A Freelance Article Demonstrating
The Publisher's Perspective

by Kathy Coogan

Free-lance writers learn to write to the perspective and tone of a publication in order to sell their material to that publication. Every periodical, paper or magazine has a mission.

That mission is not always obvious at first glance. It is the writer’s job to sniff it out. The writer must research the publication so he can submit to the appropriate forum. Research is as simple as reading several issues of said publication.

Editors scoff at writers who send queries which do not reflect the magazine’s perspective and tone. They know their readers and they want (need) to serve them. Why would they want to waste any of their precious, valuable pages on contrarian views? (They leave those to the Letters to the Editor.)

But aside from acute knowledge of the subject and understanding of the publication, there is also room for your voice. It is usually that special voice that clicks with the editor. Use it to connect to the reader (and especially to the editor who has the power to give the thunbs-up).

Sometimes a particular subject matter is perfect for a particular free-lance writer. It resides in the heart or head of the writer. Personal themes suach as job loss, illness, aging, education, discovery or travel can set you up for the perfect opportunity to write and sell a piece to a discerning forum.

Remember to write what you feel, as well as what you know. Create an engaging, informative piece, then offer it to the right site. The reader (and especially the editor) will thank you for it. Editors are people, too, and they need good writers as much as good writers need them.

This following freelance writing example was commissioned by a weekly business journal to describe how research on Type 1 Diabetes has been focused. I was recommended because I am a writer and I have a grandson with the disease, an unfortunate built-in connection. I needed to fulfill the requirements expected of the business journal but I hoped to humanize the importance of the research goals.

Read on for an excerpt to see how I managed.

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
Accelerates Research for a Cure

by Kathy Coogan

Ben is a six year old kid with calluses on his palms from swinging on the monkey bars. He is somewhat of a show off, glancing down and grinning as he swings hand over hand, bar to bar, to see if someone is watching. He is strong and proud of it. In spite of Type 1 diabetes.

Ben has calluses on his fingertips too, from the seven or eight finger-sticks he does daily to check his ever-fluctuating blood glucose levels. He has had Type 1 diabetes since he was three and a half, so those thousands of finger-sticks have left their mark. Ben wears an insulin pump with a tube buried in the fleshy part of his bottom. The tube delivers life-sustaining insulin. The pump hangs on his waist band, looking like a chunky cell-phone and can be a nuisance to a kid. But nobody is complaining.

Insulin, whether delivered by syringe or pump, keeps Type 1 diabetics like Ben alive. Injected insulin replaces the insulin that can no longer be produced by the diseased pancreas. It is life-support but it is not a cure. No one knew that better than the group of determined parents, who thirty-seven years ago, vowed to do whatever was necessary to find a cure for what was then called juvenile diabetes. Those parents founded the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to spur the search for a cure for their kids.

Since 1970, more than $800 million dollars has been raised for research for a cure. Most major breakthroughs have been funded in part by JDRF, now an international organization, which scored an ‘A’ grade, 91% in fund-raising efficiency, by Forbes in December, 2004. Forbes’ 2005 Investment Guide states, “Such efficiency and focus are far from common in the charity world.”

The founders of JDRF would have it no other way. The bold research philosophy of assembling multi-disciplinary, inter-institutional teams of the world’s best scientists has resulted in numerous benefits. Complications such as diabetic retinopathy, kidney disease, vascular damage and heart disease have decreased in occurrence. The risk of hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood glucose) has been reduced and more effective management of blood glucose has led to better control of the disease.

These have been important advances but the goal of those first parents was not only to improve management of Type 1 but to find a cure. For JDRF, it has always been results, and only results, that matter. Thus JDRF has accelerated the search for a cure. Cure Therapeutics, the campaign of JDRF International, is a series of five simultaneous research pathways that will be pursued toward the ultimate goal of a cure...

Author's note: When writing for business, you need to state the facts but keep the reader engaged. Remember to use your unique voice whenever you can.

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