320: How to Create Your Own Market

320: How to Create Your Own Market

Episode 320: Freelancing your passion, starting from scratch and ultimately building your own magazine

This episode is for you if: you’re starting, re-starting or sparking a freelance career with a focus on something you’re passionate about OR you’ve ever thought the heck with this, I’m striking out on my own.

Sometimes the best way to find a publication that reaches the readers you want is to start one. That might mean starting a Substack or a podcast—hello out there, Burnt Toast, one of the best examples I can think of of doing exactly that.* Or it might mean doing something both a little bigger and a little more old school.

When Valerie Kathawala decided to write about her passion, wine, she had to start from scratch—as in, she took a job at a local wine store. She stocked shelves, studied labels and wrote the in-house wine magazine, which led to bylines at other small publications and built up from there. For her it was wine, but I was so excited to talk about how to build up a freelance career now, as opposed to 20 years ago. (I think y’all know us well enough by now to know this is not an episode about wine.)

But Valerie wanted more. So she and a partner started TRINK, “the first and only English-language digital publication dedicated to the "German-speaking wines" of Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.”

They commission articles, pay writers and publish (digitally) in “volumes”. Are they making bank? Sadly, not yet, but they are self-supporting and growing fast. Volume 12 is coming soon. Whole story is in the podcast, and sorry-not-sorry if it inspires you to start something of your own.


Valerie: After Nature, W. G. Sebald

KJ: Bittersweet, Susan Cain


Follow Valerie on Instagram @Valkatnyc

HEY LOOKY LOOKY: Starting July 1, it’s the #AmWriting Blueprint for a Book Challenge! I am so excited about this. 10 episodes, 10 guests, 10 weeks to you being ready to write your best novel, memoir or non-fiction book this fall. There will be homework. There will be deadlines. Complete all 10 weeks, and you could win a critique of that Blueprint from KJ or Jennie Nash—but you’ll already be a winner, because you’ll have a plan that will put you way ahead of the game. Play for free—or reserve an Author Accelerator critique for your finished product to hold your feet to the fire and make sure you do the work and get bonus episodes and write-alongs. Want details? Ready to sign up? CLICK HERE.

PS: Along those lines, Author Accelerator has opened registration for the 2022 Manuscript Incubator, an intensive, 7 month coaching opportunity that offers one-one-one support and guidance for novelists and memoirists planning to have a submission-ready project by early 2023—and includes the opportunity to have that project reviewed by a group of agents and editors when it’s ready. For more information, head to authoraccelerator.com/manuscript-incubator.

*Virginia Sole Smith on bodies, fatphobia and diet culture, a topic that’s very hard to cover in traditional journalism because the pubs that reach the people who are interested sell advertising to the culprits—take a look, bet you learn something.

Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.