I.J. Schecter: 30-Minute Consultation Session
I.J. Schecter is an award-winning author, essayist and interviewer, whose work appears regularly in top markets throughout the world, from Today's Parent to Today's Bride, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine to Maxim, Men's Exercise to Canadian Geographic. I.J. is the author of two recent bestsellers, the golf humor collection Slices: Observations from the Wrong Side of the Fairway (Wiley), and the insider's guide to freelance success, 102 Ways to Earn Money Writing 1,500 Words or Less (F+W Media). He is also the ghostwriter behind several leading titles spanning genres from business to true crime, and a popular webinar host, providing expert guidance on topics like "How to Break into Corporate Writing" and "How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Writing and Yourself." Endorsements for I.J. include the following, from Golf Monthly editor Jane Carter: "Millions of words are written in this field every year, but few better than those that come from I.J. Schecter." I.J. is based in Toronto, Canada.
Consultation Time: 30/60 minutes
Connection Method: Phone, Skype, Facetime, etc (customer's choice)
I.J. is available to consult on these topics:
Researching Markets and Breaking in
Every writer dreads these words: "Sorry, but your query just isn't right for this market. Please read a few back issues of the magazine." We all know that submitting blindly is ill-advised, but sometimes it just seems like so much work to figure out what to send where. In the freelancing biz, however, it's the work you do up front — researching well, matching the right query to the right market, following guidelines — that makes the biggest difference. I.J. Schecter will share numerous insider tips and shortcuts for doing your homework efficiently, determining what you should write and which markets to target, and getting noticed in a crowded competitive arena.
Editors are looking for material, and they're looking for it all the time. From online markets to national glossies, today offers more opportunities than ever before for writers to pitch ideas, place work and build credentials. But querying is an art unto itself, and what distinguishes the most successful freelances is often their ability to identify topics, craft pitches and establish ongoing dialogue with editors. Having written for markets ranging from Maxim to Today's Bride, I.J. Schecter knows the ins and outs of querying. He will share with you his most important tips for finding stories, matching them to suitable markets, researching them well and nailing your pitch.
Thousands of articles are written every day across dozens of platforms and channels. Writers who write great copy and deliver on time earn the right to do it again and again. Each piece you write is worth its weight in gold—and if you think different, I.J. Schecter wants to change your mind. An award-winning writer of articles, essays, interviews and other individual pieces, I.J.'s work appears across the globe in print and online, spanning a variety of genres. He will share his tips for delivering spit-polished, ultra-readable, exactly-what-I-wanted articles that make editors say, "When can you write the next one?"
Establishing/Maintaining a Freelance Career
Starting something from scratch takes guts, faith and a healthy dose of stubborn optimism. Some would argue that deciding to launch a freelance writing practice requires a touch of masochism, too. But let's look at this rationally. First, you aren't starting from scratch; you're starting with talent, knowledge, skill, connections and, probably, the moral support of a good number of people. Second, starting a writing business is no more or less difficult than starting any other type of business, whether a bakery, real estate brokerage or piano-tuning service. Third, you're peddling an extremely valuable product. Most businesses figure out pretty fast that if they don't know how to communicate, they're going to have a hard time winning customers. And in today's world of short attention spans and stimulus overload, the ability to communicate succinctly and powerfully is more valuable than ever. I.J. Schecter will teach you how to thrive in the exciting and rewarding field of freelance writing, from doing the pre-work to selling yourself to winning one plum assignment after another.
Establishing/Maintaining Relationships with Editors and Publishers
Editors and publishers care about one thing: finding reliable writers to deliver great work. From the smallest unpaid article for your local rag to a plum assignment that nets you a big payday, every touchpoint you have with an editor, every move you make, every word you write, every e-mail you write, matters. Editors are as underpaid and as overworked as they've ever been, so any writer who can make their lives easier by submitting well-structured queries, delivering great stories, hitting deadlines and maintaining friendly but professional relationships put themselves in the right position to win continuing work at increasing rates and escalating visibility. I.J. Schecter will advise writers on how to gain traction with important decision-makers, gauge appropriate tone in correspondence, identify editors' and publishers' most important needs and how to fulfill them, and make essential distinctions such as that between "friendly" and "trying too hard."
You know most of those books by celebrity moms? They didn't write them. Neither did those business moguls, rock stars or retired baseball players. They all needed someone to craft the stories and write the words—and that's where you come in. A story is only as good as the person telling it. The good news? There are stories everywhere, but a limited number of writers. Ghostwriting can be a great way to build your network, establish your reputation and earn cold, hard cash, and it can also lead to interesting assignments that you wouldn't find through more traditional avenues. Having ghostwritten bestsellers ranging in subject area from business to true crime, I.J. Schecter is one of the most accomplished ghosts working today. He will share his tips and techniques for landing assignments, working effectively with collaborators, defining productive agreements, and dealing with the "author" on the other side of the table.
Writing for the Corporate Market
Businesses offer some of the most rewarding, creative and lucrative opportunities available to freelancers today. No matter what kind of writing you've done so far, if you're a good storyteller who can communicate well, you're already qualified for the job! Perhaps you're a full-time freelancer. Or maybe you're an aspiring novelist who needs to makes some extra cash while you wait for that first big contract. Either way, if you need to make money, corporate writing is one of the best, most dependable ways to do it. I.J. Schecter can show you how. You'll learn things like why corporate writing can be a viable pursuit for any type of writer, how the current corporate downsizing trend can actually benefit freelancers, why it's easier now than ever before to build a broad, diverse client base, how to kickstart your corporate practice, and ways to grow your portfolio and clientele over time.
Using Social Media to Build Your Writing Career and Profile
The social media landscape, though still young, has already gone through several phases. The current phase sees people realizing that tools like Facebook and Twitter are useful not only for looking at photos of ex-boyfriends but also for publicizing who they are and what they do. Those who use social media strategically are reaping the benefits; those who don't are overlooking a vital marketing tool. Through a variety of channels, aspiring writers, established writers and everyone in between can promote their talents and credentials in clever, continuous ways at zero cost. I.J. Schecter will outline different social media strategies, provide tools for determining which one best matches your writing goals, help you define your social media platform and teach you how to execute it with impact and consistency.
Maintaining Your Day Job While Pursuing Your Writing Career
One of the most common dilemmas for aspiring writers is how to stay focused at their day job while trying to build a writing career. To do so successfully requires three things: discipline, organization and commitment. I.J. Schecter will discuss the keys to establishing yourself as a writer without compromising the potential for advancement in the job you have, creating writing regimens to match your schedule and priorities and pursuing two careers simultaneously while keeping them separate.