Working Mom Wednesday: Tips for Aspiring Writers

Working Mom Wednesday: Tips for Aspiring Writers 1I've been diligently lining up all kinds of great interviews for this all-new Working Mom Wednesday column (which operates under the truth that all moms are working moms).

For today, however, I'm delighted to introduce you to Robert Brewer, the editor of Writer's Market. If you're not already familiar with WM, it's perhaps the most reputable and highly-acclaimed writing resource that is available on the market. You'll find information about submitting your work to magazines, newspapers, journals, and publishing houses...plus, much more!

Writing is an ideal career for moms because it allows you to create your own hours (think: naptime and bedtime) and you can work from home. Of course, the downside is that there isn't necessarily always a steady flow of income, but there are lots of moms who are making it work (you'll meet them on this column in the upcoming year).

And now, without further ado, please welcome...Robert Brewer!

ME: Tell us a little bit about your background.
BREWER: I’m just an English major from the University of Cincinnati who lucked into his dream job straight out of college. Started off interning at F+W in early 2000 and slowly worked up the editorial ladder to the editor position of Writer’s Market and WritersMarket.com. Along the journey, I was production editor of Photographer’s Market and Guide to Literary Agents and other stuff. Since early 2002, though, I’ve been primarily involved with Writer’s Market and WritersMarket.com. Currently, I also contribute to the Poetic Asides blog.

ME: How has the writing/publishing world changed over the years?
BREWER: Through this decade, the publishing world has changed in how information is delivered. However, there has been a consistent theme of identifying audiences and providing them with the content they need, whether celeb articles on websites or boy wizards in books. And that is something that will probably never change in publishing as far as writers are concerned.

ME: Is writersmarket.com just "the book" online or is there more to it?
BREWER:WritersMarket.com lists thousands of publishing opportunities that just can’t fit into the book because of page count limitations. The website is also updated regularly throughout the year—so the information is always more up-to-date on the website. In addition, the website offers subscribers marketing articles, publishing news, customizable favorites folders, submission tracking, and more.

ME: What will be new in Writer's Market 2009?
BREWER: We’ve got some great stuff planned for early through mid 2009, but if I’ve learned anything about promising things “to come” on the Web, it is don’t promise anything until it’s actually up and running.

ME: What are your top three tips for aspiring writers?
BREWER: First, learn all the basic tools of writing as well as you can. Second, figure out your goals as a writer. If you see writing as a means to make money, then you can rule out writing poetry. But business or copy writing may be just up your alley. Third, always look to improve. No matter what stage of your career, you can always improve both your craft and marketing abilities. If you get complacent, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually be forced into early retirement.

ME: What are your top three writing conference recommendations?
BREWER: I’d prefer not to make a top three recommendation, because I don’t want to offend the various organizers. However, if a writer’s goal is to get a book published, then I can 100% vouch for the annual BEA/WDB Writers’ Conference. This conference has a 2-hour “pitch slam” with face-to-face opportunities with dozens of literary agents that can be more valuable than years of submitting work blindly.

ME: What are the five writing "tools" that you use most often in your personal writing career?
BREWER: For my marketing, I use a combination of Writers Market and WritersMarket.com. For my first level research, I use Google. Of course, I’d be nowhere as a writer without my Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball pens with extra fine ink—preferably blue, though I’ve been known to use black, green, and red ink as well. Outside of that, I use Microsoft Word and my dictionary a bit. There are, of course, several tools out there, but these are my basics.

Thanks for sharing your tips, Robert!

WIN IT! One aspiring writer mama will receive a Writer's Market 2008 Deluxe Edition book (it comes with a one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com!!!). To enter, simply leave your e-mail address and a comment about what genre of writing you're interested in on this post prior to Sunday, Jan. 27, at midnight. The winner be announced and contacted on Monday, Jan. 28. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.

* UPDATE * The winner is #16 ladyamanda. Congratulations!

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118 comments on “Working Mom Wednesday: Tips for Aspiring Writers”

  1. I am going to be working on some technical and journal writing this year. I would love this newest edition (especially the online access.) Thanks!

  2. I am very interested in fantasy love stories, or supernatural love stories. Anything that includes Vampires & Werewolves.

  3. When I was studying writing, I was interested in writing horror fiction and would read and reread anything I could find about Stephen King.
    But now that I'm a grownup and more aware of my strengths and limitations. I've realized that I'm funny and irreverent and that my actual life is weirder than anything I could invent so I want to focus on nonfiction and also do how-to pieces on making art and making cool clothes.

    tonylethal@aol.com

  4. Writing for magazines really interests me, and this book would be a great way to get started! Thanks!

    ksrutledge at hotmail dot com

  5. Non-fiction~Educational...This book would be immensely helpful to me! This website is an incredible find too --bookmarked!

  6. Writer's Market is an excellent publication. I was introduced to it in college by a professor. I'd love to have the new edition.

  7. Nancy says: I want to travel (more) ... and write about my travels! Guess that would make me a wanna-be travel writer?! Haha ... halfway there.

  8. I have to write research reports at work, but in the secret quiet time that comes at home when everyone else is asleep...I am a Maya Angelou wannabe!!! Please enter me for this fabulous book that might just help me find an outlet for all that poetry and prose that oozes out in the pre-dawn haze!

  9. Good morning! Of all the ways to help me do what I love to do, Writer's Market is the best. Speechwriting and marketing. Fiction.

  10. This book sounds like a wonderful resource! I'm sure it would teach me a think or two about nonfiction writing.

  11. Wow - what a generous give-away! I would LOVE a copy of 'Writer's Market'. I'm a military wife and mother of 2 kids under 3. I'm busy, but I write in between diaper changes, potty chair runs, fixing meals, giving hugs, kissing boo-boos, making the kids laugh, romping on the floor, and getting milk and juice refills. My favorite thing to write are humorous memoirs on life and all the experiences I've had.

    I've started learning to find enjoyment in writing about things I found boring in the past (stock market, economics, etc). I'm trying to force myself to be able to write on a wide variety of topics so I never fall into a stale niche. I write everything from news articles, magazine-style articles, fiction, etc.

    Despite all this writing, I haven't gotten published yet. I'm now finally just getting confident enough to go for it. :-)

    fenderchick1977@yahoo.com

  12. What an awesome comment! Both me and dh are interested in writing Christian fiction... although we are working together on an alternative history book concept right now.

  13. I'm an optioned screenwriter and have also completed seven and manuscripts in the romance, drama, paranormal romance and horror genres. Since I've designated 2008 The Year of Accomplished Goals, I believe this could be the stepping stone I need to make a living doing something I love.

    Thanks!

    Ginger Voight
    gsvscreenplays@aol.com

  14. This is such a great giveaway, esp for us SAHMs who would love to write a book to expand their horizons. I'd love to write a biography or autobiography b/c sometimes what happens in ppl's lives you can't even make up! LOL!

  15. I have a journalism degree and worked as TV news producer until my job as mommy called me away. I do some freelance newspaper reporting now, but I'd love to do magazine articles.

    Please enter me!
    csaspo@yahoo.com

  16. I would love to win this prize. After many years of being a single parent I remarried to a wonderful man. Unfortunately, he has two kookie step children and I would love to write about our life and blending of our families.

  17. I have been told for years that I should try my hand at writing, and I'm almost to the point of throwing my hat into the ring. I'd love to be a contributing writer to magazines or various publications!

  18. Oh! Oh! My friends and professors have told me for years that I should be a writer. I was just starting to look at ways to submit stuff. I would be in the genre of relationships/biography/self-help. I come from a very abusive family and would like to write things that would help others in their battles with their own abusive backgrounds. And of course, motherhood would be my other genre! The humor and joy that comes with having children is my favorite thing to write.

  19. I write multiple genres. I started out with Fantasy-type writing, and slowly moved into poetry. Now I write memoir and poetry, and I'd like to try my hand at writing a novel one day.

    Good luck to everyone!

    ciscomatisse at gmail dot com

  20. More than one genre. However, to sum it up, it would be Christian non-fiction mostly. I have a Christian Family website with over 8k unique visitors a month (not my blog, but my website), yet I don't make a dime for all the family devotionals with object lessons I write. I am a stay at home, work from home, homeschooling mom who would love to find how to break in and actually get paid for what I do sometimes.

    Thanks for this opportunity and blessings to you, Julianne

  21. I'm an unpublished writer in need of guidance. This book would be wonderfully helpful! Thanks for the opportunity.

  22. WOW! What a great prize!! The bound book is expensive, and is outdated fairly quickly, so what I'm particularly excited about is the subscription to the website. That would be truly beneficial to any writer serious about the craft.

    I'd like to win this because I was previously published in historical romance by a small press publisher, but the experience was not what I expected. This would open up resources for my future work that I never dreamed of, as well as the opportunity to improve my writing and network with other writers and hopefully agents and editors.

    Also, I'm looking for ways to put all that lovely historical research to further good use, so finding magazine resources for articles would be an added benefit!

  23. I would treasure this volume - I love all kinds of writing: politics, travel, human interest articles, short stories, poetry/haiku...

  24. Writing for children is my hobby!

    I'm really excited about your Wednesday column, by the way!

    kelli (at) pfrog (dot) net

  25. I'd like to submit articles to magazines! And I know a friend who could probably use it way more than me, so I'd love to share this!

  26. Every writer who is serious can use this book, but it is expensive, which is why I am still using on that is 8 years old. I could use a newer one.

  27. I'd love to have this - I have an older version and it's been quite useful. Aside from blogging, I write a column for several regional parenting magazines.

  28. I love writing poetry

    "My Little Angel Of Love"

    I gave life to a precious angel just a few short days ago
    I love her more than life itself but I loved her enough to let her go
    For two short days I held her close in a warm loving embrace
    Those beautiful moments in which we bonded my mind will never erase
    God gave me a Christian couple that can take care of her every need
    But my eyes will always be streaked with tears; my heart will forever bleed
    If I could have just one wish our paths will cross again
    But I will hold her close in my heart and love her in silence until then
    I know I did the right thing. I'm at peace with the Lord above
    And I know He will always be watching over "My Little Angel Of Love"

  29. This sounds wonderful- i'm a former paralegal turned SAHM, and I'd love to win this. I've been looking into business or copy writing, but haven't been sure where to look, now I know!

  30. ooh! I'm trying to juggle pregnancy and my MFA in Creative Writing courseload. I'm mostly a sci-fi fantasy writer, though I'm tyring my hand at a few different genres. I've been coveting this!

  31. This is such a great book! My professor recommended it highly but I never had the money (first student, then mama) to ever buy it. I love to write Children's or young people's fictional books (around age 11-13 or so). I would love this book.
    sarahmarie.pemberton@gmail.com

  32. Hello, What a fantastic contest! I like to experiment with historical romance! Please enter me in your contest. Thanks,Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

  33. I received this book for Christmas, so don't enter me, but I wanted to say thanks for a great interview. And also, I second Melissa's request: magazine-writing is my area of interest.

  34. I do graphic design for a non-profit magazine so I know a lot of freelance writers (everything from fiction to poetry to nonfiction and beyond) who would just love this!

  35. WOO-HOO!!! ME ME ME!! This is ONE thing I asked my husband to buy me for Christmas, and it wasn't under the tree. :-( I haven't had a chance to get it yet.

    I want to know ALL about getting published in magazines. :-)

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