Find A Freelance Writing Job

Consider these three things for a successful freelance writing business: the basics, the tools, the recordkeeping. Read more about it here!

While talent is a must if you want to succeed as a writer, a knack for business won't hurt, either. Here are three areas to take into consideration when trying to launch a successful freelance writing business:

* The basics: In the world of writing, certain practices follow a standard format which you need to adhere to in order to survive the so-called slush pile, the mound of submissions an editor has on his or her desk that will never make it to print. For instance, always query an editor with an idea first unless the editor's guidelines clearly recommend writers submit complete manuscripts. Always address your correspondence to a specific person. Call the magazine's editorial department for correct names of submission editors. There might be more than one if the publication is a large one with several departments. Only address an editor by e-mail if you've been told that's acceptable. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your query or manuscript. If you're not clear about how to write a query letter, consult books for sample letters. Basically, a query should include your idea presented from an unique angle, why it fits the publication you are addressing, and what qualifies you to write the article.

* The tools: Typewriters are out. If you were in the business of writing before computers were as prevalent as they are now, you might be able to get away with a typewritten submission to an editor with whom you have an established relationship. But if you're starting now, you need a computer with a word-processing program, a laser printer, an Internet connection, and an e-mail account to be competitive as a writer. These tools can actually make your job much easier than in the days before personal computers. The simplest word-processing program will allow you to edit your work and correct mistakes before the text is printed. A laser printer ensures a clean manuscript and the ability to reprint it as many times as needed. The Internet connection and e-mail account will link you to a number of markets much larger than pre-Internet writers had ever access to, not to mention the amount of postage, print toner and paper you can save by conducting business electronically. What I like the most about submitting manuscripts by e-mail is the fact that it stretches my deadlines to the last minute. When I use the post office, I usually have to mail a manuscript about a week before it's due to guarantee the editor will have it by the deadline. By using e-mail, I have up to the day the story is due at the editor's desk to click the "send" button. As you get busier as a writer you'll learn to appreciate any extra minute you can find to get all your assignments done.

* The record-keeping: Your computer will also come in handy here. Learn to create databases as soon as possible to keep all your editorial contacts, submissions, potential markets, earnings and expenses neatly organized so you don't have to rely on your memory to recall every single editor's name you've contacted as well as every business-related check you've received or written. The first time you file your taxes, you'll be grateful for your diligent record-keeping throughout the year.

Now, set up your freelance writing business and go find a quiet place to start turning your ideas into profit.

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