|Fay covering an event in Town Centre Mall, Nassau, Bahamas|
(former Police Assistant Superintendent Allerdyce Strachan rt.)
One day, in the early nineties, I quit my day job! I ran an ad in a local newspaper “Writer available”. I only received one reply and that was from an ex bank manager that we knew. He owned and operated a villa and car rental business and wanted me to put together the text for some brochures.
I took the assignment on with great delight, but still listened for the phone to ring with more enquiries. I had just about given up when I had a call from a local mall (again it was someone we knew). He asked me if I’d be interested in taking promotional photos at events held in the mall.
I drove to Town Centre Mall, armed with a camera and note pad (remember, those were the days before iPhones!). I threw myself into the project, not only taking photos of events and goings on in the mall, but writing about them. I also interviewed shop owners and wrote features to promote their businesses.
Every week, I would have copies made at a local photographer’s shop of my black and white photos, and then attach typed captions to the photos with a paper clip. The photos would go into an envelope along with my feature articles and I’d then run around town, dropping them off to each newspaper. I’d usually take the time to have a little chat with the editors.
The articles appeared with my byline in every local newspaper every week for as long as I worked at the mall. I would write one basic version of the article, and then edit it to suit each newspaper. The local tabloid required articles short and sweet; I’d aim my article at the youth page of another newspaper; the other two received the original article.
I still use this technique in my non fiction. It often comes in handy with press releases. Also, if a short story is rejected I can easily adapt it for another market. But everything is high tech now. How times have changed!