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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Doomed to Freelance?

In Writing on January 13, 2010 at 7:57 am

By Tim Beyers

BusinessWeek has a new cover story in which it describes today as the era of permanent temporary workers, one in which corporate profits have soared as pay has sagged and benefits have gone missing. Read it here.


Be warned: the story is depressing. And yet I take comfort — irrational comfort, possibly, but comfort nonetheless — in this quote:

“With the economy expanding again, and employers loath to add permanent workers, temp employment is one of the few sectors of the labor market that is growing rapidly,” writes BusinessWeek’s Peter Coy.

That’s good news. Skilled writers with the temerity to risk rejection may be positioned to profit from the economic rebound underway, even if the publishing industry isn’t recovering as fast as others. Or at all.

Read the rest of this entry »


Did Terrorists Just Save the Publishing Industry?

In Writing on December 26, 2009 at 10:49 am

By Tim Beyers

Along with family, friends, presents, and far too much food, Christmas Day brought news of a thwarted terrorist attack on board a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. CNN is reporting that a 23-year-old Nigerian man named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab activated an explosive device that caused a fire as the airplane began its descent.

On TV, talking heads are speculating about heavy-handed new security rules. Ignore them. We already know how the Transportation Security Agency and airlines are responding, thanks to analyst Charlene Li. Read the rest of this entry »

Editorchat to Get a Winter Makeover

In Resources, Writing on December 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm

By Tim Beyers

After 11 months on the job, Editorchat is taking a break for the winter. Well, okay, not for the whole winter, but for December. My co-founder Lydia Dishman and I are taking the month to try and make the experience, and the blog, better.

You might say we’re returning to our roots. We’re taking time to remember why we started this thing. Here’s what we said back in March, when former BusinessWeek Executive Editor John A. Byrne joined us for a chat:

If you have yet to try Editorchat, think of it as the world’s cheapest, real-time writer’s conference covering issues of substance facing the publishing industry. We think these sorts of discussions are essential for survival as writers. Having BusinessWeek join us makes us think that we’re onto something.

Read the rest of this entry »

Editorchat Gets a Friend

In Resources, Writing on September 2, 2009 at 11:28 am

By Tim Beyers

Twitter sometimes acts like it’s in college; everything’s fine till someone throws a party.

Dozens are invited, of course. Tweets flow like beer and whiskey. Tweeps get louder and more obnoxious with each thread, right up until someone breaks a stereo — I mean, server — and the killjoys who weren’t invited hear the noise and call the cops.

Stumblers head for the exits. Some make it. Others enjoy a nice, quiet ride downtown to the drunk-tank. Everyone else passes out on the couch, waiting for Twitter to rally from its out-till-3-am alcohol and Cheetos bender.

Source: PhotobucketAnd of course all of this happens in a matter of minutes — just enough time to transform Editorchat from a joy to an annoyance. My friend Lydia Dishman and I prefer it when Editorchat is a joy, which is why we’ve moved the chat from Twitter to FriendFeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Meet My Favorite Editor

In Writing on August 17, 2009 at 1:48 pm

By Tim Beyers

My idea of freelance writing heaven is having an editor who is one part Pitcher and one part Partner. But these are only two of the six types of editors my friend Lydia and I dream of when thinking of working with that Great Typewriter in the Sky.

Source: FlickrFortunately, I’m already living the dream daily. My editors at The Motley Fool are heavenly. What’s your favorite editor archetype? Please read Lydia’s post and leave your comments there. We’d love to hear from you.

© Copyright 2015, Tim Beyers.

Was Big Brother Watching Twitter?

In Resources, Writing on July 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm

By Tim Beyers
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Once again, Twitter failed us during #editorchat.

If you’re unfamiliar with #editorchat, it’s a weekly discussion on Twitter run by yours truly and my friend Lydia Dishman. Writers and editors use the forum to talk about topics of interest to the beleaguered publishing industry and in the process help each other to work smarter and more profitably.

Tonight, we had hoped to tackle pay. We knew it would be a contentious topic, one guaranteed to raise tempers and maybe even voices. How it could not when outlets are increasingly choosing to pay by the penny, and still shift risk to their freelancers?

Big Publishing Brother apparently doesn’t like such talk. So, he decided to shut down the conversation before it could begin. Maybe. All we know for sure is that the Fail Whale belly-flopped into our #editorchat tweetstream.

We’re going with the conspiracy theory, if only because we find it more entertaining. Herewith are our top 5 Big Publishing Brother reactions to tonight’s proposed #editorchat topic, none of which have any basis in fact other than they were trending topics on Twitter when #editorchat stalled. Drum roll, please: Read the rest of this entry »

This Resource Beats the Web

In Resources, Writing on July 14, 2009 at 2:22 pm

By Tim Beyers
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The Web is the second-best resource ever created for writers. The library is still better, by far. Here’s why.

Source: Strahov Theological Hall, Prague

Source: Strahov Theological Hall, Prague

1. You get free access to the Web at most libraries. My local offers two options. Patrons can either bring their own computers and log on with free Wi-Fi, or they can reserve one of the library’s computers. Either way, the library gives you the Web and a lot more.

2. You can find top reference books. When I was first starting out as a freelance writer, I’d spend $20-$30 for a shining new copy of the annual Writer’s Market. My local has its own copy that I can use every time I visit. Even better: I can check out copies of the magazines that WM is telling me about. Money saved is money earned. Read the rest of this entry »

Alice Hoffman Blew It Again

In Resources, Writing on July 6, 2009 at 1:01 pm

By Tim Beyers
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Author Alice Hoffman has taken a beating for using Twitter as a bazooka to attack a reviewer of her latest book, “The Story Sisters.” She has since compounded that error by closing her Twitter account.

Source: The Boston Globe

Source: The Boston Globe

More about why this is a mistake shortly. First, some background. The Boston Globe published freelancer Roberta Silman’s lukewarm review of “The Story Sisters” on June 28. Shortly after, Hoffman responded angrily via Twitter, calling Silman “a moron” and questioning her credentials as a reviewer: “Now any idiot can be a critic. Writers used to review writers. My second novel was reviewed by [Anne] Tyler. So who is Roberta Silman?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Was I Wrong About Helium?

In Writing on July 2, 2009 at 4:58 pm

By Tim Beyers
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Was I wrong to tell my fellow freelancers to not write for content aggregators? Recently, I sold a reprint of an article that I first wrote for Helium to Hope Clark for her FundsforWriters newsletter. “5 Ways to Boost Your Word Count” appeared in the June 21 issue.

One query, 31 times the earnings

Find the original article from last August here. Helium readers and reviewers liked it but didn’t love it, ranking it 11 of 23 articles on the topic of writing more. So far, my story — which I have since improved — has earned $0.47 in shared advertising revenue. By contrast, Ms. Clark paid me $15 for one-time reprint rights. One query and a modest rewrite netted me 31 times the earnings.

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How to Be a More Social Writer

In Blogging, Writing on June 16, 2009 at 1:08 pm

By Tim Beyers
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I don’t need to tell you that I haven’t been posting as much recently. Don’t take that to mean that I’ve lost interest in this blog — to the contrary, I’m more interested than ever. You might even call me obsessed.


Source: Screen Gems

Of course, there is good and bad that comes with obsessive behavior. Here, I’m consumed with ways to engage you using social media and other community-building tools. Have a look at my task list and let me know what you find useful. Read the rest of this entry »