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No Any intelligent person can learn humor, work at it and even produce it. The problem is that the commercial world won't pay enough for second best to let everyone make a living. In humor, good enough is no longer good enough. Only about 5 percent of those who study it go on to the professional world, but that's true of many professions. Since you're only as good as your last joke, there's a great deal of insecurity in comedy writing and a fast turnover of staff for economic reasons many performers like to work with freelancers.
I've had the horrific experience of standing in the doorway of a room at a magazine publishing house where first readers go through freelance submissions, deciding whether the stories should be passed on to an editor for further consideration, or sent back as a rejection at once. Sometimes a reader would slit the end of a manila envelope and pull the manuscript only halfway out of the envelope, scanning the first paragraph or two of the yarn. Sometimes - on the basis of this glance alone- the, story was either passed on to an editor for consideration, or tossed into the reject pile.
For single-panel cartoons, The New Yorker is the most prestigious place to be published, but the odds against the freelancer are very high. The editors have first option on the work of forty to fifty contract cartoonists. The editors also supply their artists with gag ideas and sometimes even change the caption after a cartoon has been submitted. Despite this home team advantage, they still look at over 2,500 professional submissions per week. Only twenty cartoons per week are published. As a result, the artist hires agents who seek out gag writers. An established artist can work through the mail with a dozen freelance writers on a pay if used basis.
Anecdotes and fillers are used more often by magazines than newspapers. And of all the publications which solicit public contributions, the Reader's Digest is the Super Bowl of humor achievement. It is, by far, the most rewarding market for freelancers. With over fifty million readers, they pay the highest rates for anecdotes, jokes, and humorous quotes. To find the latest fees just turn to page four of the most recent Digest issue. However, humor material in other major publications, like Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times, is so thoroughly covered by Digest staff personnel that it's rare freelancers can get credit. Over 800 newspaper columnists regularly send their columns to Reader's Digest in the hope of editorial selection. Therefore, the magazine is looking for reprint material from remote areas like small regional magazines, corporate newsletters, and local radio shows.
In my third year as a freelance writer, the science fiction market temporarily dried up, due to editorial overstocking at several of the houses with the largest monthly science fiction lists. Since I was selling far more science fiction than anything else, I was caught in the pinch. I was learning the suspense form, but had not yet had great success with it, and I was several years away from writing the big, serious novels I'm now concentrating on. I needed new markets, fast. The previous year, I'd dabbled in erotic novels, as a sideline, but I did not feel like returning to that category and, besides, it was not flourishing as it once had. What to do Herein lies the great advantage of writing category fiction. Financial worries are the most common causes of writers' blocks. If a writer cannot pay his bills, he usually cannot create. He either has to take a second job or a part-time job (if he is already a full-time freelancer) until his bills are paid and the tension relieved or he...
This arresting phrase comes from Rob Kanigel, who was a freelance writer at the time he said it, twenty-odd years ago. Of course, I did a double take. What This from a man who always wanted to spend all afternoon talking through all my edits, comma by comma From a man who always thought I had violated his manuscript
I've been writing books under contract since 1991 - a happy state for me that has primarily meant I've known I had some money due when my book was finished. For a long time, I didn't see any real downside to writing under contract. I was writing my own stories, after all - my own worlds, my own characters, my own plots. Even when I did collaborations or work-for-hire, I was fortunate to be working in worlds or areas of worlds that I took a large role in designing, writing with characters that I either created myself or with my collaborator. I never got stuck writing characters that someone else controlled.
You own the copyright on any tangible expression that you create. Along with other forms, tangible expressions include written words, illustrations, printed works, electronic software, and recordings. This copyright is yours for the length of your life plus 50 years, unless it was done for an employer or commissioned as work for hire. If you have coauthors, each of you is a co-owner of the copyright, with equal rights.
There are about twenty companies selling laughs, but since there are more than twenty AM and FM stations in each big league city, there still aren't enough heavy humor hitters to touch all the bases. And most of these DJ comedy services are one-person operations, so they welcome freelance submissions.