Spotlight on two Howopia writers

It has only been a few months since we launched Howopia.co.uk and we are really excited at the amount of writers that have signed up to write and the amount of guides we have published.

We have also attracted the attention of some celebrity writers, who are sharing their knowledge and expertise with the Howopia community. But, the most important members of the community are the lesser known writers and contributors whose time and energy goes into writing the guides, to inform and tell the readers how to do all manner of things.

We thought you might like to know more about some of our writers, so we had a chat with two to see what they thought about writing for Howopia.

The two writers we spoke to were Jay Longley, an aspiring novelist who is pursuing a career in journalism, and Neil Hocking a professional freelance writer who studied journalism at university.

Howopia
1. Can you tell us a bit more about what you do for a living?

Jay
I freelance, primarily in the wine and spirits field as well as writing for Demand Media Studios, Prospect Solution and Academic Knowledge. The opportunities for getting established online are limited and are primarily aimed at the US.

Neil
At the moment I am focusing predominately on commercial writing because you get paid for your time rather than per word/column inch. Article-writing is fun and it is nice to get a byline in a big magazine but the amount of time you spend is irrelevant to an editor and when you take an honest look at your hourly rate you can be in for an unpleasant shock. I am current editor of the Torquay Sure Start newsletter and am doing a bit of brochure work with local companies. I still occasionally pitch features to magazines and the national press but they are proving to be a tough nut to crack. I am also working on a fantasy novel.

Howopia
2. What was it that attracted you to write for Howopia?

Neil
With Howopia, the promise of commissioned articles attracted me in the first place but it’s actually the generous monthly incentives that have so far proved most beneficial. In addition, ‘how-to’ writers are often sought after on the freelance boards so it is useful to have a few samples to show prospective employers.

Jay
My aim in writing for Howopia is to create a portfolio and body of work, earn some additional cash and contribute to a site geared towards the UK market as the large majority of sites are created, managed and aimed at American audiences entirely. This makes them hard to write for and even harder to relate to.

Howopia
3. What are some of the things you hope to gain from writing for Howopia?

Jay
It's a bit of a chicken and egg with portfolio building and money. I want to create a body of work that earns and is also of a high enough quality to make it stand out.

Neil
I tend to see earning money and building a portfolio as going hand-in-hand: the more gigs you get, the bigger your portfolio gets, putting you in a better position to get higher paying gigs. Building up a portfolio is where I am at right now. I have had to do some pro bono gigs to get experience in certain areas and this is going to be a big focus in the early months of 2011. Howopia rewards you for effort and, with the potential for growth that the site has, the ad revenue side of things is likely to bear some fruit.

Howopia
4. What has your experience been of writing for Howpia?

Neil
Receiving £100 after winning a last day race with ‘Gin Monkey’ was brilliant as was the unexpected £50 for most referrals the following month. By making the most of my social networking sites I can also maximise the chance of both attracting referrals and ad revenue: I try to publicise via Facebook and Twitter when I can and, when I finally get my writer’s blog going in 2011, I will be linking relevant posts (and carrying a referral link on my sidebar). I have been impressed with the recent publicity drives and would like to think that there would be a little bit of residual income for me in the future.

Jay
The site's been excellent as being involved from the outset has meant I'm able to contribute and have a sense of input. The freedom to write your own stuff as well as commissioned pieces is great as quality is the only real restriction on your content. Varied incentives are also a good motivator.

Thanks guys, it was very interesting hearing about what you are up to and your experiences of writing for Howopia.

If you would like to find out more about Neil and Jay, you can find Neil's website here: nhwriting.com and Jay here: Jayltime


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