What's Your Passion?
by Jackie Hosking
This month I am going to talk about networking via the humble
email, specifically how to create and promote an email, networking newsletter -- just like my PASS IT
What's your passion? It doesn't have to be writing related
although I imagine it will be. It could be cooking, or gardening or cats. Your passion might be Science
Fiction or Horror or Biography. One of my passions, and I have several, is writing for children but what I
found, when I first began to explore this passion, was that there was so much information out there that I
just couldn't make sense of it all. I had so many questions but know idea who to ask. This is one of the
reasons that I am so grateful to Marg McAlister and her wonderful newsletters, tip sheets and websites. She
gave me direction and it was through one of her articles that I was reconnected with the dynamic, proactive
children's author, Dianne Bates. The concept behind PASS IT ON was all her idea -- she's an ideas
So what is the concept and why is it so successful? Have you
read the book or seen the movie -- Pay It Forward?
Below is a short summary taken from here:
The concept is that a person will help three people. The
deeds must be difficult, something the recipient cannot accomplish him/herself. Then, instead of paying the
person back, the recipient will "pay it forward" by helping out three additional people. That way, the world
may just become a better place to live. The movie is based on Catherine Ryan Hyde's novel of the same name.
PASS IT ON achieves the same thing but on a much larger scale. When
someone contributes something of interest about the children's writing industry, the newsletter compiler (me)
publishes it and passes it on to hundreds of people. Subscribers now pay a nominal fee for my service,
mind you I didn't charge straight away. In fact I provided the service, free of charge for over a year, my
payment being that I was the person on the list who got to see all the new contributions first. I couldn't in
my wildest dreams have found all the information by myself. I've also met some fantastically generous
You can do the same with your topic of interest. Start with
your friends. For example you might know ten people who love cooking and trying new recipes and cooking
methods. You could ask them to email you cooking tips or new recipes or great websites. Each, week or
fortnight or month, whichever suits you -- you compile all the new information into an email, under relevant
headings for easy access, and send it to everyone on your list. You might suggest, while your list is small,
that in order for each person to receive the newsletter they must commit to contributing something at least
once a month. This means that you are not left to find out new information all the time. Of course when you
do find stuff of interest you can include it too. As your list grows you will find that you will receive more
than enough information. You might like to do as I do and include a "Seeking" section where questions can be
asked and subsequently answered in the following newsletter.
It doesn't have to be complicated. If you keep it simple you
can do as I did and learn as you grow. PASS IT ON began as a very simple looking email and evolved,
thanks again to Marg McAlister, into a very classy looking newsletter. I've even worked out how to include a
contents page with direct links to the different sections. Now let me tell you, if I can do it -- anyone can!
As you grow you might like to consider creating an email template so that you're not retyping things like
subject headings or submission guidelines. You can create your own, as I did in the beginning or use Marg's,
as I do now. Learn how at: http://www.writing4successclub.com/newsletter_in_outlook_express.htm
Next month I'll show you how to manage your newsletter
just using your email programme. In the meantime put out your feelers and start gathering together people who
share your passion. And if you haven't read or seen Pay it Forward, go and do it now!
Till next time,
Your writing buddy
© copyright Jackie Hosking
Jackie has been writing professionally for 7 years.
She writes mostly for children but does enjoy the odd flash fiction piece for adults. Jackie is the
editor/compiler/publisher of the children's writing and illustrating industry newsletter, PASS IT ON (PIO).
PIO was recently voted the best non-fiction e-zine for 2008 by the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.
Jackie also offers a rhyming manuscript editing service. You can find out more about Jackie, PIO and writing
in rhyme at her website -