Earning Money – Tips for New Freelance Writers

These tips for earning money for new freelance writers are from Ruth E. “I can write about anything!” (TM) Thaler-Carter — author of Get Paid to Write! Getting Started as a Freelance Writer. Here, she shares her thoughts about earning money as a magazine freelance writer. 

Before the tips, a quip:

“It is not hard work that is dreary; it is superficial work,” says Edith Hamilton.

Earning a living as a freelance writer is hard work – but it’s definitely not superficial or dreary! For more in-depth info on freelance writing, read Starting Your Career As a Freelance Writer by Moira Anderson Allen. And, read on for Thaler-Carter’s views on how much money a new freelance writer can expect to make, how to earn more money, and what newbies are surprised to learn about freelance writing….

Earning Money – Tips for New Freelance Writers

Ruth, how much can a new full-time freelance writer expect to earn solely through magazine or e-zine articles?

Ruth Thaler-Carter: Through magazine articles, anywhere from $100 to a couple thousand dollars per article, depending on how well you research the market, know your subject and pitch your article ideas. If you have a great idea or contact for a profile, target the right publication to query, and write a persuasive query letter that positions you as the ideal person to write that story, the sky can be the limit!

E-zine articles tend not to pay much, if anything, so I wouldn’t count on those to make a living. They can be a good way to hone your voice and – maybe – build your visibility.

What are your tips for new freelance writers?

Diversify! You can earn money as a freelance writer by writing for a variety of markets. Research the market to find publications that pay well, rather than spinning your wheels on markets that pay little or nothing. Build relationships with editors and publications so you spend less time on chasing assignments, and can increase your rates for the publications that value your work. Offer other services, such as copywriting, advertorials, tech writing/editing , editing, proofreading, desktop publishing, even teaching, etc..

What is your main source of income?

It’s really a mix; writing, editing and proofreading; publishing; speaking. It seems to be about evenly distributed among those various activities. I like writing the best, though!

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To be successful, what are the 3 most important things a freelance writer should remember?

Constantly stretch your skills; never whine; never give up.

What would surprise people to learn about freelance writing?

A successful freelance writing career is constant work and effort, as well as deeply rewarding – I’m never bored. I’m constantly learning something new and meeting new people, and I love every minute of what I do. I’ve learned to cope with the insecurities of freelance writing.

Why did you write Get Paid to Write?

I wrote Get Paid to Write! Getting Started as a Freelance Writer because I got bounced from a speaking engagement to a writer’s group by a weasely former colleague a few years ago. Not wanting to waste the effort I had put into preparing for the presentation or let that minor setback get in my way, I took my outline and filled in the details. I’ve updated it a couple times to reflect the growth of e-mail, the Internet, websites and other contemporary resources for writers.

What’s your next book called?

Freelancing 101: Getting Started in Editorial Freelancing, to be published shortly by the Editorial Freelancers Association. I’m also working on an expanded, book-length version of Get Paid to Write! Getting Started as a Freelance Writer.

Fellow scribes, what are your thoughts on these tips for earning money for new freelance writers? I welcome your thoughts below…

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