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February 02 Issue

Trevor Blake
- Writing reviews can be music to your ears!

Are you a music lover? Have you ever been so amazed with the latest release from your favorite artist that you tried to sell everyone you know on it? Did you tell them about how track #7 hits home and that track #14 is just so catchy and upbeat? If you do this, then you not only like music, but you are passionate about it. Now, it's time to make some money sharing your love of music with others. But how do you do this, you ask? The answer is simple. Write music reviews for a local paper! Getting started requires you to research your market a bit. What types of publications are there in your area accepting entertainment material? Local papers most likely already have a staff music critic.

With this in mind, it may be a little tougher to work your way in, as you don't want to step on anybody's toes. (Or, he at least doesn't want to be stepped on!) There is a way though. If his expertise does not lie in your area interest, maybe they will accept your work. Drop the editor an e-mail orwrite him a letter, including a sample CD review. Inform them that you can help them broaden their music coverage. Another, perhaps easier, avenue is an entertainment weekly.

Most cities publish a hearty weekly entertainment guide, which can include community events, concert listings, club schedules, restaurant guides and reviews, movie listings, loads of interesting feature stories…and of course, CD reviews. These publications are typically free and available at hundreds of locations, and therefore have a huge readership. Check out what type of reviews they have, how many printed per issue and if they are written by a correspondent or a staff writer. Once you have this information, you can craft a letter of interest to the editor. This is the successful route my friend Donna took. Donna was a promotion director at a country radio station. Not only did she work in the music industry, but she was extremely passionate about the music, the lyrics, the artists and the whole format in general. She noticed her local entertainment magazine covered a lot of music genres, but rarely country.

She e-mailed the editor, expressing her interest in contributing country music CD reviews. She was welcomed with open arms and now, not only submits reviews, but now having a relationship with the paper, she has acquired several other projects as well. In addition to writing music reviews, she will also interview artist coming to the area in concert for bigger stories. An often overlooked way to get reviews published is in a music retailer publication. This opportunity may not be available in all areas of the country, and will only really work if there is a local chain of record stores. In Northeastern Pennsylvania, there is a chain with 9 locations, and each month puts out a magazine, which includes hot new releases, interviews and more.
Writing the editor of the magazine, or owner of the chain can result in starting a working relationship with a store…and maybe even get you a discount on your favorite CD's! There are a few other roads to take when writing on this subject including music-related websites. Surf the web to find some that accept reviews. Many are genre-specific, which can narrow down a search. Getting paid for these music reviews, however, is much similar to being a newbie in Nashville…you love what you do and make peanuts for it. Depending on your market size, pay can vary from $25 to $50 per article. But with some great material and nice looking clips…getting published in a major music magazine could be a "rolling stone's" throw away!

How To Write Slogans - 'Here's looking at you kid'
"Sign Language" for bug bucks! As a freelance writer, you probably feel you've exhausted every
market alternative. You've written for magazines, newspapers delved into web content for companies and even created sales letters and press releases. But there's another market out there, often forgotten about, but
very profitable! The market I am talking about revolves around novelty companies, and creating slogans, quotes and sayings for too many items to mention.

Novelty Companies are always in need of fresh and creative ideas for t-shirts, signs, mouse pads, key chains, buttons, magnets, posters, bumper stickers, mugs, calendars and so much more. A quick walk through your local Spencer's or even Hallmark will give you an idea of the wide range of items that host these quips and quotes, as well as the number of Companies that produce them. This is perhaps one of the most open-minded writing markets out there, so all of you writers wanting a brief escape from the average tame client, and finally put those dirty thoughts and R-rated ideas to use, this is your chance! Many of the Novelty Companies are a little risqué, and will use ideas with this type of tone. But, there is a company out there for every type of mind. There are many conservative companies that will accept traditional, religious, inspirational and even political material. Some are geared at kids and some at seniors. So, how do you get started? Well, your Writer's Market includes a small list of some novelty companies under their greeting card category. Here, you will find writer's guidelines and pay rate.

Still, there are hundreds more that are not listed here. Take that stroll through your local card shop, Spencer's or other gift shop and take a notebook with you. Investigate the items that fit your style, and see who makes them. When you get home, take those names to your favorite search engine and look at their website to see if they take submissions. If you cannot find a website, even use a yellow page site to get their mailing address and submit a letter of request for their guidelines. You may also want to do a search of novelty manufacturers to get some contact names. So, do your homework. Then, unleash your creativity. Exercise those brain cells. You just may create a catch phrase that will go down in history! Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the editor of PIP Tips - Ezine For Serious
Writers And Poets and the founder of
the PIP Tips Writers'Club.
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