Today’s it’s time for an installment of an old column I used to write from a few years back that I’ve decided to start up again. If you like this, click over in the categories for the category entitled: DOTS & DASHES, and you can see all of the Q&A stuff without having to sort through my personal blog posts (this is the only one as of 5/5, but give me time, and there’ll be more!)
Today, we tackle in DOTS & DASHES some of the most frequently asked questions by freelance writers, particularly those who are learning to write for web content versus print, and some of their questions as new freelance writers. We hope these Q&As will be most helpful, and I present them here for your edification (no, Gregg, that doesn’t mean you get to eat something).
DOTS & DASHES: QUEUE & AYE
QUEUE: Michy, I’ve been trying to figure out what SEO and keywords and density are for my web content writing. I’ve also written in print, so this web writing is alien to me. Any advice is welcome.
Michy’s Response: SEO is a nifty acronym that means Space Alien Offworld. Yes, I know that Alien doesn’t start with an E, but they aren’t from our world, so they don’t speak English.
Keywords are those funky words you say when you’re drunk at 3am and can’t get your key to fit in the lock on your doorknob. Keyword Density means that the higher the density of alcohol is in your bloodstream, the more keywords you will use.
As for advice, the best advice I can give you is, wash in warm, rinse in cold.
QUEUE: The magazine you posted in your paying writing jobs forum says they only accept queries. What is a query?
Michy’s Answer: According to Dictionary.com, query is defined to mean: –noun
1. a question; an inquiry.
2. mental reservation; doubt.
So, depending on which definition you’d like to use, as both are accurate, when you send a query to a publisher, you should either 1) ask questions or 2) express doubt.
Personally, I recommend you do both, just in case.
Some questions I suggest for 1) How much are you going to pay me? It doesn’t have to be too long, does it? Does grammar matter?
For 2) express doubt clearly by letting them know “I’m really not that good of a writer, I’m just getting started freelancing, but I’m willing to give it a shot, I guess.”
QUEUE: How do I prevent carpet stains in my home?
Michy’s Answer: While I’m not sure what this has to do with writing, I’ll answer it anyway. Remove all carpet from your home and replace with hardwood floors. Can’t stain what’s not there.
QUEUE: Hey, Michy, I read a blog post the other day that said real writers don’t use semicolons. Is this true?
Michy’s Answer: Of course that’s not true. I don’t know who could have possibly told you that, but they were totally off base. In fact; you should intersperse semicolons at will; because the fact you can find the semicolon key on your keyboard; is a huge selling point; to editors.
QUEUE: Michy, someone told me that editors are only writers who could never get published, so they take it out on other writers who have gotten published, and that’s why they are so mean and hard on other people’s writing. Is this true?
Michy the Editor’s Answer: Hell no! How insulting to me and my entire profession! Don’t EVER send me a question like that again!
Michy the Writer’s Answer: Uhm, yeah, that sounds about right to me. Editor’s suck, don’t they?
QUEUE: I truly believe that I am the next Harry Potter. How do I get a publisher to look at my work?
Michy’s Answer: Harry Potter is a fictional character, much like any publisher who would look at your work with that ego.
QUEUE: My husband suffers from erectile dysfunction, and it’s really stifling my ability to write. What should I do?
Michy’s Answer: You know, one thing I can honestly say is that I’ve never written with my husband’s penis, so I really don’t know how to answer that question.
QUEUE: Will there be future installments of DOTS & DASHES?
Michy’s Answer: Yup. Just subscribe to the blog through the RSS feed, through the subscription button over there on the left or right or somewhere, and/or through Networked Blogs on Facebook, and you’ll get a notice when it shows up. You can even subscribe to just the DOTS & DASHES category, and skip all the rest, if you know how to do that.
Love and stuff,