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Breaking Into Print: How to Get Paid to be a Freelance Writer – Fiction or Non-Fiction

Valerie and her wonder dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 184 of the Changing Course Newsletter.

You’ve always been drawn to writing – and to the freedom and flexibility of a freelance writer – but you don’t know where to begin to turn a long-held interest into income. Fortunately I do.

When the developers of a course Breaking Into Print asked me to review their writing course, I was unprepared for the quality and depth of what they had to offer. First off, I have a background in marketing. They not only shipped me a huge box of course materials but samples of their marketing and informational packets as well.

Maybe it’s my marketing background. Or maybe, like most people, I’ve become cynical about advertisers with their grand promises and with the number of scams preying on people who desperately want to work for themselves from the comfort of their own home.

So you can imagine how impressed I was to read a sales letter that not only encouraged me to check the organization out with the Better Business Bureau, but actually provides step-by-step details on how to do it. More on that in a moment.

Far more impressive though is Long Ridge’s promise to students who pass the mandatory pre-registration writing test: “You will complete at least two manuscripts suitable for submission to an editor by the time you finish the program.”

How can they make such a bold promise? Simple, while most writing schools do not require any type of pre-qualification, Long Ridge is selective. Do you have to be a polished writer? No. But then people who want to go the next step to become paid writers tend to have a gift and an enjoyment for writing. They just need the guiding hand of a good teacher and editor to help them get to the next level. Because they aim higher, Long Ridge graduates superior students.

In this age of internet and other self-employment type scams, it’s wise to be skeptical. Chuck Mayer of Clatonia, Nebraska was. Chuck writes:

“Thanks for renewing my faith in the great American way. When I received your writing test, I figured it was just another scam and that no matter what I wrote, you would come back with a high-class sales pitch. So I tried to ‘flunk.’ (I have edited a weekly newspaper for over 20 years and thought I would test your test.)

“I must admit I was more than just a little surprised when I received your letter telling me that I did not qualify. I will long remember Long Ridge Writers Group as a school that can be trusted.”

This kind of don’t waste people’s money who don’t have a basic aptitude for writing is just one of the reasons I recommend this writing course to anyone who wants to break into writing – whether it’s a published book author or freelance magazine writer or both.

10 Reasons I Recommend the
Breaking Into Print Self-Study Writing Program

1) Credentials.

Long Ridge Writers Group out of West Redding, Connecticut has been teaching people how to write and sell what they’ve written to editors and publishers for over 15 years. (Per their sales letter’s advice, to receive a free Better Business Bureau report, you can call or fax the Connecticut Better Business Bureau at (203)269-2700, ext. 2.)

2) One-on-One Personal, Individual Instruction.

If you’re a fan of best-selling author Barbara Sher then you’ve no doubt heard her mantra: “Isolation is the dream killer.” If you love to write but find you just can’t seem to find the time or motivation to sit down and do it – you’re not alone. Even when we love to do something, it can be tough to get and stay on track!

You can take a college or other writing class, but then you’re often on your own to stay motivated enough to write on a regular basis. But, when you’re accepted into the Long Ridge program, you’ll be paired with a highly professional, published writer or editor who will give you personalized, specific, and immediately useable feedback and encouragement to help you achieve your goal of becoming a paid writer. Your instructor reads every word you submit, edits your manuscript line-for-line, and writes a detailed critique of your performance with specific advice on how to improve.

Of her experience, published writer Theresa Blesi Altmann of Roberts, Wisconsin writes:

“The most precious and priceless part of the course was my instructor. Her words of encouragement were like leaning on the shoulder of a trusted friend. Within days of finishing my course work, I earned my first published article. How do you thank someone who helps you turn a lifelong dream into a completed goal!”

Theresa is not alone in her praise of her instructor or the course:

Paul Lagasse of Silver Spring MD writes, "From a nervous neophyte to a full-time writer in just two years!  So much of this I owe to your help.  Your editorial criticism, and your encouragement and empathy helped me to find the courage and confidence I needed to take that leap to becoming a writer. I have literally never been happier."

"It is exciting to see your name in print,” says Paul Smeltzer from Bossier City, LA. “Having an article published in this particular magazine was especially gratifying because many of the readers are potential clients. Your writing course was helpful in two ways: First, by sharpening writing skills and building confidence. Second, by providing ‘inside’ information on how the system works, how to get in, and what to do once you get there."

Together, the instructors have written more than 20,000 stories and articles that have appeared in a wide range of magazines, newspapers, and on the Internet. And they have published more than 900 books.

Help is a phone call away. In addition to your personal writing mentor, counselors are available by phone five days a week to answer your questions about any aspect of the program including text and course materials, and your assignments.

3) Outstanding Training Materials.

At 464 pages, the course manual is worth its weight in gold. In keeping with their one-step-at-a-time approach, the manual arrives in three parts. Here’s how the folks at Long Ridge Writers Group describe what you can expect:

"Part 1 includes four assignments including worksheets to help you sketch out your story line. This is where you learn the basics of characterization, point of view, and dialogue. You’ll also learn how to find ideas, choose a slant, and write a dynamic lead. And you’ll understand how to build frameworks for your stories and articles and learn to put your work into proper assignment format, a skill that will give you a competitive edge when you begin to submit your work to busy magazine editors, who demand proper manuscript form.

"Part 2 is where you continue to put your new-found knowledge and discipline to use as you further sharpen your writing skills. You’ll delve deeper into techniques that you can use in fiction (such as developing a plot, creating secondary characters, and adding details of time and place) and non-fiction (conducting research and interviews, testing your ideas of marketability, and writing attention-getting, professional query letters). You’ll also learn how to revise the first draft of your story or article.

"Perhaps most importantly, you’ll expand your knowledge of the magazine market. Part 2 reviews the market for both fiction and non-fiction in great detail, and guides you in zeroing in on the magazines most likely to publish your work. You’ll learn why market research is the key to becoming a professional published writer.

"Part 3 is appropriately titled Launching Your Freelance Career.” The assignments in this section will show you how to look at your early work for new ideas and how to strike out in new areas if you want to. Armed with your instructor’s advice, your own knowledge of techniques, and market information, you’re ready to prepare your final assignment – and launch your freelance career!"

4) You Learn How to Market and Sell What You Write.

If you knew how to get your writing published, you would have done it by now. They don’t call it Breaking Into Print for nothing. The whole purpose of this program is to get you published. When you succeed, Long Ridge succeeds. As early as possible in the program you’ll get actual editorial assignments so that the manuscripts you write are “on target” and aimed directly at a sale.

Plus, along with your comprehensive training materials, you’ll receive a hefty (think large city phone book size here) directory of 1,694 publications that buy freelance material. Each listing describes the publication and the freelance potential. For example 75% of the articles in Western Horseman are written by freelancers with 100 such articles published yearly. You’ll also find out how to submit submissions, how to get a sample issue, and how much each pays.

The directory also contains feature articles like:

  • Insider tips on breaking into the red-hot science fiction and fantasy markets.

  • How writing about pets can offer a wealth of publishing opportunities.

  • Your personal experiences may be wanted in the nostalgia market

  • And more…

5) Everything You Need to Break Into Print.

When I agreed to review Breaking Into Print, I was taken aback by the depth and number of the materials. In addition to the huge course binder and the directory of magazine markets, you also get not one, not two, but five books essential to writing success.

You get books like:

  • William Zinsser’s On Writing Well (more than one million copies sold)

  • Jon Franklins,
    Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by a Two-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner
    , and

  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King

6) Write What You Like.

You don’t have to choose between fiction and non-fiction. Breaking Into Print combines the two basic and most marketable forms of contemporary writing – fiction and non-fiction – to prepare you for virtually any kind of writing.

7) High Satisfaction Ratings.

Every year U.S. News & World Report magazine surveys 1,400 colleges and universities. The highest-ranking institution in terms of student satisfaction received a score of 73%. By comparison, 89.7% those completing Breaking Into Print report being “very satisfied”; a whopping 98% “would do it all over again”; and 97.7% would recommend it to a good friend. It doesn’t get much better than that!

8 ) Approved for College Credit.

The Connecticut Board for State Academic Awards recommends that students who complete the program be awarded seven college credits. No matter where you live, these credits may be obtained from Charter Oak State College, which functions under the degree-granting authority of the Connecticut Board. For a nominal fee, you can have these credits submitted on a Charter Oak transcript to any college or university. (If you are a teacher, your transcript will be sent to your school board at your request.)

9) Money Back Guarantee.

The Long Ridge Writing Program guarantee is simple. If you are not satisfied that you’ve become a better writer and learned how to market your writing to publishers by the time you’ve completed this program, you can obtain a full refund.

10) Affordable.

Because you can pay in low convenient monthly installments this course is affordable to anyone who aspires to become a paid writer.

I recommend this course wholeheartedly!

Learn more and to receive your free writing test at


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