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The NYWF-ty List

Intro

NYWF is National Young Writers Festival and this is the “NYWFty” (“nifty”) list because it is truly nifty and is full of the resources the young writers were asking me and other people about at all the #NYWF2018 sessions over the past weekend. 

Closing ceremony at National Young Writers Festival 2018

In-house job sources

Freelance work sources

Publications list

This is not a complete list but these are some of the main literary publications. The Australian Writers Marketplace may have a more extensive list but it also doesn’t have a complete list – publications pop up and fold all the time. And not all these publications pay the same rates etc. 


Too young?

NO. Start now. Practice. You are not going to be great at it out of the box but you want to do this because you feel you have a knack for it? So then do it, start now, practice, start submitting, submit to both free and paid things. Aim for low paying things if that makes you feel less nervous about it. 


Image from MEAA of wooden printing press block letters arranged to spell freelance against a white background

When should I start getting paid?

NOW. 

If you have an unpaid opp that might pay off in other ways for you, then go for it. But at the same time, consider pitching and writing for paid opportunities. You may not get them but you will learn a lot about how to pitch and how to write each time you get rejected and you will get better. 

And you might get them. If it makes you nervous, find lower paying places first and start with those and work your way up.

Start with Excel to keep track of your pay. As you earn more, you can move to Rounded which MEAA members get a discount on and which is tailored specifically for Australian freelancers.


Rates

  • The MEAA rates are a good source of support for arguing for people to accept perhaps not a MEAA rate but the rate that you are offering them. We are working with IPEd, ASA and APA to make sure the rates are up to date and relevant. MEAA has a rate tracker so please add data to it. The more you add the better we can fine tune the rate sheet. 

    MEAA rates on the rate sheet are not the rates recommended for freelancers starting out but mid-career freelancers who have been doing this for about say five to ten years or so full time. So don’t be freaked out by the big numbers. 
  • What I recommend per word for writing: 50 cents to $1 per word if possible
  • What I recommend for editing per hour: $55 to $100 per hour 
  • Several places will offer you a set fee per piece of work that is lower than these rates. Work out how long it will take you in hours to write it and then decide if it works out ok in terms of hours and your usual hourly rate (and any other factors) so you will know if it works out as a good choice for you to take the work. 
  • If you have copyright, you can rejig and resell pieces to different markets. 
  • As a freelancer, your rates must include built in amounts for savings and super. Here is a bit of help on how to set an hourly rate.

What about Super?

  • Rollover all your superannuation into one fund
  • Set up an automated transfer of $20 per week into your fund
  • This will get you an extra $500 from the Federal Government at the end of the tax year that will cover your super fund and insurance management fees with a bit left over.
  • Opt for the insurance that comes with your super and don’t bother with one external to it. 
  • Media super is the publishing/media industry super fund but there are others.

Rejections

  • Rejections will always happen. It doesn’t matter how good your work is because sometimes it isn’t at all about how good your work is. Other factors out of your control can lead to rejection. 
  • Collect the rejections. Keep a tally of them. If you aim for wins, it can be hard to maintain motivation. Aim for collecting rejections because that will keep you submitting, pitching and trying. This idea came from Kim Liao and her friend originally I believe but many others have copied it and succeeded.
  • Ask for feedback. You many not always get it but when you do, it may be useful. And it will also really hammer home the point that sometimes your work is good but there are other reasons for why they cannot publish it. I get emails all the time of “crap we have gone through our budget for the moment, sorry.” 

MEAA

Benefits of joining: 

  • Me – you get to chat to me and so many other delegates and can pick their brains on working in the industry
  • Networking – the potential to network is huge and massive. The more involved you are with the union, the more people you have a way of meeting and get to know within the industry. 
  • Free entry to awards – just being a finalist in any of the state/national awards is amazing on your CV. Freelancers can always enter any categories. 
  • Mailing list camaraderie – if you are a freelancer this definitely applies to you – you get to chat and meet other freelancers and ask questions and get opportunities
  • Free/discounted training and workshops
  • Opportunities to create and make political change – we have a ton of campaigns to change laws around employment, freelancing and working conditions. A recent win was ousting Justin Milne which was achieved by both members and non-members.
  • Optional add on insurance for freelancers (roughly about $200 ish extra per year)
  • Advice on contracts, payments and other issues in dealing with individual clients
  • Support and advice on dealing with harassment etc.
  • Being part of initiatives to make freelancing and in-house work better and safer for everyone

Tertiary enrolled students (PT/FT) can join for $55 per year
If you aren’t a student, you can join at the lowest rate of $365 per year.


If you liked this post and it was useful, awesome! I will keep adding more to this. If you have suggestions or bits I forgot or more questions, leave them in the comments. 

And share it if you found it useful. 

Marisa is a globetrotting freelance writer, journalist and editor with cat for hire (her, not the cat). She is usually based in Melbourne but is currently flouncing around in Perth for a week for the Inaugural 2018 KSP - Varuna Foundation Fellowship. She will be at Melbourne's Continuum and online running a Writers' Bloc course in the coming weeks.

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