Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tina Radcliffe on Supporting Your Writing Habit!

I'm so excited to have my good friend and Seekerville blogging buddy, Tina Russo, as a guest today! Tina has an amazing gift for finding writing jobs. And she's very market savvy. I asked her to share with us ways to make money with our writing. So here's Tina...
Supporting Your Writing Habit by Tina M. Russo

Schedule C. US Tax Return

Around this time of the year I start a mental check list of what I’ve accomplished and how my taxes will fare. Did I set aside enough in taxes, do I need to make quarterly payments next year, and does everyone have my correct address for 1077 forms?

I am a writer and every year for the last ten years, I have dutifully filled out my schedule C for my writing business.

Like the Schedule C tax form my income is generally half of my expenses most years (click on forms to enlarge for more angst). But when I really hustle I have the satisfaction of a plus on the net profit (or loss) line.

I haven’t sold my novel length fiction yet so I have to generate writing income from other sources.

Those sources include:

  1. Editing jobs

  2. Professional blogging

  3. Magazine fiction writing

  4. Non fiction articles and essays

  5. Short term miscellaneous writing gigs

Magazine Fiction:

· Confession Mags: Don’t scoff. And you didn’t think those stories were true did you? True Romance, True Confessions, True Love. Now owned by Dorchester Media. They have been around since 1922. They buy all rights and pay a month after publication. Stories have the first person appeal of a neighbor chatting over coffee and –confessing. Payments vary and they buy all rights. Essays and columns pay 50-65 dollars. Details can be found in each magazine or check a copy of Writers Market. You can also join the Yahoo True Writers Group. Subscribe with an email to:

· Women’s World Magazine: The weekly magazine features a romantic short story each week. This magazine pays $800 upon acceptance for 800 words. The Fiction Editor is Johnene Granger. The style is intimate and sweet, as the audience is a homemaker or working mother. Read several issues to familiarize yourself with what they are buying and check out this article on the topic (They also have a monthly mini mystery):

· New Love Stories. “The overall theme should involve short stories of Male/Female love and romance. These stories may be contemporary, historic, inspirational, paranormal, or any other theme as long as love and romance are the main thrust of the story. Story length should range from 3,000 to 5,000 words” Pay is $300 on publication. For more information check out their website here.

The World of Paid Blogging,and Freelance Non Fiction Writing

I regularly scour my writing sources for tips, and jobs. To me it’s like finding a great deal at Ross. You can’t expect a hit every time and you do have to be consistent. Make it part of your daily schedule. Beware of scams and do your homework. I suggest an alternative email address for your writing leads.

1. Check out Writing Jobs. Not just in your city, but every city and Canada. Most are telecommuting. Prepare a generic cover letter that you can change according to the ad. Don’t be discouraged. My first professional blogging job came two weeks after I emailed a letter of response.

2. The Freelance Writing Jobs Network is a wonderful site that not only brings you writing leads but gives a good foundation for freelance writers and a community of writers who help each other.

3. WOW!. Women on Writing. A great site with great articles and interviews they also offer a freelance job board and a monthly pdf e-zine of markets that costs only $4 a month or $48 dollars a year. This is a jam packed 100 page market listing. When you get to the site click on Premium Green under Freelance Markets for more info. If you don’t want to commit to a yearly subscription, buy a previous issue for five dollars first.

4. Professional Blogging: Before you step into this magic world do your homework. The pay isn’t great but if you write fast and clean it does provide a steady income stream. I personally avoid blogging gigs that only pay if I generate hits or advertising sales. I want to get paid. The Freelance Writing Jobs Network offers many good articles on professional blogging.

Other great sites:

Men With Pens

Online Writing

Writing for Dollars

While I want to encourage you to cultivate your freelance writing career, make no mistake this is not a get rich quick methodology. Growing a freelance career takes time and it is an unreliable income. However, it is satisfying and develops skills that will enhance your novel writing career such as:

· Editing.: You’ll become fearless when it comes to quick turnaround times on edits and full rewrites.

· . Artistic Integrity: Somewhere along the way you will lose any diva mentality you may cling to. This goes hand in hand with edits. If a magazine editor says she hates cats, you’ll cut the cat without a thought as to how perfectly it weaves into the theme of your story.

· Fast Writing: At my blogging peak I was producing 35 blog posts a month. For a professional blogger that really isn’t a big deal. Now I routinely produce 6-8 a month and I can write a good post in about two hours.

· Research Skills: You’ll learn research skills and networking skills that will payoff later when you are writing novels full time. Not just researching for facts, but researching for ideas. This is invaluable.

Did I mention money? A paycheck in your mail box or PayPal account is a very nice thing.

This is just a taste of the opportunity that is out there. Good luck and I hope your income and deductions always come out ahead.

Bio: Tina Russo has sold dozens of short stories and essays and to date has written close to 500 blog posts. She also writes inspirational romance and single title romantic comedy. Tina divides her time between her home in the foothills of Colorado and a small hut on Unpubbed Island. You can also find her at


  1. Confused by my name. Apparently so am I.But they both are my name. I write novel length fiction as Russo and my other writing as Radcliffe.

    Holler if you have any questions I can answer. I will be out shoveling snow. IT'S SNOWING IN DENVER

  2. Good morning, Tina! I can't believe you're shoveling! We're supposed to hit 72 degrees today with sun (I hope).

    Thanks for all the great info! Our program at our local ACFW chapter was this week was by Creston Mapes. Before he even started writing fiction, he earned his living as a writer (still does). Very interesting all the jobs he's held!

  3. Hey, ladies. Good morning.

    I'm a big proponent of using short form writing to enhance a resume with an eye toward getting a book published. So many writer's resumes have nothing on them. NOTHING. But Tina, I'll bet you're got a beauty. :)

  4. Tina--you're an amazing source of great information! I know how hard you work not only at your day job and book-length fiction writing, but supplementing your income through other writing sources. We can all learn a lot from you --you're my hero! Thanks for the great tips!

  5. Hey, Mary and Glynna! Thanks for stopping by.

    I especially love Tina's title: Supporting your writing habit. :) Yes, it's an addiction! And it can get costly, especially if you enter contests or go to conferences. So I love how she's figured out a way to finance that addiction. :)

  6. Wow! You're a wealth of information, Tina. Thanks for joining us today.
    Oh, and your snow has reached Texas, only we're in for more rain. Sigh. I think I'd rather have the snow.

  7. Oh my gosh, Teenster, I'm not only impressed but inspired.

    This is a great outline of wonderful ways to augment your habit AND the resume, and actually produce in the meantime.

    And like Glynna said, you're my hero.

    Musical strains are lifting me as we speak...

    Scenes from "Beaches"...

    Bette's really bad hair....

    "Did you ever know that you're my hero??????? (imagine dogs howling to represent my singing abilities. Or cats fighting. Either will suffice)

    "You're everything I wish I could beeeeeeeeeeeeeeee....
    I could fly higher than an eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeagle....
    You are the wind beneath my wings."

    Okay, you get it.



  8. Ruth. Stop. Now. Sigh.

    Well the thing about the those writing gigs is to be persistent. Set financial goals for income and keep things circulating. It comes back and you send it out. And many places purchase reprints. You just have to notify them it has sold previously and where.

  9. Did I hear someone scratching on a chalkboard??

    Oh, wait! That's Ruthy singing! :)

    Thanks for stopping by, Miss Logan Herne, newly mulit-contracted Steeple Hill author! :)


  10. Hi Tina,
    I'm so glad you were here today! I've been freelancing a bit over the last few years, but now will be doing a lot more. Your guest post was incredibly timely for me.

    I'm still grateful to the mentoring you gave me several years ago through RWA/FHL! You made a difference in my life with your helpful critiquing and encouragement to keep writing.
    Thank you!

  11. Silly me, I forgot to ask you how you manage your submissions. Do you track it on computer? If so, what type of program do you use?

  12. I just created a simple spreadsheet for tracking submissions.

    You can see it here...

    along with my messy desk--

  13. Tina,
    Great info!!! Freelancing is hard work and takes time and effort. You're a pro. I started out working with a number of magazines and loved getting a by-line, interacting with editors and -- as you mentioned -- finding a paycheck in the mailbox. All those credits look good on a cover letter and, I believe, get a positive check from fiction editors. At least, the editor knows the freelancer understands deadlines, probably won't pitch a fit about rewrites and will act like a professional.

    Sorry Denver's been hit today! Hope you and Tom stay warm and dry!

  14. Hey, Debby! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  15. Awe, thanks Debby. We are home now and here's the fun part. It will be 60 by Sunday. Unbelievable :)

  16. Great info. Gives me lots to consider for the future. Thanks, Tina.

  17. Hey, Dianna! Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Tina,

    Thanks so much for this invaluable info! You've given me lots to think about and avenues to check out!


  19. TEEEENA!!!!!!!!! It's so much fun seeing you here, and what a MEATY post!! Of course, now I have to go take a nap because your energy and motivation has worn me out. :)

    Seriously, though, this is a gold mine of wonderful information on supporting the writing habit. I cannot tell you how much I admire you and others who sell like crazy to magazines, blogs and other freelance opportunities. Not sure I could do it ... uh, not only because I can't write anything that short, but because I don't have the stamina.

    Again, WONDERFUL post!! And thanks, Missy, for having her here!

  20. Okay, Tina, I know I"m late but this was a great post and jam-packed full of info. I'm going to check out several of the links for nonfiction writing & what was it...New Love STories? Sounds right up my alley.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  21. Edwina,

    She's amazing, isn't she? Packed full of info!


  22. Hey, Jules! I don't know about you, but seeing those tax forms gave me the heebie jeebies! It'll be that time before we know it. :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  23. Hey, Pepper! I've been enjoying the characterizaion theme on your blog! I still need to hop over there today. :)

  24. Wow, Tina, what a resume! Between you and Ruthy, the Energizer Bunny starts looking like a tortoise going backwards! You rock, girlfriend!

  25. Thanks for sharing this info Tina and being on the FAITH Blog!