As a freelance writer, how comfortable are you with editing your own work? A certain amount of self-editing is part of preparing an assignment for submission to a client. Even if your client has editors who will review your work prior to it being published in whatever medium it will be used, you want to be sure that you are sending in something that shows your best work.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Brie Weiler Reynolds, the Director of Online Content at FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings. FlexJobs lists thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home jobs and other types of flexibility like part-time positions, freelancing, and flexible schedules. Brie provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog and social media. Learn more at www.FlexJobs.com.
If you’re visiting this site, it’s highly likely that you’re either thinking of becoming, or you already are, a writer. When, though, does that transition happen? When do you get to drop the “aspiring” from your title as “aspiring writer?” Anyone along the writing career spectrum, from those just toying with the idea to those fully immersed in writing every day, will deal with this question at some point: When can you call yourself a writer? [Read more…]
Ever since I started writing at Plagiarism Today and especially since I started this column, I’ve been hearing a lot from freelance writers who have been scammed or otherwise victimized by unscrupulous clients. Though the good news is that such bad clients are very rare in the big scheme of things, they are common enough that almost every freelancer, if they remain active long enough, will run into one or two over the course of their career.
So how do you avoid being taken advantage of as a freelance writer. As we discussed previously, clients have the playing field tilted to their advantage on most legal issues. As such, litigation isn’t often practical in these matters.
This means that the best way to protect yourself from these scams is to learn what they are and not step into them in the first place. [Read more…]
I get a lot of emails from people seeking freelance writing advice. One letter last week got me thinking about how much time writers waste on queries.
In the email, a new writer asked if I could read his query and tell him why it was rejected and point out any obvious problems. He went on to say he knew he didn’t miss anything because he had worked on nothing else but the query for two weeks.
Two weeks is a long time.
Queries are an important part of writing, especially for writers trying to establish themselves in the field. They should be given care and dilligence, but micromanaging a query is not the best use of your time. Queries are an introduction of yourself and/or your idea to a publication or client. The best ones are those that feel organic, are succinct and specific. When writers over-edit, the result is often long-winded letters that feel rehearsed. Here are three easy ways to get the query letter you want and the productivity you need: [Read more…]
It’s not too early to start thinking about Christmas. I saw Christmas decorations out in the stores right next to the Halloween items a couple of weeks ago. (Some things are just wrong.)
Now, I prefer to get one holiday out of the way before I start thinking about the next one, but apparently retailers don’t think that way. From the number of Christmas flyers that have magically appeared in the mailbox recently and the amount of times I’ve been hearing, “Mom, can I have…..” recently, the holiday season seems to be gearing up now.
At the risk of adding one more thing to your already jam-packed schedule over the next few weeks, you should make a point of pulling out your client list and reaching out to them at this time of year. “You can send holiday greeting cards or ecards for Christmas if you wish.. A personal e-mail is also appropriate.
Your message doesn’t have to be a lengthy one, but you do want to thank the client for their business over the past year and invite them to contact you with their future writing needs. If you haven’t heard from some of the people you are contacting for awhile, this is an opportunity to get your name in front of them again. Your regular clients will also appreciate your reaching out to them in this way.
Your success as a freelance writer will depend, at least in part, on the relationships you establish with your clients. If you demonstrate that you value the people you work with, they will respond in kind by offering you more and better assignments and referring you to other potential clients.
Sharing good wishes is a simple thing that you can do to finish this year on a positive note and set the stage for a prosperous New Year.
Do you reach out to clients during the Holiday Season? Do you send traditional cards or communicate by e-mail?
Those of you who paid for premium cables channels in the 80s may remember Angel. It was the tale of a girl who’s momma left here alone with a $100 bill one day who decided to make a living on the streets. She had a secret life–High school honor student by day, Hollywood hooker by night.
Brett Giddens has a slightly less dramatic secret life. Then again, he’s a real person. He’s an Oklahoma high school basketball coach by day who spends his nights singing in small casinos as an Elvis impersonator.
I have a secret day/night life, too. Mine doesn’t rival the Angel story and it isn’t as fun as Giddens’ tale.
Sometimes, in the evening, I write things that pay next to nothing. And I do it just for fun. [Read more…]
While many FWJ readers may write primarily for print, I know that many others (like me) have businesses built primarily on writing for online markets. This post targets those of us who make a living online, so to speak.
The Big Question
Why do people pay you to write?
Is it because…
- You’re so damn talented?
- They can’t do it themselves?
- You can make the content creation process more efficient?
- Clients love your website and/or pitches?
- You have a special skill or area of expertise?
Those may be reasons why clients choose you over other writers, but people come to the marketplace in the first place for another reason. They think they can use what you produce to turn a profit. They want to make money.
Sometimes I wonder if too many online writers spend way too much effort thinking about how to get work now and how to compete for gigs while spending far too little effort thinking about that bigger, core question. I wonder if many web-based freelancers may be setting themselves up for future struggles because of it, too.
A Change is Gonna Come
That’s not because I foresee a sudden drop in the demand for online content. On the contrary, I think that a variety of new and even lucrative opportunities is on the horizon. However, I do question the longer-term viability of many markets upon which writers are building businesses. I wonder how many writers will survive and/or react as the Internet and the way we use it changes.
In order to protect yourself and your business, it’s important to delve into the reason why demand for writing exists–the profit potential of the output. That means having both a solid understanding of the strategies clients are employing in pursuit of revenue and the greater trends that will undoubtedly force changes to those strategies and to the marketplace as a whole.
For instance, any writer who isn’t thinking about inevitable changes in the nature of search engines is making a mistake. The search engines don’t stand still. Google and its smaller competitors are constantly refining their approaches and there are a number of reasons to believe that they’ll be forced to make some major adjustments in the relatively near future.
Those changes could have a major impact on what are “bread and butter” for many writers. Traditional article marketing and the mass production “content mill” approach will have a difficult time thriving in an improved search environment.
Last week I posted an interview with SEO Kieran Flanagan here at FWJ. He made a point of discussing both the changing face of link acquisition for SEO and the growing role of social media in his business. The days of using 500-word articles at a pre-ordained keyword density level and fueling them with a series of easy-to-acquire, low-grade links is on its way out. At the very least, the writing is on the wall.
At my blog, I recently posted about the less-than-rosy long-term future of low-quality content mill work due to market forces within the search sector and the increasingly untenable hypocrisy of Google in terms of how they’ve “banned” paid links yet are allowing other intentional methods of subverting their search algorithm to have an impact on SERPs.
You don’t need to agree with my perspective to recognize that there’s a lot boiling under the surface in the way people find and use information online. No matter how you think it all might unfold, you can be certain that, in the words of Sam Cooke, “a change is gonna come.”
Preparing for Change
We often talk about the need to spread risk when developing an overall approach to building a freelance writing business. That need is usually expressed in terms of “not putting all of your eggs in one basket.” That’s rock-solid advice–in the short run. In the longer run, it’s just as important to have a sense of what future eggs may look like and if there may be new ways to store them. Hell, the eggs we gather today may be poisonous before too long and we might all be laughing at the antiquated notion of using baskets.
People pay writers because they want to make money. Writers who aren’t sufficiently prepared to transition their talents and to apply them to new contexts aren’t going to be in the best position to help clients make money. Writers who have over-invested in strategies that seem to have a limited lifespan could be setting themselves up for a more difficult future.
That doesn’t mean anyone should abandon any part of his or her business that’s currently producing a nice stream of revenue. Make hay while the sun is shining. However, one should probably do that with an awareness of the need to move on to new markets and new approaches once the limitations of those activities start to become increasingly visible. Otherwise, you might find yourself well behind the curve while other writers profit from being ahead of it.
The Moral to the Story
Continue to focus on being a badass writer who offers the world’s greatest customer service. Continue to work on distinguishing yourself in the marketplace and do everything you can to become the best choice among those who are looking for a writer.
At the same time, look ahead. Make a point of learning more about why potential clients are looking for a writer in the first place and study the hell out of the marketplace and the kind of changes in advertising, search, social media, and all of the other things that are going to force changes in the way people conduct business and information acquisition on the ‘Net.
If you’re going to focus on online markets, be smart, nimble, well-informed and an expert in larger trends.
At Freelance Writing Jobs we strive to provide you with the best information possible about starting your freelance writing career. With so many posts offering tips and advice, it can be hard to find useful information that’s not on the front page of this blog. Since we receive a lot of email asking for tips on getting started as a freelance writer, how to set rates and more, I thought it was time for a static “Frequently Asked Questions” page. If you’re starting out as a writer, or just want a refresher course, use this handy list as a one stop shopping experience for all things freelance writing.
Warning: Work in progress. This list is by no means complete and will receive periodic updates, so do check back often.
Freelance Writing Jobs: Frequently Asked Questions
How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
- How to Land Your First Freelance Writing Job
- 43 Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
- 30 Types of Freelance Writing Jobs and How to Get Them
- Web Content Sites: What They’re Saying, What’s True and What’s False
- Corporate Freelance Writing Jobs: Five Places to Find Them
- How to Find the High Paying Freelance Writing Jobs
- How to Use Discussion Forums for Writers to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
- 47 Places to Find Telecommuting Jobs
- 10 Ways to Get Your Freelance Writing Foot in the Door
- 50 Places that Hire Freelance Writers
- 10 Best Job Search Sites
- 30 Types of Freelance Writing Jobs and How to Get Them
- Freelance Writing: Before You Get Started – Research!
- 5 Ways to Find Freelance Writing Jobs Using Twitter
- Why You Should Consider Cold Calling to Find Work
- Top 10 Freelance Writing Job Red Flags
- Finding the Freelance Writing Jobs that Are Best for You
- Pitch to the Hidden Places that Hire Freelance Writers
Freelance Writing Rates
Not sure how much to charge? Check out the freelance rate calculator over at Freelance Switch.
- Where the Writing Money Is
- Set a Freelance Writing Rate Equal to the Task
- How to Turn a Low Paying Client into a High Paying Client
- Who Sets Your Freelance Writing Rates?
- Preparing Yourself for Better Freelance Writing Rates
- Figuring Out a Good Pay Rate for Writing
- Taking Baby Steps for a Better Pay Rate for Writing
- Should You Include a Rate Quote with Your Cover Letter
- What Does it Mean to Work Smarter Not Harder?
- Why You Shouldn’t Ask for a Raise
- On Rates and New Clients: Does it Ever Make Sense to Make a Starting Rate?
- How to Land Repeat Clients that Pay Well
- 8 Reasons You’re Not Landing the High Paying Freelance Writing Jobs
- Kill Fees: Not a Halloween Tale
- 6 Tips for Asking for a Raise in Your Freelance Writing Rates
- 5 Things to Consider When Discussing Rates With Other Freelance Writers
- I’m a Professional – So Pay Me Already!!!8 Reasons You’re Not Getting the High Paying Freelance Writing Jobs
- 5 Tips for Moving Away from the Easy Gigs to Land More Lucrative Opportunities
- A Lower Bid Vs. Selling Yourself Short
- 5 Tips for Deciding if You Should Raise Your Rates
- Freelance Writing for Beginners: How to Set Your Rates
- Why Are Freelancers Negotiating Rates Anyway?
Cover Letters, Clips, Resumes, Job Applications and Query Letters
- Query Letter Writing: Dissecting a Successful Query Letter
- How I Landed My First Freelance Writing Job Without Clips
- 5 Things to Do Before You Query
- Freelance Writing Experience: Does it Matter Where Your Clips Come From?
- Query Letter Writing: Querying Out of the Box
- Top 10 Freelance Writing Job Application Mistakes
- 8 Types of Freelance Writing Pitches or Why You Didn’t Get the Job
- Rewarding Your Long Term Freelance Writing Clients for their Customer Loyalty
- What Lousy Customer Service Can Teach You About Good Customer Service
- What My Neighbor’s Teen Can Teach You About Customer Service
- Customer Appreciation Lessons from Barnes & Noble
Marketing and Networking
- Freelance Writing Marketing and Promotion: How Much is Too Much
- Do You Know What You’re Selling? Successfully Marketing Your Freelance Writing
- 5 Reasons Not to Have a Cookie Cutter Elevator Pitch
- 5 Tips for Creating an Elevator Speech
- 10 Unique Places to Market Your Book
- 5 Reasons Online Relationships Are Important for Freelance Writers
- 5 Reasons Offline Relationships Are Important for Freelance Writers
- How Much Would Your Freelance Writing Business Pick Up if You Got Out from Behind Your Laptop?
- 10 Reasons Why Face to Face Networking is Important for Freelance Writers
- Introducing Yourself as a Freelance Writer Without Sounding Like a Smarmy Salesman
- The Freelance Writers Guide to Blogs and Blogging
- The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Twitter
- The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Facebook
Tools and Resources
- Understanding Freelance Writing Rights and Usage
- 31 Free Online Writing Courses
- 20 Places to Find Online Courses for Writers
- 45 Free Things for Writers
- Where to Find Free WiFi Hotspots Around the World
- 49 Free Online Reference Tools for Freelance Writers
Freelance Writing Markets
- 75 “Write for Us” Pages
- 40 Freelance Writing Markets Paying $100 or More
- 40 More Freelance Writing Markets Paying $100 or More
- 50 Submissions Guidelines Pages
- 11 Cooking, Food and Drink Markets
- 19 Parenting Markets
- 21 Poetry Markets
- 15 Greeting Card Markets
- 11 Environmental Markets
- 15 Places for Freelance Writers to Find Magazine Markets
- 6 Tips for Finding New Freelance Writing Markets
Freelance Writing Taxes
- Tax Tips for UK Freelancers
- What Every Freelancer Needs to Know About Taxes
- How to Solve Freelance Tax Problems
- When a Writer Needs to Hire a CPA
- Easy to Forget Income Tax Deductions
- Introduction to Quarterly Taxes
- 3 Ways to Reduce Your Freelance Writing Taxes and Help Yourself
- Tax Tips for Freelance Writers
- 20 Tax Deductions for Freelancers
- Year End Tax Tips for Freelance Writing Businesses
- When Your Freelance Writing Business Gets Audited
Freelance Writing Clients and Business Tips
- Should You Trust Your Freelance Writing Clients With Your Personal Information?
- Client Vs. Employer: There’s a Difference
- 3 Hints for Giving Value with Your Freelance Writing
- 5 Options for Avoiding Paypal Fees and Keeping all Your Freelance Writing Pay
- 3 Things to Consider Before Outsourcing Your Freelance Writing Work
- 5 Rocking Good Business Practices for Freelance Writers
- 5 Tips for Asking a Freelance Writing Client for More Work
- 5 Reasons Freelance Writers Should Keep Regular Business Hours
- 5 Reasons Not to Burn Your Bridges
- 10 Tips for Setting Up an Office
- 10 Hints from Transitioning from Freelance Writing to a Freelance Writing Business
- Identifying the Reasons Your Freelance Writing Business Isn’t Growing
- 10 Hints for Transitioning from Freelance Writing Job to Freelance Writing Business
- Freelance Writing Clients: The Difference Between Friends and Friendly
- 6 Tips for Receiving Feedback from Your Freelance Writing Clients
Other Freelance Writing Topics
- 40 Lessons Learned in 10 Years of Freelance Wriitng
- The A, B, C’s of Freelance Writing
- 7 Great Places to find Interview Subjects
- 19 Grants for Writers and Other Creative Types
- Technical Writing: What’s it Like?
- Freelance Writing Opportunities in SEO Content
- Freelance Writing COmmunities: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Join
- Contracting for Writers 101
- How to Find Interview Subjects for Your Blog Posts and Articles
- 4 Measures to Put in Place So Your Freelance Writing Clients Won’t Rip You Off
- The Dark Side of Freelance Writer: When Clients Don’t Pay5 Forms of Passive Income for Freelance Writers
Many freelance writers are only working for clients to bring in money while they work on books, screenplays and other writing projects. This is all fine and dandy however, it tends to take away from the personal project as we tend to put all our focus on paying the bills and funding our dreams. There are also circumstances out of our control. Many writers don’t have healthcare or disability insurance. When tragedy strikes, some writers are unable to continue writing for a living. Fortunately, there are so many foundations offering funding for writers.
19 Grants for Writers and Other Creative Types
Many organizations offer grants for writers to help them to complete their projects and education. What follows is a list of some of the available grants for writers and some details about each.
Please keep in mind, these grants are unsearchable. I found this information via research conducted online and at the library. Unlike our series on the various markets, I didn’t make any calls to verify any of these grants. However, as you can see, they’re all current.
- The Haven Foundation – Stephen King’s foundation provides assistance to writers and artists who, through tragic events and no fault of their own, are unable to work. Awards up to $25,000.
- Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting – Set up by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists this fellowship awards to authors who have previously earned less than $5000 writing for film or television.
- Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation- Awards $1,000 grants to gay and lesbian playwrights and screenwriters.
- Authors League Fund – Provides loans or assistance to writers who are in financial distress due to emergency situations.
- Artist Trust – Their Grants for Arts pr gram awards up to $1500 to help fun artist generated projects.
- Brown University – Awards a $45,000 fellowship to an established international writer or poet who is being creatively stifled in his/her homeland.
- John Jones Literary Society – Awards $10,000 to help fund an unpublished writer who has a work in progress.
- Kentucky Arts Council – Awards $7500 fellowships and $1000 emerging artist awards to poets and writers in even numbered years.
- Library of Virginia Literary Awards – Awards three prizes of $3500 each to Virginia writers and poets who were published the year before.
- Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers – Offers $35,000 to first-time authors who are deemed to have achieved an outstanding literary effort and “suggests great promise.”
- National Endowment of the Arts – Offers a variety of grants to writers.
- Academy of American Poets – Awards and fellowships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000
- The Furthermore Program – Grant to help fund non-fiction book projects range from $5,000 to $15,000.
- Demand Studios – Offers one $1,000 grant each month to help fund writing projects within their community of writers.
- Pen American Center Writers Emergency Fund – Offers funding up to $2,000 for writers in need.
- Voelker Foundation – Fly Fishing Fiction Award – $2500 for one outstanding fishing writer each year.
- AAAS Science Journalism Awards – Pays $3,000 to outstanding science writers.
- Arts Writers Grants Program – Awards $5,000 to $50,000 for a variety of writing.
- Witter Byner Foundation for Poetry – Awards poets $1000 to $3000.
- You also might be interested in this post at About Freelance Writing where Anne Wayman linked to blogs that make it their mission to report awards, grants and fellowships for writers.
- C. Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers is the best online resource for learning about grants, fellowships and other awards for writers.
- Poets and Writers’ database is an amazing resource for anyone seeking funds.
- Michigan State University has something for everyone on this list of prizes, grants and fellowships.
We’ve also been exploring some writing markets this week. Check out:
- 75 “Write for Us” Pages
- 40 Freelance Markets Paying $100 or More
- 40 More Freelance Writing Markets Paying $100 or More
- 16 Greeting Card Markets
- 21 Poetry Markets
If you apply for any of these grants, have successfully applied for grants in the past, or just have some tips you’d like to offer to the writers in the FWJ community, feel free to talk to us in the comment. Your feedback is more than welcome!
UPDATED FEBRUARY 2016
When you are thinking about freelance writing markets, how many of you think about writing greeting cards to make money? Greeting card markets often get overlooked in favor of writing for the web, copywriting, submitting queries to magazines and other ways to generate income.