My Make a Living Writing e-book — What’s Missing?

Carol Tice

Make A Living Writing Table of ContentsSome of you may have seen me mention that I’ve been writing a comprehensive how-to e-book about breaking into paid writing. Well, about a year later than I imagined it would happen, Make a Living Writing: The 21st Century Guide is shortly headed to the designer for layout.

Wow, am I thrilled to be saying that! What a slog it’s been, trying to get this material written and organized inbetween all my regular writing assignments and all that other life stuff that happens when you have a family with three kids.

But I’m pleased to say the e-book table of contents is ready for review. I invite MALW blog readers to take a look at the table of contents this week and leave comments about any topics they don’t see being covered in the book that they’d like to see me add.

Please keep in mind this e-book is intended mostly for new or low-earning writers looking to learn how to break in and start earning well. I’m planning a sequel with more advanced tactics for moving up to higher-paying writing work, so if I think a topic doesn’t belong in this e-book, it may end up in the sequel.

Today, I’m sharing the table for the introduction and part one, which is all about breaking into writing for publications, either print or online. Later this week, I’ll share parts two and three, which are on copywriting and earning from your blog.

Appreciate your feedback, readers! And hope to have the book ready for purchase soon.

Make a Living Writing: The 21st Century Guide

By Carol Tice




Let’s Get Started

Who am I to give advice?

Freelance writing today

Myths about getting published

Three ways to make good money from writing

What’s your goal?

Watch for unexpected opportunities

The 7 Habits of Successful New Freelance Writers

PART I: Writing for Publications

Get Ready to Write

LOOK IN: What do you know?

Choose a focus

Finding the time

LOOK OUT: 7 Steps to Your First Paid Writing Assignments

1. Identify your writing type

2. Find your rung on the ladder

3. Start marketing your writing

A baker’s dozen ways to look for writing work

Research and The Writer’s Market

4. Use social media to build your writing career

Social media do’s and don’ts

5. Find places to get your first few clips

All about writing for Internet content sites

Six problems with content-mill writing

6. Find editors to pitch

7. Create your pitching toolkit

Your resume

Your bio

Your Web site

Three reasons to organize your clips on your own site

What if I don’t have a Web site?

Your blog

Your in-person pitch

Get Set to Pitch

Finding and developing story ideas

Evergreen article ideas

Submitting unsolicited, completed articles

Preparing your query letter in three easy steps

Step one: Know your publication

Writer’s guidelines and editorial calendars

A look at an editor’s life

Step two: Define an angle

Step three: Match your pitch to the right publication

Online articles vs print articles

In the back door: Online articles for print magazines

Crafting your pitch

Two foolproof approaches to writing queries

Query don’ts

Case study: Pitching Kiwanis

Send the most queries in the shortest time

Three ways to pitch editors

1. Pitching via email

Don’t help your editor rip you off!

2. Pitching on the phone

Sample script for a phone pitch

How to leave a voicemail for an editor

3. Pitching via snail mail

Should you nag that editor about your query?

Go: Writing your first assignments

What to know before you start writing

What determines writer pay?

Finding sources and interviewing

Twelve interview tips

How to find facts for your article—fast

Timesaving tips for fast article writing

Seven tips to beat writer’s block

Making your article great

Getting paid

Final thoughts on writing for publications



  1. Stacey Abler

    I would like to see examples of query letters that have worked in the past. Another idea is how to develop a portfolio when you have only done ghostwriting or writing for content mills (which of course screams “please pay me peanuts”).

    Looks like you covered the subject well though! Congrats on almost getting it completed!

  2. Carol Tice

    Hi Stacy — thanks for the feedback! I do have one query example that got one of my mentees a good-paying assignment. I think I’m going to go in and add something on portfolios!


  3. Kirsten

    I second Stacey’s feedback. Looking forward to it!

  4. Katherine Swarts

    Will the section on interviewing talk about the problem of not-quite-interviews, as in the recent “‘e-interviews'” mentee community discussion? Shortly afterward, I came across an American Journalism Review article on that very topic (–also an e-discussion comment, from someone with years of experience on both sides of the editorial desk, that many publishers of how-to/lifestyle/hobby writing don’t consider their work “journalism” and have a more lenient attitude toward the electronic collecting of comments. (Telling a bit on my age, I also remember writers’ books from the 1970s and early 1980s that mention written “interviews” conducted by snail mail!)

    When it comes to _real_ interviews, I’d also like to see a few hints on deciding whether a face-to-face (vs. a phone) interview is feasible: what situations justify a long trip or extreme juggling of schedule to meet a source in person?

  5. Carol Tice

    Well, it will be now! Thanks for reminding me of an important topic that should be included. I do already touch on in-person vs phone in my time-management tips. That’s Think before you drive — is there a compelling reason to take the travel time to meet in-person? Do you need to learn how this person looks, acts, what their environment is like? Then you need to see them in person. If not, in my mind, you don’t. I also do take the pay rate of the market into account.

    Some folks just don’ t pay enough for me to drive to see sources…and they usually know it. Since a lot of the reporting I do now is national in scope, in-person sort of isn’t an option anyway…but it is an important thought process to go through for locally reported stories.

    I’m definitely in the camp with USA Today in that story, with the belief that email is NOT an interview, and if it’s used it must be identified as coming from an email. You can’t go wrong sticking to that rule — if editors don’t care they might edit the disclosure out. But you don’t want an editor who feels lied to because you didn’t say.

    Also, email journalism is lazy and distances you from the real world, instead of engaging you in it. You’re supposed to be reporting on what’s happening out there! And if you never get “out there,” how can you do that?

  6. Colette Martin

    I’d love it if the book would also cover finding corporate writing assignments and blogging for corporate clients. I’m really looking forward to this book!

  7. Ovel Inad

    If what I ultimately have to offer is half as much as what you now have to offer, I’ll be able to consider it a job well done.

  8. Carol Tice

    There is a large section on corporate writing assignments — it’s one of the three main sections of the ebook. See the rest of the table of contents here on Friday to review the details in that section.

    I’m going to go look over it now to see what I say about blogging…

  9. Carol Tice

    OK, Collette — you’ll be happy to know I have developed a whole additional, multi-page section on blogging for business thanks to your feedback! I had mentioned business blogging here and there but felt I didn’t have a good comprehensive pulled-together section that takes you through finding prospects, determining rates, writing and the technical aspects.

    Appreciate the valuable comment! I do think business blogging is HUGE right now, SO much demand, so glad to cover it more thoroughly.


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