Hi, I’m Wylie!
I love to write and tell stories. It’s my passion. In middle school, I voraciously consumed children’s mystery novels, comic books and the sports section of newspapers like they were bags of potato chips or batches of freshly baked red velvet cupcakes. (Yum!) When I was 12, I dreamed about becoming a writer and thought it’d be really cool if I could write my own newspaper column like San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, but instead of San Francisco gossip and politics and anecdotes about city life, I’d write thrilling and whimsical stories about my life.
How I Kickstarted My Writing Career
In college, I planned to double major in journalism and creative writing. But I learned so much in my early journalism courses – and enjoyed the process of gathering information and talking to new and interesting people every day – that I focused on a journalism degree. Like a good little journalism student, I set out to pursue a career in newspapers where you start out in small towns and work your way up to major metropolitan dailies.
After cutting my teeth with internships at the San Francisco Examiner and the Seattle Times, I began my professional career at smaller daily newspapers: the San Gabriel Valley Tribune in Los Angeles County, the Yakima Herald-Republic in central Washington state and then three years at the Contra Costa Times newspaper chain (now the East Bay Times) in San Francisco’s East Bay, where I covered the wacky politics of Berkeley, UC-Berkeley, and when I had time, two topics I cared about: environmental and Asian American issues.
I immersed myself into these communities and learned a ton from my editors and more experienced reporters. Looking back, the daily newspaper experience made me who I am. It gave me the foundation and set me up for my future including my last 13 years as a content marketing writer – and I am grateful for the experience.
Leaving Newspapers for the Web
In the mid-1990s, I jumped off the newspaper career track and latched onto the Internet, which was just taking off. I focused on technology and became an online reporter for Computerworld magazine and then an associate editor at Computer Reseller News, where I covered software for the print magazine and edited and posted breaking news stories online. Then I spent four years at CNET as a business and technology reporter, covering some of tech’s biggest players, including Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle and IBM.
In 1995, my brother and I registered explode.com and launched a youth-oriented, Asian American-themed web magazine, named “Blast: The Irreverent Webzine,” as a creative outlet. We received contributions from friends and strangers and had “bureaus” across the world. We updated it with first-person columns, humor, travel stories, fiction and restaurant reviews for about four years. I’m quite proud of the fact that the San Francisco Examiner republished our content once a week, that USA Today and the San Jose Mercury News gave us accolades, and that a nationally syndicated TV show called Wild Wild Web described Blast as “an amazing place that’s teeming with editorial genius.”
My Foray Into Content Marketing
I’ve been a freelance writer since 2003, focusing mostly on content marketing, brand journalism, or whatever name you want to call it. I write case studies, white papers, e-books and other marketing collateral for companies. I also write articles for my clients’ custom magazines and websites.
For my clients who are solo entrepreneurs, I’ve ghostwritten contributed articles for them that have appeared in magazines as well as first-person columns on LinkedIn.
With each writing project, I interview in-house and outside experts and tailor the content for specific audiences. And with each writing project, my work ethic is the same: I never half-ass anything. I write and re-write until I feel it’s perfect and I’m 100 percent happy with it. And I always make sure my clients are happy with it. And I always meet my deadlines.
So that’s my story. I never did get to write a newspaper column, but with the advent of the Web and the rise of social media, I feel like I’ve done it and gotten to write those thrilling and whimsical stories through the Blast webzine and my own personal blog. To this day, I feel fortunate that I get to write and do what I love for a living.
Every person or business has a story to tell. Let me help you tell your story.
➻B.A. in Journalism from San Francisco State University.
➻In 2005, I co-authored a where-are-they-now book on former San Francisco Giants, called “Giants: Where Have You Gone?” A newly updated and revised edition of the book was published in May 2013 with two new chapters, including my Q&A with former Giants All-Star Jeff Kent on his stint as a contestant on CBS’ Survivor reality TV show.
➻In March 2007, I launched a blog on the San Francisco Giants for the San Jose Mercury News, where I wrote analysis on breaking news two to four times a week during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. I built a readership, fostered community and discussion and wrote the occasional humor piece. (They were a losing team and were often in last place, after all).
➻At CNET, I won a national award for investigative reporting by the Society of Professional Journalists and was nominated for a Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism.
➻As a freelance writer, I’ve won a FOLIO Gold Eddie award for a custom magazine article I wrote on the federal government’s efforts to improve cybersecurity. I’ve also won a gold Tabbie award for best profile on a magazine feature on the Dallas Cowboys’ new football stadium.
Ten Random Facts About Me
1. If you see me stare off into space, chances are I’m writing in my head.
2. There was a period of time, for some reason, when I tried to type the word, “consult,” it would come out, “conslut.”
3. I politely smile when people call me Wile E. Coyote, but I’m really cringing inside. Having said that, I used to live on Roadrunner Drive.
4. I used to rock climb. Yosemite and the Sierra was once my home away from home.
5. My daredevil days are over. Now I golf!
6. I grew up painfully shy, but found my voice in college. I’m now an ambivert — a mix of extrovert and introvert. I love public speaking as much as I enjoy being alone with a good book.
7. The Maltese Falcon is my all-time favorite book and movie.
8. I have had a love affair with baseball since third grade when I discovered it on TV and thought, “Whoa! It’s just like kickball!”
9. I wrote the book on the San Francisco Giants to meet my childhood heroes.
10. My favorite beverage is coffee. Black. Preferably Peet’s French Roast. In a pinch, I will go to Starbucks and get a latte.