Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Submission Call for Inaccurate Realities

Have you ever noticed that there isn't a lot out there for YA short stories? After some searching I found a literary magazine for young adults called Inaccurate Realities. They felt the lack of YA short-fiction and decided to do something about it, YEAH! Inaccurate Realities accepts speculative fiction in all its forms. Science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, horror, dystopian, steampunk, cyberpunk, alternate history and everything in between. Their first issue is on fear, and their second is on time travel. You can check them out here.

Inaccurate Realities has some exciting calls for subjects like Magic, Superpowers, and Monsters. They are looking for short fiction between 2,000-5,000 words. You can find more details on their Submissions Page. So grab your papers and your pencils and get ready for some inspiration! They even included Pinterest boards for each of the calls to get the mojo flowing.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Interview with Public Relations Counselor Nicole Singer from Write Me a World

Today I'm interviewing Nicole Singer from Write Me a World regarding her job as a public relations counselor. This is an rewarding and creative field for those who are interested in jobs for English Majors and Writers.

Wow! Nicole is currently offering her ebook of short stories for FREE through the middle of next week (Nov. 7 2012 to be exact). Thanks Nicole. See her blog for details.

Thank you for the chance to interview you, Nicole. I'm interested in learning more about what you do. Can you tell me what is your job title? I'm a public relations counselor for a small public relations agency.

What are your job duties?
One of the nice things about being a small agency is that I get to work in a lot of different areas. The vast, vast majority of what I do is writing (of all kinds). I also do media relations, crisis communications, help design brochures, websites, etc., and act as a project manager for our clients.

In what ways are you using your writing and creative skills? SO many awesome ways! One of the most creative projects we did was a year-long comic strip for a hospital system. We wrote each episode and worked with the illustrator to design the characters and how they interact. We also just wrapped up an animated video, which we wrote the script for.

We’ve done quite a few brochures as well, which are always fun to develop. My favorite was a brochure we did for a local school – the writing and photos worked so well together. That’s part of what I like most about my job. I get to take someone’s ideas, put it into words and then see it come to life.

Some of the coolest stories I’ve written have been for our client newsletters and magazines. The people I interview are so amazing. They’re average folks who have overcome some incredible challenges, and those are the days I really, really love my job. These people are so grateful that someone is willing to tell their story!

Creativity is key because 1) we work so closely with designers and have to make sure our words match their vision and vice versa, and 2) we write for so many different audiences, we have to be masters of all styles.

Do you have an English degree, and if so, what ways has it helped your job/career? Technically, no, I have a Public Relations degree, but English and writing were a huge part of it! I’ve also been able to use my interest in writing and publishing on behalf of my clients on more than one occasion – whether I’m helping them launch their own books, or steering someone away from a pesky vanity publisher (I swapped emails with Victoria Strauss on this one – very cool!).

What do you love about your job?
I love the variety and the fact that I play a role in all different aspects of a project. Writing, strategy and creative. I also truly love telling people’s stories. Every individual or company comes to PR with a story to tell, and they’re not quite sure how. I get to help them tell it!

That sounds great. So, what would you say are the challenges of the job?
Edits. Haha! I never worry about getting critiqued on my own writing, because I’ve built up such a buffer working in PR. Our client teams often include multiple people, and they usually have multiple opinions about what’s important and how something should be written. Without fail, everything we write gets changed multiple times before we send it out.

Working in PR provides a great perspective, because it teaches you to listen to the client edits and then balance that with what you know the client is actually trying to accomplish through the writing.

PR can also be quite intense. We pretty much live on deadlines.

Would you say it is difficult to get into?
Not necessarily, but it does take a lot of commitment to move up. The industry is always looking for great writers.

Do you have any tips for those who are interested in working in public relations?
Learn to use commas. Seriously. I review the resumes for our job and internship applicants, and this is the biggest gap we see. I’d also say learn to be invisible when you write. If you do PR correctly, you don’t get any credit – your client does. It’s also important to try out different writing styles for different audiences.

Is there anything else you would like add?
PR is a great industry! I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I knew I wanted a “day job” that let me do that, too. I tell stories every day at work, I get to partner with some really amazing creative people, and it’s something new all the time. I love how it stretches me, and I think it’s a great complement to my own personal writing pursuits.

This is great information. Thank you for your time, Nicole!
Thanks so much for having me, Andrea! These are great questions.

You can find Nicole Singer and her work, Running in the Dark at the links below:
Running in the Dark-Available on Kindle
Running in the Dark-Available at Smashwords

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Resurrection Blogfest!

Mina Lobo from Some Dark Romantic is hosting the Resurrection Blogfest on November 7th.

In this blogfest you will re-post a piece from your first year of blogging (one which didn't get enough TLC or that you think deserves a second look).

There will be prizes for1st, 2nd, and 3rd place!

Click here to learn more and sign up.

Congratulations to Mina in celebration of her first year of blogging!

Monday, October 15, 2012

What Can You Do With An English Degree Pt 2

Welcome to part two of the series on what you can do with an English degree. You can read part one here:

Are you unafraid to ask questions and be bold? Reporters are naturally curious, active listeners and good at telling stories. As a reporter it is important to give the correct information which may require some research.
What they don't tell you:
Newspapers run 24 hours a day, chances are that you'll start out working a graveyard shift.
How you can stand out from the crowd:
Get experience through your school's newspaper, or through a local small newspaper.  Learn the business, diversify your topics - if you enjoy writing food columns, try sports as well. Also work on improving your editing skills.

You can also try Magazines. Start small by submitting to a niche or trade magazines. Have a scrap-booking hobby, love snowboarding, or cooking? Try writing about those. There is a magazine for everything.

Technical Writing
Can you take something that is technical or complex and rewrite it to make it easier to understand? Technical Writers are highly sought after for software, pharmacy, robotics manufacturing, medicine, science and other fields. Plus they make a nice salary.
What they don't tell you:
You will need to be more than just a good writer, most employers want you to show your expertise in the field as well. You will be constantly learning all of the new developments in the field you work in (which may be a good thing if you are interested in the field.)
How you can stand out from the crowd:
Get a minor in a computer science, science, or other field depending on which one you want to write for. Even taking  a few classes in the field, and a technical writing class will help. See if you can volunteer to write some technical or training documents at your current job to get experience.

Freelance Writer
As a freelance writer you can be your own boss, which means working by your own schedule and writing in your pajamas, woo hoo.
What they don't tell you:
You can quickly get cabin fever, income doesn't come in nice stable intervals so it can be very feast or famine. You are also on your own as far as health insurance.
How you can stand out from the crowd:
Build up your reputation first. Network with other freelancers who might be able to recommend you to an employer when they are overloaded with work. Also, make sure that you go through the right channels when asking for work.

Do you know of any other career fields for English majors and writers? What are your thoughts?

Monday, October 8, 2012

What You Can Do With An English Degree Pt 1

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I discovered a passion for writing I decided to major in English - Creative Writing. But what can a person do with such a degree that could put food on the table? I researched what kind of jobs want you to have an English degree and discovered that you can actually do a lot! In fact, even if you don't have a degree in English there are a lot of marketable skills that a writer could showcase to a potential employer.

First things first. There are websites and books out there that will tell you that you can be this or be that with an English degree. But, they don't tell you the downsides to those jobs. Some can be very highly competitive to get into, may require a lot more training or experience than just a bachelor's degree, or are demanding, time-consuming jobs. My bubble burst when I researched my dream job of becoming a college professor. However, there was a lot of positive things I found out as well.  I think being aware of the difficulties of a career early on is better than finding out later when your dreams are smashed into little bits, plus it can give you a better chance of being successful in getting into the field if you already know what is expected.

I will try to give you the inside scoop on the jobs I researched for an English major, I'm sure I haven't even covered the tip of the iceburg so if you know of any other jobs, please feel free to share. In the end there is only one way to find out if a job is truly right for you - do it! And if you really do want to become an novelist, a college professor, or a librarian don't let anyone or anything stop you.

College Teaching
I think this would be an awesome job, you get to teach what you love to college students.
MA or MFA, and a PHD to teach upper level classes and be eligible for tenure track positions.
What they don't tell you:
This is a difficult position it get into. It is not uncommon for hundreds of applicants to apply for one tenure track or full-time teaching position. There are many people out there who are teaching as an adjunct at serveral schools at once, making barely enough money to survive. Teaching at the college level means research, publishing, and other requirements to stay ahead in the field. There will also be a lot of English 101 classes to teach in which students are only there because it's required. 
How to stand out from the crowd:
Publish, publish, publish, the more the better. Try to gain as much experience teaching as you can, espeically before you graduate.

High School Teaching
Many of us have had a special teacher that has really made a difference in our lives. You could be that special teacher.
Requirements: Usually a teaching certificate and a bachelor's degree.
What they don't tell you: A lot of teachers quit in the first 3 years. There is usually a very high student to teacher ratio, big classes can be hard to manage, and difficult to teach considering the different learning levels of the students. It is hard work, you are usually coming in early, staying late, grading papers, and you will need to continue your education to keep your certification up. Teachers do more than teach, they supervise lunch rooms, become hall monitors, and coaches when needed.
How you can stand out from the crowd: It's a good idea to gain teaching experience by substitute teaching, tutoring, or becoming a paraprofessional. Being knowledgable in your topic helps, but having a real passion for helping students is what it is all about.

Higher Education Jobs
I love the more relaxed environment of working for non-profit, there seems to be more camaraderie and less stress. Colleges and other non-profit organizations need writers for their publications, media relations, marketing, grant writing, and alumni associations.Colleges also need people to handle the administrative side of things such as processing, advising, and managing their writing center.
Requirements: Usually a bachelor's degree, although some processing and administrative assistant jobs don't require one.
What they don't tell you:
In higher education the bigger the degree the better, but that doesn't always mean you'll get a promotion. They still want you to have experience as well. Also, the pay for these kind of jobs will be less, sometimes a lot less than the for-profit sector.
How you can stand out from the crowd:
Apply for organizations that are in tune with your beliefs and what you care about. Working in higher education means helping students. Once you get your foot in the door, volunteer to take on more responsibilities and work you want to do. Showing initiative will get you noticed, and give you experience.

Ahh, my ultimate dream job. So dreamy I dare not even dream it. Could you imagine making a living through your writing?!
Requirements: Talent, and productivity. I'm not sure if having a degree would help that much.
What they don't tell you:
 It can be very difficult to get published as most people are aware. But even once you are published it  doesn't mean you will be making a lot of money. Also, publishing one book doesn't automatically mean it will be easier to publish the next. You are effectively working for yourself which has it's upsides (like working in your pajamas), and it's downsides (like income fluctuation and no health benefits). 
How you can stand out from the crowd:
Be an easy person to work with, listen to constructive criticism, turn in polished work, and finish your work by the deadline. And no matter what, keep writing.

Other Careers:
Pt 2: News, Technical Writing, Freelance Writer

Do you work in any of these fields, or have an interest in them? What are your thoughts?

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