3 quick nonfiction tips from WD magazine

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Pull Quote time!

The new issue of WD hit newsstands yesterday, and it’s loaded with a guide on succeeding in the current economy (from breaking into new writing realms to dealing with taxes), lessons from an author-turned-agent, an interview with Elizabeth Berg, and more.

From the magazine, here are three nonfiction tips, pull-quote style, that stuck out in my mind after sending the issue off to the printer.

On networking when freelancing:
“People often think they should network with folks at the top of the food chain. In actuality, it’s more helpful to network with people lower on the chain (low-level execs or assistants). This is because: a) They have more time to network; b) they have a greater need to network; and c) finding talented new writers and articles is part of how they get recognition.”
--Chad Gervich, from his piece “Don’t Be a Stranger: Get Personal to Get the Gig”

On success when selling a debut nonfiction book:
“I surrounded myself with a coach and mentor who kept me moving. I also did things in the right order: I focused on building my platform and developing a winning proposal before I wasted time writing a book that no one wanted to publish.”
--Debut author Debra Berndt, from the Breaking In column by Chuck Sambuchino

On queries:
“I’ve noticed that the tighter and more concise (read: shorter) my queries are, the faster I’m getting responses. With the increased workloads brought on by downsizing in the current economy, many editors would rather not take the time to wade through long, detailed queries. Try condensing your queries down to a few highly targeted sentences, trusting that an editor will e-mail for clarification if you’ve piqued her interest.”
--Freelancer Perry P. Perkins, from his article “Doing the Math”

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WRITING PROMPT: Parting Words

Feel free to take the following prompt home or post your response (500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below. By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our occasional around-the-office swag drawings. If you’re having trouble with the captcha code sticking, e-mail your story to me at writersdigest@fwmedia.com, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll make sure it gets up.

Write the last sentence to an unwritten novel or nonfiction book that's so intriguing that others won't help but want to read the rest of the text. [Feel free to include a paragraph or two leading up to it. And if you’re searching for character or subject fodder, how about the topic of the last phone call you placed today?]

(Prompt courtesy of WD Online Community Editor Brian A. Klems.)

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And speaking of nonfiction, WD’s Jane Friedman is also hosting a live webinar tomorrow, “Critique Series: Nonfiction Hooks & Book Proposals Live.” Click here to check it out and to get your proposal critiqued.

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