Simple tips to make money writing while building your platform for success
If you are looking for ways to make money with your writing – whether you are seeking traditional publishing avenues or branching out through freelancing – you are building a writing BUSINESS.
DEFINE YOUR PATH.
You have to take time to define your reasons for pursuing a writing career. There are some fundamental myths that you need to take into account.
Where you will locate writing jobs will be determined by your reason and way of writing.
I received several emails throughout the month to help me find writing opportunities. I write a query for the job postings – and try to include a lead that will make me stand out from all the others that are trying to get the higher paying writing jobs. I usually average about one per week.
I also keep my eyes open for websites that pay guest posters, print publications that fit within my niche, and contents.
Always be on the lookout for new writing income opportunities. The weekly column that I write came about because my husband saw a new weekly paper in a convenience store. I called the number for placing an ad and asked to speak to the editor. I asked about freelance opportunities and he offered me a weekly column as well.
Seek and ask – repeat.
SECURE THE JOBS
Practice, patience, and persistence – the key being the persistence part.
So – practice writing queries. Traditional print publications will require a query for most submissions.
Writing a powerful query:
1. Know the magazine that you are querying. That means that you need to find some of the magazines and read the articles. You need to know the tone, the material, and even the grammar (some use contractions, some don’t). Many magazines have an online site where you can see some of their archived articles.
2. Know the person you are querying. You will have to find out the editor of the department (don’t trust the website, the market guide listing, or the magazine). The best bet is to call. The print industry is one that is always flipping. If you send your query to the wrong person then it will most likely find its way into the garbage before it is ever opened. Also, make sure you have the right spelling and title.
3. If you haven’t written the article (and I usually don’t) then at least have an outline to guide your query letter. I wrote the perfect query letter and a major print magazine asked to see the article. Only, I couldn’t figure out how to make the exact idea in the query into a flowing article. It was rejected, and they haven’t asked to see another of my articles since then.
4. Read the guidelines. If you have a fiction story and the magazine doesn’t accept fiction, don’t waste the time or money to send the query no matter how good and perfect you think it might be. The guidelines are there for a reason. Follow them specifically (including the number of words) or you will not make it into the respond pile.
5. Check, recheck, and then have a friend check your grammar, titles, and names. During a day when I sent out multiple queries, the name of a rival magazine ended up on another’s query. I wasn’t shocked when I got a form rejection letter. Why should they take the time to look over and evaluate a query when I can’t even take the time to be sure I’ve got the right magazine?
SUSTAIN THE JOB.
Writing as a profession – which means for pay – means writing professionally.
1. Hit the deadline. It is better to be a few days early than to be a few hours late. Plan your schedule so that you can meet your deadlines even when life throws you a few curve balls. I have had to dictate how to send articles from bed where I was struggling with the first months of pregnancy. There is always a way to get it there on time.
2. Follow the work requirements. Do what the job says – nothing more and nothing less. When it comes to writing, too many words can be just as much trouble as too few. Meet the word count that the employer needs not the word count you want to meet.
3. Check your spelling and your grammar. There is a small group of us that will share articles to review the grammar, flow and spelling. Even if you can’t get someone else to review your work you should take the time to do it yourself. Use your spell check but also take a moment to read your article out loud. Many mistakes come to light when given a voice.
SATISFY YOUR OWN WORDS.
My biggest tips for writing your own words while still writing for others:
1. Join a challenge. Many writers I know participate in the National Novel Writing Month each November. That has always pushed me to write my own words every single day no matter how many professional deadlines I had as well. The Christian Indie Authors Network are excellent teammates for this challenge. But don’t stop after November. The 10 Minute Novelist group set up a 365K challenge – and we are pushing each other to write 1000 words each day. Challenges can be great motivators.
2. Accountability – team up with someone that will ask you about your writing and keep you focused on your writing. When I got serious about my daily writing goals, I started telling my children what those goals were – if you want to be held accountable, tell your kids.
3. Deadlines – although it can be easy to ignore your own deadlines, pairing those deadlines with other things (a newsletter or a press release) will make it a little more difficult to find a loophole.
Want to kick-start your writing career? Sign up for “26 Days to Grow a Writer” – a daily email that will provide you with a challenge specifically designed to help you grow up your writing career.
You can sign up today to join in the challenge by visiting www.KathrynLang.com/26day
Your path to your writing success is within in your grasp right now – you just have to be determined enough and maybe a little bold enough to grab it.