Clippings.me: a Portfolio Site for Writers, Freelancers and Journalists

Blog

I recently found a portfolio website that I think is an excellent option for writers and freelancers–especially journalists. (All opinions are my own.) My Clippings.me page can be found at https://www.clippings.me/eleonor.

As a writer, I’ve experienced pain trying to build an online presence to share my work. It became time consuming to scan and lay-up (in InDesign) every article I got published, especially when the frequency in which my articles ran became a few times a week. A full-time job, personal responsibilites, friends, family, freelance projects, etc. didn’t make it easier. Before I knew it, I had boxes full of print publications I promised to get to, knowing that I never would. An alternative to portfolio building this way is creating a list and hyperlinking to where the article is published online, but the result is a boring-looking list. You can also export articles directly to PDF from the website and just upload them to a site but the result is having to use your data (most, if not all, websites have a GB limit these days) and users looking at a clunky layout. There are several options for getting all of your work in a digital, shareable space, some easier than others, but count on ongoing maintenance with pros and cons.

If you’ve fallen in a similar situation, I suggest considering populating all of your articles onto one space using Clippings.me. It’s super easy to use, quick and the layout is clean and attractive. There’s a field (after you sign up) you can copy/paste links into and the website will add it to your collection. You can also upload PDF files. Below is a screenshot of my working Clippings.me page to give you an idea of what it looks like. There’s a header where you can add personal information and links, followed by a grid layout for articles/projects.

There are plenty of other website options out there (I use WordPress, have used Strikingly, Carbonmade, Pressfolios, Weebly, Wix and have heard of Muck Rack, Contently, and JournoPortfolio) but for the moment, I’m quite content using Clippings.me for its appearance and easiness. Whether it’s a long-term solution for me is yet to be known.

There’s a Free (10 article limit), Professional Monthly ($9/mo), and Professional Annual ($99/year). The Free version isn’t bad at all. Sure, Clippings.me keeps their branding on the Free version, you can’t upload a resume, the article limit is constricting, and you don’t get some advanced customization options but if you’re just looking for a nice, convenient, and quick way to get your work together, it’ll work. I guess it all depends on what you need from it. Because my WordPress serves as my main website and I have a LinkedIn as a makeshift, digital resume, a Clippings.me page is a nice complement to those.

-E

The Cultural Social Media Rat Race Isn’t Everything

Blog

I have people ask me why I don’t update my profile pictures or post pictures of myself on social media. Sometimes it feels like being invited to a party and being reminded that I never show up. This says a lot about the world we live in today: people today are “oversharers,”  misleaders, and misdirected.

So, why not have the glowing, power picture that’s head-on so you can look me straight in the eye. Why stay “hidden.”

…Am I disfigured? Nope. Am I ugly? Maybe to some but to level it out, I’m pretty to some so I’ll say that I’m average. Am I ashamed? There’s a difference between being ashamed and being humble. Aren’t I worried that people won’t recognize me as a “real” person without a picture? No, there are tons of “fake” people online who have pictures up on social media and anyone who knows how to right-click can be someone else on the internet…in fact, they could even be you. Having the gall to post a picture up doesn’t make you a real person. Values, a relationship with God, and being in communion with others will make you a real, worthy person–nothing else. The people who matter the most know my face–and see my face–and that’s all that matters.

I guess the answer to this question is actually a lot simpler then anyone thinks, but sadly, it’s only noticeable now because we currently live in a world where selfies are prevalent. Finally, my answer: online vanity means little to me because everything of this world is a distraction.

Don’t misunderstand me. I use social media, too, and I have a profile picture up on Facebook. But you should know, social media isn’t everything to me. I use Instagram the most but I’m not patting myself on the back with my posts on it. I don’t use Instagram to show people, “hey look! I’m published!” I use Instagram as a tool to try to show people in Killeen that good things are happening in their community all the time, they just need to look outside their windows. I want people who see my Instagram feed to know that there are people working to bring a little good to our world so do not to be devoid of hope!

If you’re feeling pressured to flaunt on social media, please don’t feel this way because big picture, none of it really matters. Don’t be afraid to be your own person. This life is a dream and it will pass. Plus, some of the best people, the ones making a true and lasting impact on Earth, are rarely sitting around sharing pictures of their face or pictures that show how “great” their lives are. They’re not trying to sell you an idea because they’re too busy. They don’t have the time for nonsense, nor do they have a heart for vanity. People who have life abundance are out living life abundantly.

Live with intention and be blessed.

-E

Say, “Yes.”

Blog

From time to time, I enjoy exploring the vast collection of questions on Quora written by people around the world. There, you’ll find out that people have secrets, cousins aren’t always just cousins, and ghosts might be real, but most important, Quora will teach you that everyone wants something. We’re tethered together by a common denominator–desire; desire to feel, excel, connect, be happy, whatever.

After a month or so of lurking, a question popped up in my feed that began to weigh on me.  They essentially asked the age-old question: should I just give up on my dream? The question was whether or not they could make it through the military not being the stereotypical, muscled meathead everyone thinks of because of movies. For some reason, I didn’t want this stranger to give up so easily, so this is what I replied:

“Neither was I when I signed up. People thought I was crazy when I told others what I was doing after high school. I also had to lose a lot of weight before I could ship out because I was fat, had never gone through ROTC so I was clueless, never did sports. I pretty much sat around, ate, and read all through high school. I’m also a 5′0 female. If I made it through, you can, too. I’m nothing special. I just wanted it bad enough. I still look back (discharged in 2011) and have no clue how I miracled my way through 6 years in the Army. I recommend doing PT before you join, though; basic was hell for me. I don’t know how I made it out alive. There are every type of people you can think of who join, not just your stereotypical alpha male. Don’t give up on your dream if this is it. Just know, it’s going to be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but one of the greatest.”

The purpose of this post is not to pat myself on the back; it’s all about what I can prove to hopefully shift someone’s perspective. Just from the fact that I made it through a huge goal–what could be seen as an impossible dream–and reaped the benefits on the other side, I can prove to you that if you don’t give yourself the option to quite, there’ll be two outcomes: you will succeed or you’ll get damn close. I made it through something that was one of the hardest, biggest, scariest things I have ever done in my life, on 90% pure determination and 10% luck (and probably pity from my drill instructors). But I made it through and as a result, I had an incredible, storybook adventure. I now work full-time from my home office and sometimes, I look at the box that I’ve put myself in and miss my younger, more daring self. Some days, I have to remind myself who I was, who I am, and who I can still be, as I shuffle toward some unknown outcome and unwritten future. . .just like everyone else.

Yes, there are delusional dreams and goals marked with insanity; you can just check out any singing contest to figure that one out. If you suck at your dream, fine. It just means your dream will take longer than you planned because you need to spend sweat-equity to get better, or your dream will be a hobby or side-hustle not what you do full-time. But, your dream can always be a big part of your life, if you let it.

It seems that a lot of people don’t pursue their dreams because they’re afraid to take the risks to pursue what they really want. I get it. I get trapped by my own fear and self-doubt, too. The future–heck, life in general–is scary and it’s scarier when you don’t have the extra time or resources to recover from the damages your mistakes can cause. I’m just like everyone else; I always have to remind myself that it’s okay to hope but, it’s never enough, and it’s okay to be afraid, but it benefits no one to be a coward.

Screw it. Death and monotony are right around the corner and what-ifs will always just be what-ifs, so the answer might as well be, “yes.” Yes, to yourself and what will fill your heart so full that you feel like you can fly. And a glaring, hearty “hell yes,” for those people who honestly don’t care to see you succeed.

Getting off my soap box. And I hope you have an amazing day!

-E

 

 

 

 

Eleanor?

Blog

Is the name “Eleanor” making a comeback, or is it just me? Growing up, I was always the only Eleanor; the kid with an “old lady” and tragically old-fashioned name who grew up to be a woman with a “severe” sounding name. True, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, forcing an abrupt stop with the letter “r.”

Introductions always almost ended with, “Oh, like the car!” or “Like, Eleanor Rigby?” I’ve never noticed this phenomenon of drawing someone’s name to something else familiar, happen with other people with a more common name. Actually, my name isn’t like the muscle car or the Beatles song at all. It’s actually the Filipino version of the well-known, Greek version. So, my name, Eleonor, is like the name you know: Eleanor. That “o” tends to complicate things even more. My name is actually pronounced “ehl-yah-nor,” though even I pronounce it like the common version. I know it doesn’t make sense how the spelling creates such a sound.

Recently, I’ve spotted “Eleanor” on book covers and venues, or being called out by new mothers bold enough to name their daughters this name.  I’ve now noticed Eleanor pop-up in TV shows, too.

I have a bad habit of playing something in the background while I work. Maybe I just enjoy filling the empty space with music and stories (beautiful and intriguing things.) Today, while I tapped away at my computer, The Good Place was playing and I was taken aback when my TV literally called out my name. Foolishly, I looked up. Huh? Me? I thought to myself.

Maybe the Eleanors of the future won’t be compared to a song or a car; they’ll be able to have a name that stands on its own.

-E

 

 

 

What’s an Editor?

Blog, Other Genre

What’s the one thing you would do even if you weren’t getting paid to? Or what’s the one activity you can see yourself doing forever? For me, it’s editing manuscripts. Over the years, I’ve been lucky that authors and publishers have trusted me with their work; and luckier that I found something that I really like doing. It was a journey finding something I was passionate about and I even made a few wrong turns but, here I am.

For this post, I’d like to define what an “editor” is because there are still misconceptions out there. Also, authors aren’t keeping their editors accountable or are experiencing friction with their editor when their editor is just doing their job. There are also writers out there who, because of a really negative experience with an editor, now poo-poo all over the entire editor-author relationship.

To be honest, a real editor is much more than someone who “red-marks” your work; someone more than a “grammar nazi.” Beyond making sure that your manuscript is as perfect as possible, an editor serves as an author’s beta reader, confidant, and coach.

An editor is a beta reader. As a beta reader, an editor uses their expertise to review manuscripts well-before publishing or approaching a publishing house or agent happens. This can be invaluable because often times, acquisitions editors either flip through manuscripts or just read specific chapters. With enough errors, an acquisitions editor and agent will lose faith in an author’s ability to write and will likely toss a manuscript aside for another one that is better prepared for publishing.

An editor is a confidant. You can share your crazy ideas and the earliest, rawest versions of your work. A good editor listens as much as they read and is open to collaboration. If an author doesn’t feel like they can openly share their ideas with their editor, it might be time for that author to reconsider the relationship. If an editor is consistently dismissed by an author or an author seems to only want their own ideas reflected back at them, it’s time for that editor to jump ship. It’s extremely important for an author-editor relationship to be cohesive because if it isn’t, it’s likely that the editor won’t want to be credited in the book for their work because they don’t feel that it reflects their true abilities as an editor. A big reason to get an editor is to show readers professionalism, that the author took the time to invest in their work by hiring an editor, it’s polished, and worth the reader’s time. Worse, a volatile author-editor relationship means that an author is left with a manuscript that is so-so because it’s difficult to extract the best version of a manuscript when there is an air of defensiveness versus a relationship of collaboration where both editor and author are pouring their best and years of experience into the body of work.

An editor is a coach. When it comes to the editing process, an author has all right to be upset when their editor criticizes, corrects, and challenges what they’ve written but remember, at the end of the day, you can take the advice and grow from it or toss it out. An author is represented by the bodies of work they write. An author’s work is their product and that product should be good enough to pay the bills, right? An editor can’t be afraid to be honest with an author and if they are, it might be time to either check the editor’s motives (do they really care about your work?) or find a new editor. A good editor not only identifies weaknesses in your writing, a good editor reveals your strengths, too.

I hope this helps someone.

-E

Publishing Houses: Going Small vs. Going Big

Blog, Publishing

 The most important thing to know is that no matter which channel you go through–big, small, or self-published–a well-written book, a killer cover, luck, and a determined author is what really makes a book successful.

Knowing the difference between a big publisher and a small publisher is good for everyone. It keeps an author’s search for acceptance relevant and strategic and it helps acquisitions editors everywhere from having to shuffle more manuscripts into the slush pile. The most important thing to know is that no matter which channel you go through–big, small, or self-published–a well-written book, a killer cover, luck, and a determined author is what really makes a book successful.

First and perhaps the most obvious difference is that indie publishers aren’t as fancy as bigger publishers. Often times, people in smaller houses are performing multiple job responsibilities. (Your editor could just as well be your cover design artist, etc.) The biggest, and most obvious difference is the amount of money that floats in and out of a small house compared to a big one. Here’s the truth: nothing happens without money so this does cause detrimental differences in terms of advances, royalties, and marketing. Another problem for small houses is trying to convince authors and staff to stick around when they get better offers. Sadly, many writers don’t even consider indie publishers until they’re turned down by bigger publishers.

The difference between a small and big publisher is best understood by considering the difference between a community college and a university. You can get the job done through both channels but the amount of money spent, influence, and networking is different.

The Basics:

What’s up with indie?

  • Don’t expect an advance. If you do get one, it may be anywhere between just a few hundred dollars to a few thousand but, generally not more than $3,000.
  • Acceptance is less competitive.
  • Focus is author and quality driven. Going indie is a great  option for writers who haven’t been published before. If you get a few books published first and then get picked up by a big publisher, it could definitely result in big profits down the road.
    • You’ll get more intimate focus on the quality and image of your book. A good publisher will help a writer produce only the best version of their work through editing, cover design, proofreading, and coaching. This is the biggest incentive not to self-publish.
      • ***Side note on self-publishing: If you go this route, you can outsource just about any project these days and then keep 100% of your profits after. If you need branding and collaboration or just don’t want to go it alone, definitely go with a publisher versus self-publish.
  • It’s cheap for authors. If the independent publisher–given it’s not a vanity publisher and there’s a lot of those hiding out–doesn’t charge for editing and design services and just collects a percentage of sales, all you spend is your time.
  • Limited reach. Will you see your book on every bookstore shelf publishing through an indie publisher? Probably not. Will your book get picked up by a popular reviewer? Sure, if you’re willing to pay for a publicist. You’ll also have to do some marketing on your own, sometimes, all.

What’s up with big publishers?

  • Expect an advance! This is the biggest incentive to go for a big publisher.
  • Acceptance is very competitive so don’t expect to get picked up right away. Acceptance is highly competitive but it’s still worth trying. You may need an agent or an “in” to even get looked at.
  • Focus is sales and quality driven. Big publishers want great books that can make them money quickly.
  • It’s even cheaper for authors if they get accepted to a big publisher. A big publisher often has the money to support an author so that they don’t have to worry about marketing costs on top of covering editorial and design costs.
  • Large reach. You don’t have to do much marketing on your own, though to be honest, a big publisher will only invest money where they think they’ll get the most return. Not all books that are accepted by big publishers get the marketing deal of a lifetime. There may not be tours or air play for you–it all depends.
    • Most likely a big publisher has connections with Net Galley and reviewers!
    • It’s not guaranteed but it’s very likely that your book could end up in a distribution channel that supplies bookstores. This all really depends on the publisher and your book.

-E

Revised 1/8/17