Sunday, March 18, 2007

Help Getting Started as a Freelance Writer

Here's a freelance writing article I wrote for E-zine Articles. I thought it was worth posting here.

When starting out in freelance writing, it can be confusing. You want to work but most people are looking for people with experience. How do you get that experience when no one will hire you without it?

Using some free online tools can help you to build your freelance writing career and your very own business.

Here are a few things you can do to help you become established:

*Blogging sites are often free and can even earn you Google Adsense revenue sharing and help you to build a resume of your work.

*Use your blog as a resume. Write articles and helpful blogs about the niche you're interested in getting into. If you want to be a travel writer, write about that in your blogs. If you want to be an editor, write from an editor's perspective in your blog. Use your blog to develop a following and a niche for yourself. It'll soon be something you can show to prospective clients.

*Learn some basic html and make yourself a blog page that looks like a big linkable document. This can help you organize all your online articles and writing pieces on one page that people who are thinking about hiring you can find.

*Differentiate yourself from other applicants when you apply for a writing job. Be cordial and talk about yourself. Don't oversell yourself but express interest in the position and include samples of your work. Don't be too wordy in your application and be sure to keep a copy of the posting link attached to your copy of your e-mail so that if you get into a discussion with the prospective client, you'll have a copy on hand.

*Participate in writer forums and talk to other writers. Many writers network and share sources of paying work as well as outsource some of their freelance work.

*Offer your contact details if you get a dialogue going. Or, have a Skype conversations or MSN/Yahoo/ICQ conversation with the prospective buyer. This helps them get a good feel for you and can be very much like a face to face interview where you'll have an opportunity to ask/answer questions. This is also a conversation you can save if you discuss terms/conditions of your employment.

*Establish a niche but also show flexibility. While a niche can be important in helping you earn higher rates, so is flexibility when you want to ensure you have a wide net to cast out for regular paying work. The niche shows that you're an expert but flexibility can help you find markets you may not have even known about.

Many freelance writers have three buckets of work. They have the easy and lower paying work, the medium paying jobs and the higher paying work that you spend more time on and is not as free flowing. I try to find as much work in the medium range as possible so that I can afford to take the odd evening or day off and still feel like I'm putting forth reasonably good work. Doing this allows me time to work on my own writing as well as article writing, copy writing or ghostwriting for others.

When I apply for a job, I try to show several examples of successful work published online as well as include a set of examples of my writing. My blog has been excellent for helping me get work. I also don't think there's anything wrong with following up when you haven't heard back within a few days. Don't stalk the prospect but I once was about to give up but think that my follow up actually got me hired for one of my current best paying recurring clients.

Show your abilities and that you are qualified:

When I applied for a higher paying job as a ghostwriter for a successful Naturopath, I pointed them to my blog index as I knew it had many articles about healing foods and alternative medicine. I also showed some places where I'm published as myself. I got the job.

When I wanted to apply for a generic low paying but high volume position, I pointed out several online places I've been published as well as to my blog which showcased the fact that I can write on a wide array of topics.

Do you have a blog? Signing up for a free blog can help you showcase your work for free, get yourself indexed in the search engines and can create a professional appearance for you when applying for work.
Good luck.

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