Each month, members of the Freelance Writing Masterclass Program can join an “Ask Me Anything” session with Valerie Khoo, journalist, editor, and CEO of the Australian Writers' Centre. Participants have access to Valerie's amazing wealth of knowledge, as they can literally ask her anything to do with the art and craft of freelance writing. Sessions cover everything from finding ideas, pitching, and responding to editors, to using experts, professional development, and even grammar and style.
What is an Ask Me Anything?
Valerie's Ask Me Anythings (or AMAs) are like having your own personal mentor and guide as you pursue your freelance writing career. No question is too simple or obscure. If there's anything you're unsure about, Valerie can help guide you. Instead of trying to google an answer, or wading through forums and Facebook chats, you have immediate access to the exact answer that you need.
Here are some questions that Valerie has answered during her AMAs:
- Do experts ever expect to be paid for providing quotes?
- How can I move into freelance editing?
- When should I follow up after sending in a pitch?
- What's the best practice when using LinkedIn with editors?
- Can I write for a parenting magazine if I'm not a parent?
- How can I stay ahead on the news so that my pitches are timely?
As you can see, some of the questions are broad and others are quite specific. It all comes down to what you need to know. Basically, no two AMAs are the same!
One regular participant is freelance writer Jo Jukes. “The AMAs give participants a chance to get personalised advice on an issue specific to them,” Jo says. “I also find it useful for asking about the ‘little things' that might seem obvious to professional writers, but aren't always clear to a newbie. For example, asking about the etiquette on how to follow up a particular email from an editor, or how long and how to politely chase up invoices. I tune in every month unless I am travelling.”
Personal guidance and advice
One thing the participants love is the ability to interact with Valerie in real-time. This isn't just a recording with some general advice; during the AMAs, Valerie is live and available. You can ask your questions while she's right there on the screen in front of you.
Writer Jacqui Brown particularly loves that aspect of the AMAs.
“I get to see Val face to face live,” she told us in a Facebook message. “It doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is. It means I belong, that I'm not alone, that there's a leader who is there, with me, wanting me to succeed, and I can have a back and forth convo with her and respond in real-time to what she's saying. Plus with others on the line too we become a community.”
Freelance writer Fernanda Fain-Binda agrees. “A slice of Val and her incredible advice, delivered right to your computer,” she said.
Naturally, as Valerie answers questions throughout the session, it may trigger a few more of your own. And as well as learning from the answers to your own queries, there's lots to learn from other people's questions too. Listening to Valerie answer a question you'd never considered before can give you insight into your own writing.
That's what writer and regular attendee Amanda Freeman has found about the AMAs. “I've found it useful and have had my questions answered, but have probably got just as much out of the feedback on other people's questions,” Amanda said.
Jacqui agrees. “I learn tonnes from listening to other people's questions,” she told us. “Other people ask questions I haven't even thought of and I learn from the answers.”
Watch live, water later, or watch again
A great standout of the AMAs is that if you can't make it to the live event, each one is recorded and posted on the Australian Writers' Centre learning hub. The questions and time codes are posted beneath each recording so that you can skip ahead to parts that most interest you.
We have AMAs going back to 2016 and there are over 40 videos on the site. That's an incredible resource to tap into. For as long as you have access to the Freelance Writing Masterclass program, you can go back and watch each and every AMA.
How do I join the AMAs?
Valerie's Ask Me Anythings are exclusive to members of the Freelance Writing Masterclass. This program is available to graduates of the Freelance Writing Stage 1 or Travel Writing courses and provides online access to a wealth of invaluable coaching, tutorials, mentoring and feedback.
As well as the monthly AMAs, the program offers weekly tutorials, regular Pitch Doctor Clinics, and a private Facebook group where you get direct and regular access to your mentors and community. If your freelance writing career is ready for a power boost, this is it.
“I've been doing the AMAs every month for over three years and there's always something new and interesting,” Valerie says. “The people in the Masterclass community come from every stage of the freelance writing spectrum. Being able to provide advice and guidance to help them achieve their freelance career goals is something that I'm very passionate about.”