Bronk’s speciality is wildlife writing and he’s published in national magazines including Field & Stream, Camping & RV, and American Hunting.
He outlined some basics that included caveats as well as encouraging secrets to success as a freelancer:
- You have chosen a difficult writing genre
- In you write the manuscript first you will fail
- Quality must remain high
- Anybody can qualify, sex, age, abilities
- Manuscript vs. query letters
- Read the magazine
- Put yourself in the editor’s chair
- You are needed
- You can predict needs
- Don’t give up your day job
While some of the advice can be found in most articles or advice books on magazine writing, I liked getting a firsthand account from someone with a lot of experience.
One particular piece of advice — to query first before writing — has been on my mind lately, because I’ve been noodling around with several ideas, and I want to rush to get started, before I have any idea what to really write. Queries, Bronk said, were as important to your success as a freelance as your skill as a writer.
Other advice that he offered:
- Write things that interest you
- Write for free to get experience and clips
- Nurture and protect your relationships with editors
- Think ahead
- Study the magazine, looking for length and type of articles
- Go to writing classes