Questions, Questions, Who’s Got Questions?

Questions by Oberazzi on FlickrIt’s been a while since I’ve asked if you have any questions for me, so here’s your chance. I’ve done this before and really enjoyed writing the “answer” posts, so I do hope you’ll play along.

If you’re new here, just so you know, you can ask me about anything from my favorite color to my goals in life.

This time, though, I’d like to specifically request that those of you interested in freelance writing include questions you have on the topic; I will be doing posts about freelance writing in the future, and I’m interested to know which aspects you’d find most helpful and interesting.

So, if you have questions, leave them in a comment!

Buon weekend!

P.S. Hurry to enter the big anniversary giveaway at Ice Tea for Me–goodies from southwestern USA! Ends February 28!

32 Beans of Wisdom to “Questions, Questions, Who’s Got Questions?”
  1. I have something very, very important to ask you:

    Which season is your favorite in Calabria and why? 🙂

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Flashback Friday – Sacha Baron Cohen – Talladega Nights

    And here I thought you were going to ask if I could hook you up with Rino….

  2. oops I also wanted to ask, how do you organize your schedule when you have more than one writing assignment?

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Flashback Friday – Sacha Baron Cohen – Talladega Nights

    Excellent question, grazie!

  3. Gil

    I always have questions on Italy but I’ll go easy for now. Is that a pair of cuff links in the picture?

    Hah, feel free to come back with more Italy questions, and for now, you know I hadn’t noticed that, but good eye 🙂

  4. 02.27.2009

    I’d like to find out what are the most reliable ways of getting PAID freelance work. I’ve seen sites posting freelance jobs but how do I know if the offers are legit? Also, how soon can you expect to be paid, esp. if you live in Europe and have to deal with N. American employers? Thanks!

    milanese masala’s last blog post..My favourite screen kisses

    Excellent questions, thanks!

  5. 02.27.2009

    Ciao Michelle! Oh, you don’t know how much this post made me smile this morning! Both your writing style and your generous desire to share information about what you do, your knowledge and your experiences is always inspirational for me. As a writer, I am often inspired by what you do here on Bleeding Espresso, and all of your other projects. I am very excited to hear your responses to the questions posted by your readers, and I am grateful for the opportunity to ask a few of my own!

    First, let me second nyc/caribbean ragazza’s question about how you manage your time with several projects. It is something I have been struggling with…to get into a rhythm and get enough done.

    Second, I guess I am wondering what would be your advice for writers living in Italy who are trying to break into freelance writing. For instance: How did you start making contacts? What are your suggestions for networking and finding writing opportunities? Do you primarily write for online sources? Or, what are your general tips or advice for getting started?

    I have also wondered if you have ever encountered any troubles with blogging about yourself, your location, etc. since you stopped writing anonymously as Sognatrice? I have only had positive experience so far, but sometimes I worry about sharing personal information online (although I am careful with what I do share). I would love to hear what you think since you have many years of experience.

    I truly appreciate your willingness to share your wisdom on this topic! Grazie mille! -Laura

    Laura’s last blog post..Fire above Praiano

    Excellent Laura! You’ve given me lots of material here…grazie 🙂 And stay tuned!

  6. 02.27.2009

    Michelle, thanks for the offer of sharing – its always good to learn from the experience of others. I’m just going to refer partially to Milanese masala’s question. How do you determine the wheat from the chaf, as it where?

    Willym’s last blog post..OK, There’s Discount and Then …

    Always loved that phrase, and that question will definitely require its own post. Thanks Willym!

  7. M, I’d like to know where I can pick up a pair of Riddler cufflinks like the ones in the photo above…. and also, your thoughts about picking up small writing jobs. Are there online writing-gig sites you recommend, or is there any suggestion you have with more proactive ways of finding people, thrusting one’s excellent writing in their faces, and separating them from their munnie$?

    Grazie in anticipo.

    paul of the clue-by-four’s last blog post..Help me help my community!

    Great questions all, but I’ll spill on the first one now…boh.

  8. carol

    Hi Michelle,
    on an entirely different subject……when are you moving into the new house? and what kinds of renovations are you going to undertake? Buon weekend…..

    Great questions…I see photos in your future 😉

  9. 02.27.2009

    Michelle-I am also interested in knowing about the best way to go about getting some freelance work. You seem to have been very successful at this and I was wondering how you got started. Thank you for sharing and being so open! I also was wondering how you were received by the residents when you first moved there-you’ve probably already written about this, but I guess I missed that post. Thanks!

    Great questions, Janie; thanks!

  10. 02.27.2009

    I follow Ragazza, Milanese Masala and Laura’s questions. I’ve been wondering, but too shy to ask. Thanks for taking this on!

    Kim B.’s last blog post..We’re Headed to England!

    Shyness is not permitted here, Kim 😉 I will get on these great questions this weekend 🙂

  11. franca

    Hi Michelle. Have been in Italy since December 2nd and have been having a hard time adjusting to my new expat life in Puglia. Hopefully it will get easier with time. I also wanted to know about freelance writing opportunities, like the others. And I know you told me in an email about buying books online, but maybe you could tell us all who don’t have any bookstores nearby, how to get books in English, if not through Amazon. I sure do miss Barnes & Noble! And finally, I was wondering how you’ve dealt with being away from your family and friends for so long. I’ve only been here a few minutes and already I feel like going back home :(. Thanks Michelle.

    Great stuff, Franca. Sorry you’re feeling a bit homesick…we’ll see what we can do about that 🙂

  12. franca

    Sorry, I said minutes instead of months…:)

    Hah, I just thought you were being poetic 🙂

  13. Lizzie

    Hi Michelle,
    Firstly, I have to say that I am such a fan of your blog. It is brilliant for escaping my hectic day to day work routine i.e. a 6:30 – 19:30 day (including commuting to west London for 3 of those hours). Your recent nightmare about working for a law firm is my reality!
    Anyway, part of my coping mechanism for many years has been to look at Italian property on the internet. I have my favourite places (which would usually require a lottery win in order to afford the house and lifestyle of my dreams in Italy).
    This takes me onto my question….. I have read that Calabria offers value for money (although with the current economic crisis in the UK I don’t exactly have any money). Oops, I digress …. back to the escapism bit – Can you give us an idea of the property market for Calabria, best ways to source property, to buy or even to rent on a short term basis? (I dream of escaping London, even for a few months when it all really gets me down.) Best holiday hotspots for starters would be great too as travel books aren’t that detailed for the area either.
    Grazie Mille :0)

    Ooh that will take some research so I know I’m getting it right, but I’ll definitely write about this, Lizzie; I know lots of people are finding me looking for property in Calabria, so this is a great post topic. Grazie mille 🙂

  14. 02.28.2009

    Here’s a question that’s absolutely none of my business…what does Paolo do for a living? We hear so much about you, what about your significant other? Feel free not to answer, of course! I’m looking forward to reading your posts on freelance writing!

    saretta’s last blog post..Moon and Star

    I’m wondering if I should just answer here or as part of a post…ah, you’ll have to wait 😉

  15. Lizzie

    Oh wow, I am soooo pleased that you might be able to help with this. I was thinking when I first read your blog that introduction fees for finding properties might potentially be a good source of additional income for you. I have heard that in more rural parts of Southern Italy, many places change hands through word of mouth rather than via a real estate agent typically found in the UK or US.
    The village where you live looks soooo idyllic, am dying to know if there are many similar places in Calabria.
    Apologies for not asking you a question about freelance writing btw, I must commend you on your writing, it is very heart warming. My boyfriend Steven and I adore the pictures of your doggies ( and the owls!!!), especially since our little cocker spaniel went to doggie heaven nearly a year ago. Have a lovely weekend :0)

    I hope to do your question justice, Lizzie. As you said, property here is much more frequently sold by word of mouth unless it’s through a developer. Anyway, thank you much for your compliments; I’m sorry about your doggie, but hopefully you can enjoy virtual walkies with Luna and Stella 🙂

  16. Andrea

    Hi, like Saretta, I’ve always wondered what P did for a living (besides being the Italian unofficial taste tester of American cuisine 🙂 ) but I never wanted to ask, in case you thought I was being too nosy.

    Answers coming 🙂

  17. 03.01.2009

    I can’t think of a good writing related question, thought it’s something I have been looking into recently. So, I will ask you this, is there a special treat that you miss from the states? Something that you wish someone would mail to you?

    I might just be willing to do such a thing. 🙂

    Aimee’s last blog post..Stonehenge Study

    Can of worms, Aimee! I mean, no, I don’t *want* a can of worms…ahem. I’ll surely answer soon 🙂

  18. 03.01.2009

    I’m wondering how difficult it would be for a Japanese citizen to get a non-working residency permit in Calabria? I currently live in Spain with a non-working residency permit, but I’ve always loved Italian food and the coffee is just much better there.

    Murasaki Shikibu’s last blog post..My Espresso Machine

    I’m sorry I don’t know what is required of a Japanese citizen for an elective residency visa to live in Italy (I don’t know if requirements differ by citizenship?); you should check with the Italian Consulate nearest you. Best of luck, though, and do keep me posted!

  19. 03.01.2009

    Hi Michelle,

    I was really intrigued by your post … to be honest, there is one personal question I would like to ask you but I really think it’s off limits. 🙂 However, I am interested in knowing what P does for a living like several others have asked? 😉

    I am also really interested in finding out more about freelance writing. I have a lot the same questions that the others asked and l’m looking forward to the post in the future. I still have a bank account in Canada – would that be helpful in getting paid for freelance jobs?

    One last question is in regards to obtaining my Italian passport. I have all the paperwork that I gathered when I was still living in Canada but I never got the chance to mail it off to Toronto. I can do it here in Germany, but I would have to go to the Italian Consolate in Munich which is a bit out of the way from where I live. Is it possible to get everything done by mail or internet? I don’t have any issues living in Germany because my husband is a German citizen but it would be great if I could get my Italian passport.

    Thanks in advance and keep up the great work.

    Grazie mille!


    I’m very intrigued by the “too personal question”…hmm…will answer the others ASAP!

  20. 03.01.2009

    Okay… from a Calabrian viewpoint – what is the meaning of life? And yes, I’m being serious. I’m not looking for the “ultimate” answer, just what you think the local answer would be. 😉

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..Blogger Aid Week: Some of my Favorite Blogger Aid Bloggers!

    Great question, Jen!

  21. 03.02.2009

    it is my dream to someday visit Italy.
    Is there an ideal season or time?
    Also, What cities are the absolute
    must see cities?

    Great questions Lucy! Thanks 🙂

  22. 03.02.2009

    LOL! Are you sure, I mean it could be a can of gummy worms after all. 😉

    Aimee’s last blog post..Handmade “pay it forward”.

    Ooh I *do* like gummy worms…hmm….

  23. 03.02.2009

    Where do you make most of your money or who do you write for?

    sky’s last blog post..Currys GRIFFIN ITRIP AUTO for only 39.99

    Good questions 🙂

  24. 03.07.2009

    I, like Laura also want to know if you’ve had trouble with blogging about yourself, your location, etc. since you stopped writing as Sognatrice. Also you have everything out there about you including FB linked up and available including your full name – are there no concerns, not only about the whackos out there but potential identity thieves who now have intimate knowledge of your life, and what about privacy concerns?

    AND: Where do you get the images you don’t photograph yourself?
    ALSO: How do you copyright protect your photos?

    Have been wanting to ask questions about monetizing your blog, is it advisable, how it can be done, what are the limitations in your experience, etc.

    Gee, Ann, could you ask another 500 questions?

    Or are they really post topics? You be the judge…….

    anna l’americana’s last blog post..No smoking in the dark….

    Thanks for the questions…soon soon….

  25. I guess I do have questions about this topic…several actually. I know I’ve asked you some things via email, so if I repeat myself, please forgive. I think I’m going to go with a nice round number though – 20 questions. I know you can handle it!

    1. When you first decided to write for publications (like the several you already do) how did you go about getting those particular jobs?

    2. And when you did secure those jobs, do they give you the topic they want written about?

    3. If they don’t give you the topic, have you ever written a column or article about something you thought was interesting and then just try to sell it to a publication?

    4. Do you find it easier to get jobs for writing articles/columns on web sites or print? And is there a difference in pay between web/print articles?

    5. Do you ever sell a photo along with the article?

    6. When you do a query letter, do you just wing it and send one to a publication you *think* might like your topic or do you only send to publications that are shopping for new writers?

    7. Is the competition stiff or do you have a special niche because you live in a small?

    8. Do you think having a niche is important or helpful? (oh, I don’t know, like maybe a female truck driver? lol)

    9. What do you do if you don’t have any published articles to show your work? How do you navigate the cycle of “I can’t have a published article if you won’t publish me and if you won’t publish me, I won’t have a published article”?

    10. What do you do if you’re given a topic/assignment to write about if you’re not crazy about the topic? Do you still take it and just grit your teeth through it or do you prefer to wait for something you’re really interested in because you know writing it will be more fun?

    11. Can you do a post that links to the majority of your articles? I know we can read Guarda and the stuff you’ve done on but what about some of the articles you’ve written about that are just floating out there in the internet that perhaps you haven’t alerted us to? Maybe you can do a top ten “never been seen on B.E prior to today” type of list.

    12. Am I annoying you yet? (Please don’t really answer this question….but I’m on a roll now.)

    13. What kinds of questions did you have when you first started?

    14. Where did you turn to get the answers? Did you just read books/articles or did you get to ask real live people like we get to with you?

    15. What was the best advice you’ve gotten that actually HELPED your writing career?

    16. I get this question all the time, especially when people see how much our equipment is and what our expenses are, and I am not private about the answer at all and will usually tell anyone…although Ed doesn’t really love the idea….but, how much do you make? You don’t have to answer (of course) if it’s too private and maybe you don’t have to tell us your actual income, but can you give a REAL dollar amount for an article/column you have done in the past? Like maybe say, “For this article I got paid X dollars per word, resulting in a total of X.” or “This article was a flat fee, with one photo, and I got paid X.” A range would be okay, but that’s sort of vague. lol

    17. Has your blog been the source of any assignments? Like someone said, “I stumbled across your blog and I think you’d be a good fit to write XYZ.”

    18. How do you promote yourself? Other than links back to your blog in any of your articles, do you do anything in particular to get your name out there?

    19. Back to the query letter thing – say for instance I wanted to write an article or column for a trucking industry magazine (there are several), do I just put together a letter stating my desire and what can I use as a writing sample or proof that I actually can spell and have some command of language?

    Last one…

    20. Do you feel that anything you’ve written on your blog may either help you get a writing assignment or hinder you getting a writing assigment? Let’s say, for sake of argument, that someone was going to use you for an article or column….then they find out by way of your blog that you’re a Democrat, you wrote an unflattering blog post about a particular region or city in Italy (hypothetically), or that you like goats? And they were offended by one or all of these things….can you lose a writing job because of that? You’re writing isn’t very controversial and generally, you’re very positive and nice, so I don’t see much getting in your way, but what if that wasn’t the case? Can blogging bite you in the ass?

    OK….I think I’m done. It’s 1 am here in Arizona, so you’re probably drinking your morning espresso….I look forward to this weeks subject matter. Again, I’m SOOOOOOOOOO freaking excited!!


    Salena of The Daily Rant’s last blog post..Eddie Is He Wearing Trousers?? Friday

    I really wish I knew how to make you feel more comfortable to participate around here 😉 I shall do my best in answering these, but I have a feeling I may have to do a FWW Part II…gladly, of course 🙂

  26. OK….I just proofed my comment (probably something a writer wanna-be should do before hitting “Send”) and I have corrections:

    7. “…because you live in a small?” TOWN. Small town. We all know you don’t live in a “small”.

    20. “You’re writing isn’t very controversial…” YOUR writing. Not You’re. I did say it’s 1 am here…I’m not bright and bushy at this hour, okay?

    I guess I don’t need you to tell me that proofreading is a good skill to have, huh? LOL

    Salena of The Daily Rant’s last blog post..Eddie Is He Wearing Trousers?? Friday

    No proofing required at BE 😉

  27. Frank Stevens

    just stumbled onto your blog (- how do you say stumbled in Italian)
    via Dianne Hales’ La Bella Lingua, & saw a note at the paypal part about did you help someone with their jura sanguina Italian passport.
    I have been traveling to Italy for over 30 years now – I was in international marketing – an ex-western Pennsylvania of Italian born grandparents from Abruzzo – I have procrastinated for y ears about getting my passport even tho I know I qualify as my dad was born before they became naturalized US citizens…maybe you blog is the kick in the butt I need – heck – I’ve told other friends about it and several have actually gotten theirs as a result & I’m still procrastinating.
    The furtherest I got was trying to get the marriage & birth certificates from the commune Castel de Sangro but got no repply to anything so I just procrastinated a few more years. Any jump start tips?
    ( PS my family wouldn’t teach us Italian as they didn’t want us to be labelled wops, but pass for ‘real’ Americans & I cry each time I come to Italy over my lack of Italiano)
    Ciao bella
    Frank Stevens

    PPS I’d change to the real family name but Franco Santostefano is a lot to write

    Have sent you an email Frank; in bocca al lupo!

  1. [...] Thanks so much for all your questions on Friday’s post; I’ll answer them as soon as possible...
  2. [...] Carol, I hope this answers your question about the new house, remodeling, and when we’ll be in. An...
  3. [...] my recent call for questions, Jen of A2eatwrite asked: Okay… from a Calabrian viewpoint - what is the ...
  4. [...] basing the posts on questions I remember having when I was starting out and also those asked in my Quest...
  5. [...] finally getting around to answering more of your questions from way back when. After today’s answe...
Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake