Hello, everyone! I am truly flattered that I get e-mails from readers, but it has reached a point now where I get the same kinds of questions on a regular basis. So I figured I would create a page of FAQ’s in order to save time. Please read this information before contacting me.
Q: I am an aspiring writer, and I noticed you write a lot for Listverse. How can I write for them, too?
A: Listverse is pretty much the only website out there who will pay a new writer $100. So I understand why so many people want to know how to do it.
First and foremost, read their author guide very carefully. I’m shocked at how many people e-mail me before even bothering to do that much. Yes, I know it’s 19 pages long. No, there’s no shortcut or secret password. Follow their instructions to a tee. Their website gets hundreds of pitches every single day, and they only need three. So if your list doesn’t fit what they’re looking for perfectly, it will be rejected.
Q: It feels impossible to come up with a new idea for Listverse that hasn’t been done already. How do you pull it off on a regular basis?
A: I think for me, it’s 40% natural creativity and 60% research. It becomes easier once you open up your mind to be inspired. I get my ideas from everywhere. Books, TV, movies, podcasts, magazines, conversations, you name it. I also save every little quirky true story I hear, just in case I might use it later. After a year of saving up my resources, it became a lot easier to write multiple lists a month.
Q: How much money do you make as a freelance writer?
A: It’s not really any of your business, but I understand why people ask me this. I think what they really want to know is if it’s worth quitting their job to following their dreams to become a writer. The short answer? No. Don’t quit your job. You could be the next Hemingway, but if you’re not getting paid by anyone yet, hold on to your job for now.
The only time you should quit your job for writing is when you have so many paid opportunities coming your way, it would make more sense to write full time. The only way to get there is by building up your portfolio, which takes time. In my case, I probably waited too long before quitting my old job, since I had already been getting published and had a healthy portfolio for several years.
Q: I’m an aspiring writer. Can I pick your brain?
This is called a professional consultation. It’s not something people give away for free. I do not give consultations, because I’m not a career coach.
Q: Can I send you one of my stories so I can get your feedback?
A: No. Absolutely not.
Q: But you seem so nice, and it should only take you a few minutes!
A: Most people- I’d say 99% – don’t actually want honest feedback when they ask someone to read their work. They want a sugar-coated ego boost from someone besides their mom. I’m not here to do that for you, and I frankly don’t have the time.
I am also a very brutally honest person. I would pick your writing apart, because that’s the only way I know how to help someone get better. If I was your English teacher, I am absolutely positive you would hate me. It can only end in tears.
Q: I can’t get published yet, and no one besides my mom and best friends are willing to read my story. So how am I supposed to get valuable feedback?
A: There are tons of ways to get feedback, and I’ve done them all. There are online forums dedicated to fan fiction and writing. Online trolls will let you know very quickly what you’re doing wrong. There are also meet-up groups for NaNoWriMo, and writing circles at local libraries. If you’re still in college, sign up for a creative writing class, even if it’s not your major. If you’re not willing to put in the effort to do all of that, then chances are, you won’t become a writer.
Q: Can you change (insert thing here) about (insert article title here)?
No, I actually can’t. I’m just a writer, so I don’t have editing powers on any of the websites I write for. If you have a request to change something in one of my articles, please contact the editor of each respective website, and it will be up to them and the owner to make any changes they think are appropriate.
Q: Do you want to write for my website/magazine?
A: That depends. I have turned down a lot of job opportunities because they either paid too little, or they would require me giving up my freedom as a freelance writer. You can always e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org