7 most popular posts of 2016

7 most popular posts of 2016

Would you be surprised to hear that this Backstory blog was originally conceived of as a place to post comics about what goes on behind the scenes when writing articles? A few years ago, I was not imagining that I would be making videos, teaching freelance writers how to pitch, leading goal-planning challenges, or even coming up with my own year-end most popular list.


2016 turned out to be a big transition year for me. A very big thank you to those of you who have joined my newsletter, signed up for classes, and generally been supportive of what I’ve been up to.

Here are the most-viewed pieces on the Backstory blog, including quite a few from the Modern Journalist Toolkit series. Enjoy!

7 – Home Office Hacks for Writers

I moved recently, so I need to rewatch this video myself for some home office optimization inspiration.




6 – Can I quote you on that?

Get some inspiration for finding juicy quotes for pitches without doing full interviews, plus download the freebie cheat sheet with sample scripts to ask for an interview without an assignment in hand.




5 – Three-minute marketing makeover

It should only take you a few minutes to read through this list and add or remove a few items. And, unlike most makeovers, you’re not going to wind up with a new look that you can’t replicate yourself.




 4 – Three Quick Online Portfolio Solutions

This video kicked off the Modern Journalist Toolkit series.

Don’t let not having your own website be an excuse when it comes to pitching editors or otherwise hold you back. If you’re starting out, it’s probably not the best use of your time to spend hours developing a WordPress site—rather focus on pitching and writing articles that you’ll showcase in your portfolio. If you are a veteran journalist who has sidestepped a website for a decade or more, these options are quick and easy.


3 – Yusuf Omar on Reporting with Snapchat

In a recent piece on young rape survivors, Yusuf Omar used Snapchat’s digital facial-masking capabilities to hide the identity of the speakers, while still keeping visible the eyes and the nuances of facial expressions.

We spoke about how he came up with this idea, how freelancers can get started with Snapchat, and why you don’t need to worry too much about the equipment you use—a smartphone really is all you need to get started.



2 – How to read a publication like your future editor wants you to

This post has five written tips for learning to analyze a publication in general, plus a video walkthrough of how to read an inflight magazine. A must for those who want to increase their pitch acceptance rate in general, and freelance travel writers in particular.


1 – Five Proven Steps to Writing Queries that Sell

The most popular thing on this website this year was the free PDF guide, 5 Proven Steps to Writing Queries that Sell.

I also did a 5-part Facebook Live series to go along with it–if you missed it live, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/FreelanceWriterBootcamp/videos

5 Proven Steps to Writing Queries that Sell by Rebecca L. Weber