Freelancing Tips, Reading Suggestions, Newsletters, and More

Below, our Summer 2021 Writer in Residence, Mark Athitakis, shares freelancing tips and resources for aspiring writers. Athitakis has covered books and the arts for a variety of publications, including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Humanities Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review and many more. A former board member of the National Book Critics Circle and judge for the Kirkus Prize, he has presented on writing at Arizona State University, Arizona Professional Writers, the Center for Fiction and elsewhere. He is the author of The New Midwest, a guide to contemporary fiction from the region, which won the Books by the Banks Award for best adult nonfiction title.

Athitakis is available for virtual one-on-one consultations on Tuesdays, 1-3 p.m. and Saturdays, 9-11 a.m., beginning Tuesday, May 4. Please make an appointment by finding an open day and time on our calendar, or call 480-474-8555.

Curious about another perspective on freelancing and journalism? Check out our interview with Leo W. Banks on YouTube here.

Books:

Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents. Published annually, helpful if you have a book-length project to find agents, broken down by genre.

Alfred Fortunato and Susan Rabiner, Thinking Like Your Editor. Helpful book for nonfiction writers considering turning articles into full-length book proposals.

Magazines:

The Writer: Magazine focused on a variety of ways freelancers make a living. Craft pieces, inspirational essays, tips.

Writer’s Digest: Similar to The Writer, with an emphasis on commercial fiction. 

Poets & Writers: Focus on the literary novelist, poet, and essayist. Lots of tips on MFA programs, retreats, contests, and outlets for work.

Helpful/Handy/Fun Links

Neil Gaiman’s 2012 Commencement Speech

Google Alerts. Keep track of your topics of interest as they appear in the news and on websites.

Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. Two of the most prominent “pre-pub” magazines, helpful for finding out about forthcoming books that might be pegs for articles.

Don’t Write Alone. Guidance for pitching articles, inspirational essays, tips.

Tim Herrera, “How to Pitch the New York Times

50+ Pitching Guides

Freelance rates database

Quarterly tax basics

Organizations:

Authors Guild. Initially focused on established book writers, in recent years it’s pivoted to assisting emerging nonfiction writers. Provides modest legal assistance (contract reads, etc.) to members.

National Book Critics Circle. Organization of book critics, maintains list of paying review outlets. 

Newsletters and Social Media Feeds

The Practicing Writer. Monthly newsletter chock-full of a variety of writing opportunities. Carefully curated to focus only on paying opportunities with no submission fees.

Missed Pitches. Features pitch ideas looking for a good home, plus links to media jobs and freelance opportunities. Good place to study some sample pitches.

Who Pays Writers (@whopayswriters). Crowdsourced list of outlets, including pay rates.

Writers of Color (@writersofcolor). Website featuring POC freelancers and their areas of expertise.

Questions? Email me at mathitak@gmail.com. Web: markathitakis.com. Twitter: @mathitak