HOW TO PITCH
I might be busy/will be traveling during the course. Can I still take it?
Absolutely! There is no set time when you need to ‘take’ the course, and there are no assignments per se. Every day new material will be posted, and you can read it whenever you have time–even after the course is over! The materials say live for 6 weeks after each course ends, so you can ‘take’ it whenever you want.
I don’t have any experience. Could I still take the course?
Yup. No experience is assumed. During the first few days of the course we will introduce you to the ins and outs of pitching articles and submitting essays. Asking questions is encouraged. In fact, taking the course is one way to gain experience. Simply reading the pitches and essays others have written might spark some ideas of your own, and the lessons on how to write and send those pitches will give you the rest of the information you need.
I have lots of experience. Why should I take the course?
Many experienced freelancers take–and re-take– the course. They do so because the community is supportive and often sparks new ideas, and because it encourages accountability.
What happens during a course?
Most courses last two weeks, and consist of lessons posted online. Participants also receive access to The Thinking Writer Market Database containing editor and pay information. During the two weeks, participants read the lessons, ask questions and comment on the material, and, optionally, post drafts of their work-in-progress for feedback.
What happens after the course is over?
It may be after courses officially end that the true benefit of The Thinking Writer kicks in. All “alums” are eligible to participate in a private Facebook group, where people share resources, cheer on each others’ successes, and brainstorm new story ideas. Many additional communities have formed over the years as a result of the Thinking Writer, including off-line writing groups and meet ups. Thinking Writer alums have hired each other for jobs over the years, and often alert the group of new opportunities.
Who takes these courses?
It’s a pretty wide spectrum! The typical mix would about 50% academic-types (grad students, professors, recent PhDs), 25% experienced freelancers, and 25% writers who want to learn more about freelancing. Also, we reserve 3 spots half-priced spots for “alums” who have already taken the course once and want to take it again, and those always fill.
Can I pay for the course through professional development funds?
Yes! This is common. We will send along invoices or other paperwork you might need.
The timing of the upcoming course doesn’t work for me. When will you offer it again?
Thinking Writer teachers are all freelancers, so our schedules are cyclical. We offer courses when we know we have two weeks of time to devote to it, and we schedule courses as soon as we can. How To Pitch and Submit is usually offered 4 times a year.
What do you get for signing up other than the course itself?
So much! A market database with editor and pay information for dozens of publications that publish what could be loosely called “cultural journalism.” A community and a way to meet people (lots of friendships form in these courses.). And perhaps the best: a private FB group for anyone who has taken one of our courses. This group is remarkably self-sustaining: people post questions, brag about recent clips, discuss ideas, and share resources.
EDITING & COACHING SERVICES
What kinds of editing do you offer?
We can help you shape a manuscript, develop a book proposal, edit your manuscript prior to submission, and coach you on pitches. Our previous clients include a professor seeking to get an agent for a trade title, an independent scholar looking to trim the length of a book manuscript, a freelancer seeking assistance with pitches, a writer needing line editing on an accepted monograph, and individuals seeking 2-4 week coaching sessions tailored to specific projects.
What does coaching entail?
It varies! You might need some accountability and assistance with a project: we would set up an arrangement to offer you deadlines and feedback on a set schedule. Or you might want to work on writing better pitches and prefer to work one-on-one rather than enroll in a course. Whatever the project, coaching will start and stop at designated times, and offer structure and feedback.
How do you charge?
First, we will talk with you about your project. Then we will estimate how much time it will take us, and quote you either an hourly or a flat rate. Don’t be intimidated to ask!
Why would a writer need an editor?
Everyone benefits from expert editing, including the most proficient, published writers. Also, trade and academic publishers are being forced to cut editing services for financial reasons, creating more need for independent editors.
I have more questions!