Have you tapped into your inner entrepreneur? I know the word “entrepreneur” can conjure images of gray business suits, massive speaking engagements, and stuffy corporate meetings, but that’s not always the case. Today’s entrepreneur is a regular woman, just like you or me, sitting behind a computer screen in her home office. A woman who has chosen to make a living from her writing...and, she’s loving it.
It’s not surprising more and more women are turning to freelance careers. The past few years have been tough for those in the workplace. Many women who have experienced downsizing and layoffs at their day jobs have turned to freelance writing as a way to supplement their incomes or start a new career. Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities on the Web for writers to carve out their niche and make a steady living as a freelance writer. And these women are not only making a living beyond their expectations, they are exploring new paths, forging new identities, and loving the freedom that freelancing brings.
When I first started freelancing, I was amazed by the sense of empowerment and satisfaction I experienced simply from using my own creativity to make others’ dreams come to life, as well as my own. After all these years, and many freelance writing issues, I’m still fascinated by how other freelancers are making a living through avenues that have never occurred to me. And in this issue, we explore many opportunities we haven’t covered in previous issues—everything from ghostwriting to keyword writing to expat writing to writing for the educational market. These women are brave, bold, freelance entrepreneurs in a new world.
WOW! has dedicated past issues to freelance writing: Writing the Web (blogging for pay, starting your own e-zine, monetizing your blog); The Freelance Union 2 (becoming an about.com guide, breaking into animation writing, writing filler); The Freelance Union 1 (freelancers’ viewpoints); Breaking Out of Your Cube (interviews with freelance magazine writers, repurposing articles); and Money Matters for Writers (health insurance, retirement planning, how to survive during a recession). Please review these issues for more freelance writing topics.
Now, to those of you who are NaNoing at the moment, we haven’t forgotten about you. We applaud you for taking the 50,000-word challenge this month during NaNoWriMo! (If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, that’s okay. We covered it in a fabulous article written by Suzanne Pitner called NaNoWriMo Applied.) We’ll be posting words of encouragement for NaNoers and sharing stories on our blog, The Muffin. If you’d like to share a story about your experience, please e-mail our blog editor Marcia Peterson at marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com.
We’ll also be chatting about all things NaNoWriMo on our Facebook Fan Page and Twitter. We know you have a lot on your plate right now (or should I say “serving platter”?), but after you come up for air, you’ll also want to check out Beth Cato’s article After NaNoWriMo: Begin to Edit and Revise Your Manuscript, as well as our fiction-writing issue The Fiction Writer's Toolkit. Good luck this month!
And, if you are one of those rare birds who are freelancing and doing NaNo...you are super woman!
I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we did putting it together. Many of the topics are new to me, so I was delighted to learn about the opportunities and resources. I hope you will be too!
A big, warm thank you goes out to our freelancers and staff members:
We welcome back freelancer Kerrie Flanagan and thank her for her article, 5 Things You Need to Know to Write for Magazines. Kerrie shares her secrets of writing for magazines by breaking down the process into five easy steps that will help increase your success rate and get you published. She shows you how to analyze the style of the magazine (with real examples from publications), and includes a detailed section on how to write an effective query letter. If you want to break into magazines, this is your article!
We welcome freelancer Maryan Pelland to the WOW! family and thank her for her article, Ghostwriting: Writing Invisibly for Good Pay and Satisfaction. Believe it or not, this is a topic we haven’t covered before, so we were thrilled when Maryan queried us, and we’re even more thrilled with her delivery. She teaches us essential ghostwriting skills, what pay range to expect, and how to start marketing your services. Her article makes me excited about the possibilities!
What about children’s writing? There are freelance opportunities for children’s writers as well. When WOW!’s contributing editor and columnist Margo L. Dill proposed an article about the educational market, I thought it sounded interesting, but I really didn’t know exactly what it would entail. And after reading her article, Writing for the Educational Market, I was surprised with the numerous opportunities that exist for educational writers.
Some pen books for companies, others create lesson plans, testing passages, and even captions for illustrations in encyclopedias, and some work for developmental houses that contract with educational publishers. Margo shows you how to get started in educational writing, what pay range to expect, and she chats with expert writers in this market (Alice McGinty, Nancy Sanders, Veda Boyd Jones, Pam K. Hill, Suzanne Lieurance, and Sara Latta) who share their best tips and resources, including publishing companies and links to submission guidelines.
Ever heard of media (“writing”) insurance? As freelancers, we’re independent contractors with a business that pays taxes and writes off expenses; and like all successful businesses, we are susceptible to the unforeseen, including lawsuits for charges of plagiarism, contextual errors, or invasion of privacy. So, how do we protect our writing? We welcome freelancer Tara Lynne Groth and thank her for her article, Get Covered: Media Insurance for Writers. Tara introduces us to media insurance and explains who should look into it, what it covers, why you may need it, and she even takes it for a test drive by applying for a quote. Tara also chats with Cynthia Price, president of the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW), and Jan Constantine, general counsel of The Author’s Guild, who share their expert advice.
We welcome freelancer Katarzyna Radzka and thank her for her fabulous 20 Questions interview with Mridu Khullar, international freelance journalist. Mridu has written for magazines such as Time, the New York Times, Spirituality & Health, Ms. and is the contributing editor to Elle magazine in India. She shares with WOW! readers about life as a writer in India, her biggest success to date, and tips on what beginner and experienced writers can do to nab those assignments.
We also have three fantastic articles in a Freelance Writing Life Slam, featured in our Freelancer’s Corner column this month.
As freelancers, our home office should be our writing sanctuary, but in reality, sometimes it isn’t. We welcome freelancer Kristine Meldrum Denholm to the WOW! family and thank her for her article, Your Home Office: Haven or Hell? 9 Tips on How to Get Some Peace & Quiet. When Kristine worked as a writer for a press office for a federal law enforcement agency in D.C., she couldn’t wait until the day she could leave her job to start a freelance writing life in suburbia. But when it happened, she didn’t realize that writing from home, and around her kids, would be equally challenging. So she put out a call to other working parents to ask how they handle work-at-home distractions, and the responses poured in! Kristine shares their best tips and puts them to the test in this hilarious and lively article. Not to miss!
Have you ever thought of moving abroad but weren’t sure if you would be able to sustain a freelance income? We welcome freelancer Suchi Rudra to the WOW! family and thank her for her article, Something to Write Home About: Life as an Expat Freelance Writer. Suchi shares her journey of moving from the U.S. to Prague and the benefits of writing as an expat: cheaper cost of living, a simplified stress-free life, and the automatic label of “travel writer.” She shows how you can do it too by providing you with advice—like what to take with you, where to network, info about visas, and how to use your culture shock to your advantage. Isn’t it the dream after all?
For our third Slam article, we welcome freelancer Debra Stang to the WOW! family and thank her for her article, 10 Tips for Making Money as a Keyword Writer. In 2001, Debra decided to become a profitable writer. Armed with a talent for stringing words together, but no practical knowledge of the industry, she stumbled into keyword and content-mill writing before she learned that most authors scorned this practice. But don’t knock it, writing for content mills has turned out to be quite lucrative for her and has even helped launch her freelance career as an editor and coach. Debra says the key to making money on these sites is learning how to use them to your advantage. She shares her ten best tips to help you minimize your time and maximize your profits, and provides you with keyword-writing tips and sites to get started.
One of the most important aspects to being a successful freelance writer is networking with contacts that can bring you work. We welcome back freelancer BJ Marshall and thank her for her article, How to (Net)Work It!. BJ shows you how to harness your inner social butterfly by expanding your personal and professional networks. She chats with successful freelancers (Matt Villano, Vanessa Grigoriadis, and Lee Kessler) who share their best advice. And it’s not all about social networking! Learn how face-to-face meetings can take your career to the next level.
You may have thought about starting a blog, but figured Who would read it? What would make my blog stand out? And even if I did blog, what's the point? Will it ever pay off? In the inspirational interview Blog: From Start to Sold: An Interview with Deborah Ng all of those questions are more are answered. We thank contributing editor and columnist Annette Fix for her inspirational interview with Deb Ng where you will discover how to create a niche site that draws traffic, builds a community, attracts advertisers, and entices buyers. Find out what it takes to nurture and grow a blog, how to navigate the personal and professional challenges, and how to plan for the big pay off.
And if that weren’t enough, we’re proud to announce the Summer 2010 Flash Fiction Contest winners! We thank literary agent Kathleen Ortiz for judging this season. Congratulations go to all the winners and to those who had the courage to enter the contest as well. We hope you enjoy reading this season’s stories!
Last but not least, I’d like to thank WOW!’s contributing editors Margo L. Dill and Annette Fix for making this issue an absolute pleasure to read.
And congratulations to Margo on the birth of her beautiful baby girl, Katie! Margo wrote, edited, taught classes, social networked, and more for WOW! up to the day of her labor. Margo, you’re an amazing woman. We wish you and your baby the best for a long, happy and healthy life together. Mazeltov!
On to the issue… enjoy!