What’s a noob? A Noob is a newbie. A newcomer. Someone who hasn’t quite learned the basics yet. What’s wrong with being a noob? Nothing. What’s wrong with letting an editor THINK you’re a noob? EVERYTHING. You may be new, but you don’t have to make the mistakes your fellow newcomers will.
Be more competitive and edge out those other so-and-sos but taking heed to these five freelance writing noob mistakes. Some are so common you’ll want to bite your thumbs off in embarrassment for even coming CLOSE to making them. Only one directly pertains to dealing with editors, but at least one other one will give you a serious competitive edge in your writing. Many noobs fail to heed this advice to their peril. Don’t be one of them;
5. Admitting up front “I have no experience.” Never lead off a query letter by saying you have no publication experience. If you don’t have any experience, just DON’T MENTION IT. If the editor ASKS you for clips, THEN address the issue. If your query letter has caught someone’s eye, you have a much better chance if you let them ask rather than wave a big, red flag.
4. Spending a lot of money on writer’s market books. Books that have market information can be a GREAT help, and don’t think I am saying NOT to buy them. I am saying that you should make your purchases carefully and try to save your money. Use the library, do your research online and spend wisely. You will learn many things from all kinds of books. Don’t invest in resources to find markets until you know the game well enough to understand what size markets are right for you at this point in your career. Here’s THE SECRET about writer’s markets: If everybody knows about a particular market and it’s well represented in the writer’s market guides online and in print, how many thousands of queries do you think those poor editors get in a single day? That’s right, enough to paper the San Fernando Valley.
3. NOT buying a copy of the AP Style Guide and The Elements of Style. I have been writing since 1987, I am very nearly to the point of bringing in six figures a year from my writing and editing work and I train and mentor new/intermediate writers. And I still use these two books regularly. They are THE resources you need to improve your work no matter how long you’ve been playing the game. These two books are cheap and short, full of the best knowledge you can get about the actual mechanics of good writing. Continue reading Top Five Freelance Writing Noob Mistakes To Avoid