Monday, 19 July 2010

Stealth writing: a secret source of income for freelance journalists

Stealth writing is a phrase David Howell has invented to cover all that lucrative freelance writing that is not credited.
In the clip he gives the example of Business Link, a site which has thousands of pages of content, with not a byline to be seen. He writes that.
He says: “It’s me but no one knows it’s me, and there is tons of stuff that sits under the high profile stuff. If you can find that work there’s a ton of it.
To get it, pick some markets, call and ask where they source their information from. It’s often a third party content provider, and if so you need to find out which, and approach them.
Use the same skills you would to get a story to build your business: research, knock on doors: “People ask me what’s the most important skill doing this, it’s research frankly.
“The other key skill is you need to develop a selling gene, that idea that you aren’t selling something if you’re a journalist is rubbish, because you are.
 You can read the full masterclass on entrepreneurial journalism: Build Your Own Job, at

Friday, 16 July 2010

Niche publishing is the future

Whether you are approaching things as a writer or as a publisher, you need to spot a niche and exploit it.
Specialise as a writer and your income rockets, because those you write for know you are an expert in your field.
Hit the right untapped niche as a publisher and you get the same effect.

In the clip, David Howell advises that, if you are starting out, pick a specialism. It may take you a couple of years to build a market and get the connections you need, but it will be worth it.
Contract publishers are the only guys making any money, he says. Those publishers who are paid to produce everything from Sainsbury’s mag through to a specialist newsletter on fibre optics are where the growth is.
They have a bigger freelance budgets, so go for that market.
David says: “If you have a specialist knowledge there is a market for it, there is a magazine or a newsletter out there – it's just finding it.”
See the rest of David howell's Masterclass in Magazine Publishing at

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Publish your own magazine: how to get the help you will need

However entrepreneurial you are, you can't do everything well yourself. In creating a successful magazine, you'll need to bring in experts to cover the areas you don't shine in.

In the clip, David Howell talks of how, for him, the areas he needed to bring others in on were layout and design, and advertising and promotion.
He says: “I particularly needed help with advertising, and there are plenty of freelance advertising execs around who you can hire.”
You can find the rest of David's masterclass on magazine publishing here: and the full Entreprensurialism masterclass, Build Your Own Job, at

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The key to successful freelancing: broaden your horizons

David Howell believes many freelance journalists are focused too much on a narrow part of their potential market. You need to broaden your horizons, avoid being blinkered.

In the clip he says: “Writing for newspapers, specialist magazines, websites is actually a tiny percentage of who you could be writing for,” and he reveals where that wider market can be found.
And what about all the publications you could produce? Too few journalists ever consider becoming publishers. David looked at what he had an interest in, a passion for, and the right skills for, and set about creating publications that played to to these strengths.
He says publishing has never been easier, with ink on paper no longer being an essential requirement for many titles.
His experience echoes what Adam Westbrook advocates in the opening overview of Masterclass 12 at
Find David's full Masterclass on Magazine Publishing here:

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

How to get your magazine pitch right

In order to sell your idea for a magazine to a publisher, distributor, wholesaler or retailer, you need to have a great idea, developed into a convincing pitch, and supported with a dummy or other concrete demonstration of what the magazine will look and feel like.

In the clip, David Howell explains that the pitch is essential, so any potential partner knows what they are going to get if they work with you.
Back your idea up; demonstrate a gap in the market and have the research to prove that it exists.
Look at the sections of Masterclass 12 at on creating a business for much more on this topic. You'll also find David Howell's full Magazine Publishing Masterclass at

Monday, 12 July 2010

How to get your title into WH Smith's

Creating a magazine is one thing, getting it into the main showroom for periodicals, WH Smith, is another. David Howell managed it, and in this clip he explains how.

His recommendation is that you first identify, and contact, a distributor who already has a relationship with Smith's.
David found one who was aware Smith's was looking for new magazines to put on the shelves, and was finding a dearth of new titles from major publishers
David did a dummy, the distributor liked it, and pitched it to Smith's. They liked it enough to waive the £2-3,000 price they normally charge for access to their shelves.

You'll find more on David Howell's magazine publishing masterclass at

Friday, 9 July 2010

Entreprensurial Journalism Masterclass: How to become a magazine publisher

David Howell is a freelance journalist who has become a successful magazine publisher. In this extract from Masterclass 12 of Multimeda journalism: A Practical Guide he shares his experience of how to create, publish and sell a magazine.
He also gives his tips on how to be a successful freelance.

1 How to become a magazine publisher

First of all, you must identify your market, and determine what sort of publication will serve that market’s needs.
David Howell got into magazine publishing as part of an effort to develop a business that was less reliant on him as a writer, and less identified with him personally: he wanted a business that he could, potentially, hand on at some point.
In the clip he explains how he did it.

David began by identifying a market that was not currently served by a magazine, and hit on homeworkers, the hundreds of thousands who work from home and whose need for advice and support he discovered was not met.
With the success of that project he looked for a second area that was not served, and discovered that the self-publishing industry also didn’t have a magazine dedicated to it, and Publish Now! was born.
Publish Now! Includes practical advice for those publishing their own magazines, books, and websites, and guides readers to the tools and technology driving the rise in self-publishing.
David says: “I saw self-publishing coming of age with the likes of Lulu and now the iPad, electronic books, and it had no support”, so he set out to create a magazine that would support the market he had identified.

Find our more about how to Build Your Own Job here

Praise for Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide

"A great textbook for undergraduate journalists with a well thought out mix of practical exercises and tips and hints as well as plenty of real-world examples. It covers the essential technical skills they will need. Very impressed."

"It is exactly what it says it is: a practical guide, but then it also has the added bonus (or should it be expected in this subject?) of a companion website which can do what the book cannot do and be up-dated. 
"The entire layout is inviting for students and a mine of information and ideas for teachers/tutors. 
"It is written in an accessible manner without talking down to its readers, and is obviously written by a journalist for journalism students, but would be invaluable to a working journalist who was now having to tackle the demands of the convergent newsroom. 
"Obviously any book becomes outdated as soon as it is published, especially in a field as fast-moving as this one, but that is reduced by the companion website; it is not a text for teaching reflective theory, but does not set out to do so. 
"In effect, it does what it says it does, and does it very well."

Friday, 2 July 2010

Entrepreneurialism masterclass: All the links to all the content

The entrepreneurialism masterclass at Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide continues to grow. Here are the current links to an extensive examination of how to build your own job, and to developing a portfolio career:

12a An introduction to, and overview of, entrepreneurialism, with Adam Westbrook. Find out more...

12b What is being taught about entrepreneurialism on journalism courses Find out more...

12c Creating a Business 1: An intereactive learning programme from Yoodoo Find out more...

12d Creating a Business 2: Three organisations that might help you build a job in hyperlocal journalism Find out more...

12e Spotlight on journalist entrepreneurs: They built their own jobs with websites, blogs and through rescuing a local paper Find our more...

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Creating a business 2: Three ways to make money from hyperlocal

You might like to try running a hyperlocal site as a service to your community. That’s laudable, if you can cover your living costs with other projects, but in this section of Mastercalss 12: Build your own job, I  look at ways in which you might actually make some sort of living from hyperlocal.
Representatives of three companies that offer a package to support journalists in creating a viable hyperlocal site gave presentations at the Local Heroes conference organised by Press Gazette at Kingston University recently.
I’ve been in touch with each of them, and in the full story, which you'll find here, I analyse what each can offer – with an emphasis on the money.
This is also a snapshot of how they respond to an approach from a journalist entrepreneur.

Neighbour Net has nine sites in London postal-code districts, plus five listings sites.
Sheila Prophet, editor of Fulhamsw6, part Neighbour Net, spoke at Local Heroes of creating a site that offers “local intelligence for intelligent locals.”
She said that there is an ad income per registered user of £4-5 per annum at first, rising to £10-15. That compares, she said, to £80 per reader in a print publication: “So print is not a competitor”.
According to, Sheila’s Fulham site, launched last year, has 1,000 members, so is bringing in revenue – by her figures – of at least £4,000. That’s not a fortune, but I’d imagine it could grow fast in such an affluent area.

Of Neighbour Net’s other sites, registered users at Ealing Today, in W5, number 3,500, meaning minimum revenue in the early years of £14,000.
There are 4,000 registered users of its SW15 site, (at least £16,000 and hence comparable with many local reporters’ starting salaries)
To get the full story on Neighbour Net, Community Times and Oxbury Media Services, go to Masterclass 12 of Multimedia journalism: A Practical Guide

The future of journalism is in our hands: Entrepreneurs' masterclass

Journalists are in the driving seat…if you have the courage to take the wheel.
in Masterclass 12 of Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide, Adam Westbrook argues that it's never been easier to publish, and that this puts journalists in a very strong position.
The future of jouralism is in our hands.
But we need courage to be entrepreneurial and create our own jobs.
"If we don’t have the courage, it will be others who dictate the future of journalism.
"There’s a danger the future of story-telling won't be shaped by journalists."
Take two of the biggest news-gathering and publishing phenomena of today: Twitter and Facebook. "Journalists were no part of the creation of those two phenomena, those hugely powerful journalistic tools."
"Don’t get written out of the story."
You'll find much more about entrepreneurialism, portfolio careers and building your own job in Masterclass 12 of Multimedia journalism: A Practical Guide at