FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
Hey writer friends,
I had a day last week where I turned in two articles, looked at my schedule, and realized I had zero assignments. None. I mean, I had editors looking at pitches, of course (always!), several of my regulars send me assignments regularly, and I do have a business with courses and clients that ensure I won’t starve, but as a freelancer, seeing a calendar of nothingness can be unnerving. Predictably, the very next morning, I got four new assignments from my regulars with two more maybes from editors who’re considering pitches, and now I’m kicking myself for not enjoying the day off when I had it.
Sigh. Such is the freelancing life.
In book news, I’ve put the novel on hold for a couple of weeks as I get some systems in place for this newsletter so that I’m not scrambling to put it together each week. (Thursday ends up being more stressful than I care for. Was I really doing this daily at one point?!) I’ve got 50,000 words remaining on the novel and NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, so I’ve set myself a challenge to finish the novel during that time. Thankfully, Diwali’s in October this year, which means I won’t need to take a week away for celebrations.
And oh, there won’t be a newsletter next week. It’s Diwali on Monday and my in-laws are coming in from Wales for a long overdue visit. I plan to spend the entirety of next week eating my body weight in gulab jamun, especially now that I’ve discovered an Indian supermarket that’s so dodgy, some of the prices are still in Rupees.
Happy Diwali to those of you who celebrate, and I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with more on writing, publishing, and surviving it all while keeping your sense of humor intact. (Given that I’ve just been asked to report on British politics, I’m going to need it!)
Enjoy the issue!
Natasha Khullar Relph
Editor, The Wordling
THE WORDLING RESOURCE
With NaNoWriMo fast approaching, it’s time to learn how to get those words written—and quickly. In this free training, I’ll walk you through the many reasons writers get stuck on a long project, such as a nonfiction book or novel, and then I’ll give you three of my best techniques to speed it up.
IN THE NEWS: BANKING ON CONTENT
Banks and financial institutions have always looked at content as a core offering, paying analysts to dig deep into companies and make sense of market trends. Increasingly, however, banks are taking an editorial-first approach to brand building, opening up a host of new markets for market-savvy content marketing writers.
Why it matters: Many journalists misunderstand content marketing writing, seeing it as nothing more than an exercise in brand promotion. While that is sometimes true, the more sophisticated brands are now running media companies as independent operations, hiring editorial teams with a background in news gathering and storytelling. Consider, for instance:
- Goldman Sachs hired Katherine Bell, the former Editor-in-Chief and advisor at Quartz, as their Editor-in-Chief. She says she’s excited to join “an excellent team of journalists.”
- JPMorgan Chase has long been working with content agencies to create its editorial content, but has recently become an active player in editorial itself, hiring David Moss, who oversaw Robinhood’s content, to lead their effort.
- Goldman’s consumer bank Marcus is hiring an Editor-in-Chief, and Citi’s looking for a Senior Vice President, News & Storytelling, to strategize on content for the bank’s 25,000 employees.
Key takeaway: “As brand publishers get more serious about their content and publishing operations, they’re becoming more discerning about the editorial talent that they hire to power and grow their efforts,” writes Shareen Pathak. Brands have money, offering more than 1.5-2x what the same roles pay in news organizations, Pathak says. “But if brands do expect to attract B2B journalist talent, they must ensure that the roles they are offering are attractive, challenging, and interesting. Brand publishing roles that feel rote, or end up being dressed-up marketing endeavors, will remain more challenging to fill.”
(To learn more about content marketing writing, see our articles below.)
- HarperCollins is implementing a freeze on hiring, has reduced non-essential travel and expenses, and is laying off employees.
- Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka has won the Booker prize for his second novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, which the judges praised for the “ambition of its scope, and the hilarious audacity of its narrative techniques.”
- In a story that’s being closely watched around the world, the fight between Meta and The Wire has gotten messy, with The Wire pulling reported stories while they conduct an internal review.
- And finally: Is The New York Times facing an identity crisis? And what does that mean for the company going forward?
CONTENT MARKETING 101
JIMMY DOOM ON
PUBLISHING A STORY A DAY ON SUBSTACK
A small experiment he started during the pandemic has been going strong for over 600 days. We spoke to the prolific author, musician, and actor about his daily fiction project.
“If you’re a writer, you have to write, you have to produce. I knew I could write quality material. I know I have a vivid imagination. Once I had people paying me, I couldn’t let them down, it’s as simple as that.
“Not having great name recognition, I knew I had to be reliable. So really, for one of the first times in my life, other than my movie career, I’m reliable.”
We’ve added 7 new markets to our How to Pitch page this week:
- Sierra (Pays $350 for web, $1 a word for print)
- CS Monitor (Reported pay $600)
- Outside (Rates start at 50 cents a word)
- Positive News (Pays 30p a word)
- Men’s Health (Pay not specified)
- Outrider (Pays $1,000 per story)
- Longreads (Pays $1 a word for reporting, $500 for essays)
We now have a total of 199 markets on our How to Pitch page, including writer’s guidelines for Wired, National Geographic, The New York Times, AARP, Financial Times, Writer’s Digest, and more. Find them here.
You will never make everyone happy.
So don’t try.
Make yourself happy. And then see who comes to hang out with that version of you.
MYANMAR: “Myanmar is now one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists. For the first time, it is on track to be the top jailer of reporters, surpassing China this year. Fifty-seven reporters are in prison there, according to the Detained Myanmar Journalists Group, an advocacy organization. At least 51 journalists are imprisoned in China, according to tallies from various rights groups… Some of the country’s best known investigative outlets — including Myanmar Now, DVB, Khit Thit, 7 Days and Mizzima — have since had their licenses revoked. Hundreds of journalists have fled. The reporters at Oway are now among the last remnants of a free press.”
IRAN: “The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Iranian authorities to ‘immediately and unconditionally release … all journalists arrested because of their coverage of Mahsa Amini’s death and the protests that have followed’. It said last month that at least 28 journalists had been detained by the security forces, including Hamedi. Friends of Hamedi described her as a brave journalist who is passionate about women’s issues and rights. Her investigative articles covers topics such as self-immolation among women suffering domestic abuse, and she interviewed the family of Sepideh Rashno, an Iranian writer and artist, who was arrested in July for defying the Islamic dress code.”
KENYA: “To prevent the loss of yet another African language, and in the hopes of preserving the Suba people’s rich culture and history, a group of Kenyan journalists founded Ekialo Kiona Suba Youth Radio Station (EK-FM) in 2009. EK-FM broadcasts programs in Olusuba about healthcare, climate change, sustainable agriculture, fishing, youth empowerment and Suba culture.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe.
– Leymah Gbowee
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