Monday, 26 January 2015

Letter Stepping Stones

I know I’ve said it many times before, but I’m going to say it again here … because it’s happened again. Letters can be useful stepping stones.

My reader’s letter is the star letter in the latest issue of Writer’s Forum magazine. I’d written in response to an article in the January issue of the publication, about the Scrivener writing software (of which I use and am a fan of). The article mentioned that the learning curve for Scrivener is quite steep.

Drawing upon my many years of using the software, I wanted to pass on some extra information, and this is where a reader’s letter can be useful. I explained that I agreed with the writer’s comments, but then gave readers some further pointers, which included making the most of the video tutorials, and only learning to use the bits of the software that you actually need to use. I also recommended a couple of books.

Now, I can’t be certain, but I think my letter was published because I was giving reader’s additional information. My letter augmented the article, so readers were benefitting from my suggestions. But as the star letter I’ve now won a year’s free subscription (worth nearly £40, so not to be sniffed at!).

My letter has also generated another article idea, which I’m in the process of developing.

I’ve also recently submitted another letter to a journal, and the editor replied last week saying that he couldn’t agree more with the comments I was making. As a result, he’ll be using my letter in the next issue. Brilliant. Even better was the way he ended his email: by the way, I’m open to article pitches if you have any ideas.

Well, what do you think I did next? Yep. A pitch has been submitted.

So they may only be short and relatively easy to write (it’s still worth spending time editing letters and making sure they’re succinct and to the point), but they can lead to other projects.

Good luck.


  1. I agree that letters are worthwhile - for many reasons, including the ones you give - but some writers are a bit 'sniffy' about writing them. Not all student writers find them easy, though, in my tutoring experience - but I do think it's worth persisting with them. The key for me is to be brief and actually make a point that's worth making - be it useful, controversial, original, or whatever.

    1. Thanks Alex. I agree. Persistence is key, but it does pay off in the end!


  2. Go you! Two year subscription's nice. :-)

  3. Have no idea who or what Scrivener is but will now find out pronto.

    1. Good point, George! For anyone interested, details about Scrivener can be found at: