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Chapter 12 Other Writing Opportunities

Chapter twelve topics
  • Stay Abreast of Oline Marketplace Changes
  • Opinion-editorial (Op-ed)
  • Writing Book Reviews
  • Writing for Online Sites
  • Screen Writing
No matter what kind of writing you do, in order to be successful it's important to know what's happening in the writing marketplaces.

*** Keep abreast of online marketplace changes ***

Read media news
Media Channel,
ABYZ News Links, Lists by (English speaking or conversant) countries, states, etc. Also, a good source for locating publications to query, with contact information.

Opinion-editorial (OP-ED)
Writing Opinion-editorial, or Op-Ed is writing on subjects that you feel strongly about. Op-Ed stands for "opposite editorials," as in, the page that faces the letters-to-the-editor page or the back page of magazines. The next time you have the urge to expound on a politically incorrect issue, write an op-ed.

For a comprehensive explanation of the ABC's of op-ed writing visit Dewitt Wallace Center Op-Ed Resources at Duke University web site,, the Module, by Betty Monk. Use Find to search op-ed to quickly locate what you need to study.
  • Craft an op-ed on any issue.
  • Write out whatever you're intense about while you're still red hot about it.
  • Hone it to 500 words +/-.
  • Check one of the sites listing newspapers, build an email list, and blast it out.
In the subject line of your e-mail write: Op-ed Sub: (your Powerful Title.)'Write a one or two line bio to accompany the piece. Include a good, sharp mug shot, too.

Kathleen Purcell, former newspaper Editor, says,
"Most daily metros use staff and syndicated copy. Editors cannot wait until deadline to see if they have enough copy to fill the op-ed page. Second, in my experience, the big dailies pay little more than the small and mid-sized dailies. But they demand a lot more effort. Third, most big dailies these days have ugly, awful grab-all-rights contracts.
"My advice is to target small to mid-sized dailies, and the largest 3-to 4-times-per-week papers. They will be more accessible to you because of their smaller staffs and lighter organizational structures, they will pay roughly the same and they might have better contracts."
Writing book reviews
Nationally distributed periodicals rely on in-house reviewers. You have to collect your clips from smaller publications before approaching the big guys to ask for a spot on their payroll. They'll determine your worth as a reviewer based on those clips.

Book reviews contain:
  • Title
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • Price
  • ISBN Number.
  1. An overview of the book's contents. What is the book? Biography? History? How-to manual? Fiction? For nonfiction, use jacket copy and table of contents as a guide.
  2. The author's approach to the subject. How is book organized? Which subjects are given the most weight and how are they presented?
  3. Background information about the author. Is he an expert in his field? A journalist? List his credentials, if any. Again, you might find this information on the jacket cover or front or back matter.
  4. What makes the book unique or particularly useful? Does it differ from similar works on the subject? Does it contain something that can't be found anywhere else, or present information in a particularly useful way? If not, don't be afraid to say so. Be honest.
  5. What is the book's targeted audience? Beginners? Experts? Does it require prior knowledge of the subject? Is it for a general audience or a specific group? Is it an introductory text?
  6. A short critique of the book's strengths and weaknesses. What's good? What's bad? How does it compare to similar books?
Here's a suggestion to get you started. Like all book authors these two welcome reviewers.
  • Bob Sanchez, author of When Pigs Fly (an iUniverse Star book.) Bob Sanchez ;
  • Mel Jacob (, Train to Yesterday by Nell DuVal; Thorndike Press 978-1-4104-0878-5, (Five Star Expressions (Gale) 978-1-59414-663-3 available at
When you're serious about writing a book review, contact either or both.

Tip: You don't need to buy any book you are reviewing. If you can't get enough information online, write to the author and ask questions. If you have a magazine or newspaper that commits to publishing your review, authors are willing to provide you with a "review copy."

*** Never *** ask for review copies from an author if you don't intend to publish a review -- that's cheating and very unprofessional and unethical!

Also, book review writing is not for you if your attitude is (as some writers feel), "it's not worth the effort to wait 2 months for a measly $30 bucks."

Markets that pay for book reviews include, Clarion which is a part of ForeWord Magazine. Foreword/Clarion also looks at small press, mostly POD from Xlibris and AuthorHouse. For information, contact
It's good to have a clip when you're starting out. Reviewers reported, ForeWord and Clarion paid $50 apiece for 400-500 words; one said "the folks there are very nice ... the job was excruciating because the self-published books included mediocre and very academic, in-depth analysis works. Another said at ForeWord, most of the books are from independent presses, payment is $30.00, and takes about eight weeks to receive payment.

Keep your eye on New York Journal of Books, to learn when\if they start paying for reviews. Early this year they were working on getting their site to look good. Ted Sturtz, Editor-in-Chief said in October 2010,
"W've not yet begun to pay reviewers. Our new site is just up, so we are just beginning to commercialize and will have to see how quickly we are able to begin to see any material revenues."
Read here,, or email if you're interested.

Writing for online sites
My long-time friend and professional freelance writer, Kathleen Purcell, shared the following excellent insights into writing for online.
"Look for corporate sites that provide content. I go to sites hosted by manufacturers of fitness clothing and gear, but there are many others. And then there are the sites doing what is called "data mining." Data mining is what they call it when a site posts articles about some topic complete with links to other sites on the web that further the conversation.
"Basically, if you see a corporate site that is posting articles relevant to (but not actually about) the corporate product or image, it's possible they pay freelancers to write those articles. For the most part these sites are being managed by a computer or marketing type, not an editor.
"This is good and bad. It means they rarely ask for revisions and they often pay more than the going rate, but they don't even understand the whole "which rights are you buying" discussion. Most want to pay one time and keep your article forever. And I wouldn't be surprised if they used the articles in the company newsletter or something. I just assume I'll have to rewrite all those articles if I want to resell them.
"On the plus side, you can sell corporate sites a rewritten article, or even a reprint, and they still pay top-dollar, whereas an editor might want to pay less for a rewrite or reprint. I can recycle an 800 word article and get $300-$400 for it on a web site, which is the same pay the Chicago Tribune will pay for a painstakingly researched original article twice as long.
"Most sites have an email link to someone. Often this person is the web master or web site designer, not the editor-like person. Still, a politely worded inquiry often yields the name and email addy of the individual responsible for site content. And--whereas web zines and data miners often want links, sound, video clips, etc.--corporate sites do not want those things.
"They don't want to crowd their server with AV clips, and they definitely don't want to send people OFF their site with a link, unless it's a link to another of their sites. And--once--when I did include a link to another page on a corporate site, they paid me for the link like it was a word. Which is another nice thing about non-editor editors: they count words by running a word counter. There's nothing like getting paid 50 cents for "a". "
You can read another good article on this topic at a CopyDesk,Inc.

TV and Screen writing
The University of Illinois website -- Unit For Cinema Studies, has links to excellent information. It's an excellent place to begin learning about this genre. Browsing brought me,, with links galore to informative sites.

Hollywood Film Festival site: Click About Us, and surf until you're satiated.

Other film industry sites include,
Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:

Screen Writers Federation: Scroll to bottom and click Site Map.

TV Film Rights.Com,, billed as a world marketplace community for TV and film rights offers a wealth of information on the subject of rights, as well as other topics of special interest to writers in this genre. Our Marketplace is where you'll find About Us. Pitch Template is where you'll discover the nuts and bolts of screen writing.
Screenhead has this link that explains many complexities, study these: Unfilmables, A List of The Hardest Novels to Film,

Scriptwriters Network,, is an organization that may have just what serious screen writers are looking for. Fee membership. A wealth of information and Resources are available to site visitors, without charge. It's worth your time to browse and study, especially while you're deciding whether or not this is your niche.

Don't let yourself get swept away in any of the above sites, and forget to devote time to write, daily!

  1. Study and discuss other writing opportunities. Make a priority list of writing jobs in the order of your 1st preferences.

5-5, Screenwriters Online Resources:
5-6, Medical Writing: (currently being updated)
5-7, Travel Writing:
5-8, Newspaper Contracts:
Next, Chapter 13 - Genre Writing and Writing for Children:

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