Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Your Self-Supporting Hobby: Some Resources for Freelance Writing

Last post I talked about why you might want to think about freelancing (to support that writing habit of yours financially and to fill up that one sheet for starters) and gave some ideas for discovering what topics YOU specifically can share with others. 

Today, I want to focus on some specific resources that will help you get started in freelancing.

First, take out that list of topics you could write about.

Plenty of these markets are also for poetry and short stories. Keep posted!

You probably already know about The Writer's Market. Published by Writer's Digest this book has been available for a number of years and is now online. Have you ever considered investing in the online version?

The fee is $39.99 per year, in many cases selling a single article would recoup that cost. The online edition can be searched with the touch of a button. I remember spending hours flipping page by page in the written edition. You can also create personalized folders to organize the markets you are most interested in. As the opportunities float in, keep an online calendar and have reminders sent with due dates. There's also a guide with suggestions for how much to charge for an article.

Another major advantage of using the online Writer's Market is the constant changeability of the writing world. It is a major faux pas to address a letter to a past editor. Or why waste your time sending a poem out to a literary magazine that is no longer accepting submissions? 

Funds for Writers has "tips and tools for serious writers to advance their careers." Author Hope Clark discovered it was difficult to pay for all the expenses of writing. She has a background in finance and this opened up the doors to giving money advice to other writers. They have several free newsletters for adults and one for children who like to write. All of the markets they include in the newsletters are paying. They also offer a newsletter with a $1 a month charge behind it that lists over 150 new markets per month. Grants, contests, freelance markets, and contract jobs are all listed in Clark's publications. Its easy to see why this site is one of Writer's Digest's 101 Best Sites for Writers.

Linda Formichelli has an excellent blog for freelancers called The Renegade Writer. Subtitled "living and loving the freelance life on your own terms," it offers prime resources for anyone trying to break into magazines. There are many great freebies here, including help for creating query letters. Some are focused on the financial aspect. Cold calling, knowing what an editor wants, and how to tweak an article fora  particular publication are some recent topics. Another top 101 site I recommend.

Are you interested in poetry or short story markets? Duotrope is a gigantic database specially focused in online markets for your work. Organize and track submissions on this site where hundreds of listings are added and revised weekly. If you are hoping for publication in a literary magazine you will find 4,706 markets and more added daily. The databases comparing various magazines and journals aid in finding the perfect market for your piece.

Short on ideas? One of my favorite features of Duotrope is a writing calendar. Upcoming themes for magazines/journals are included on the calendar. You can also add to the calendar your own submissions. Many magazine editors also use Duotrope to find authors. You can add your writing qualifications and your webistes to your tagline.

Another great megasite for freelance writing is freelancewriting.com. Contest databases are arranged by deadline. There are video tutorials, samples of query letters, and a blogtalk radio audio archive with freelance-related shows. The forums are active with many other writers offering help on a variety of topics.

These are some of my favorite sites for freelancing. Don't forget your own favorite magazines and online publications. Before too long with a bit of guidance you can add to your one sheet and your paycheck.

Do you have a favorite website that has helped your writing career?

Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also enjoys reading and reviewing books for Library Journal, The Title Trakk, and Christian Library Journal.


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Thanks for these resources, Julia! Very helpful!

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

You've mentioned several places I've never heard of before. I can't wait to hop over and check a few out. I knew about the Writers Guide, but the rest was rather new. Thanks so much.

Julia M. Reffner said...


You're welcome. Hope they're helpful!


I've only recently begun to explore what's out there for freelancing, mainly in the hopes of supporting my love for ACFW conferences ;). Hope you find something helpful.

Lindsay Harrel said...

Cool. Have you found a lot of success with querying magazines? I've queried a few magazines in the past and not really gotten anywhere...and definitely not gotten paid for the places I have been published. Is it worth the time you have to put in for the money you earn? Just curious about your experience. (I've heard you usually get 20% of the work you query.)

Julia M. Reffner said...


I'm actually just getting my feet wet and haven't gotten a paycheck yet either. I'll bet those unpaid credits are really building up your resume though. Have you looked into Focus on the Family? Their pay rate is fairly good, I hope to submit to them this summer. My goal is to be able to pay for next year's ACFW conference with freelance assignments.

Jane said...

Thanks. I am aware of most of these resources, but I am not using them consistently. Nice to have them listed in one place.