Interview: Bec Couche

She's a fellow Bec originally from Adelaide, a former editor of Dolly magazine, real-life Carrie Bradshaw sipping cocktails in New York City, dab hand at tarot readings and has braved nude yoga in the pursuit of a story. A huge round of applause for fearless freelancer, Bec Couche! Read more of her exploits on her website, www.beccouche.com.


Bec Couche is a freelance writer living in New York. Three years ago, she traded in her boy band teen idol stripes earned as Entertainment Editor at Australian Dolly magazine, for the opportunity to report on lifestyle and social trends, beauty fads, movements in the celebrity world, and the odd travel tale. These assignments have flexed her strong interview skills, allowed her to meet inspirational people striving to make a difference, seen her go undercover as a “wingwoman”, brave the exclusive New York dating scene (a number of times), travel to Guatemala and Iceland, and even awkwardly strip down nude to follow a trend. These articles can be found in publications like Cosmopolitan, Grazia, YEN, GQ, Marie Claire, Shop Till You Drop, Women’s Health and www.beautyblitz.com.

1.  How did you discover you wanted to be a writer? 

As a kid, I was obsessed with storytelling and National Geographic and Australian Geographic magazines. I thought for a long while I was going to be a marine biologist, kind of Life Aquatic style. It turned out I had stick with maths through highschool if I really wanted to do that, and I hated maths, so storytelling won out. I wasn't totally convinced of this though until I did a work placement at the now defunct magazine for the last year of my Communications degree at uni. I got to review a couple of bands and movies, I even got to take my sister with me, and I got the reviews printed. It was such a fun couple of weeks - I knew that would be a fun job.

2.  In which other fields have you worked? How did you transition into becoming a freelancer?

Before I finished my degree I did loads of things, as I guess most students do. I've worked on boats, in bakeries, read tarot cards, taught English, poured loads of beer, I was a nanny, a dental surgery cleaner, a dog sitter... but, professionally, I've only ever worked in publishing. I began freelancing when I left Dolly magazine to move to New York. I was lucky because I had a couple of good friends in the industry, so I only wasn't cold-calling to get stories, which is great - because trying to get editors who don't know you to commission you can be a really confidence-busting affair. Kind of soul-shredding really.


3. What were your first goals as a writer? For which publications did you aim to write?

My first goal when I was trying to get into magazines was to just get a break, any break. It's so competitive, and getting someone to give you a shot can be an arduous task. I ended up getting my "in" with Kids Titles at ACP, which was so much fun. We were a small team, so there was a lot of work involved, but how I remember it, we were surrounded by toys and lollies all day and just sung along to High School Musical all day. After moved on from kiddie paradise, and had a couple of years at Dolly behind me, my first goal as a freelancer was to get together a good portfolio of feature stories. Even though I had a fair bit of magazine experience, it was all for the teen and tween market, so most of my pieces were bubbly short reviews or profiles. I approached magazines where I knew people: CosmoMarie Claire, YEN and GQ, with the aim of getting some more meatier material to my name.

4.  What was your first paid (or breakthrough) article? How did it come about?


My first paid article was for B magazine. It was just after I did my work placement, and they printed a review on the movie Magnolia. It was my first clip, and I was able to show that to everyone moving forward.

5.  Tell us about your time as an editor at Dolly magazine...

It was just as fun as it looks. I learned so much about magazines, and I was working with such a great team of people. I think one of the highlights was being able to hustle my way in to movie premieres, award ceremonies and music festivals under the guise of "work". What a gig!

6.  What is the most enjoyable article you have written?

It changes all the time. I've loved a lot of the articles I've written for Cosmo from New York, because the culture here is so different. I've got to meet a lot of interesting people, and do a lot of weird things I wouldn't have done if I didn't have to write a story. Being a wing-woman, interviewing an ex-prostitute now church leader, taking part in a nude yoga session all spring to mind...

7.  How can a beginner writer compose a winning query letter?

Come up with a good original idea and do your research. That means everything from approaching the editor, making sure you are pitching to the right person, making sure they accept pitches, knowing what section of the magazine or site you are targeting, and making sure neither them or their competitors have run a similar story recently.  

8.  What's your best tip for beginner freelance writers?



Contacts really do count for everything. Work experience is the best way, but if that's not an option, without being a stalker, try and meet the editor you are pitching to - or establish a mutual connection. Writing is very competitive so you need a hook to get noticed. Sharing a friend or associate is a good way to do it. Network, network... and be nice, too. People like that.


16 comments:

  1. Enjoyed reading your interview .. I agree Carrie Bradshaw equal... nude yoga .. Carrie would so be there.... Happy Friday..HHL

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  2. Haha, thanks High Heeled.

    Here's hoping I can have a freelancing career like this, perhaps minus the nude yoga. Regular yoga is hard enough, without worrying about my muff being viewed from 14 different angles!

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  3. Thank you for following me, I'm now following you with GFC!

    Cindy @http://thepurplefroggieclaystuff.blogspot.com/

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  4. What a great interview - nice read :)

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  5. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing your tips Bec and thanks for sharing her with us Beck.

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  6. this is so cool, loved reading this interview. you did a great job!

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  9. Hi,

    What a great blog and interview. I'm your newest follower. Have a great weekend.

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  10. Happy Halloween. Here from the bloghop. I follow you, please follow back
    Tiffany
    http://tiffspixiedust.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. These are GREAT questions. I really love this interview. It inspired me.

    :)

    Best wishes from one blogger to another,

    ~Zabrinah

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  12. Cute blog!

    Following through the creep crawl blog hop :)

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  13. Hi! I am a new follower from Halloween Creepy Crawl.

    Happy Halloween!

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  14. Hi, I'm your newest follower from Creepy Crawl Blog Hop. Happy Halloween!

    Heather
    MyWorkOfHeart

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey guys,

    I was really fascinated by what Bec said, since I was so into Dolly magazine as a teenager. It really is a great publication for young girls -- many a tip to get rid of pimples, improve self-esteem and deal with boys. ; )

    Thanks for stopping by and following Becks and the City. I have returned the favour with all of you (hope I haven't missed anyone).

    xx
    Becks

    ReplyDelete

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