It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or seasoned freelance writer; there will be periods of paid freelance writing dry spells, where you’ll have to find ways to supplement your writer’s income. When the ebb and flow of jobs seem to ebb as opposed to flow, it’s time to use your writer’s ingenuity to create your own opportunities, instead of waiting for opportunities to come knocking.
If you’ve established a great working rapport with editors and publishers in the past, it’s perfectly okay to send out a search and reconnect query, letting them know you’re available for assignments. You can pitch an article idea geared toward their specific magazine or newspaper guidelines and end on a positive note, asking for their opinion.
Reconnect with editors
I recently did this with two publications I acquainted myself with. Where I got the green light on one, the other refused to budge from accepting contributing writers who would be given a byline for their work—I declined the offer and asked that the publication keep me in mind if things change in its payment policies.
It’s more than acceptable for writers just starting out to write for bylines and exposure. The clips will serve you well when you’re serious about getting paid for your work. Writing for non-profits, at least once a year, for free, will endure you to editors who will be mindful of your free services.
Connecting with editors from your past leaves the door open for future assignments and referrals to other publications. I made this request with an editor I’d worked with over seven years ago, and to whom I pitched a column idea in the beginning of 2013. My column was published in the January Premiere Issue of their lifestyle and entertainment magazine.
After the magazine came out and we’d concluded our business, I received an email from the editor inviting me to post on their magazine’s website. I politely declined the contributor invite and countered by telling her of my mission to expand my writing business; preferably to more paying markets. I ended with a kind referral request from her circle and her response ended on a positive note.
Writers must stay vigilant to succeed in this competitive business by incorporating strategies that will lead to their work being accepted and paid. By giving an editor what s/he wants and needs, you’ll close the deal every time.
It’s always a plus to revisit editors of old to suggest or brainstorm new writing ideas. Tell the editor what you’ve accomplished since writing for them. Be brief and not chatty. They’re still making the decision on whether to accept your article proposal or not. And, believe that they are also asking, “What’s in it for me?”
Weigh your options when having the dreaded but necessary payment conversation. In the end, editor and writer can come to a satisfactory agreement. I’ve found from my experience with editors, they invite a professional dialogue exchange with their writers. They also encourage your ideas for a story or article.
Less is better
When querying magazine editors with whom you’re acquainted, sometimes, less is better. Don’t waste an editor or publisher’s time by writing long drawn out queries when they are familiar with your work and can be briefly reminded.
If, on the other hand, you’re querying a new publication, make sure you read their guidelines; send your query to the right editors for the section of the magazine you want to write for, along with your bio and links to two or three pieces of your work.
If you don’t yet have published clips, send samples of work you have on file. Always address editors by name. You can usually find their information on the masthead or media and contact section of their publication.
Be aware of pet peeves
Finally, be aware of pet peeves many editors have when they’re reading through your query. Know your weaknesses and be willing to put in the work. I’m not a grammatical master, but, I’m on constant learning mode and you have to pay due diligence to become a sought after writer or author.
Learning never ceases and that’s a good thing, because the more freelance writers learn, the more we can earn.
About the author:
Clara Freeman is a freelance writer, motivational author and coach. A former nurse, certified in leadership and coaching, she parlayed a longtime nursing career into a business brand for women empowerment, where she serves as advocate and mentor to women on the path to living authentic lives. To find out more about Clara’s journey and to read ‘truth’ stories shared by other women, visit her website at http://wisewoman2.wordpress.com/. You can also download a copy of her popular eBook, “My Life toward Authenticity-My Authentic Woman Story.