By C. Hope Clark
Let’s say you’re working on a book. It engulfs you, dominates your every waking hour. This story is the reason you became a writer. Problem is, it’ll take you at least a year to write, edit, and publish, assuming you indie publish, but if you go the traditional route, expect two to three. How are you supposed to pay the bills in the interim?
Every single writer should know how to freelance.
And no, you don’t have to write for free to break in, one of the largest myths in the industry. There are ample markets out there paying ten cents/word up. There are plenty of others who don’t and they often make the most noise when seeking writers, but hold out. You want to respect yourself. Don’t forget, this freelance effort is to subsidize your effort to write that novel, so you cannot afford to give it away.
Where to find the gigs:
1) Run a search for “magazine writers guidelines;”
2) Purchase a current year’s Writer’s Market, published by Writer’s Digest Books;
3) Subscribe to writing sites like: Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Gigs, Funds For Writers, The Write Life, Writers Market and World Wide Freelance.
4) Subscribe to job finding sites like Indeed, Simply Hired, and especially LinkedIn.. Consider the paid subscription with Linkedin for the best opportunities.
But how do you get started? Where do the ideas come from? First learn how to query or pitch at sites likeThe Renegade Writer and Make A Living Writing. Your query is the first introduction between you and the editor. Make it powerful. It even doesn’t matter that you haven’t freelanced before as long as the idea is solid and a good match for the editor’s needs.
Also, start pitching local, soliciting the regional and local publications in your area. Editors prefer local. Your dentist, real estate agent, nursery, bakery, or local diner may do a newsletter once a month, too. Offer to write for them, or even offer to create and deliver said newsletter. Same goes for nonprofits and charities. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and become the only freelance writer in the membership and watch the requests come in.
You may think you’re shortchanging your book. Just remember that freelancing not only provides interim income as you write your novel, but it also hones your writing skills. Every word you write, edit and publish helps you climb that ladder to becoming a more polished, entertaining and marketable writer. And your novel will thank you in the end.
C. Hope Clark
Funds For Writers
This is such an interesting article. I have always thought about freelance writing, but had no earthly idea how to get started. Thank you for the guidance and advice.
Hi Alex - what a great guest you have here today. Wonderful to read her ideas and thoughts on getting started freelance writing, especially if one has never done anything like it before.
It's like marketing - give it a go .. you have to spread your own wings and then life gets easier in those areas ... you learn and appreciate as you go -
cheers to you both - excellent post - Hilary
Excellent advice. I really should do more freelancing. Though writing nonfiction does make me nervous! :)
Thanks again for sharing such great advice, Hope!
I did some freelance before but some of it is soooooooooooo boring. Like writing legal articles, ugg lol
Smart of you to capitalize on your degree. I'm sure that salesman wanted to wither up and die when you told him.
I think about this often but I never quite do it. There are tons of markets out there for freelancing. Maybe Hope will inspire me to get off my butt and give it a try.
Great advice Alex, and we do need a break from our writing of novels on occasion. And if a writing gets accepted, you can add it to your credentials as a writer.
Excellent post! I think of freelancing quite often but lose steam when researching where to submit. If every little bit of exposure helps, imagine what a big break would do! :-)
I've thought about freelancing, but I've been too insecure to try so far. I really should push myself to try it.
Actually, it can be addictive! You learn even more how to go through life with a writer's eye, because articles are everywhere. While I agree writing legal articles would be a drag, writing my article on landscaping was not. When talking with TURF magazine about a piece on irrigation, I think I took one interview and made four articles out of it, too. Nice little chunk of change there. It's quite fun once you see all the opportunity.
Freelancing is exciting and it can mean money in your pocket. I like being able to re-use material by plucking from one article to create a new one. That saves a lot of time and I get to go deeper into a subject.
Enjoyed reading your post.
Nice to see you here, Hope! Thanks so much for the ideas and encouragement.
If I didn't love novels so much, I'd freelance fulltime as I used to do. No two days are alike and there is so much material!
Great post. I think the key is perseverence. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.
Great article. Thanks for all the info and encouragement :)
Excellent post! Your advice is so needed. Thanks for taking the time to share these pointers with us.
Your post was so helpful. People out here really need a good piece of advice like this. Thanks for sharing. I'm a novice in this field and it would really mean a lot me if you visit my blog too! "My Lemon Hues" http://mylemonhues1.blogspot.in/.
Great points and kind of reassuring that this had kind of been my goal for a while now.
Wow! This is an incredibly helpful article. I've been considering trying freelance work but didn't know where to start.
And, I just wrote about being a writer today ;)
A while back, I signed up on a freelancing site. I'm building a profile and I'll take it from there.
This is a wonderful article! Thank you so much for the direction and the run down. I've been seriously considering freelancing but, like others have already mentioned, I wasn't sure how to start. The ideas are there, I just needed some direction. Thank you! ~ Jen
This got me to thinking. Thanks for the encouragement.
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