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Getting a Job in the Cigar Industry
Written by James Payne

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

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I have to admit I am a little hesitant to even speak about this job. Being a writer is, despite the myth, a difficult job. To do it well (and why do it any other way?), you have to have talent, time, patience, the ability to do a ton of research, and the ability to truly enjoy a good cigar. Okay, so you can at least check off that last part for starters.

The good thing about writing for the cigar industry is that you do not need a ton of education. Certainly a good background in writing and an education with that leaning helps. After all, if you send a manuscript to an editor with typos, spelling errors, and bad punctuation, you will have failed before they could even tell if you were a good writer.

Most jobs you get as a cigar writer will come as freelance work. Getting a steady job at a magazine is difficult. There are (comparatively) very few magazines, and scoring a full-time gig is next to impossible if you have no experience in the industry. Because of that, you will likely have to start off one of three ways.

The first is by creating your own cigar blog. This is an easy route, and a route that typically results in a million terrible blogs. If you are going to do it, make sure the site you are going to host your blog on is your own, make sure it looks professional, and make sure you own your own domain name.

While there are certainly legitimate bloggers who do not use their own domain name and who have terrible looking websites, the goal here is to get every advantage we can. Also, if you do a blog, do yourself a favor: edit what you write and use spell-check at the very least.

Another way to break into the writing market is by opening your own magazine/website. The same principle’s apply here as they do with a blog, but there are also a million other factors to consider, too numerous to list here. And besides, once you open this can of worms you are no longer just a writer; you are now a publisher, editor, ad seller, etc etc. Not for the meek of heart or the skinny of wallet.

Lastly, you can start submitting to online and paper magazines, hoping to get a good response. There is a lot of rejection involved here even for good writers. For instance, most writers are lucky if they can sell one out of every ten submissions. That is good numbers. Since there are so few magazines in the cigar industry however, you can expect much lower numbers. Also, let’s face it – the pay is not great. In any magazine market, cigar or otherwise, “professional” pay-rate is .05 cents per word. Average articles are 1500 words in length, so you do the math.

However, start small. Write for small websites and magazines, build up a following, get some clips for your portfolio, and try to make connections at the big magazines and websites. Try to get in the door by doing an editorial internship. But above all, keep writing.

As many editors and writers will tell you, there are only two ways to learn to write:  the first is to read a lot. The second is, well, to write.

 Other Writing Gigs






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