While reputable periodicals shed their staff, the Internet is full of courses for aspiring journalists. While the content mills pay $5 for a thousand words and numerous “pay-per-click” just promise to pay when your post goes viral (at approximately the same odds as you winning a lottery), the courses promise to teach how to be paid $1 per word.
I’m usually skeptical about “get rich quick” schemes. However, as a beginner freelance writer, I subscribed to blogs of the US authors Carol Tice and Linda Formichelli. They have great advice for aspiring writers in exchange for the ads of their products – books, mentoring and online courses.
Marketing of the course, Pitch Clinic, was a free lesson in itself. I subscribe to both Carol and Linda’s newsletters. I was bombarded by promotional emails: “The course is coming soon”, “registration open”, “you still have a chance”, “we have a great editor who will look at your proposals”, “and another great editor”. At last, I was seduced by the offer that if I finish all the assignments on time, I will get all the money, $300, back.
How the Pitch Clinic works
You get access to a forum where you listen to pre-recorded lectures and collect handouts such as a flowchart how to write Letter of Introduction (LOI). The forum software was irritating, the “watch this topic” bookmarks slipping all the time. But the support system was excellent, correcting my mistakes such as posting in wrong places, changing the title, etc. almost immediately.
First, you submit your “pitch idea” The idea should be approved by one of the mentors, media professionals including Linda and Carol. You can provide up to 3 ideas, but only the first one is approved. As a result, I was stuck with a topic, which the more I worked on, the more I disliked it. Continue reading