Write Like a Pro: Creating Professional Materials

Mary AndonianYou’re meeting your potential client for the first time. Or maybe you’re pitching your proposal to an editor at a writers’ conference. What to bring? In both situations, you’ll want to arm yourself with professional materials you can use throughout your conversation and leave behind after the meeting. These printed materials represent who you are as a writer, so make them count!

Staples: Business Cards identifying you as a writer, your printed bio on high quality, ultra white (107+ euro bright or better) paper, two pocket portfolios, and 2 x 4 white labels.

Print your proposal title in the center of your label, and adhere it to the front of your two pocket portfolio. On the inside, affix your business card in the die-cut holder, provided. Your cards should include your name, address, phone, and email. You may also include a title, such as Freelance Writer, or Principal (if you own your own writing consulting service, for example). Your card should not include any titles from your past life vocation.

Tucked inside the left pocket should be your bio. It should be a summary of your writing achievements, not a chronological list of every job you ever held or irrelevant degrees and associations. If it’s iffy, show how the degree can translate into the writing world: “I have an MBA with an emphasis in Marketing, a skill set that might come in handy after my book has sold.”

If you’re fortunate enough to have clips, or past writing credits, include it with your bio or as a stand-alone sheet behind your bio page. Your rate sheet can also go here.

In the right pocket should be your proposal information, on top, your proposal letter; behind it, your book summary.

Your proposal letter should be printed on your “letterhead.” Take the time to create a word template that contains your contact info in the footer section. Consider formatting the font differently than Times New Roman to make it stand out from your query (or proposal) text.

Your book summary is a paragraph-by-paragraph summary of your proposed book chapters. As a “newbie,” you’ll need to prove to an editor that you’ve thought your book through to its final chapter.

Since the query letter is probably the most important item in your portfolio, we’ll devote the entire April column to this subject. In the meantime, get your supplies, prep your label, bio, and letterhead, and I’ll see you next month!
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Mary Andonian is the agents and edtiors coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference, one of the largest writers’ conferences in the United States. In past years, she was Co-chair and Program Coordinator. She just completed her second book, Bitsy’s Labyrinth. Contact Mary at maryandonianwwconference AT yahoo.com.

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