How to Break Into Freelance Writing

by Jean Matthew Hall

A freelance writer is one who works on a self-employment basis. They can work for just one magazine or, more often, for several different publications at a time. The more versatile a writer can be, the more likely they are to be published and paid for their work.

Freelance writing can include magazine articles and stories, curriculum materials, coloring books, online magazines and websites for adults or for children, business websites, ad copy, testing materials and on and on.

Whatever type of writing you choose to do a few basics apply. They include (1) targeting the periodicals to which you submit and (2) creating your articles to fit those target periodicals.

Targeting Periodicals

  • Get organized and prepared—as a freelance writer you’ll be dealing with a number of publishers, website owners, etc. Create a large file for each one.
  • Decide what topics interest you—Most periodicals buy far more nonfiction pieces than fiction. Make a list of things you are curious or knowledgeable about: animals, space exploration, American history, Madagascar, inventions, etc.
  • Research periodicals that relate to those topics—this will be really time consuming. But you want to avoid sending your articles to the wrong types of periodicals, if you want to be published.
  • Start with Market Guides—Google “magazine (or periodical) market guides” and you’ll find a list for your type of writing. They cost about $30 each. Then USE them. Check the material in the front of the guides. Most have lots of information for creating and submitting the articles you are writing.
  • Make a chart—make a spreadsheet type chart for organizing the information on publishers. Include the following for each:

Periodical’s name, acquisition editor’s name, editor’s email or submissions email address, periodical’s website URL, do they accept unsolicited queries, the number of subscribers, target readers (age or business or hobby), list their regular features, what rights they purchase, what they pay, type of fiction they use. Make a column for notes.

  • Choose 5 or 6 publishers to target with your submission.
  • Read and study several issues of each of those periodicals. You can do this by requesting or purchasing copies, reading samples on their websites, reading them in your public library, using your public library’s website “Research Tools.”
  • Study the periodical’s website. Writer’s or Submissions Guidelines are often hidden. Search under “Contact Us” or “About Us.” Also look for author’s terms. Read and follow their guidelines exactly.

Now you’re ready to research and/or write your article or story.

  • Brainstorm ideas. Nancy I. Sanders suggests a “Wagon Wheel” graphic organizer that includes a hub with the types of articles you wish to write and spokes for potential ideas for nonfiction articles. On the side of the page list the topics that have already been covered in the magazine samples you’ve read. Those should help you with ideas to write on the spokes.
  • Contact the publisher with your ideas. Write a short paragraph of description for each idea. Be sure to include how you think it will fit in with that periodical’s focus or theme. Mention any other publications you have written for. Ask the editor if they would be interested in any of your ideas. Be sure to include your contact information and thanks for considering your ideas.

Sound simple? NO!

But it’s worth the effort if you:

  • Want to see your name in print
  • Want to touch the lives of thousands of people with your idea
  • dream of writing an article about the subject of your passion
  • are serious about generating income from your writing.

You can also search for freelance writing jobs in places like:

Job Boards. Try some of the free ones:

  • Problogger
  • BloggingPro
  • All Freelance Writing Job Board

Twitter is a great place to find freelance writing opportunities. Follow several freelance writing job boards like:

  • @Write_Jobs,
  • @WhoPaysWriters
  • @JJobs_tweets

Ask around among friends, family, neighbors, former coworkers.

Make it clear on your website that you are looking for freelance writing opportunities.

Guest blog for free. Such articles not only give you exposure, but also count as writing samples!

Network with other freelance writers on Facebook.

Visit local printers and web designers. Let them know you are looking for freelance jobs, give them a sample or two of your work and a business card. Ask if they will keep you in mind or mention you to their customers.

Join Face Book Groups for freelance writers. A few of these groups are:

  • The Smart Passive Income Community
  • Blogger2Business
  • The Entrepreneur Incubator

Oh! And don’t forget to pray. Ask the Lord to provide opportunities and to put you right where HE wants you with your writing.

Jean Matthew Hall spent twenty-six years teaching children and teens–and loving it! Then twenty more years teaching women’s Bible studies.  She recently signed a contract with Little Lamb Books for a series of picture books. Yipee! The first book should be available in the spring of 2019. Sometimes our dreams come true in ways we couldn’t imagine. Jean’s have.

Click to Tweet: How to Break Into Freelance Writing via @InspiredPrompt with @Jean_Hall – make it clear on your website that you are looking for #freelance #writing opportunities.

 

September Winners

I’m so glad fall is here. Aren’t you? And during the month of September, we had more winners…

The winners of Glimpses of the Savior by Shirley Crowder and Harriet E. Michael are: Marilyn R &  Sadie Trawick.  Congrats!

Alla Drake has been picked to win either an e-book or print copy of Laurel Blount’s book, A Baby for the Minister. Woo hoo!

The winner of Anthology: From the Lake to the River by JPC Allen and various authors is Anne Clare! Yay!

Julie Arduini is gifting You’re Beautiful, a book written by her and her daughter, Hannah to Melissa Henderson. Congratulations!

June Foster won, reader’s choice of format,  A Groom For Mama, a book by Catherine Castle. Yay!

Ellie Gustafon is sending a copy of her book, An Unspeakable Glory, to Emily Rees.

A big THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment. We so appreciate you!

Freelance Writing: Find Your Strength and Focus

This month’s topic is Freelance Writing. It’s a great way to break into the world of publishing and make a little extra money to boot. Here’s a great thought by my friend, Kathy Cheek. Also check out the information about her new devotional release, First Breath of Morning, at the end of the post…

By Kathy Cheek

As I navigated my freelance writing journey I developed a practice that helped me make decisions and move forward in my goals. Today I will share that with you.

Find Your Strength and Focus, then do the thing you are good at with excellence.

The objective I applied in this practice was to look for areas of God’s blessing. What was I doing that I could see He was actively blessing? Where was He opening doors of opportunity? Where was He closing doors?

This will help examine where you should place your focus and will help you recognize your strengths and keep you from spreading yourself too thinly.

You don’t need to keep doing everything you started out doing. As you move forward after a time of trial and error—trying to see what works and what doesn’t, what you like and don’t like, you will most likely discover what is more beneficial to your goals.

Setting Goals for 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Yes, at first you should try everything and then with experience find the areas which you can narrow and focus.

In my experience it was realizing my strength would be devotional writing since I like to be able to pack a powerful message in few words, similar to a poet or songwriter. But there isn’t a market for poetry and I am not a songwriter.

I had tried feature writing, Bible study pieces, lifestyle blog posts, and inspirational pieces, but kept coming back to the devotional writing with my own style and flare. Then I targeted the devotional market and built a reputation and resume as a devotional writer in print and online.  I worked toward the goal of a devotional book, and my first book, First Breath of Morning, has been published and was just made available this week!  (See Below)

I was much happier and more satisfied when I found my strength and could focus my efforts on a writing style that worked well for me. If that changes, I will change my focus. I think it is also important to be open to our dreams changing and shifting over time. Which brings me to my last two thoughts: Be attentive and follow God’s lead. Be ready for Him to open brand new doors.

Kathy’s book, First Breath of Morning – Where God Waits For You Every Day – A 90 Day Devotional is newly released, click on title for ordering info.

Click to tweet: Want to become a freelance writer? Kathy Cheek says, “Find Your Strength and Focus, then do the thing you are good at with excellence.” #WritingAdvice #amwriting


First Breath of Morning – Where God Waits For You Every Day

First Breath of Morning is multi-themed with 90 devotions in six chapters that portray a beautiful picture of our walk with God through drawing near, growing our relationship, leaning into His love, strengthening our faith, trusting Him through every circumstance, and exalting Him in worship. The messages in First Breath of Morning will refresh your faith and renew your trust in God. First Breath of Morning is an Invitation to the relationship God wants to have with us every day and it starts in the first breath of each new morning where He is already waiting for you.

You can find out more about her book at this link on her Devotions from the Heart website: First Breath of Morning Book Info Page.

First Breath of Morning: Click Here To Purchase Paperback  
Click Here to Purchase eBook.


Kathy Cheek writes faith-filled devotions and is published in LifeWay’s Journey magazine and Mature Living, and also contributes to several devotional sites, including Thoughts About God, Christian Devotions, and CBN.com.

Her favorite subject to write about is the rich relationship God desires to have with us and the deep trust it takes to live it out. She and her husband of 33 years live in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and they have two daughters and one son-in-law who also reside in the Dallas area. You can read more of her devotions at www.kathycheek.com.

Kathy is thrilled to announce her book First Breath of Morning – A 90 Day Devotional was contracted to be published and is now available ! You will find info and a description of the book on her Book News page at Devotions from the Heart.

Freelancing: Writing for the Upper Room

By Harriet Michael

The name of this post is supposed to be “Making Money Writing for The Upper Room” but truth-be-told, a writer does not make much money writing for The Upper Room, or any other devotional, for that matter. Devotionals are low-paying work so if you are writing to make money, perhaps you should learn how to tap into some of the more lucrative writing markets. I hear romantic fiction is a pretty solid market.

However, if you are like me—a mostly nonfiction writer with a passion for writing devotions—then yes, you can make a little money writing devotions which will help supplement your other writing income.

Money can be made in two ways when you get a devotion accepted for publication in The Upper Room.

The first of these ways is the check they send you as payment for your devotion. It is only $30 but that is actually pretty good pay as devotions go. (Did I mention that devotional writing is not a particularly high-paying market?) Some publications pay less, and many are actually not paying markets, offering exposure instead. The exposure angle is the other way a writer can make money when his or her work is chosen for The Upper Room.

Yes, the second way to generate money from your The Upper Room devotion is through the exposure you will receive. This is not just a vague, “it will help over time” monetary benefit, though that is true, too. No, there is a specific way that the exposure from an Upper Room devotion can benefit a writer.

The Upper Room has a practice of asking the person who wrote the devotion that day if they would also write a blog post for the blog on that same day. A few years ago, the devotion they chose happened to be about prayer, since prayer is one of my interests. The selection process for the Upper Room takes a long time and between the time I submitted that devotion and when it came out in their magazine, my book about prayer had managed to get picked up by a publisher and had just recently released. Naturally, writing more in the blog post about prayer, telling how I came about writing my book, and posting a link to it, seemed like an obvious thing to blog about, so I did.

That day I sold a lot of books, both print and e-books, and my author rank took a major jump. It climbed to 15,000 out of about a million writers on Amazon.

I mentioned earlier, there are better ways to make money than through writing devotions, but devotional writing pays off in so many other ways. I have been writing devotions in numerous publications since 2010 and have had so many times when a reader contacted me to tell me how God used what I had written to touch his or her heart in some way. This is the biggest reward in devotional writing—the ability to share something God has shown you with others and then watch God amazingly use it again in a reader’s life.

Nonetheless, if you do happen to get a devotion accepted for publication by the Upper Room, they do offer a huge, international moment of exposure for that one day when your devo is spotlighted.

computer, writing

 Click to tweet: Writing for the Upper Room. #freelance #amwriting

 

The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer Episode 5

Jennifer Hallmark here. Welcome to my You Tube series called “The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer.”

I think you’ll enjoy the last segment of our road trip question, Why go? A career as a writer. And starting on October 11th, we’ll go further on our journey down the writing trail and discuss the first of four parts that will answer the question, How long will I stay?

Episode 5: Today’s topic is Launch into the Adventure: Why go? Writing as a career.

Click to tweet: A brand new YouTube series for the beginning writer. Catch Episode 5 on the Inspired Prompt blog: Writing as a career. #amwriting #WritersLife