It’s been quite some time since our last class. I’ve been busy implementing what I learned from you [in Freelance Magazine Writing] and wanted to share the results.
After all those rewrites on my class article about Ferry Point, I set it aside and developed a totally different article. The idea came from my experience working with boat covers. Fallout from cargo ships and airplanes seemed to be causing unusual damage to boat covers in marinas near seaports and airports. I wanted to find out more about the link and thought others would be interested, too.
I pitched the article in an email to the Marine Fabricator magazine, expecting to wait for weeks before hearing something like “Well . . . . maybe . . . . could work . . . . how about a little 25 words or less blurb . . . ” Instead, Chris replied before 2 hours had passed and gave me an assignment, on spec, for an 800 word article, plus photos and captions. Since it was my first time working with them, he couldn’t commit to pay me until after he’d seen the article. Oh, and by the way, could I make the deadline in 4 weeks?
Of course I said yes.
I thought of your anecdotes about working with editors and all your admonishments to turn in perfect copy, get it in by the deadline and take care of the editor. I went back to your book and my class notes as I worked my way through interviews, drafts and structuring the story.
My article was more than acceptable. The spelling and grammar were perfect and I submitted it the evening before the deadline. Not only will it be published in the Sept/Oct issue, I’m to be paid $375. What’s more, Chris asked if I would be available for future assignments.
This long email is my way of letting you know none of this wouldn’t have come to pass without your great instruction. Thank you, Cary, for your interesting, well-organized class full of information, encouragement and good humor.
Now that I’m a professional freelancer, my next step is to pitch my Ferry Point article idea to Sunset and Via magazines.
Mary Jo Morris
I just completed Cary Pepper’s freelance writing class and wanted to give you some feedback.
First of all, Cary was great. He’s obviously knowledgable and experienced, his responses to questions reflected not just theory but practice. It was refreshing to hear advice applicable to the real world, not just the classroom. I also thought the class was structured appropriately–we worked on one article over the course of the 9-week class, pretty much the same time frame we’d have when doing it for real. I found the material comprehensive and thorough. All in all, a wonderful investment.
I really enjoyed your class, and learned a lot from your structured approach and deep experience. You are an excellent teacher, and I’m very glad to have met you and the other students.