Sunday, February 04, 2024

How to Keep Moving Up

By Terry Whalin 

Notice the tiny lady bug on a leaf. This insect uses persistence and consistency to keep climbing upward on the plant.  I see this effort as a metaphor of the same sort of continual effort we make as writers to keep in motion toward our goals and dreams for our writing. The path isnt often clear and filled with challenges and set backs. Yet the people who succeed are the ones who continue forward despite any setbacks.

My own path has been filled with false starts and stumbles along with surprises and opportunities. I began writing for magazines and was trained in newspaper journalism at a top school, Indiana University. To the surprise of my classmates, I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators out of college and spent ten years in linguistics before I returned to my writing. I started writing for magazines and learned how to craft a query along with other skills. 

At one of my first writers conferences, an editor told me about her problem then asked me if I had any ideas. I pitched and she said, “That sounds like a good idea, Terry. Write that up and send it to me.” I made a little note, went home and sent the submission. It started a chain of events which ultimately led to my first published book, When I Grow Up, I Can Go Anywhere for Jesus.

Since then Ive written many different types of books and even had two of my book proposals receive six-figure advances. I have long stories about what happened to those books and will give those details another day. While I have had many failures, Ive also succeeded with a number of writing projects. Throughout my journey, I continue to meet new people and learn from different sources. 

Last week a friend asked me if I was interested in reading her book. As Ive mentioned in these articles, publishers and author often send this question because Ive written a large number of book reviews. I turn down the majority of these books because no one could read the volume of material that pours into my home. I agreed to read WRITING FOR MONEY & MEANING

Ive read many how-to writing books (and written several of them). I have never seen anyone tell me the path and direction to move upward and increase your income and fulfillment. The detailed information and questions to ask a prospective client is something I have not found in other books.  

Every writer is trying to find the right place for their work. Publisher Julie Anne Eason has been in that place and with honesty and insight opens the door of opportunity in the pages of WRITING FOR MONEY & MEANING. She clearly says there is not one path but some essential attitudes and practices for every freelance writer. 

Many writers are looking for black and white answers to different questions related to the publishing world. Eason encourages writers to experiment, learn and find their own path. As Eason writes in the opening pages, “This book is going to give you a glimpse into dozens of ways to move your career forward.” (Page 4)

Deeper in the book, Eason writes, “Its up to you to ask the right questions and find out what their expectations are before you quote a price for your writing services. Some short books fall in the $10,000 range for your services,  while others can run into six figures for a project. That a huge range and it took me a long time to figure out how to get to those $100,000 ghostwriting contracts.” (Page 44) 

If you want to earn more money, Eason provides readers with a detailed path and questions for writers of every level. As I read the book, it stirred a cornucopia of possibilities for my own writing life. I wish I had read this book 10 or 20 years ago but it didn’t exist. The opportunity for every writer is out there. You have to read the information, ask the right questions and then seize the project. I learned a great deal reading this book and highly recommend it. 

Have you found this type of information in another source? What steps are you taking with your writing life to keep moving up? Let me know in the comments below. 


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