Mark Terry

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Freelance Writing For A Living, Part 2

January 29, 2008
Yesterday I gave you some idea of what types of writing there is out there. Here are some source materials where you can look for writing jobs.

Freelance Success
This is a pay site, less than $100 a year, and has databases and chat rooms for freelancers to use. Perhaps more importantly, every week you get a newsletter that focuses on a market that pays $1 per word or more (usually), with what they want, who to contact, and how. I got my information about Lowe's for Pros off one of their databases, which more than paid for membership. Also has a wider focus, since there are sections on copywriting and corporate writing and ghostwriting.

Writers Market
There's a text version of this, but I don't know why anybody would bother now. The online version has a pretty decent search engine and is updated daily. What is it? It's a pay site (you can get monthly access for just a couple bucks) that is a huge database of magazines, books publishers, etc., that you can search by title, topic, pay rates, etc. Pretty much indispensible when looking for writing gigs.

Morning Coffee
Every Tuesday they update their list of freelance writing jobs, i.e., people looking for freelance writers. A lot of these are culled off Craig's List, but I've gotten some significant work off their ads. And it's free.

This is basically a blog by a professional blogger and freelance writer. She regularly posts freelance gigs here. They overlap with Morning Coffee a bit, but there are also some fresh ones there.

A regularly posted listing of freelance writing gigs.

A regularly posted listing of freelance writing gigs.

Emma Hitt is a very successful medical and science writer. People routinely send her job postings about medical and science writing jobs of all sorts, and if you're on her Hitt List, she sends you a free newsletter every week or so with job postings. Her website also has a lot of good advice for freelancers. This is very focused for medical and science writing, so if you're not into that field, it's a waste of time (the advice for writers is useful, though). The work she posts tends to be higher level than mine--advanced degrees in science or medicine often required--but I've gotten some leads here.

And don't forget when you're digging for jobs. Type in "freelance writers" or "freelance journalists" or "freelance editors" and there are often a lot of jobs to check out.

Recommended Books
The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman
This book was something of a revelation for me. He's probably overly optimistic and he's a huge fan of cold calls, but for his type of writing--copywriting--that's the way to go. I recommend this to all would-be freelancers for two reasons. One, his attitude is worthwhile. That is to say, he thinks you can make a go of it and that a good, dependable writer has value in the marketplace. And two, he gave me my first real sense of just how many ways there were to make a living as a freelance writer.

How to become a Fulltime Freelance Writer by Michael A. Banks
This may have come along for me at the right time. I read it the year before I did go fulltime. Michael very wisely tells you everything that can go wrong and gives you a good sense of how to manage the money.

Secrets of a Freelance Writer by Robert Bly
I'm actually not that big a fan of this book. But Bly was Bowerman's inspiration. Bly is big into direct mail and copywriting and he's less optimistic (or dare I say it, more realistic) than Bowerman. He's also a proponent of "work your ass off if you want to make real money" versus Bowerman's more "you can make great money and still have time to goof off" approach. I'm a bigger believer in Bly's approach than Bowerman's, but the two books pretty much cover the same ground. It should also be mentioned that Bly is pretty much THE guru for this type of writing.

Six-Figure Freelancing by Kelly James-Enger
An interesting book. I haven't hit the 6 figures yet and don't know if I ever will (or want to; let's face it, you're going to be crazy busy as a freelancer to make that much money unless you get into some really terrific top markets or sell a book for a significant chunk of change). Nonetheless, she has some very good advice about managing money and maximizing your profits from writing.

Mark Terry


Blogger Aimless Writer said...

Wow, I've spent over an hour tonight wandering these sites. (Not counting the time I snuck on while at work today) Its like a whole underground world I never knew existed.
Most say they want references/examples of your work. I've done my office newsletter and political ads (small town stuff) but thats it. I think I need to work on my clips.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Work with what you've got and make sure you send a writing resume of some sort.

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