Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thinking of freelancing? Tips for the trade.

This morning, on the Blog Catalog discussion board, someone asked a question about resources for freelancers. I get similar questions by email.

Frankly, I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be a writer. Consider all the content we take in each day, via the Web, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and products. If you’ve ever read a cereal box, you know what I mean by “products.” Somebody produces all that content. It might as well be you or me.

The Web has more resources than you are likely to use. A good starting place is Writers Weekly. Markets, a forum, writer-bewares, and a variety of articles can be found there; you may opt for a free newsletter.

The Writer is also very useful, both in print and on the Web. I write for the magazine and the Web site, but long before I did, I read every issue. I’ve sold work and won contests based on listings there. My Web column there, Poetry Beat, has covered everything from self-publishing to sites that help you promote and publish.

The American Society of Journalists and Authors has info available in the public section of the Web site. This organization hosts an annual meeting each April. Non-members may attend. The speakers are always top-notch, and there are opportunities to meet editors and agents in person.

The site that grew this blog, Creative Writer US, has archives with many articles about freelancing.

Another site I highly recommend is The Renegade Writer, a site based on the popular book by the same name.

For physical resources, study your favorite magazines at the library. Study the ads and copy content to learn what readers enjoy. Your daily newspaper may also have a local or metro section in need of freelance content. You can usually get contact info for editors from the ‘about us’ or ‘contact’ links usually at the bottom of the site cover page. This is true for magazines too.

Not-for-profit organizations and government agencies often purchase content; I’ve sold to both many times.

Above all, realize that content providing is a business. Providers (formally known as writers) aim at selling information and services. Don’t do it for free.

Read the latest Poetry Beat at The Writer and catch the latest scoop about Foetry.

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