How To Be A Freelance Writer

How to be a freelance writer! Use these tips to find out the best way to get started!

Freelance writing is a great career for those that like to work at home. It allows you to write articles to your heart's content, and see your work in print in many venues. Be aware, however, that the life of a freelance writer is a hard one. You will face a lot of rejection, and often you won't know where your next paycheck will be coming from. It is advisable to do this career in conjunction with another job.

So you want to be a freelance writer, but don't know how to start? Never fear, the following tips will have you open for business in no time:

Tip #1 Make a Portfolio

Even if you've never published a story in your life, you need something to convince an employer that you can write a gripping, well-written article. Find a few topics that you like, and write articles on them. Read a book and write a review. Listen to a CD and write your opinion in a brief article. Then take this work and put it in a file or on a disk. This is your portfolio.

Tip #2 Make a Writing Resume

Many writers think that it's not necessary to send a potential employer a resume with their samples. This is wrong. An employer will always appreciate a resume, because it's a concise list of your experience. If you send one, chances are you'll get the job.

Tip #3 Search for Jobs

Once you've compiled your resume and samples, start looking for web sites, newspapers or magazines that you'd like to write for. When you find one, call it up and get the name of the editor in chief. Send or e-mail your resume and samples, along with a cover letter expressing your interest in writing for the site. Include a query. (Discussed in Tip #5.)

Tip #4 Tailor Yourself

Make sure that you are sending the right samples to the right places. For instance, if a site is dedicated to music review, be sure to send your music critique. If a site is targeted to adults, send a conservative article, if it's targeted toward kids, send a fun, witty article. Editors will immediately throw away all information that is not relevant to their work.

Tip #5 Include a Query

Many editors will greatly appreciate it if a writer takes the initiative to propose a story. Take a look at the newspapers/sites/magazines that you would like to write for. Can you think of a story that would suit their publication? Send this idea to them in your cover letter. Come editors will ask for 10-15 story ideas, so be prepared.

Tip #6 Be Thorough

Once an editor agrees to take your story, it's up to you to write it well. Make sure that you check spelling, grammar and relevance in everything that you send. Check your word count to make sure it's long enough. Don't assume that longer is better. If you are assigned a 500-word article, make sure that it does not exceed 510 words.

Tip #7 Watch Out for Deadlines

If you've agreed to finish a work for a deadline, don't hand it in late. Because most publications work on a weekly or monthly basis, there is nothing more unprofessional than missing a time limit. If you cannot avoid being late, send a polite letter letting them know the reason why it will be handed in after your deadline.

Tip #8 Follow Up

Once you've handed in an article, wait a small while and then politely ask for feedback. If you are still interested in writing for the publication, let them know of this. Submit some more queries for articles. Maintaining a professional communication with editors is the best way to ensure that they will take you writing again in the future. Good luck!

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