US weekly unemployment claims jumped by 6.6 million, which brought a three-week total to over 16 million. I know a lot of us are struggling right now to make ends meet, but there’s a huge plus side. For writers, this might be the biggest blessing in disguise – a ticket out of Corporate America. So, how do we get back on our feet? Why not look for freelance writing opportunities, which are virtually everywhere.
And this is the topic of discussion today because every author can and should benefit from a day job that includes working at home while you build your platform.
I mean sure, we all want to stay home and write our books while collecting royalties, but what most authors fail to realize is the work that goes into marketing.
Earning a Full-Time Living on Your Books is a Process
Here are just a few things indie authors need to do before they earn a full-time living on their books:
1. Build an Author Platform via a self-hosted blog (social media necessary, but not required).
2. Reach out to book reviewers who review in an identical genre and garner reviews. This is something I’ve learned while I’ll be doing with future Lord of Columbia releases and of course, The Renegades releases.
3. Build a mailing list via reader magnets, joint promotions, cross-promotions, and giveaways. I’ve been conducting this since October with outstanding results. I will be conducting my first giveaway hopefully by June/July.
4. Build relationships with authors in similar genres and themes – this is especially true if you wish to cross-promote.
5. Utilize paid book promotion when and wherever possible.
Related: Best Paid Book Promotion Sites
Alright, so these five points are NOT going to happen overnight. Some authors take between two and four years building a platform before they release any work. Some, such as myself, decided to release prior to building a platform – which allows you to have a product available for potential readers but don’t expect the sales to roll in immediately.
That said, earning money as an indie author doesn’t happen to anyone overnight. It often takes an average of two and four years to see a return on your time and monetary investments. Even for those authors who sold 100,000 copies of their first e-book they released yesterday, just about every one of them spent years platform building – and they’ll tell you it’s not an easy endeavor.
Therefore, we need to find a way to make ends meet while working toward our ultimate goal, and freelance writing is a fine option.
Why Freelance Write?
For one, you can work remote. So if you want, you can bring your laptop to a beach and work. You can work from a coffee shop, cafe, library, home, wherever you want. Your work area can change daily and it’s completely up to you as to which avenue you wish to take here.
For another, we’re naturally writers, so writing is something we’re willing to do every day, even if it’s for someone other than ourselves – and there are a lot of cool blogs, online publications, magazines, etc out there willing to take on new writers. I’ll post links to job boards below so you can sign up for them and gain a head start.
Related: 20 Ways to Improve Your Writing
I mean, wouldn’t it be great to not have to be subject to a timeclock? Sure, you’ll be subjected to meeting deadlines, but that’s about it. And some places have pretty lenient ones, such as contributing one article per week – and if they pay $50 per article and the article takes two hours to research and write, you’re looking at $25 an hour.
Not a bad return.
Further, you only need a few clients or publications to write for and so long as they love your work, you’re set to earn a full-time living here.
Best yet, everything these days is digital, so there’s absolutely no need to travel. You can get paid via direct deposit, for instance, and set everything up online. Often, the company sends you the info they require and you just follow their lead.
No Different from Blogging
Freelancing really is not different from blogging for the most part. If you know how to maximize SEO, use WordPress, and insert links and images, you’re likely good to go.
All you need to do is to find your niche or niches.
I recommend choosing three.
Mine are the NFL, creative writing, and blogging – but I can also do health and fitness for the general population if the right job description calls.
From there, all you need to do is take an idea that might not fit into your blog, pitch it, and they’ll let you know that they’re interested.
Pitching to Editors
Since most editors are swamped, they usually won’t let you know they’re not interested – most will state something like, ‘If you don’t hear from us within two weeks, assume we’re uninterested.
For this reason, most publications are cool with simultaneous submissions (same pitch/idea to different editors) as long as you give them a heads up.
Also, you only need to pitch the idea unless the publication wants to see a full article. I don’t recommend writing an article regarding your idea until an editor states they’re interested. From there, you’ll get a deadline – such as a week from today – to write your article and submit it.
Your pitch shouldn’t be a novel. All you need to do is state a complimentary remark about the publication you’re submitting to (don’t lie – actually read the content and if you can see yourself writing for them, pitch), state your idea in one to two sentences, as well as the subject matter the idea will contain.
Related: Land Freelance Writing Gigs
State when you can have the article ready, and submit.
Make sure you always use the editor’s name and personalize it. Don’t copy and paste. You CAN use a template, but it should be customized to fit that particular editor and publication.
I’ve been following Ditch Corporate America for over a year and it’s helped me market my first book.
I have an article idea I know your blog readers will love and would be honored if you took the time to consider it. My article, ‘How Mastering SEO on Amazon Enhances Your Chances at Getting Discovered’ will cover how to maximize the use of categories and keywords on Amazon’s self-publishing platform. The article will further discuss how inserting keywords into book descriptions will also aid in discovery.
I can have this article ready for you one week from today, on April 16th, 2020. Would this be a good fit?
Thank you for your time,
Short, sweet, to the point. Again, editors don’t have time to get in-depth with your pitch, so make sure you’re as detailed as possible within no more than six lines of text.
How to Find Freelance Opportunities
You should first head over to Google, which is going to be your best friend here.
All you need to do is type in your niche, the plus sign, and write for us in closed quotes.
For example, I know a lot about the Cleveland Browns and the NFL Draft. I can write in the following:
Cleveland Browns + “Write for Us.”
Or I can use something like this:
NFL freelance writing + “Writer Guidelines.”
I’ve found that the better-paying jobs tend to reside with a Google search, and the reason why we’re searching in such a manner is because doing so will garner you ONLY the writer guidelines results and nothing else.
And let me tell you – over three niches you’re going to find A LOT of opportunities.
But, you can also check out the following job boards.
Two places I recommend staying away from are Fiverr and Upwork, as both tend to underpay writers their worth. Both are sadly some of the more popular places to find work online but again, I recommend steering clear of these and any other penny mill.
It’s not worth your time.
However, it’s not a bad idea to guest blog for someone else for free – the reason being that some of these sites achieve high traffic and will list your author website, links to your books, blog, social media channels, and related places to find you. So, even if a gig doesn’t pay, it’s still worth going after due to a likely boom in discoverability – meaning more book sales for you.
You ARE an Online Entrepreneur
Even if you’re writing for different companies, you’re not working for them as a freelancer. For instance, I just landed a gig where I’m an Independent Contractor – a Contributor, not an Employee. Therefore, you’re working under your name and under your time, so long as you’re able to meet a deadline.
It’s like if you owned a heating and cooling business and a local company needed their AC system fixed ASAP. You’re not working for them – you’re freelancing your services.
Related: How to Build a Profitable Blog
The same goes for freelance writing – you’re only working for them if you’re legally employed by them, and nothing more.
Therefore, it’s wise to create a separate blog for freelance writing, just as I have a separate author blog from this site – which of course is dedicated to writing. I also have a site in sub-domain on deck that will showcase my own freelance writing portfolio, which I’ll unveil when the time is right.
Having become an avid reader by night once each daily activity is completed, I also have a book review blog coming as well – notice that everything is branched off in separate niches. This is because for my book review blog – I’m attracting readers – not just readers for my work.
On this site, I’m attracting writers.
And of course, my freelance portfolio attracts – you guessed it – publications that want to see my writing samples.
How to Niche Several Sites for $1 a Day?
The platform I use is Wealthy Affiliate – as for those who follow me also know I have my own NFL uniform-based blog and a fitness blog – the latter of which is more for fun than anything else and it puts my Wellness and Fitness Degree to use.
But, I’ve grown my blogs – especially The Helmet and Jersey Stop – due to the Online Entrepreneur Certification Training I’ve received at Wealthy Affiliate. In fact, in the last two days, that site has seen the following:
- 503 users
- 528 sessions
- 744 pageviews
So, as you can see, the WA Training works and while it’s mainly an affiliate marketing platform – authors, readers, and freelance writers can definitely benefit from it as well. With the Premium Membership, you can actually own up to 25 of your own domains and 25 additional free domains.
You’ll get a keyword search tool called Jaaxy thrown in with your membership, plus you’ll have access to a knowledgeable community as well as hundreds of affiliate programs to sign up for.
And best yet, both the founders – Kyle and Carson – and the community will be with you every step of the way as you build your online business in writing, freelance writing, book blogging, etc.
Click the text below to see how Wealthy Affiliate works for writers.