By Bill Orkoskey
OV Writers Group
WHEELING - On January 18, 2010, a small but enthusiastic group welcomed guest speaker John McCabe, Editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer/News-Register to our meeting.
John offered us tips on how to be a free-lance writer for the newspapers. The main topics they are interested in are local events that aren’t presently covered, but good travel pieces within 4 or 5 hours driving time from Wheeling are also good . Pictures accompanying the articles are always a good idea. With the current digital cameras available, everybody should have a decent camera with them at all times.
You can pitch feature articles first. John can be reached at 304-233-0100, ext. 200 or you can send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full length articles should be 500-700 words. The newspapers use a standard font of 12 pt Times. The story as set-up for the paper comes out to 28 words per 1 inch of copy. Feature articles with pictures may get you $40-$50. But more important will be having your own By-line in a prestigious publication so you can add this to your resume.
One more word of caution. If given a deadline on a story, don’t wait for the last minute to submit it like a certain former reporter that we all know used to do.
John was so impressed with our little group that he may be back for our next meeting on February 15 at Books-A-Million at the Highlands.
If anyone has a friend who may be interested in writing, please bring them along. Fred and Rich both brought new members to the meeting. We welcomed Andy and Roland to our small group. Andy passed out the first page of his novel he’s working on about his father who happed to have been the barber for General Zhukov, Poland’s #1 General in World War II. Talk about a front row seat for some of the great battles of the war. It’s sure to be a best seller. Remember, you heard if here first.
In other news about our meeting, Rich read an interesting spoof letter from an author rejecting his rejection letter.
One more comment on writing for the local newspapers. You can always start out getting your name known down there by writing Letters-to-the-Editor. I have had four letters published so far and John knew my name before we met. You won’t make any money on this, but you may get satisfaction which is more than the Rolling Stones could get.