Tag Archives: The business of writing

10 Tips for Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer


This year marks my 20th as a freelance writer. I’ve learned much along the way— maybe some of what I’ve garnered will help you to begin your own freelance journey.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind as you start up your business:

Think like a business owner.

Remember, you are not only a freelance writer but also a business owner. As a business owner, it’s your job to attract clients and keep them satisfied. The business part of freelancing is your “professional footprint” and equally as important as your writing.

Create a marketing plan. 

Every successful business has a marketing plan. Freelancing is no exception. You should create and implement a plan to interest potential clients and persuade them to use your services. Set goals!

Keep your social media presence professional. 

Your online business and personal interactions should be separate. Set up a Facebook business page where you can interact with clients and customers. Have separate Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts for your business. Create a business web page and/or blog.

hqdefault.jpgMake solid working relationships a priority.

It’s vital to build strong relationships with clients. After making initial contact with a potential client, follow up by email every 4–6 weeks about the possibility of freelance assignments. Try to offer something new, like a link to your Facebook business page or web site. This is effective on two levels: it keeps your name on the list for new projects, and it establishes an ongoing relationship. With both new and customary clients, a solid relationship pays off.

Maintain a routine. 

Freelancing doesn’t mean sleeping in on mornings when you don’t have a project. Every day is a workday. Get up at a set time and “go to the office.” If you don’t have a writing assignment, then your job is finding one.

Remember—nothing is a sure thing. 

You can’t count on a project happening until you have a contract. Sometimes, a publisher will decide not to follow through on a project. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

1Look toward the future.

When I first started out, I had a great freelance job writing 30 hours a week for a client. It was a job that came with healthcare benefits, a 401k plan and the opportunity to write for a leading educational textbook company. My only regret is that I didn’t look beyond the present. When their business slowed, I was let go. I had few other clients to rely on, and it took a long time to rebuild my client list. Lesson learned: Always look to the future and plan for the unexpected.

Save for “rainy days”.

When the economy slows, the publishing industry feels the economic crunch along with most other businesses. Keep several months of living expenses in your savings for times when you have no assignments—and no income.

celebrate Celebrate the positive.

There are days when you’ll wish for a job with a regular paycheck and benefits. During those times, think of all the great things about freelancing: You’re doing something you love, working from home and creating your own schedule. You can take time off to run errands and wear PJ’s all day, if you want . . .

Start each day doing something good for yourself.

For me, it’s prayer and then coffee. I ask God to inspire my writing, and then I make myself a flavored cappuccino or latte. Even better, I pack up my laptop and head to a coffee shop to write . . .

I think I’ll do that right now.
I’m heading for my favorite coffee place
to celebrate 20 years in business.

What else can I say? The freelance life is good.


Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post articles
and inspiration for writers.

fbheader617 copy

*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.


Leave a comment

Filed under Freelance writing, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized, Writer's responsibility, Writing goals

5 Ways Writers Sabotage Their Success

A high-school freshman told me she didn’t want to go to college. “I just want to write novels,” she said. “I can write better stories than the ones I read, and I know I can be successful.”

I admired her confidence, but I pointed out that becoming a successful writer takes more than a desire to write. It takes knowledge, stamina, and a lot of hard work. Writing is more than just writing—it’s a business—and focusing on just writing is one way that writers sabotage their success.

Now, here are four more:

“I don’t know how to

find an agent, submit my work to a publisher, format my novel in Microsoft Word, market and sell my books, etc.”

The good news is you are not alone. Every successful writer started out knowing little or nothing about the publishing business. They went to writers’ conferences, asked a lot of questions, did research, and acquired at least a basic knowledge of how publishing works. By the time they were ready to share their first book with the world, they understood how to get the process started.

Unless you decide to self-publish your book and have a fool-proof plan for selling a million copies (If you do, please share.) learning about the business of writing is essential for success.

“I hate social media.”

The ways that books are written, published, and marketed has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Digital publishing forced many brick and mortar stores to close, and writers and publishers have flocked to social media to promote and sell their books on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and other similar sites.

Some writers, especially those over 50, balk at the idea of electronic publishing and social media marketing. But if they don’t change their habits, they will surely sabotage their success. Today’s publishers demand from writers a strong social media presence. It is one of the key things they look for when considering a writer’s book.

“I don’t have time.”

“I barely have time to write. I’m busy working full time and caring for my family. I don’t have time to spend on social media and learning the business side of writing.”

(Take a deep breath.)

The solution is spending more time not writing. Set aside certain days of the week when you will write and days when you will spend your “writing time” learning the business of writing and building your social media presence. Sure, it’s difficult breaking away from your work-in-progress, but successful writers make time for learning and social media tasks.

“Maybe I’m not good enough.”

You might be your worst saboteur. Tell yourself, “I’m learning to be successful.” Then make time to add to your knowledge, and practice what you learn.

Make a list of questions about the business of writing. If you research the answer to one question each day, before long you will be a business-savvy author . . .

Like I said, becoming a successful writer takes knowledge, stamina, and a lot of hard work”—

but it’s worth it.
Don’t you agree?


Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles and inspiration for writers. And while you’re there, I’d appreciate it if you’ll click on the “like” button near the top of the page. Thanks!



*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.


Filed under The Business of Writing