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Things You Need To Know As A Freelancer/Writer, Part 4:

It’s been some time since I lasted post a part. The list isn’t over but it is a bit hard to write when I do want to go into detail on some of the tips. Please remember that you should try all of these things at least once but not all of them will work for you and it very much dependent on you and what you are doing. I am just hoping to get any important information out there where it can be seen since I had a very hard time a) getting straight answers and b) finding relevant information in the first place. The list begins below the fold. By all means add your tips/advice/opinions in the comments.

  • DIVERSIFY YOUR INCOME:
    I think this is advice anyone should take on. If you only have one source of income that you are dependent on, then the moment something happens to destroy that source, you are stuck. In a sense, this means don’t rely on one fulltime/parttime job. Take on two part time jobs or have an investment or even at a deeper business level, do not expect most of your income to come from a few clients/customers. The moment something goes wrong, your cashflow & income is affected. You can lessen this risk by diversifying.
    If you are a writer, do what you do best and sell your work to magazines, edit other people’s work for them, enter competitions and work in a bookstore or in a PR role part time for a company. Take what you want to do and use it in different areas that will give you a different source of income each. When magazines won’t pay you, take on more PR work writing press releases. Even welfare payments are a source of income.
    So do get a part time job that you enjoy because you might write a bestseller but you need to be able to live while you write and while it gets accepted by a publishing firm and while they edit and market it for you. You need to live till the royalty cheques start flying through your mailbox at a rate faster than you can bank them. It will not be overnight.
  • HAVE A FANCLUB:
    Do it if only so that you have some added pressure/incentive to write and to write well. It is extremely good to have people around you that can a) support you and b) be nice when they need to offer advice or critical feedback. It’s also a lot of fun to wake up in the morning knowing you have a fan club – that you have fans. It’s even better when they aren’t related to you. Get them involved – give them a space on your website, get them to broadcast to the world about your writing skills and what they love about your writing, make them feel like they are part of it. They will be thrilled. Be their fan in return. You don’t have to go as far as actually setting a club up but you can still tell them “You’re my fan club president and you are the vice.” and so on.
  • MARKET YOURSELF:
    Please, please, please do not make the mistake of thinking that once you are accepted by a publisher that they will assign you a marketing guru to do this for you. They might but you need to be noticed by a publisher first. Market yourself to everyone you know. In every way possible. Get your name out there, be noticed for your skills – all your skills, not just writing. Someone might notice your cooking skills for example and then find out that you write and then the next thing you know you could have a very high selling cookery book under your name on the shelves. Market yourself, your website, your business, every which way you can that DOES NOT UNDERMINE YOUR CREDIBILITY. When you do market yourself, do it well. Decide what your image is (elegant, fun, flashy etc.) and make sure it is consistent across all your marketing paraphenilia (website, business cards etc.). I will be posting a list of ways in which you can market yourself up here later because it is too complex and long to go into here. So keep an eye out for that.
  • WRITER’S MARKETPLACE/WRITER’S MARKET:
    In Australia, it is called The Writer’s Marketplace. In the U.S. and I think the U.K. as well it is called The Writer’s Market. It’s a book with lists of all the publishing houses, organisations, magazines, newspapers, journals etc. and what they specialise in and their contact details. It also has lists of competitions, lists of resources such as writing centres, editors, agents and so on.  It is invaluable in that sense. Get it and use it. You will need it. Advertise in it if you are an editor.
  • NEVER WRITE FOR FREE UNLESS….
    …1) It will get your name known and looks good on your portfolio/resume, 2) It helps teach you how to write in a different style/genre, or 3) It is for charity or as part of your personal volunteering effort.  Never ever write free for a client that can afford to pay you. They may expect you to do so all the time. If you ever do offer a freebie, make sure it is known by them that it won’t occur again.

There is more to come soon so please check back. In the meantime, please feel free to discuss anything or put forward any tips you have in the comments.

Cheers, Marisa.

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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