece by any means but I think it will be an enjoyable read.

On boxing day, I couldn't resist a visit to my local bookstore and got a deal on Richard B. White's, Mr. Shakespeare's Bastard. I had been eyeing this one for a couple of weeks and was happy to get a copy on sale. I have been reading this one steadily for a couple of weeks and enjoying it. Of course, as my usual style, I am eager to finish it and move on to another book; almost done and will cross the finish line by the weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered Google Books and a whole slew of free literary classics. On my lunch break at work, if time permits, I will engulf myself in the online version of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. This is a quite a long book to tackle so I am somewhat happy to read it online where it is broken down into small pages of print.

What is your reading style? Do you read one book at a time, or have many books on the go?
Drop me a line and let me know what you are presently reading.
Until next time...happy reading!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Find Jobs on Twitter

The other day, I read an article about finding writing jobs via Twitter. The article stated that there were job opportunities for writers on the twitter network; jobs posted by other twitter subscribers. Personally, I do not have a twitter account nor am I too familiar with it so I cannot say whether the claims were true or not. Truthfully, I have been known to call it tweeter not twitter until I was politely corrected by my two teenaged sons.

I did some research and discovered how to look for jobs on twitter so I guess it is a start if you have been trying to access job postings on twitter. To view job postings, go to, in the search box enter one of the following :


A list of job tweets will appear. You can also use a variety of key words to search such as freelance writing jobs, writing jobs, etc. This will produce a whole slew of results which will direct you to other twitter postings.

While I was researching job hunting on twitter, I came across a few articles that I found somewhat informative:

The Beginner's Guide to a Job with Twitter

12 Tips to Finding a Job On Twitter

If you have a twitter account, and have mastered finding writing jobs, please drop me a line and let the rest of us in the secret to searching for writing jobs (or any kind of jobs) on twitter.

Until next time....keep writing

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Write for Free

I saw a job posting for writers to write website content, and the ad stated that the gig was paying $5.00 for 500 words. I get myself worked up when I see ads like this. It would take at least an hour to write a 500 word article even if a half hearted attempt was put into the task considering the ridiculously low pay. You can find these ads all over the web on a variety of sites including some bidding sites.

I understand that some new writers will jump at the opportunity to write something and get paid for it regardless how pathetic the pay is, However, if you feel the need to write and publish for little or no pay, consider writing for a local community group or non profit organization instead. You will gain the experience you need to move forward in your writing career and be offering your services to a worthwhile cause at the same time. This is a win win situation for all involved.

Unfortunately, when you decide to write for $5.00 for 500 words, the end user (your customer) has paid alot less for your work than what it is worth and will be profiting from your content.  When your carefully created content is published on their website, your content will draw visitors to the site when a search engine picks up keywords in your article.  Your customer is hoping that once the site visitor is browsing through their web pages, somewhere down the line, they will profit by selling the visitor their products or service. So in the end, your customer has got some great marketing content for next to nothing and as long as it is on their site, being picked up by a search engine, your customer has a steady flow of potential visitors/customers to their site. Why write for practically free and let someone else earn money from your efforts?

If you really want to start earning revenue from your writing consider these options:
  • Learn to craft a quality query and submit it to paying print and online publications and websites. Refrain from submitting to those that pay less per hour than you are willing to work for.
  • Sites like attract buyers who are looking for content for their website. You write your article, set the price and post it at Constant Content. It may sit on the site for awhile but many writers contribute to this site and other similar sites and consider it 'passive revenue."
  • Have some business cards printed and hand them out everywhere. Also, consider placing a small classified ad online or in your local newspaper. You may be surprised to find yourself writing content for a local business or group in your area.
Until next time...write, rewrite, query and submit!