Where to start? Educational freelance and WFH

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Girlsgottawrite

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Hi,
I want to try to get into writing for educational publications as a freelance or work for hire writer. I am a, soon to be, ex-art teacher with a Masters in Education so my educational background is good, but I have no writing credentials, and all the WFH book producers I've found want published writers. So where do I start? I've been looking at some of these magazines like Highlights and such, but those are hard as hell to get into as well. Any ideas of good places to submit writing to to build up my resume? My time is limited and I hate the idea of spending a bunch of time and energy writing something for a specific publication that isn't likely to publish it.
Thanks!!
 
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Enlightened

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Is the writing you want to do focus entirely on writing for income?

It might help if you note what type of educational writing you want to do. Peer-review, Journal articles? Technical writing of some sort? Self-help books? Other?

Also, what kind of master's did you earn: M.Ed. (professional); M.A.; M.S. (research); or something else?

You'd have to ask the WFH operations on what is deemed acceptable, published credentials. Is operating a blog, without ever being paid, accepted? Do they want you published (as a paid subject-matter expert)? Is being paid a requirement of being published, and what forms of publication are not accepted by said WFH operations?
 
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Girlsgottawrite

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Is the writing you want to do focus entirely on writing for income?
THe short answer is yes, but I don't mind doing some free or low paying jobs if they can boost my resume. It's finding those jobs that's hard. All I see to find are larger pubs or shady stuff.

It might help if you note what type of educational writing you want to do. Peer-review, Journal articles? Technical writing of some sort? Self-help books? Other?
No. I was looking to do educational writing for children: non-fiction and leveled readers for schools. I also wouldn't be against writing for textbooks, but I'm really more interested in the former. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

Also, what kind of master's did you earn: M.Ed. (professional); M.A.; M.S. (research); or something else? Masters of Art in Educational Psychology - It was more of a research based program.

You'd have to ask the WFH operations on what is deemed acceptable, published credentials. Is operating a blog, without ever being paid, accepted? Do they want you published (as a paid subject-matter expert)? Is being paid a requirement of being published, and what forms of publication are not accepted by said WFH operations?I would think they'd want publication in similar areas. I don't know if it being free or not would be an issue as much as whether the blog had an actual viewership.


Thanks for the good questions!
 
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cornflake

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I'm still confused, sorry, you want to write textbooks? Like elementary reading materials for schools? Have you contacted publishers of those types of things?
 

Girlsgottawrite

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Not textbooks. Educational books made for schools and libraries that are written for specific reading levels. It could be fiction or non-fiction. I like both. I've found a number of places online, but they want samples and credentials. I can make up samples but have no real writing credits. I was looking into educational magazines (like Highlights) to submit to, but they're super competitive. I was hoping to find some sites or small mags that I could submit to first to build up a resume.
 

cornflake

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Yeah, writing for kids is insanely competitive. Magazines generally are concerned with their own genre, less with category, so maybe focus on a genre or specific subject you're interested in or have some expertise in and try to pitch some stuff to some mags.
 

Enlightened

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I have nothing of substantive value to add, as per getting into this industry, but this information may be relevant or not at all.

From my understanding, your degree, for the most part, is Psychology (with an emphasis in Education). There is Educational Sociology, and it is mostly sociology. I assume Educational Psychology is the same. This may play against against you for not having an actual degree in Education, like primary or secondary education. I have a professional M.Ed. with an emphasis in Higher Education, and I know I am not credentialed to write for K-12. You may be thought of as a Psychologist, first and foremost, and the barrier to entry may be formal training via a primary or secondary education credential (undergraduate or graduate).
 
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Girlsgottawrite

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Yeah. I know. That's another reason why I'm looking more in the fiction / non-fiction area and not so much at textbooks. If it's about art - sure - but I'm really not the person to write for general education. I'm a good writer, and I've done some children's writing in the past but nothing that's sold. I figured the degree, and the fact that I have taught, could give me a little clout, but what I really need are writing credentials. :)
 

cornflake

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Yeah no one cares about the degree, or teaching experience in this realm, sorry. I mean textbooks they probably would, but in a general freelance sense, not relevant unless you're pitching an article on something you specialize in, like you're a botanist pitching a thing on the potential of really growing potatoes on Mars.
 

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I earned several degrees, including a couple culinary degrees. Application/experience over theory, every time, gets you that job. When I was in culinary school, there were guys with 15-20 years of experience running kitchens. I only had 30+ years of watching cooking shows on TV, but I was very good at academics. Whereas those guys struggled with academics, I struggled with application. My knife skills were mediocre, at best. When I fabricated a chicken, for a practical exam, I left meat on the carcass. The guys and I swapped skill sets. They taught me some skills to get through some nasty practicals, and I helped them pass certification and class written exams.

I learned I do not belong in a professional kitchen, even years after I graduated from the program. My body can't take the rigors of the job either.

I share this story, because you note something similar with your degrees versus writing credentials. I think there is some overlap. This is not meant to discourage you.

I wonder if you got the technique/structure of the writing your submitted wrong. For example, most of children's fiction is done in First Person POV, made simple, low learning curve, and so forth. If any of these elements are missing, you may get passed over by agents or whomever you submitted your works to. This is like the guys teaching me some tips to pass those nasty practicals. Technique.
 

Girlsgottawrite

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I feel like this got a little off track. I realize my background isn't very helpful. I was just mentioning it as an aside. What I was looking for were just recommendations for small mags or blogs or whatever to submit to. I've done very little in the way of writing for kids and was looking to start out small is all. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear. Thanks again for the feedback.
 

cornflake

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The thing is, you really just want credits in any category to get a toehold. It doesn't have to be for kids. Start with the genre you have experience and knowledge in.

If it's education, say you know about, I dunno, I'm totally making this up as I have no idea of your interests obvs., reluctant readers. Try pitching a piece about creative ways to get a reluctant reader interested -- not just the general 'read what he's interested in' but something creative, and pitch it to like, Parents mag, family mags, a local paper that has a weekend activity thing it might fit, that kind of thing.

Go to the library and read through every magazine you can find; look at online-only pubs that are bigger names. Some have 'my experience' articles, so maybe there's something you can do there, or something related to an interest.

Once you have some clips, you can move vertically. If you get someone to publish a piece about, I dunno, your love of horticulture and the experience of starting your own 6" garden on a windowsill that fed a family of four, then pitch something more related to books, then... see how it goes? It's much easier to go that way then to start with the big guns, like trying to get into kid mags or something.
 

keith075

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I feel like this got a little off track. I realize my background isn't very helpful. I was just mentioning it as an aside. What I was looking for were just recommendations for small mags or blogs or whatever to submit to. I've done very little in the way of writing for kids and was looking to start out small is all. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear. Thanks again for the feedback.

First off, your background does not matter AT ALL. Everyone has unique experiences and you can do things that I'd be clueless about (and vise versa). The real question is, what can you do that kids need to learn? Or to put it a different way, how can you write a publication that's already been written by many others and make it stand out? Whatever that answer is....that's where you start.

I mainly replied to share a quick story though- I was on a cruise last year and met a couple that wrote children's books for a living. And when I asked them who their publisher was, they informed me that everything they did was self-published. That got me asking a thousand questions because as a copywriter, they were an amazing glance at a completely different world of writing. To make along story short, they explained that they didn't strictly sell books to make money....that was their secondary income. Their main source was writing high schools and asking to do a presentation on whatever topic at no cost to the school...all they had to do was apply for a specific grant and the government would pay them for appearing. The grant paid like $1,200 per school visited, so once they got one school interested they'd spend the next few weeks contacting every other school in the area within 100 miles.

Then they'd hop in their car, drive to wherever the bookings were, collect thousands of dollars from the government and then they'd send each kid home with a form saying how to purchase their books online. This couple was making CRAZY money and travelling the country basically for free, and the checks from the government just keep showing up week after week. They'd do this 8 months out of the year, spend the other four months on vacation writing more books on anything going on it society that kids need to know about.......they had an awesome, awesome life.
 

cornflake

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First off, your background does not matter AT ALL. Everyone has unique experiences and you can do things that I'd be clueless about (and vise versa). The real question is, what can you do that kids need to learn? Or to put it a different way, how can you write a publication that's already been written by many others and make it stand out? Whatever that answer is....that's where you start.

I mainly replied to share a quick story though- I was on a cruise last year and met a couple that wrote children's books for a living. And when I asked them who their publisher was, they informed me that everything they did was self-published. That got me asking a thousand questions because as a copywriter, they were an amazing glance at a completely different world of writing. To make along story short, they explained that they didn't strictly sell books to make money....that was their secondary income. Their main source was writing high schools and asking to do a presentation on whatever topic at no cost to the school...all they had to do was apply for a specific grant and the government would pay them for appearing. The grant paid like $1,200 per school visited, so once they got one school interested they'd spend the next few weeks contacting every other school in the area within 100 miles.

Then they'd hop in their car, drive to wherever the bookings were, collect thousands of dollars from the government and then they'd send each kid home with a form saying how to purchase their books online. This couple was making CRAZY money and travelling the country basically for free, and the checks from the government just keep showing up week after week. They'd do this 8 months out of the year, spend the other four months on vacation writing more books on anything going on it society that kids need to know about.......they had an awesome, awesome life.

Well, that's disgusting.
 

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