Category: Freelance Life

Writers VS. Editors: We’re All Winners Here!

Without writers, there would be no editing; but without editors, there would be no good writing. 

Illustration by Ramiro Roman
Illustration by Ramiro Roman

I’m a freelance writerI’m also an editor. This has put me in the unique position of being on bothsides of the pitching, drafting, and publication process.

I consider myself primarily a writer for now (after all, my business is called LittleZotz Writing, not LittleZotz Editing); however, I have a passion for both fields and feel myself more and more divided as time goes on. (LittleZotz Editing may become a real thing at some point!).

Both freelance writing and editing are pretty darn great. There are a lot of pros to both!

There are also a lot of cons though…

Let’s take a look at some of the basic “pros and cons” for each, shall we? Continue reading “Writers VS. Editors: We’re All Winners Here!”

Blogging VS. Freelance Blogging

There’s only a one-word difference between the two, but it makes all the difference…

Illustration by Ramiro Roman
Illustration by Ramiro Roman

In my time as the Associate Editor and Community Manager over at Be A Freelance Blogger, I’ve noticed that a great many people don’t know the difference between “blogging” and “freelance blogging.” This has caused some issues behind-the-scenes seeing as bloggers who want to pitch to us at Be A Freelance Blogger need to send in topics related to how to be a freelance blogger. If you pitch to us, your post idea has to cover both freelancing and blogging. It can lean more in one direction than the other (heavy on blogging, light on freelancing; heavy on freelancing, light on blogging), but both elements need to be present in order for your submission to be considered a serious contender.

So what is the difference anyway? Continue reading “Blogging VS. Freelance Blogging”

5 Things to Expect When You Become a Mentor

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.
Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

I started mentoring fellow writers looking to go freelance in 2013 and I’ve learned a lot since then! 

Last month I shared five tips for people interested in hiring a mentor. But then I realized that some of you are past that point. Some of you are ready to become mentors yourselves!

Well, I’ve mentored dozens of people at this point, and I’ve boiled down my experiences — just for you! — into five things I think you “must” know before getting started:

1. No matter how clear you are, some people will still be confused.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned at my Associate Editor job, it’s this: An astonishing amount of people — even those who call themselves “writers” — don’t like to read. So no matter how informative you are on your sales pageyou’re still going to get questions. Continue reading “5 Things to Expect When You Become a Mentor”

5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Mentor

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.
Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

Books and blogs are great, but you can’t ask them questions…

So there you are: You’ve read all the books, you’ve skimmed all the blog posts, you’ve subscribed to all of the newsletters, and you’ve had long chats with your peers in the freelancing community. And yet, somehow, you’re still not “ready.”

You feel “stuck” and you fear messing up. You’re paralyzed and you have no one to turn to for answers to your most “stupid” questions. (The ones your peers would scoff at and make snide comments about without truly providing answers…).

Sounds like you need a mentor!

But there are a few key questions to ask before you hire one: Continue reading “5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Mentor”

10 Common Invoicing Mistakes Made By Freelance Writers

The difference between being a freelance writer and writing as a hobbyist? Getting paid.

Illustration by Ramiro Roman
Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Why is it that so many freelancers – writers or otherwise! – have such a hard time getting themselves paid?

My rates are stupidly “reasonable” (AKA: Too dang low!*), but I’ve never once had any qualms about getting paid. Invoicing has always been something I’ve excelled at.

*I’ve been slowly raising them over the past few months.

And considering the importance of invoices, you’d think that freelance writers would do everything possible not to make any mistakes. However, such is not the case!

Here are ten of the most-common mistakes I’ve witnessed freelance buddies and/or mentees making with their invoices: Continue reading “10 Common Invoicing Mistakes Made By Freelance Writers”

30 Writing + Freelancing Questions from My Mailbag (Part 2)

Celebrating my 30th birthday!
Celebrating my 30th birthday!

This is part two of a two part series answering commonly-asked freelancing/writing/editing questions from my inbox.

Hello again! Welcome back.

Last time, I covered these 15 questions:

  1. “Is it really okay to e-mail someone as an ‘interview?'”
  2. “How do you deal with rejection?”
  3. “What do you do to feel more professional when working from home?”
  4. “What field of writing brings in the most money?”
  5. “Most important skill as a freelance writer?”
  6. “How do I figure out my rates?”
  7. “What’s been your biggest challenge owning your own freelance writing business?”
  8. “What’s a question you’re tired of answering?”
  9. “Do you know a place online anywhere that fellow bloggers/editors hang out? I’m feeling really green and I could use some camaraderie…”
  10. “How do you get rid of an annoying client?”
  11. “I think my rates are too high for the company I’m interviewing for – should I lower them or keep them the same?”
  12. “Do you ever write sponsored guest posts for clients looking to promote their product/service?”
  13. “Why don’t you use ads/affiliate marketing on your site?”
  14. “Why do editors sometimes accept a pitch but then reject the post?”
  15. “How can you tell when a client’s going to be no good?”

This time, I’ll cover 15 more! Sound good? Good. Here we go! (Feel free to scroll to the questions/answers most relevant to you).

16. “How do you get old fogies to respect blog writing?”

Continue reading “30 Writing + Freelancing Questions from My Mailbag (Part 2)”

30 Writing + Freelancing Questions from My Mailbag (Part 1)

Illustration by Michael Cervantes.
Illustration by Michael Cervantes.

Freelancer questions, writer questions, editor questions…

Okay! So here’s what’s up:

I turned 30 this year. That’s a pretty big deal to me. And, even though said event happened in early January, I wanted to keep the “30” thing going for a while longer and answer 30 commonly-asked questions from my mailbag. 🙂

Then I realized I was a couple questions shy due to so many commonly-asked questions being repeats, so I turned to the wonderful community at Be A Freelance Blogger to fill in the gaps. (They’ve got a lot of questions over there!).

Without further ado, here are my answers to some of your freelancing/writing/editing questions! Feel free to scroll through for the questions/answers most relevant to you — it’s a long post! Continue reading “30 Writing + Freelancing Questions from My Mailbag (Part 1)”

How NOT to Get Your Guest Post Published

Rejection is part of being a professional writer… But, don’t get yourself rejected for any of these reasons.

EditorFacepalm

When you’re a freelance writer looking to get published on blogs or in magazines, the process will generally look like this:

  1. Send in a pitch/query that wows the editor.
  2. Send in your article/guest post.
  3. Get published.
  4. Rejoice.

Or, if things don’t go as well, it might look a bit like this:

  1. Send in a pitch/query that doesn’t wow the editor.
  2. Get rejected.
  3. Think up a better idea.
  4. Try again.

Sure, one scenario is more pleasant than the other; but they’re both perfectly normal outcomes. Getting published is part of being a professional writer, but so is rejection.

Unfortunately a lot of writers get rejected for really, really dumb reasons.

Despite What You Might Think, Editors Aren’t Against You!

If you look at the scenarios I’ve listed above, Step One is always the pitch/query. Pitches are extremely important! They’re also where most writers either excel…or get it so, so wrong. And usually they only have themselves to blame.

I’ve been working as the Associate Editor and Community Manager for Be A Freelance Blogger for just shy of a year now. In that time, I have read hundreds of pitches. And I have rejected most of them.

Honestly, it’s the worst part of a nearly-perfect job. I don’t relish rejecting writers. On the contrary, I get so extremely happy when I get a great pitch, I will often call out to my significant other in the next room to say “Someone wrote a good one!!” It’s exciting because, as a writer myself, I know how elated the writer on the other side is going to be when I write back and say “This is awesome.”

I want you to succeed. In fact, I’ve already written a few articles on the pitching process to try to help you succeed:

But, I feel like I haven’t written enough. I’m still rejecting far too many pitches. And I’d like to change that. Hence this article.

This time around, I’ve gotten permission to share a few of the e-mails I’ve gotten. That’s right: You’re getting a behind-the-scene’s look at a pitching editor’s inbox.

Here are six ways to NOT get published: Continue reading “How NOT to Get Your Guest Post Published”

You Just Lost Your Biggest Client!…Now What?

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.
Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

And you thought paying your taxes was depressing! (It was “Tax Day” here in the United States yesterday).

When it comes to clients, freelance writers tend to follow a fairly specific pattern. It doesn’t matter how many clients we have in total — there are always two who stand out the most. We have our “favorite” client (the one who treats us with the most respect, offers up fun side perks, and is all-around awesome to work for no matter what the pay scale) and we have our “money” client (the one who pays the most). We often call the latter our “biggest” client because, well, they account for the “biggest” chunk of our income.

Even if your “biggest” client isn’t your “favorite” client, they’re still immensely important. They’re the client who’s funding your dream life — your career as a freelance writer — in the most literal sense. When you pay your bills each month, they’re the one you thank. And each day you don’t have to go back to working the fast food drive thru, you give a grateful hat tip to their mighty wallet.

So what happens when you suddenly lose your “biggest” client?

…Oh, @#$%! Continue reading “You Just Lost Your Biggest Client!…Now What?”