Freelance writing is a big, bold, exciting world full of possibilities. You can find success beyond your wildest dreams — if you know where to look and have the right work ethic.
In this sense, working online is similar to working in the “real world.” However, like the real world, people can be toxic jerks — specifically, new “clients.”
If you are a doe-eyed newbie freelancer, hopefully, you haven’t encountered a client with a toxic attitude. If you HAVE, I’m sorry, and I hope this piece helps you avoid people like that in the future. You deserve payment for your hard work — never let a so-called “client” convince you otherwise.
We are going to go through four different types of behavior that toxic clients possess, and why they are hurting you. Afterward, we will dive in deep and figure out how to avoid them altogether.
I usually save the personal posts for my other blog, but I thought I owed all you LittleZotz Writing readers an explanation…
I haven’t written a post here since last October. And, as you could probably tell from my tone in that post, I was feeling very frustrated.
After eight years of writing about the same topic(s) again and again, I felt stuck in a rut. Like I had nothing new/good to say. So I just stopped updating.
Then the awards started coming in… LittleZotz Writing was named one of The Write Life‘s Top 100 Blogs for Writers and one of Positive Writer‘s Top 50! I was honored. And I felt like I had to continue! But…I still had nothing to say.
Imagine for a moment that a friend has invited you over for lunch.
When you get to your friend’s house, you not only eat their food, but you take a shower in their bathroom and sleep in their bed. Then, you put their indoor-only cat outside, take their paintings off the walls, sell their car to a man down the street, and smoke a cigar over their baby’s crib.
Is that any way for a lunch guest to behave?
Of course not!
Now imagine that you’ve been asked to be a GUEST writer. Would you walk into the publication like you owned the place?
You’d be surprised how many writers do! In fact, I get hundreds of e-mails every month from writers who do just that.
I’m the Head Editor of Be a Freelance Blogger and 133T, two online publications that depend on guest writers for content. However, despite the extremely clear guidelines on both publications, an overwhelming amount of writers don’t seem to know what guest writing is.
As freelance writers, sometimes we get hired to write about tough topics. I’ve written about mental health issues, domestic violence, rape, and any number of other negative issues. And it can be rough to get through!
However, writing about depressing topics doesn’t have to depress you.
This is one of the most important blog posts on this site if you’re serious about freelance writing. Every writer – whether you write fiction or non-fiction – needs to learn how to pitch to editors. Or query them. Or send them a letter of introduction.
So let’s talk a bit about what each of those terms means.
Letter of Introduction (LOI)
This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s a letter in which you introduce yourself to the editor/publication. And…that’s about it. You say who you are and mention that you have an interest in writing for them, but you leave it at that. In my experience, LOIs are much less wanted than they used to be – most editors would rather jump straight to the query/pitch. (Though most modern queries/pitches have elements of a LOI in them).
Traditionally, this is a letter written to an editor/publication regarding whether or not it’s acceptable to send in a pitch. However, recently, the term “query” and “pitch” can be pretty much interchangeable (with the meaning more focused on the latter).
This is a letter written to an editor/publication essentially attempting to sell your idea for an article/post/book. You say who you are (the LOI element), and offer up a brief outline of what you intend to write. Most importantly, a pitch should cover why the idea at hand is perfect for the publication you’re writing to. (Editors want to know that their readers are going to be happy with what they’re reading).
The most important thing to remember is to follow the pitching guidelines for whatever publication you’re writing to. If they want a LOI, send them a LOI; if they want a pitch, send them a pitch.
The Writernomicon is a list of 50+ publications that pay writers $50 USD or more for writing blog posts as guest writers.
Well, clearly, it’s based on the classic Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft. Even the cover design – by the talented Ramiro Roman – harkens back to potential designs for that fictional tome. And that makes me laugh. And things that make me laugh are awesome, and; therefore, worthy of publication.
However, the “nomicon” suffix that Lovecraft used, once translated as “Book of Names,” seemed fitting for this book as well – since it’s essentially a list of publishers’ names. A book of names…for writers. Writernomicon.
The way you use this “mystical” e-book is entirely up to you. Personally, I like to look up a publisher that seems interesting and then pitch them an article idea. But you could also think of an article idea first and then look up which publisher seems like a good home for it. Up to you!
Do you need help using The Writernomicon to your advantage? Are you wondering how to write the perfect pitch? Or how to create your freelance blogging website?
I now have a class up on SkillShare that covers everything you need to know to get started as a freelance blogger — and it’s only $10! (Normally a mentoring session with me costs $97/hour, so that’s quite a deal!).
In the class, I cover topics like:
How to get over your freelance blogging fears
How to find your area of blogging expertise
How to write the perfect pitch
How to set up your freelance blogging website
What NOT to do
How to get testimonials…
Go check it out by clicking HERE! (affiliate link).
Last week, I asked you, the readers, what you’d like me to write about next. The response I got most often was “What are the duties of a Managing Editor?”
That’s a great choice! But, boy – this is going to be a LONG post.
I’m the Managing Editor of both a news site and Be a Freelance Blogger. So I have some personal experience in this particular area. I’ve also seen the Managing Editors of the publications I’ve written for in action.
The basic duties of a Managing Editor in today’s online world boil down to this:
Accepting and rejecting pitches. Some publications hire a separate Pitching Editor for these duties but, most of the time, they fall onto the shoulders of the ME.
Editing writers’ posts. As a Managing Editor, you’ll not only be looking for typos and grammatical errors in the posts you intend to publish, you’ll also be making minor rewrites to get the “tone” of the overall article correct, and you’ll also be keeping an eye out for a Call to Action (CTA) at the end so that the post’s final goal is fulfilled (getting shared/getting comments/selling something/whatever).
Uploading and formatting posts. It’s your job to make the posts look pretty before they’re published. This means adding in headers, enhancing certain sentences, adding in a photo or video, etc.
Writing posts yourself. As a Managing Editor you’ll often be called upon to write certain posts yourself. Generally, when something needs to be done RIGHT – and is “too hard” for your stable of writers – you’ll have to take on the task of writing the post yourself. Or, if you’re a publication that accepts guest posts and your buffer has run dry, it could be up to you to fill in the gap in the schedule. So don’t think your writing skills are going to go to waste just because you’re an editor now!
Maintaining a uniform social media presence. Again, some publications hire a separate person to take on the duties of updating the publication’s social media accounts. But, as the Managing Editor, it’ll be your duty – if not to write the updates yourself – to at least take a peek at what’s being written to make sure it’s “on target” with the publication’s overall branding/message. You may also have to edit copy before it’s sent out.
Choosing a writing partner isn’t easy. I’d had failed attempts at collaborations in the past. There were projects that never quite got off the ground, projects that started and then collapsed, and even projects that were finished but never actually published. It was pretty frustrating!
However, after teaming up with two wonderful writing partners, I think I’ve finally got the magic formula for what it takes to succeed.
There are six pages every freelance writer’s website must have to succeed:
You can add other pages – or a blog! – as you want/need them; however, those are the six you must have on your site.
The first four are pages you should put up as soon as you get your site. The last two can be added on as soon as you get them (not every writer starts out with writing samples or testimonials right off the bat).
Blogs are optional. Not every freelance writer’s website needs a blog. Only create one if you absolutely truly want one and plan to update it consistently. The only writers who have to have a blog on their site are those interested in becoming freelance bloggers. If your niche lies elsewhere – like copywriting, for example – don’t pressure yourself into getting a blog. You don’t have to have one.
All right. This is going to be a difficult post to write without seeming like a Self-Congratulatory Braggy Braggart, but I’m going to attempt it anyway since a few of you have asked me about it…
I’ve won multiple writing awards over the past few years. You can see them displayed on the right-hand side of this blog post in the sidebar, if you’re interested in which ones.
Some of you are interested in winning awards too. And I can’t blame you! Not only are they a lot of fun, they also add prestige to your business and can help get you more gigs from better clients. They’re a great thing to have.