Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Secret Weapon: Profnet

I interview people all over the world for my articles.

People ask me, "How on earth do you find them?"

I'm going to tell you my little secret, one that may cause you to scoff, but it's absolutely a gold mine for source digging:


This is a service I used when I was a newswoman at The Associated Press in Harrisburg, PA. Initially, it was a resource for us when we needed to quote an expert -- or a professor -- to analyze a breaking news story.

Today, it's a massive database, filled with all types of experts to quote, including leaders of major corporations, politicians, military members, small business people -- you name it, they've got it.

If you haven't used the service (which is free, by the way), this is what you do:

Go to and fill out a membership application. From there, you can search the Profnet database for the expertise you need. Not only that, you can put out a direct query, stating your story, your deadline, your qualifications on who can be quoted ... and voila. Watch your Inbox fill with the most fascinating people!

I know I sound like an advertisement, and believe me when I say I am NOT being paid for this blog entry. I just wanted to share with you that this is a fantastic resource, and it'll make your life SOOOOOOOOOOOO easy.

--Heidi Rafferty

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Message from the National Writers Union

Freelance writers: Let's get our game face on! Check this out from the National Writers Union. If you're not a member, consider joining. I'm totally covered for any and all legal situations related to my work ... plus there's great power in being part of an organization like this when you deal with publishers. (Let's not say much about that, but those of you who are experienced know what I'm talking about.)

Take a look at the letter, and then go to to join!

--Heidi Rafferty

Dear NWU At-Large Member:

It has been a few months since being in touch with you. As Chair of the At Large Chapter, I was elected in 2009 to assist you while making sure you have the tools and resources to stand as a team player with the union as well as becoming a progressing writer in your field.

The At Large Chapter is representing members from many regions as well as overseas, so there are advantages and disadvantages to our Chapter structure. One of the negatives is that we are at a distant, which doesn't offer regular fellowship among us. One of the positives is that we have the opportunity to make contact with writers in other areas of the U.S., and abroad, which is helpful in being a good writer.

You can trust me when I say that, for the first time, our moment will come to work together to form an annual event of food, fun, entertainment, plus host a large gathering of At Large Members and attendees from other NWU Chapters. This is our Chapter goal for the next term! We will achieve it!

I advise you to network with At Large and other Chapter members by web, email, phone, etc. There are webgroups to help with networking, and can be found by going to

I want to remind you that our membership is dropping, and that is partly to blame on all members, including Officers and myself, for not making recruitment our top priority in today's economic climate. Any union's strength is in numbers, and I ask for your help in passing our name along to other writers (published or unpublished), and tell them that the National Writers Union is here to serve and help writers advance in their field.

As you take a pledge to become more active and pro-active with the NWU, I am asking that you connect with me. You tell me what your needs are as a writer, and I will engage National to make it happen. You tell me your concerns, your expectations, and your destinations....this is your writing career and your movement!

I am wishing you the best success as a writer. Make the pledge to go to at least once a week to explore its valuable information. Stay connected with other members and invite other writers to join NWU. And, most of all, you tell me the future of the At Large Chapter through our participation in being a large community of writers.

Let's build a working relationship by discussing the state of our union and its affairs. My number: 256-262-9052. Feel free to call Monday thru Saturday between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (CST). If I'm not available, please leave a message.

I look forward in talking with you soon and, hopefully, serving you as Co-Chair this upcoming term.

James Sandefur, III Publisher
The Writer's Regime Publishing
P.O. Box 1770
Athens, Alabama 35612

Office: (256) 714-1099
Fax: (256) 262-9053

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Guest Blog at EBaumer Consulting

EB is a great friend I met on Twitter, and she has a remarkable knack for calling things as she sees them. Recently, she asked me to guest-write a blog entry for her about working from home.

Truth be told, I feel that I learn so much more from EB than the other way around, but I was honored  to participate!

Here's the link to the entry ... and while you're there, peruse EB's advice and other blog entries. You'll be so glad you did!

--Heidi Russell Rafferty

Americans Still Love Their Magazines

Writers ... you can freelance and make a great living at it -- and magazines still provide healthy income, even in this digital age.

I just found this GREAT write-up in April 2010's Better Homes and Gardens magazine and wanted to share this with you. It's awesome news for us!

"Media continue to proliferate. Attention spans continue to shrink. And free content is available everywhere, from the Internet to the insides of elevators.

"Why then are 93 percent of American adults still so attached to magazines? Why do so many people, young and old, spend so much time with a medium that's paper and ink, a medium you actually have to pay for in order to read?

"In a word, engagement. Reading a magazine remains a uniquely intimate and immersive experience. Not only is magazine readership up, readers spend an average of 43 minutes per issue.

"Further, those 43 minutes of attention are typically undivided. Among all media, digital or analog, magazine readers are least likely to engage in another activity while reading.

Advertisers, take note."


Heidi's Recent Work

Check out the following links to see what I've been working on.

Stay busy. Stay ahead of the competition. This Recession only affects you if you convince yourself it will.