Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


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Christian Writer’s Market

Rainbow BooksFear mingled with possibility as I tore back the wrapping on my new copy of The Christian Writer’s Market. This would be where I found all of the periodicals clamoring for my expertise on umpteen dozen topics. With this many publishers just waiting to hear from me, I knew the days of being an unpaid writer had ended.

Then I woke up and bumped my head on my book shelf.

Okay, so they aren’t clamoring. That’s my job. I can get them excited about my writing when I send them my samples, or article submissions. But first homework! I poured through the book for about six hours, highlighting every possibility and dog-earring the best ones. Lots to choose from.

I started with my dog-ears. One had recreated it’s website not replacing the prominent “Writers Wanted” section that they touted in their entry. The website of the second didn’t appear at all. Shame. The concept of the magazine seemed priceless. When my third and fourth websites also came up with a non-existent message, frustration set in. My whole purpose for purchasing this book was to get a place to start, yet it seemed like I ran into windowless walls at every turn. No hints. No options.

After my sixth entry changed to only working with in-house writers, my option dwindled to only one. And that remaining chance seemed slim since they didn’t openly offer writing options on their site anymore.

I’m sure the magazine editors experienced an onslaught of submissions when the 2012 edition first came out in January. My bad for not deciding to broach this opportunity until June. But in truth, the data of the book is dated the moment it is published. At this point, 50% of the way through the year, at least 50% of the information is too old to count on, likely more.

Strike up another lesson learned.

But all wasn’t lost. I found a few online sources of periodicals links. Finding them gave me some hope. The webmaster kept the links updated with notes listed on the entries that had been cancelled or URLs that had been changed. I still found a few that had bad links, but most were good.

Seriously, at one point I had thirty different tabs at the top of my browser. Okay, not thirty. Thirty-one. Not all of them were paying gigs, and not all of the paying ones offered topics I’d want to write about, but I have a half-dozen good options and I only searched through the E’s.

Even now articles are starting to swirl in my head. I found links at:


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Three Ways for Writers to Make Money Now

Someday, I’ll be a published novelist. Is that your dream? If you’re like me you spend at least a few hours a day trying to make that dream become reality. But the harsh truth is that writing takes time.

Most of the writers/authors that I’ve met along my year-old dive into this community have poured their soul into their stories for five years or more. Yikes! Really? I’d hope to be multi-published by five years with three or four newly-sold series on the horizon.

And that can happen, but usually writers have to wait eons to have their babies take first toddling steps.

So what can an aspiring author do in the meantime to help support a family? As a mom who has always contributed, here and there, this proved a frustrating quandary. But I learned a few things as I skipped through virtual-land this evening.

1. Write for other websites
There are many people on the web who:
  • Don’t know how to write.
  • Don’t know what to write.
  • Don’t have the patience or desire to write.

Yet, they still need a web presence with regular updates and stimulating information. Yea! That’s one place where unpubbed writers can step in. You don’t have to know how to build a website to provide excellent copy for it. You just have to know a few tricks about writing that copy.

For instance, did you know that the average blog reader will only spend 15 seconds on your blog? News flash. If you’ve read this far, you’ve already beaten those odds. Give yourself a high five!

There are all types of opportunities for a well-connected writer to create web info. I found a few articles on tips and tricks: Writing Good Copy and A Beginner’s Guide to Website Copywriting.

2. Create simple websites for local business.
More web skills equal more opportunities.

If you do know a little about the tools of web design. Some HTML of CSS or maybe just have the software programs that can help you with it, many small businesses are interested in you.

Unlimited articles and books of tips and tricks along with the site providers who make design ultra simple eliminate excuses. Give the small business owner a professional site and some dynamite writing to go with it.

But the internet isn’t the only option for supplementing your income.

3. Write for numerous periodicals
Use the Writer’s Market

A couple of decades ago I remember dabbling in the greeting card-writing industry. A two-month summer for a teacher had me bored after only about two weeks. The Writer’s Market became a good friend. I wrote cards and sent queries. Even sold a poem. This annually updated book offers periodical calls for submissions as well as agent and publisher guidelines for all of the different types and genres.

Pour over it. There will be some interest group where you have an area of expertise. Some opportunity where your unique voice, experience, and ability fill the need with perfection. (And fill up your pocket just a little!)

Your turn: What ideas do you have for supplementing your income until your first book sells?