Archive for October, 2009

Ask Wendy: Your Writing and Publishing Questions Answered

By Wendy Burt-ThomasWendy Burt

Q: Should I interview experts BEFORE I query a magazine or wait to see if the article is assigned?

A: As a full-time freelance writer, I’ve learned that time is money. With that said, my personal preference is to NOT interview any experts until I know I’ve got a paid assignment. What I do recommend, however, is that you LINE UP interviews before you query a magazine.
You’ll need to clearly explain to potential interviewees that you’re pitching an idea to a magazine with no guarantee that the piece will be assigned, but that you’d like to cite them as your experts in your query letter.
Two exceptions to the rule: 1) If a fabulous opportunity arises to interview someone (e.g. a celebrity or a famous anthropologist who’s about to embark on a 6-month African safari), interview them while you can; and 2) If you’re not sure that your expert is the right source for your article, do a pre-interview scouting session. 
The Writer's Digest Guide to Query LettersWendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer, editor and copywriter with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her work has appeared in such varied publications as,, Family Circle and American Fitness. She is the author of three books: Oh, Solo Mia! The Hip Chick’s Guide to Fun for Work It, Girl! 101 Tips for the Hip Working Chick (McGraw-Hill, 2003); and The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters (Writer’s Digest, 2008). Visit her at 

or her blog,

Christina’s Calendar: Fall Gigs

The Northwest Author Series: Third Season!

2009-2010 Northwest Author Series

Next up: Kati Neville
Test Marketing Using Self-publishing

More info


Destination: Book Deal
Advanced Student Discussion Group
With Christina Katz
Prerequisites: 3 Previous Classes with Christina
Destination: Book Deal is a monthly 90 minute accountability group that guides members towards landing a book deal sooner rather than later. Members will check in each month and set monthly goals. Christina Katz facilitates this group by phone as a way to stay in touch with her former students and point out the shortcuts, pitfalls, and career building opportunities available to experienced writers aiming for a traditional nonfiction book deal.
Cost: $150.00 (Intro price)
Dates: January – June 2010
Days & Times of monthly calls TBA
Space is limited to 12 participants
More/register: E-mail Christina

Article Accountability Dream Team For Former Writing & Publishing the Short Stuff Students
With Christina Katz
Prerequisites: WPSS
The Article Accountability Dream Team is a monthly 90 minute accountability group that guides members towards getting more articles in print in less time than it might otherwise take going it alone. Members will check in each month and set monthly goals. Christina Katz facilitates this group by phone as a way to stay in touch with her former students and point out the shortcuts, pitfalls, and career building opportunities available to article writers, who wish to get published and profit from their writing.
Cost: $150.00 quarterly (Intro price)
Dates: January – June 2010
Days & Times of monthly calls TBA
Space is limited to 12 participants
More/register: E-mail Christina

Invest In Your Writing Career Today
& Reap Greater Rewards Tomorrow.

Happy Harvest!

Happy Harvest! 
What are you harvesting from all of your efforts this past year?
Here’s what I’m prioritizing:
Teaching. My focus is working with writers from beginners with no clips all the way to seasoned writers seeking book deals. I will offer four classes that help build skill sets in 2010, plus e-books, workbooks, audios, and videos all geared towards helping writers find a specialty and get nonfiction published. I will be offering Dream Teams for article writers and aspiring book writers beginning in January. 
Writing. I will start my next book in January 2010. I will get some of my old reprints into circulation as well as pitching new articles. I will also begin publishing some e-books that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.
Speaking. I will travel to speak on my topics when hosted. I will also be hosting a few of my own events including a quarterly three-hour platform workshop and, possibly, launching an annual writer mama gathering.
Blogging. I will consolidate all of my blogs into one central blog, which will be located at I will begin video-blogging in the New Year. I will provide fresh content on my topics and invite guest bloggers to post.
Giving. I will continue to offer the following freebies: The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway, the December Former Student Sell-a-bration, and the Northwest Author Series. I will also continue to offer one scholarship every time I offer Writing & Publishing the Short Stuff (last class for 2009 begins in just two days, btw!).
My primary goal is to put my work with students first so that I can help more writers accomplish the goal of landing a first book deal. I am consolidating how I spend my time, money, and energy to better reach that goal. And I’m looking forward to being able to help more people, more effectively in the New Year!
Is there anything else you’d like to see me do? Send your feedback to me at writer mama at earthlink dot net.
Enjoy the bounty of fall!

Christina Katz
Publisher and Editor

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Christina’s Calendar


Wordstock Festival of the Book
Get Known Before the Book Deal: A Platform Development Checklist
October 11, 2009
4:30 – 5:45 p.m.
Location: Oregon Convention Center
More Info

Reasons to Write: Write to Express Yourself

By Christina KatzChristina Katz
We have arrived at my number one reason to write: to express myself. But before I can communicate well with anyone else, first I need to communicate with myself.
Sounds easy, right? But anyone who writes will tell you that there is a lot more to self-expression than meets the mouth.
I remember once upon a time when I was in my twenties and getting an astrological reading. The astrologer, whose name was Mary, finally said to me about three quarters of the way through our conversation, “You need to speak up, Ms. Virgo Moon. Speak up!”
I was slightly startled and I sat there blinking for a moment. Mary had been pretty sensitive to my twenty-something angst up until that point, but about “speaking up” she seemed to have struck a key point.
The only problem was that I had no idea, if I ever did decide to speak up, what I’d say. How can I communicate well with you, if I don’t know what I think, feel, or sense?
My thoughts in my twenties were a swirl of self-consciousness, neediness, and voracious appetites. The same can still go for today if I’m not centered when I express myself. If that happens what you are likely to hear mostly are complaints, concerns, and whatever else happens to be chafing my mind at the moment.
On the other hand, if I’ve spent some time writing before we talk, I can get a load of chatter off of my head and settle into my deeper mind, I can tell you about the things that matter most. Share revelations. Maybe even experience an epiphany and capture it like a lightning bug.
What I’ve learned over the years of slow self-revelation is that when it comes to self-expression, the key isn’t to censor what you think. The key is to be able to tell the difference between someone you can say anything to and someone with whom you should probably stick to polite conversation.
Have you ever noticed that there are an awful lot of people in the world who wish to only speak about superficial things? Don’t try to share your deep mind with these folks because you will likely just make them uncomfortable. Find some deeper minds that compliment yours. Tell them what you really think because on the other side of what you really think is the truth. Not just any truth but yours.
Remember the movie, “Say Anything”? Remember how Lloyd Dobbler said he was looking for a “dare to be great situation”? Here’s who you can say anything to: people who love you, best friends, and pieces of paper. If you want to find your dare to be great situation, explore these possibilities first. And then you will find out what you think followed swiftly by what you want to say. That’s how you get beyond polite conversation to the material that really matters.
Express means to say, to show meaning, to reveal your thoughts. If your thoughts come tumbling out like circus clowns, then so be it. But find the tribe of folks who will allow this to happen if you want to get to your deep mind.

When was the last time you were with someone who would allow your thoughts to just come tumbling out? Stick with those people. Listen to them too. Sharing the stuff found in your deep mind with another person is probably the most important gift in the world…and the rarest.
Writer Mama by Christina KatzGet Known Before the Book Deal by Christina KatzChristina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Build an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (both for Writer’s Digest Books). A platform development coach and consultant, she teaches writing career development, hosts the Northwest Author Series, and is the publisher of several e-zines including Writers on the Rise. Christina blogs at The Writer Mama Riffs and Get Known Before the Book Deal, and speaks at MFA programs, literary events, and conferences around the country.

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  • This Blog Moving to as of December 30, 2009… December 27, 2009
    We’re moving! Writers on the Rise archives have been here for years. I hope that WordPress will let the archive live on for a good long time. However, it’s time to move on, bittersweet as change may be. Please come and find me at my new digs: And while we’re both thinking of it, […]
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