4 Ways to Get  Online Freelance Writing Jobs

 

Copyright Beth Morrow  
- All Rights Reserved

 

Few things are more exciting to the freelance writer than ideas. Once your mind is mentally conditioned to see the writing possibilities in your daily activities, turning off the ‘who, what and which publication can I pitch this to?’ voice is nearly impossible.

Lucky for you, the numbers of markets for your ideas grow almost daily. When I ventured into freelancing, I made the (correctible) error thinking only in terms of which newsstand glossy was best for my idea. Years of learning my craft, however, has shown me the limitation of my initial belief and given me the uncanny skill of finding at least one market for my ideas. (Yes, even the crazy ones.)

Given the connective power of the Internet, literally thousands of freelance markets exist at your fingertips. Before you dive in, one bit of advice: the best results I’ve gotten from online querying are often from editors and publishers requesting a resume and/or samples (clips) with the query. If you’re like me, for as much as I love writing, I hate resume writing. Do yourself a favor and put together a standard writer’s resume to include (when requested) when you find that perfect writing gig.

 

1.       Freelance Ezines & Market Newsletters

 

Chances are you already subscribe to at least one or two of these daily, weekly, or bi-weekly publications. Visit a writing-related website, enter your email address, and receive free market listings delivered to your inbox on a daily or weekly basis. What could be easier?

One caveat with these listings: examine carefully to make sure you’re not receiving regurgitated listings. Some lists are compiled from outdated sources (even a Craigslist.com freelance job is an old posting after a week or two), so keep an eye out to see when the job was originally posted. Your freelance time is money—don’t waste it emailing editors for outdated jobs.

 

Funds for Writers:

http://www.fundsforwriters.com/FFWnewsletters.htm

Worldwide Freelance Writer:

http://www.worldwidefreelance.com/newsletter.htm

Writing For Dollars:

http://www.writingfordollars.com/

About Freelance Writing:

http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/

Absolute Write: http://www.absolutewrite.com/

Morning Coffee (newsletter at Freelance Writing.com):

http://www.freelancewriting.com

 

 

2.       Freelance Job Boards

 

Freelance job boards are interesting places. Some writers swear by them while others swear at them. The basic premise of these boards is that after you register (some for free, some for a fee), you are free to peruse the board and bid on any job that suits your fancy. These postings run the gamut from ezine articles at one cent per word to copywriting, speechwriting, blogging, scriptwriting, public relations writing and web writing jobs. Some boards allow you to post your resume (told you it was important!) and may offer more features with a paid membership.

 

All Freelance/All Freelance Work:
 

http://www.allfreelance.com  

http://www.allfreelancework.com

iFreelance: http://www.ifreelance.com/

eLance: http://www.elance.com

Freelance Switch: http://jobs.freelanceswitch.com/

Solo Gig: http://www.sologig.com/

MediaBistro: http://www.mediabistro.com

 

3.       Market Databases

 

Instead of featuring a direct job posting, online market databases share links to and information on the spectrum of freelance markets seeking writers (and their ideas). Most databases list publisher/editor contact information and general topics of interest to that publication. Better listings feature editorial calendars, query guidelines, payment details and editorial insight to help target your query. As with other online freelance opportunities, market databases come in free and paid versions. You may even have access to market databases from your subscription to other writing publications and sites. For example, The Writer magazine offers a free market database online for its print subscribers.

If you can, start with a free or limited trial of the market database before upgrading to a full-blown version. Evaluate the site to make sure the listings are relevant to what you write. Also note how often the listings are updated. Finding links to more folded markets than current ones? You might reconsider checking out a site offering fresher guidelines.

 

Wooden Horse Publishing (paid subscription)
 

http://www.woodenhorsepub.com/

Freelance Writing.com: http://www.freelancewriting.com/

Writers Market: http://www.writersmarket.com

Writers Weekly: http://www.writersweekly.com/

Freelance Writing Organization, International:
 

http://fwointl.com/

WritersWrite.com: http://www.writerswrite.com

 

 

4.       Letters of Interest

 

While the first three ways of getting more freelance jobs revolve around you asking an editor or potential client for a position, consider the opposite: telling them you’re available to work for them.

A letter of interest (or LOI) is one of the best ways to approach an editor you’d like to write for to let them know about you. Some liken LOIs to cold calling sales tactics, but if you target your LOIs to specific areas or publications, you have a higher potential of increasing your success rate.

What is an LOI? Put simply, a letter from you to an editor or publisher introducing yourself as a writer and listing your qualifications. The most effective LOIs I’ve used have been short and to-the-point. Here’s a recent sample I sent to a gardening magazine:

 

 

Dear Ms. X,

Hope this finds you well.

My name is Beth Morrow, and I’ve been freelancing for over six years. My articles have appeared in local, regional and national publications, both in print and online.

I’d love the opportunity to write for [your publication]. I’m enclosing a link to my portfolio to give you an idea of my voice and style, as well as a resume detailing my writing experience. I’m more than willing to work on assignment, and look forward to discussion ideas and possibilities with you.

My work has appeared in over thirty publications including [list the names of your publications here, or if you’re not published, discuss the types of writing you do and can send samples of]. I author monthly columns for the [a national group] and Writer2Writer.com, and volunteer as a final copy editor for an online book review site. My first nonfiction business book will be released this summer by [publisher].

In addition, I have volunteered at [local award-winning garden at a city park], for eight years and have served as the editor of their quarterly newsletter for the past four. I have keen knowledge of gardening topics, enjoy researching content, provide clean copy and am punctual with deadlines.

To learn more about me, visit my website at [my online portfolio]. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, or to discuss potential assignments.

I appreciate your time and attention. I’ll look forward to your response. 

Regards,

 

[me!]

Freelance Author, Editor and Columnist

 

If you’re wondering whether or not this works, the editor I sent it to did reply, but only to inform me that they compensate authors with advertising space in their magazine, not payments (yet.). She did state that if they went to paying authors, she’d contact me. Not bad, given the more common lack of response freelancers are accustomed to.

And for the questions I know you good freelancers have: I send all of my LOIs via email, but I know several authors who send them snail mail and include clips and a resume. I don’t sent attachments but instead direct editors to my online portfolio, though I know some authors who include their clips and resume either in the body of the email or as attachments. I do tweak every single letter I send so that they’re all slightly different, even if for the same type of market (i.e. gardening). I do enough preliminary research on the publication’s website or with the print magazine to know what the editor is generally looking for and include that as a selling point. Some freelancers also send a few ideas along with the LOI, an idea I’ll be incorporating next time I send out my own.

Freelancing is one of the most dynamic and lucrative positions for writers. If you’re gifted with a creative mindset that generates ideas at lightening speed or you find yourself wanting to try your hand at breaking in to a new genre, check out one of the methods or markets above. With the steady growth of possible publishers of your work, there’s bound to be an opportunity around every virtual corner. Go get yours.

  

About the author: Beth Morrow is a freelance writer whose two most recent letters of interest to editors earned her two new assignments--on the spot. In June, she’ll be teaching an introductory course on freelancing for the Carolina Romance Writers. Visit her blog at: www.writer-in-progress.blogspot.com for her take on the writer’s life.

 

 

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