Friday, October 13, 2006

Top Five Secrets to Freelance Writing

This article by Angela Booth has some excellent advice concerning launching a freelance writing career. If you're considering going freelance, check it out.

Freelance Writing: Five Top Secret Tips to Ensure Your Success
By Angela Booth

At least once a month I get what I call a "freelance, but..." query. The complete query (500 words boiled down to 25) is: "I'd love to develop my freelance writing career but I'm scared that I don't have the talent, and/ or that I won't find enough work."

Here are five top secret tips which will ensure your freelance writing success:

1. Write

This is the biggie. If you're a freelance writer, your job is WRITING. This means that you need to turn out the words. I keep a mental word count, because I've learned to do that over the years - 1500 to 2000 words a day for me is a good day. A thousand words or under means that I'm in the danger zone - I need to up the word count, and swiftly.

Every pro writer I know keeps a mental word count. However, when you're starting out, you need to keep strict logs of how much you're writing. Keep a word count log for at least six months. After that, you'll know when you're slacking.

If I can feel that my word count is drifting, I start to keep a log.


2. Send out Your Work

Send out your writing to the people who can buy it. Be cold-blooded and mechanical about this. Just send it out. Once you get feedback, you can work to improve your success rate, but unless you send out your work, you're not a freelance writer, you're a hobbyist.

If you're completely new to freelancing, by "send out your work" I mean send queries and proposals, AND write a blog/ Web site so that you get known.

3. Research Markets

Enough said. You need to know who's buying and selling. I recommend Writer's Market. However, DO NOT rely on those listings. Get the magazines, read them, send them similar work to what they're publishing.

4. Target a Market a Month

Pick a market. Target it by sending out queries and proposals to that market - say one a week for a month. Let a month or two go by before you target that particular market again if they haven't nibbled the bait you've tossed out.

If you're copywriting, target a particular Web site, or a group of sites.

5. Aim for Ten Percent

Become Mr or Ms Ten Percent. This means, that you need to assume that you will SELL ten percent of what you write.

As you can see, we've come full circle, from WRITE to TEN PERCENT. Now you can see why you need to write a lot.

Ten percent is about average. For example, if you're writing a novel, you'll write a lot of words, and by the time the novel is published, ten percent of what you wrote ends up on the printed page.

If you're writing a Web site, the same applies -- ten percent. By the time you've done drafts, headlines, outlines, etc -- ten percent makes it online.

I love "ten percent". It's relaxing. You can't obsess over particular words, you just have to keep writing enough. That's not to say that you don't aim to beat Ten Percent. You do, and you can and you will beat it. However, the "beating it" depends on timing and luck, and you can't control that. You can only control what you do, so do it.

There you have it. If you follow these five tips, you can forget about worrying about talent and who will/ won't buy your work, because these tips ensure your success.

Angela Booth is a veteran freelance writer and copywriter. She also teaches writing. Visit her blogs - Angela Booth's Writing Blog at and Fab Freelance Writing at for daily writing inspiration and motivation. Subscribe to the Fab Freelance Writing Ezine at to receive "Write And Sell Your Writing: The Power-Write Report" free. It's 21 pages packed with information to help you to develop a six-figure writing career.

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