For professionals who’ve worked in the same industry for years, a change may be in order. Do you identify with any of the following? A lack of purpose and passion Working a dead-end job No one is investing in you Insufficient compensation If you’re feeling any or all of these symptoms, you may be ripe for a change. The launching pad for this monumental shift? A bit of wisdom from Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Whether you’ve freelanced as a side-gig or are just jumping into the [Read more…]
A former student of mine graduated with a degree in theater and set off to Hollywood to make her way in her chosen world. She soon learned an interesting twist about the requirements of Hollywood: in order to land a part you need a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card. But in order to have the coveted SAG card, you must have acted in a legitimate production. So in the logic of the glittery world of movies, you can’t get a card until you’ve had a role, and you can’t get a role without having a card first. It’s a vicious [Read more…]
You’re just starting your journey into the world of freelance writing. Maybe you are looking to make it a career, or maybe you are looking to make a little Target, I mean, grocery money while you stay at home with the kids. Either way, that first step can be intimidating. Where do you start looking? How do you approach potential clients? How much time should you spend writing each day? And the questions go on and on. As you become more and more confident in calling yourself a freelance writer, you will find your own answers to these questions – [Read more…]
Deadline These are those all important dates that you never miss. It’s when an article is due, when the editor wants it in and when excuses will be tough to take. Dek A quickie summary of what an article is about, it usually is placed in the table of contents or under the article headline. Editorial Calendar The theme and publishing calendar for a publication. Most print publications have calendars set far in advance, some as far as six months which is important to remember when sending queries. Writers also use an editorial calendar to schedule their work and organized [Read more…]
Today my fav blogger and former owner of FWJ, Deb Ng, started a discussion on Facebook about the lack of respect people have for work at home folks. I joined in and voiced my annoyance over how quickly people dismiss my job and ask what my husband does for a living to decipher the ‘real source’ of our family’s income. They figure if I’m at home playing on the internet he must have a real job somewhere, out in the wide, wide world. It blows their mind when I tell them he does the same thing I do…from home. “Oh!” [Read more…]
There is one big question freelance writers must tackle regardless of their experience or career length: niche or no? Newbie writers will read article upon article and blog upon blog touting the importance of finding a niche, picking a niche, taking a niche out on a date…Veterans will find themselves bombarded with articles and posts on when it’s time to leave a niche, switch, combine, create a Frankenstein and give a manic laugh… The truth is – you have a choice. Pro Niche: 1. Building a good reputation as a writer is important. Getting steady work is important as well. [Read more…]
You want to make a living writing.
Here’s how I do it. It may not be a good way for you to do it. Then again, it might be advice that transforms you from a feast/famine disaster into a consistent earner.
Since there are a lot of aspiring freelance writers in the Freelance Writing Jobs community, I thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the most important skills that freelance writers must have if they want to have a chance at being successful. In other words, if you want to get paid for your writing, you need to make sure you can do the things in the list below. 1. Spell If you can’t spell and you choose not to use a dictionary or effective spell-checking tool, then you won’t get far as a freelance writer. [Read more…]
If you’re asking the right questions, you’re opening doors to additional opportunities.
Those five articles may have turned into ten articles, some additional web content, a better squeeze page, a white paper or special report for list building, a regular blogging gig, assistance in constructing additional content for inbound link creation and who-knows-what-else.
Those questions are business multipliers.
So, as I’ve mentioned, I still feel like I’m a newbie writer. I’m also a newbie published author – my Historic Walking Guide to Edinburgh was picked up after I responded to a publisher looking for writers. But what if you are an author looking to get your book published? That, my dear readers, is not a fun place to be in – I know several friends who are in that position (Hi!), and it is a competitive place to be. I happened upon this fantastic book author query letter over at a site dedicated to Science Fiction and Fantasy [Read more…]
So, it’s that time again: time to talk about tweaks to your query letter writing strategy! Today I’d like to talk about your portfolio. You know, the examples of work that prove you actually can write, and write about the subject you’re pitching. You do have a portfolio, right? Words Say a Thousand…oh, Nevermind I was trying to come up with a clever metaphor to describe how portfolios help a editor visualise your work in their publication. But it didn’t come out right, so let me just say this: Writers who “kind of” fit what the editor is looking for [Read more…]
Unfortunately, the world of query letter writing is one of numbers: the more you write, the more responses you get. Now that gets a little daunting at first, because you might not get any (or few) replies – even rejections! Hopefully, if you’re following along with our other query letter tips, you’ll be getting better and better. But I’d like to focus on another important aspect of your query letters: getting organized. What You Need to Track Well, I think this is pretty straightforward, but it might vary depending on your niche and topic. Here’s what I’m tracking: Publication Name [Read more…]
Most freelance writers have common sense and the ability to judge good and bad opportunities. As mentioned recently, most you know what you’re getting into before you get into it and don’t need bloggers to tell you most of the things we tell you. Still there may be a few things you don’t realize just starting out, especially those without formal training. Let me share a few things to think about. 1. It’s Not OK to Post Someone Else’s Writing or Images Without Permission I don’t know how folks get the notion that just because something is online it’s public [Read more…]
In order to encourage the freelancer writers in this community, I like to keep the tone light and positive. Though I don’t take the “in your face” approach to blogging, I’ll agree that there are plenty of times when freelance writes need to have the truth laid out for them in order to view all sides of the picture. With that in mind, I’d like to discuss some of the things that aren’t so pleasant and hopefully inspire struggling freelancers to re-evaluate their career choices and goals. To be perfectly blunt, there are times freelance writers need a wake up [Read more…]
So in our last discussion about dissecting a successful query letter, one of our community members (who is an editor) felt my query letter was too long. While I do agree with her that brevity is important, I think the detail was important in this particular case. But the discussion board had me thinking: what exactly is the minimum you need in your query letter? Instead of just wondering, I went to the source and asked several editors that I know the following question: Less is More: What ‘questions’ are the bare minimum that a writer need to answer in [Read more…]
I’m thinking back to the early days of freelance writing. I’m remembering a time when the possibility of landing freelance writing jobs was overwhelming, yet seemed very real. I’m remembering the days when I couldn’t wait to look for work, but was afraid to look for work. I’m remembering the time when fear and lack of confidence kept me from doing more than reading the freelance writing job ads. Today, we’re going to talk to the folks who want to write in the worst way, but something is keeping them from taking that first step. Today we’re going to discuss [Read more…]
So it’s one thing to talk about a successful query letter writing, but it’s another to actually use an actual query letter, so I thought today I’d walk us through one that worked really well for Writer’s Magazine. Make sure you know these 5 things to before sending a query letter first. Here’s my actual query letter (with some outdated links I had removed). Read on, then see my comments about why this was good, and how I would do it better next time. Subject: Getting Started Query: Start a Blog Hi Sarah Want to get free advertising for your [Read more…]
Many freelance writers aren’t a fan of writing on “spec.” That is, to create an assigned article for a potential freelance writing client or publication without the promise of acceptance. This usually happens when a publication doesn’t want to commit to a new writer without giving him or her an audition first. When you encounter a freelance writing job ad looking for a specially prepared (and possibly unpaid) sample, that’s almost the same thing as writing on spec. I call these request “special samples.” Special samples are writing requests beyond the clips that are submitted with the initial query or [Read more…]
Every now and then it’s suggested I’m doing this wrong, that my approach to freelance writing isn’t traditional and that the tips shared here are incorrect. It’s even been hinted that perhaps I don’t look out for a writer’s best interests because I don’t follow the old-school rules of journalism or insist you follow the same path as all the other freelance writers. Those insinuations don’t bother me at all. I admit I don’t necessarily do things the right way – if there is a right way. I kind of like marching to my own drummer. There’s a reason the [Read more…]
My first actual published piece of writing was a band interview 1993 or 1994. I wrote the piece for the music and tattoo magazine I worked for. I wasn’t originally scheduled to do the interview but the assigned reporter called in with a last minute illness and I was the only one who could get to Bryant Park for the concert and help out. The interview was well received, but the magazine wasn’t. It ceased publication right after that issue due to lack of sales. My one and only copy of this magazine has an extra place in my heart [Read more…]