Course Outline

Class #1

The course begins with a look at today’s freelance market and an overview of what editors want. You’ll learn how to find ideas for articles and how to find markets to sell those articles to. I then explain how to write the perfect query letter, along with examples showing what to do and which mistakes to avoid.

Your Assignment: The perfect query letter is crucial to making sales. You’ll write two query letters using the tips from the lecture.

Class #2

I’ll teach you how to contact editors and pitch your work, plus I’ll share my personal tricks for sending query letters. We then discuss contracts and the five elements of every assignment. I’ll describe the different rights you can sell and give an overview of payment scales for magazines, newspapers and web sites. Then we’ll talk about how to do research, gather notes, and conduct interviews. I’ll also discuss outlines and other ways to organize your material. Finally, you’ll learn how to craft the perfect introduction to your article.

Your Assignment: The opening paragraph, or intro, is the most important part of any article. You’ll write three intros designed to capture an editor’s attention and keep them reading.

Class #3

Now that you’ve mastered the intro, we’ll tackle the rest of the article. I cover grammar, punctuation, style, and all the little things that make text smooth and readable. I also tell how to write a great closing, and we’ll discuss sidebars as well. Last, we’ll take an in-depth look at the revision process.

Your Assignment: Write a 300-word article which will be fully critiqued.

Class #4

You’ll learn how to submit your finished article, along with photos and other required materials. I’ll then discuss invoices and how to deal with special editor requests. Other topics include contributor’s copies, kill fees, tax tips for writers, and ways to earn a steady stream of assignments. The course ends with a detailed review of the three habits of every successful writer.

Your Assignment: Write a 1000-word feature article which will be fully critiqued.