Sunday, April 26, 2009

Featurewell and the freelancers' meeting in New York

I just got back from the annual meeting of the American Society of Journalists and Authors in NYC. All my freelancer friends bailed out after member’s day, which centers on something called “personal pitch.” You enter a lottery and get to meet with one-on-one with editors for ten minutes. Speed dating for writers but it seems to work. I got a good assignment out of it last year.

But, it was a non-members day that warmed me to Featurewell, “an electronic marketplace for the global publishing industry.” I had heard about it and had been planning to look into it. But, I assumed it was just another way to get ripped-off for my work.

As I told founder David Wallis after his talk, he had me at “Don’t write for free.”

I really don’t see how some web publishers think writers – unlike page designers, artists, ISPs, landlords – should be happy to provide their services for free.

Anyway, Featurewell shops your already published work around the world and sells reprint rights. They gets 40%, you get 60%. Check it out.


Manpreet Kalra said...

I think this is really interesting to think about. You touched on the whole idea of "writing for pay" in class today, but how do we find these sources that will pay us for our writing?

Tinkerr said...

A great question. Since I totally spaced out on answering it, I’m going to give a short answer here and then write a longer post on this. Here are two ideas

1) Think locally. Look for a websites and publications in your community. Come up with some great story ideas, find out who to pitch them to and send an email. If they say they don’t pay, say “no thanks” and move on. Make sure you read the pub first to make sure you know what they are looking for and that they haven’t already run a story on your idea.

2) Go for the front of the book. All I ever hear from magazine editors is that the way to break in is to pitch stuff for the “front of the book.” That bit of publishing jargon means the section of short bits before page 272, where they run the longer features.

I’ll update with more tips. MK—sorry it took me so long to respond!