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Writing...Entry 2 - Day 4

click to enlargeSuccess and Formulas For Writing

John Phillips is a freelance writer from Birmingham, Alabama, who writes for several outdoor magazines, including "Alabama Whitetail and Bass," "Southern Sporting Journal," "Louisiana Sportsman," and "Saltwater Sportsman."

QUESTION: Are there any other skills other than writing that you need to have to be successful?

ANSWER: First, to be a successful writer, you need to be a successful businessman or businesswoman. Writing is a business, and you must treat it like a business. All the business skills required to run a successful business are also needed to run a successful writing business. You also must learn how to be a successful photographer, and you'll find all kinds of ways to do that. I learned by burning up plenty of film, shooting numbers of photos and learning from my bad ones. To learn good photography, you must also study the photos in magazines. Then take your camera, and try to duplicate those photos. Since the magazines are buying those photos, if you learn to shoot those same photos, then you can sell them. Most people I know in my field make one-fourth of their income from photography as well as writing. Good photography also helps to sell your articles.

QUESTION: Do you have any formulas for new writers to follow?

ANSWER: Try first to sell to little markets. Don't try to sell to "Redbook," "Reader's Digest" and markets that pay more than $500 an article when you start out. Aim for markets paying less than $150. The most important thing that a writer has to do is to get published, even if you don't make any money after you figure up your expenses for the article. Then you know that there is someone who is willing to pay you for your thoughts, ideas, and words. Second, use this formula to make money writing:

1) Sell at least 35 articles to markets paying $150 or less.

2) After completing that goal, sell at least 35 articles to markets paying $250 or less.

3) Next, sell 35 articles to markets paying $400 or less.

4) Sell 35 articles that pay $500 or more per article.

Once you sell that many articles to that many markets, you will be a successful writer. If you follow this formula, you will build up the markets that want your material. Every one of these markets will provide you with a wide variety of payments and price levels.

QUESTION: Do you have any other formula?

ANSWER: If you'll keep 35-story ideas (queries) in the mail and in publishers' hands at all times, you can expect to make $4,000 to $8,000 a year. With 50-story ideas out at all times, you can expect to earn $10,000 to $30,000 a year. If you'll keep 100 ideas out, you can expect to make between $35,000 and $100,000 a year.

Check back each day this week for more from John Phillips...