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Whether a Forum or a Listing

Writers use forums and listings nearly every day for one purpose or another. There are community forums for those in the arts, those unique to writers and critiquing, editing and polishing, and discussions on every aspect of the writing business. Listings come in almost as many flavors and scopes as forums.

Freelancers make the rounds of both communication forms to stay tuned, toned, and in demand. Today I made forays into two separate freelance jobs listings; one within a LinkedIn group of which I’m a member, and another on Elance. I was successful in finding enticing possible job contracts.

If you’ve been around this blog often, you know that I have large projects lined up for the next several months. After the previous paragraph you’re going to ask me why I would be looking for another job of any kind. That’s fair.

I could have my eye on a lovely little boat to use during the summer on our gorgeous Flathead Lake. Or, I could want to travel in Europe next year and want to have plenty in savings to play. Then again, I could simply want a better financial cushion than I have now.

Working on only one large spec project can easily keep me occupied. Having half a dozen doesn’t give me much time to spare, though I still find time for a bit of social networking. Adding a job to the mix right now would be mental suicide, I agree.

Keeping abreast of the market, opportunities, and competition within the freelance writing world, however, is necessary. A plum could present itself at just the right moment to pave the way for bigger success and greater financial security and without stopping by such job sites on a regular basis, the writer can lose out.

Call this activity checking the pulse of the industry. Writers are entrepreneurs. They need to know what’s happening. The market can shift quietly and sneakily as smoke, leaving a writer out of the loop and as adrift as sulfur vapor puffs from a starter’s pistol.

Who could have anticipated the fiction industry shift when Stephanie Meyer’s first Twilight book, or Rowling’s Harry Potter? Those two series set the tone for a major change in the MG and YA children’s book market. Hindsight tells us that vampires come into the light every few decades, their popularity undiminished with time.

Magic and all that it entails has been around since ancient Greece. Fantasy series have been big genre business for decades. The primary component of fantasies is MAGIC. Rowling presented the concept in a slightly different manner and caught the brass ring.

Reading through job listings for writers indicates where the market is moving. Three quarters of what I found on Elance this morning were content writer contracts. The Internet is vacuuming up writers for information dispersal, trading in marketing and non-fiction, for small businesses as much as large corporations. It’s a copywriter’s delight out there at the moment.

Along the same road, non-fiction is making a grand play with the big houses of the publishing world. From self-help to inspiration; memoir to biography; corporate tell-all’s to political scandals; and cookbooks to health, non-fiction has become a hot ticket for writers.

Listening in on forums adds information to the writer’s hope chest. Take an opportunity to lurk on some of the writer’s forums. Listen in on the conversations and advice flung around like beads and candy at Mardi Gras.

In half an hour of perusal, you can discover, at minimum, one thing that you didn’t know and really needed to. Writer’s Digest has its Community Forums. Editors, agents, publishers, and writers discuss everything pertinent to the business. A small personal vacation on site can net you a load of great intel. Take advantage of a freebie when you can.

Savvy Authors has a newsletter and website that will help keep you in touch with goings-on in the business. Sharing with Writers Newsletter and site dispense fabulous info each week to its subscribers. I found out at Sharing with Writers that writers are being encouraged now to have their own—wait for it—APP. You’ll have to read the article to come to grips with the reasoning. Oddly, this info is elsewhere, too.

We’re told over and over to keep our eyes and ears open. Now you know why. How was I supposed to know that I needed an APP to get my brand—do I have one?—out to the world, so that I can be plugged in 24/7? Question: will popular internet writers have any privacy when they get to print? I wonder.

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