Five Great Resources For Freelance Writing
(Okay, six really, because the first stop is always the Writer’s Market!)
Looking for some good tips on how to break into the freelance market? Here are some good books and websites for more information and ideas:
MediaBistro.com – Media Bistro was originally launched as an online media gathering place (in 1993), but has grown into an international resource for media professionals. Media Bistro is free, and has a ton of interesting articles on a spectrum of different issues/topics, including many how-to’s for freelance writing. They also have a subscription service with more in-depth information, including a great “How To Pitch To…” series that gives more detailed information than the Writer’s Market for pitching to nearly 200 magazines. Also helpful is the “Pitches That Worked” series, which interviews freelancers and editors on specific queries and discusses why they worked.
TheRenegadeWriter.com and AboutFreelanceWriting.com – These two websites/blogs are run by two women who’ve been freelancing for years, and they offer an amazing amount of resource information, inspiration and common sense. They also talk about all sorts of freelance writing, from magazine articles to ghostwriting to copyediting, and they discuss a lot of the issues freelancers need to keep in mind from a business perspective. Both sites have search engines, and I recommend typing things you have questions about. Chances are they’ve written about it. Or if they haven’t, some other absolutely compelling article will come up that mentions it, and the next thing you know, you’ve spent two hours article hopping! Have fun. To get you started here are two great articles, one from each:
The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman (Mr. Bowerman also has a website and blog, though I am not as familiar with them as the ones mentioned above.) I read this book a few years ago and was impressed with the author’s confidence and roadmap for success, particularly in commercial freelancing. He has a lot of great tips on getting out there and creating a business writing for businesses. I remember feeling frustrated at the time at how easily he glossed over the part about getting started, since he’d had writing as part of his duties in his regular job, but there is still a lot of helpful information for anyone considering this road. His voice and personality are full of bravado and chutzpah – a really good thing, of course, but perhaps a little intimidating to people who lack as much self-esteem as he possesses. Nonetheless his basic points are solid, and he’s readable and amusing and has plenty of sound advice — enough, anyway, to make the ideas seem viable and the dream accessible.
30-Minute Social Media Marketing by Susan Gunelius This is kind of an introduction to various social media outlets, and a good guide for how small business owners can use these platforms to promote themselves in big ways. Why do I think this is a good book for freelance writers? Social media is based on writing. Whether you’re blogging, tweeting or using facebook, you’re using words – and any self-respecting small business wants to look as good as possible in these new-world marketing opportunities. It’s a great “in” for the freelancer! (I also like the way the author makes the case for social networking venues as great places to create a “service-oriented” business/marketing culture, so if you can pitch small business owners that idea in specific ways and offer your writing talent to support the campaign, it’s a win/win, in my opinion.)
One final resource: your local library. Chances are they have some good books on freelancing to get you started, and those will lead you along to other resources. Also, always remember, if you’re thinking of pitching to magazines, be sure you have a good idea of what they’re looking for and that you’ve read a number of recent issues to be sure you’re targeting the right audience for your ideas. Also, always check the masthead to be sure that the editor mentioned in the Writer’s Market hasn’t left.