Make Money as a Freelance Writer
The freelance issues are always my favorite and very near and dear to my heart. Before becoming an editor and publisher, I was a six-figure freelancer working in brand advertising. Over the years, my passion project consumed me, and I let my freelancing take a backseat. But recently, I realized something; I miss the challenge of working with clients on innovative projects. I miss the chase, the pitch, and pushing my creativity to new bounds. I miss working with people from all walks of life. (I also miss the money!) So I’ve made a decision to get back into it, but so many things have changed over the past six years—especially technology and contacts—that I realize I have to pretty much start from scratch.
That means back to basics: building a portfolio, researching markets and planning a strategy, probably taking on some pro bono work in the sector I want to reach, networking with fellow freelancers and potential clients, and creating a daily routine for not only my creative and marketing time but my health and non-writing related activities as well. So I’m glad this issue came along to help me. I’m certain it will help you, too.
We have a lot of new subscribers on board, and many of you have written in and asked us questions about freelancing. We’re happy to respond to them via e-mail, but you’ll also find some answers in this issue. We have several exciting things in store, including a new markets column! More on that below. And if you missed previous freelancing issues, here are some you may be interested in: Freelancing Freedom (writing for magazines, ghostwriting, writing for the educational market, media insurance); 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.
A big, warm thank you goes to our freelancers and staff members:
One question we get all the time from freelancers is: “Where do I start?” Many write in frustrated because publishers want to see previously published work (otherwise known as “clips”), but they have nothing to show and can’t get an editor to take a chance on them. We welcome expert freelancer Deborah Jeanne Sergeant to the WOW! family and thank her for her informative article, No Clips? No Problem. Build Your Portfolio with Stepping Stones (While Still Making Money). Deborah has a handful of suggestions that are bound to spark your creativity! Each idea is something she’s personally tried herself in the beginning, and she shares those secrets with you. There are a few little gems in there that I had never thought of doing.
As writers, we’re told to write what we know, right? So we mine our past jobs, hobbies, experiences, and more for topics we can write about. But what about writing? Isn’t that something we know about? We welcome back freelancer Sue Bradford Edwards and thank her for reminding us in her article, Writing Money: Using Your Expertise as a Writer. Sue shares how she got started writing for writers, how to figure out what to write about, what types of articles publications accept, and even provides you with some markets to pitch to!
Speaking of markets, if you are interested in sharing your spiritual side, consider writing for Busted Halo, an online magazine for spiritual seekers. We welcome back freelancer Rebecca Gallo and thank her for her interview with editor-in-chief Barbara Wheeler. Rebecca starts out by sharing how she came to write for Busted Halo (without any clips except her blog!) and chats with Barbara about the site’s mission, what they are looking for, and how to pitch. One thing that they didn’t mention in the interview was the pay rates. Pay varies, but I’ve heard from freelancers that they are a mid-paying market, and they pay more than WOW! So check out their guidelines; and if that fits you, consider querying.
We also have three fantastic articles in a Healthy Freelance Life SLAM.
As freelancers, we can make our own schedule, sleep in, and write in our pajamas if we choose to. That’s awesome . . . until it isn’t. I’ve known freelancers who’ve become depressed because they have no set routine. You kiss your hubby good-bye, hop on the computer, and think, I’ve got to take a shower and run an errand in a little bit, but let me take care of this first. And the next thing you know, the sun is setting and your husband is walking back in the door with a full day of work under his belt. Too many of those days, and you’re bound to get depressed! We welcome freelancer Charlene Oldham to the WOW! family and thank her for her article, Freelancers: Shed Your Pajamas and Share Your Passions.
Charlene interviews full-time writers Kelly James-Enger, Christie Ison, and Lisa Jackson who share their personal stories and tips on how to lead a healthy freelance life by getting outside! From attending workshops and teaching classes to volunteering and running marathons, these freelancers say they are more productive writers when they get out of their comfort zones and into the real world. Learn how you can, too!
Have you heard that you have to find your niche to be a successful freelancer? The truth is most of the freelance writers I know haven’t found their niche yet or choose to generalize. And that’s okay! We welcome back freelancer Devon Ellington and thank her for her article, The Renaissance Writer. A Renaissance writer is well-rounded, can write about many things, has many specialties, and enjoys juggling more than one project and more than one topic. Learn from one herself who has published hundreds of stories, articles, speeches, scripts, and books throughout her career.
Can you survive on a freelance income? A freelance career is not the most stable choice of income; but if you lead a low-impact lifestyle and are content with what you have, you are positioning yourself for growth. We welcome back freelancer Suchi Rudra and thank her for her article, Put the FREE Back in Freelance: Becoming a More Sustainable Writer. I hate to say it, but we are a wasteful society. One of my personal goals with my new back to basics lifestyle is to get rid of clutter, get organized, and live on less. I know it’s the antithesis of the making money mindset, but budgeting is smart business. This article is jam-packed with ideas for cutting costs and streamlining your work, so you can work less and still live a comfortable, free, and healthy life.
We have a fantastic 20 Questions for you this month. WOW! columnist LuAnn Schindler interviews Carol Tice, expert freelancer and owner of the popular blog Make a Living Writing and the Freelance Writers Den, a learning and support community for writers serious about growing their income. These two talk shop about everything from using LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with potential clients to finding story ideas to setting rates. Carol also pays writers to guest post at her blog! Find out why she decided to pay writers $50 per post. Not to miss!
For those of you just starting out as a freelancer, you may not know about all the different types of writing you can do as a professional writer. In this month’s Freelancer’s Corner, Choose Your Own Adventure: The Many Paths of Freelance Writing, Allena Tapia explores five different pathways and tells you what qualifications you will need, what competition to expect, and what steps you will need to take to embark on your adventure. Try one out and see if it’s right for you! If not, you can always start over again—just like in the Choose Your Own Adventure books!
Have you heard of the writer’s eye? I hadn’t until I read this article! We welcome back Lisa Tiffin and thank her for this month’s How2 column, How to Use the Writer's Eye to Turn Personal Experiences into Cold, Hard Cash. This is a great example of a successful freelancer at work. The writer’s eye allows a writer to look at any situation, no matter how personal, and see the salable potential in it. Want to know how to do that? Check out this delightful and inspiring article!
Boy, do we have a surprise for you! We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve brought back the Markets column! And we have the perfect columnist to show you the ropes. We welcome Krissy Brady to the WOW! family, and thank her for the first installment, Home and Garden Magazine Markets. Krissy is known as the “Market Ninja” for her catlike skills and predatory prowess of hunting down evasive editors in the wild. Although she doesn’t don a cat suit (as far as I know!), she did interview each editor personally to bring you accurate and up-to-date information. She also hopes to make this column an interactive reader experience. So if you have a suggestion for a market you’d like to see featured in a future issue of WOW!, please contact her at info[at]krissybrady[dot]com. Welcome aboard, Krissy!
And last, but not least, I’d like to thank WOW! editor Margo L. Dill for her personal attention to freelancers this issue and for making it an absolute pleasure to read!
On to the issue . . . enjoy!