Greetings Freelancers! I am an editor but I come in peace!
Let me introduce myself. My name is Amanda and I’ve been a professional editor and a writer for seven years. I’ve run the spectrum when it comes to the writing and editing industry, from my early days as a music journalist to the more recent corporate world of B2B copy editing and I’ve lived to tell the tale. Currently, I spend my days as a Community Manager for RunMyErrand (a start-up based out of Boston) creating marketing strategies on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which is a fancy way of saying I screw around on-line all day and get paid. Woot!
But I digress. You, reader, come to this valuable blog site to learn how to make it in this tough and unforgiving industry, and to that I have but one piece of advice for you: Be flexible.
Within the writing and editing industry, the opportunities for job growth and change are constantly appearing, disappearing and reinventing themselves. Who knew when Facebook first popped up that there would be lucrative marketing opportunities on-line for nearly every company in the world? Who knew that Twitter would become such a powerful beast in terms of information sharing and driving website traffic? Who could have guessed that blogging would become the bread and butter for so many wonderful writers to launch careers?
Continue reading Stretch Out, Stay Flexible
by Mike O’Mary
Hello Friends! Throughout my career as a writer, I’ve done creative work (mostly for fun) and corporate work (mostly for income). On the corporate side, I’ve worked as a corporate employee who sometimes hired freelancer writers and editors, and as a freelance writer and editor who sought work from corporations.
One of the things I learned by working both sides of the corporate fence is that corporations think in terms of budget, whereas most freelancers think in terms of hourly rate. Even I made the switch when I went from being a corporate employee to being a freelancer… Continue reading Putting a Price on Your Work
The Sunday news roundup shows debated the healthcare reform bill, which the House of Representatives passed 220-215 over the November8 weekend. What does this mean for freelancers?
Right now, absolutely nothing. President Obama has to review the bill then sign or veto the bill. It’s not law just yet, and without reading the seven thousand miles worth of pages in the bill we won’t know how soon the reforms will take place–it certainly won’t be overnight.
The highlights of the bill freelancers need to know about:
According to the news reports I’ve seen, higher premiums for pre-existing conditions will be outlawed under the bill. Again, there’s no word on how long the insurance companies get to jack you around on pre-existing medical conditions. Continue reading Health Care Reform Bill Passes House
by Carol Sponagle
If you’re just getting started in the freelance market, you already know how hard it can be to find freelance jobs. In the beginning, any work that pays can seem like good work. Experienced professional freelancers will tell you they’ve written blogs, articles, and books on a variety of topics, because you don’t make money being choosy.
Once you get rolling and you find publishers who call again and again, you might start to feel like you should be more discriminating. After all, why write about pets and motor homes when you really want to write about music? Continue reading Finding Leads for New Freelancers
by Catherine L. Tully
Ok. Maybe you shouldn’t ignore them, but most publications put out guidelines that are meant to give the writer a general idea of what they are looking for–and what they aren’t. That said, in some ways it can pay off to ignore them, or at the very least, be ready for changes in the grand scheme of things. Now I don’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to items such as tone and subject matter. You should. But some things can go off the map, and it helps to know what those might be. In that spirit, here are some things to think about when you query:
- Response time. If there is anything in the guidelines that you should take with a grain of salt–this is it. Response time can mean almost anything. I have queried pubications that say they get back to you within a month, only to have them call me out of the blue four months later. You never know what is going on over there, and editors are really, really busy. Sometimes they’ll hang on to your idea and make a mental note to get back to you, only to get sidetracked by another project.
- Word count. I never state how many words I can write on a given subject, because I prefer to let the editor tell me what he/she needs. Ad space can bump article placement up and down very easily, so the word counts can vary accordingly depending on how much room the publication has.
- Editor’s name and contact info. If you don’t listen to anything else I’m writing here, be sure you do this one thing…double check the contact info given in the guidelines. Editors change so fast it will make your head spin. Call the publication and ask who to send a query to, and be sure to read the information back to the person that you speak with so you know you have it right.
- Payment range. While this can give you a good idea of how much a publication will pay, it isn’t always set in stone. Sometimes the guidelines are outdated, which could mean you will make less…or more. Some mags have cut back on payment, while others are expanding. Be prepared for it to vary.
Now…even though I said the words, “ignore guidelines,” please note that you should follow what you read in terms of crafting a query. If they say that some departments are not open to freelancers, don’t send a query thinking that you can get around it. If you notice, much of what I have outlined above relates to the business end of things, not the editorial itself. If they say they don’t want personal experience articles, you aren’t likely to get in with a heartfelt account of your last camping trip to the mountains. In other words, follow direction, but be ready for bumps on the road along the way….
Do you have health insurance? Freelance writers often have difficulty figuring out how to navigate the waters when it comes to this important subject. Medical expenses can add up quickly and you don’t want to be caught without at least some protection. Unfortunately, there aren’t many good options for most of us at this point in time.
I have a policy that covers me in case of emergency, but as I get older I am going to need to look at more comprehensive options. Here is what I can tell you if you are looking into this for the first time:
- If you can get coverage through a spouse (or partner in some states), this is probably the best way to go.
- If you are a recent college graduate, check with your alumni association and see if they have any health insurance options.
- If you are making the jump from part-time to full-time writer, see what the COBRA options are for extending your insurance. This can be expensive, but it is an option for continued care.
- Consider an insurance plan with a high deductible. The monthly payments are typically lower, but you still have some coverage.
- Check with your Chamber of Commerce and see if they have any advice for you.
- Look into various associations for writers and other freelance professionals. The Authors Guild has plans for those in New York and Massachusetts and I recall both MediaBistro and the American Society of Journalists and Authors as having health insurance plans as well. You can also check out the National Writers Association and I”m sure there are others out there, so take a look and see if their plans are right for you. They require membership, and some are not available for all of the US.
- Check out resources such as RXAssist which can help you find free or low-cost medications, or ask the pharmacist if your medication is available in a generic which will lower the price.
The face of healthcare is changing, but for now, freelance writers don’t have a lot of good options. Still, some coverage is better than none, and there are some places that you can look. Take a little time to investigate, and if you find something worth sharing–please do!