Thursday, March 07, 2013

Writing Degrees and Careers

The writing seminar was fairly informative. It covered what to do with a career in creative writing, poets, and fiction writers. It really didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.

First they covered poets. If you want to do this the best thing is to go into teaching at a college level. Get your masters at least. They discussed how to work as a TA so you don't have to pay for the masters program and it will give you experience teaching. However it was suggested you get a doctorate because most colleges are now insisting you have that to teach. (Stockton College in New Jersey will only hire Phd's and had that rule for at least the past 10 years)

To go into the industry as editors, publishers, etc it's best to get the Masters to make you more competitive in the job market but you can do it with a Bachelors.

On line content mills usually just want a degree or some creds behind your name but that varies. The presenter didn't seem to really know much about this or the effect of Google's Panda on the mill life. I'm not even sure if she knew what I meant when I questioned her about online writing and content mills. My own experience with the Panda got me booted from Demand Studios (ehow, Livestrong).  I think because the Panda hit them so hard, they got rid of anyone without a degree. Reading ehow articles now I think they did a disservice to their writers. In my own opinion, the quality is not what it was before Panda. I'm sure someone with a degree who is making a measly $15 an article isn't spending much time to research what they're writing about, they have ways to make better monies. It shows. Most ehows don't have the details they once did. I'm sure this could have been editors too. If an editor is unfamiliar with the information given, they could remove necessary content from an article. (I don't want to just blame the writers here--we can blame everyone!) Instead of just axing good writers, they should have concentrated on reminding writers  how to use keywords and redesign the sites for the new way Panda evaluates.

Fiction writers?  A bachelors was suggested but the talk here mostly was information about networking with other writers at conferences. The presenter LOVED conferences. She listed all the big ones on the board and spoke of ways to get in for free. Several conferences will give a sort of scholarship for writers without the funds to attend or for various other reasons. She suggested trying for these. She didn't mention Romance Writer's of America which has a local conference here in NJ once a year. Although you don't have to write romance to belong, this is also a cheaper conference and you can still network with agents and publishers. She didn't mention Liberty State Fiction writers, a multi-genre organization, also has a conference this month and much cheaper than the big conferences. They too have all the NYC agents and publisher in to give seminars on writing and publishing.

Then she talked about agents and how necessary it was to get one and that led us back to networking at conferences. She also said agents take 10%. I thought it was 15% and never heard of an agent taking less. Am I out of the loop here?

Most of what she talked about I already knew. I could also have added to to it from my own research and experience. I suggested in a search for an agent. She also didn't mention the option to publish on Amazon. (I didn't bring it up.) She said if you send that book out to an agent a dozen times with no bites maybe it sucks! I didn't like that remark because John Grisham is on record for saying he sent A Time to Kill out over 100 times before an agent bit. What if he had stopped at 12? I didn't say anything there either, but felt it did the group a disservice.

One thing I've found now that I'm back in school and taking classes related to writing is how hard it is to keep my mouth shut! :-x

I've been studying about the publishing, agents, content mills, and writing in general for years so I already knew a lot of this stuff. Some of my teachers have a more limited scope of things and seem to approach writing only from one side when there are so many options out there for writers nowadays.

As we continue our tour of Hemingway's estate in Key West, this is a picture of the outside of his upstairs office. Its a building behind the main house.


Charles Gramlich said...

Not always necessary to keep your mouth shut. Sometimes it helps.:)

Aimless Writer said...

Charles! lol, I worry about correcting a teacher. I might be in one of their classes one day and need the grade. :)

Anonymous said...

Good post. Seems like this seminar took a broad but slightly shallow approach. But even still, you may know all of this information, but it can be nice to have it reaffirmed from time to time.

Aimless Writer said...

Artofalmost, Yes, it's good to review these things. I am glad I went.