It’s a bit dramatic to pick up your first ever copy of The Writer’s Market, which ever year you buy your first one. Suddenly you have taken a step into the world where people write and make money from it. This brings the responsibility of expectations. Paid writers should know how to write: spelling, grammar and punctuation. Paid writers should be professional and have a real office (for one thing). What a lot of pressure to perform!
In spite of all that… let this be the year you take that step. It’s kind of scary but exciting too. Make a plan to be a paid writer by the end of 2014. Set that as your goal. You may have been paid small amounts as commissions on Squidoo and other writing networks but take a big step and get paid directly, get paid more and work with an editor at a publication which will judge your writing, possibly make changes and then pay you for it (not a percentage or commission but a real pay cheque for you!)
This deluxe Writer’s Market includes online markets – a great thing for writers who have already had some of their writing published online. Posting to your own site counts too, even if you have been the only one proofreading and editing your work, it is still published (self publishing).
- Start by getting someone professional (someone who does know grammar, spelling and punctuation) to review your writing work. Get feedback on the common mistakes you make so you can learn from them, be aware of your flaws and watch for them as they come up with you work. Making mistakes is not a bad thing as long as you work on learning from them. Like a word you have trouble spelling, just train yourself to remember the right spelling.
- Don’t procrastinate. Jump in by looking for a writing market you would like to get into. It might be something you know about from your own personal or professional experience – like a travel agent writing about travel for travel magazines. Take time to plan your method of attack for the market you pick. Choose more than one so you have more options if you get a rejection from your first pick.
- Decide what you have to offer your chosen market. What does the publication need that you can provide? Study the publication if you have not read it a few times before. Each publication will have topics which are over done and some which just aren’t relevant or timely enough. Find writer’s guidelines for the publication – there are almost always guidelines so keep looking if you don’t find them right away. Or, send a note to the publication and ask for their writer’s guidelines.
- Craft (and yes, it is a craft) a query letter. Direct it to one publication, one editor (get a name) and give your idea an extra push in some way. Read more about query letters – there have been some spectacular successes and just as many spectacular disasters.
- Depending on what the publication expected (when you read the writer’s guidelines) you may now begin writing or you may have already written the article/ book/ etc and submitted a sample of it with your query letter.
- Don’t get scared off or intimidated now. The writing is the part you know, remember?
Pick your Writing Genre and the Markets Too
Just as there are other types of writers – there are other types of writer’s markets and guides to those markets. Look also for photography and graphic artist guides to markets.
Most of all – Best wishes and good luck! I wish you every success in your freelance endeavours.
Time Management Matters
Don’t spend too much time getting advice and suggestions. Time management is an important part of working as a freelance writer. You can’t add more hours to your day so use them well.