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From Nature Writer to Editor to Publisher

By Carolyn Allen, CIG

Idea packaging for authors and publishers

We don’t think about job descriptions connected with the written word…but they exist in the minds of decision-makers. Whether you are writing for a client, for a potential publisher or for your end reader, your job is specific and slightly different with each undertaking.

My work as a freelance writer and editor of trade magazines taught me how “work for hire” writers and editors work as a team to create not only a good article – but a good magazine – and a unified flow of ideas the reader can count on issue after issue. Why? Publishing is a collaborative endeavor in today's complex technological, social and scientific world.

Everybody has limited resources — the reader has limited time, specific problems to solve, and personal goals to pursue. The editor has limited time, limited page-counts and limited editorial parameters. The publisher has limited funds and offers a product with limited (narrow) audience appeal.

Today’s information market wants targeted information in a specific format, at the right time, and at the right price. And that’s where each unique job description comes in.

For example: a trade magazine writer has a broad understanding of the industry niche, interviews industry leaders about trends and best practices, and writes in an informative, motivational way to help readers improve their business and professional life. The writer also works with the editorial staff to provide targeted articles that fit the magazine’s profile and are appealing, well-crafted, and reflect the editorial profile of the magazine. The writer makes the interviewee and editor look good!

And alongside the writer’s job description is the complementary role of the editor. A trade magazine editor has a broad understanding of the industry niche and business community through contact with industry leaders, as well as “average” participants. She plans and executes magazine and annual editorial plans that meet the publisher’s financial goals and the readers’ need and desire for business vision and solutions. The editor works with writers to schedule, plan, and polish articles to fit the magazine’s profile trusted by their readers to meet their ongoing need for leadership and vision in the industry and their daily challenges. The editor makes the writer and publisher look good!

The publisher’s role is – you guessed it – to make the investor, the reader and the creative team look good! "Looking good" in the publishing world is achieved with both relevant content and enthusiastic presentation...just like good interpretation.

Each decision-maker presses the query letter or the article up against their mission in the publishing process. To be successful, a writer brings unique style, knowledge and vision to the table of a specific decision-maker. And freelance sales happen when the needs of ALL parties in a transaction are satisfied.

New writers dream of writing about the wide variety of topics that interest them, for a wide variety of magazines or publishers – but few writers have the hours in the day, or breadth of education or intelligence to work in a field that far-ranging — so writers specialize in a field or two in which they have information and contact momentum. And they refine their skills to reflect a vision of the world as they see it. Writers participate in the community of readers — as well as clients — so that they absorb trends and information and leads and the hopes and dreams of readers.

Targeted participation builds writing – and a visionary leadership career – on solid ground. That’s why participation in on-going education such as trade groups is vital to developing careers – expertise and a network of trendsetters.

The field of self-publishing is a natural “next step” in a writer’s development of expertise and community. Once a writer understands a market and a topic, he/she is in a good position to write and publish materials to be sold directly through industry channels.

The independent publishing field is booming as executives, writers, illustrators and editors discover that they can add a book or related information product to their freelance business as an add-on stream of revenue. Writers are in a unique position to develop their own materials, and as they expand their expertise and marketing niche, they can add the works of other writers in their field – gently working their way into the business of publishing.

Self-publishing offers a way to build equity in tangible products that sell via the distribution channels of the Internet, specialty distributors and through your own in-house prospect lists. By publishing your own products, nature organizations and writers can add self-directed momentum to their writing careers and their organization's future.

If you are ready to take charge of your information career, it's time to consider the publishing options available to you. The independent publishing niche is thriving and you can be part of it if you have a mission, a message, and a method.