The growth of the internet, especially over the last ten years, has lead to a huge increase in the number of people turning to writing as a means of earning their living. The ability to write a document electronically and deliver it online within minutes to the customer, has lead to an explosion in the number of methods available to writers to get work. The flexibility that a writing career can offer when combined with working at home is attractive, and so the competition is fierce with more writers entering the marketplace every day from all over the world.
It’s imperative that you ensure your writing is of the highest possible standard to ensure you continue to attract customers with high quality output. As well as good quality writing, you’ll need to get a flavour of the market that you’re aiming for. Your forte may be fiction and so you may target magazines that publish short stories. Alternatively, you may have a more practical and informative approach to writing and be more suited to technical writing or web copy writing.
Whatever your specialist area, it’s essential to understand what is saleable writing and what is not. If you are taking on a technical writing contract, the subject, content, style and depth of treatment of your work should be entirely in accordance with your customer’s requirement and the commission you have been given. For this reason, you would generally not be able to produce a piece of technical writing and then decide who to sell it to.
Article writing, on the other hand, will require a different approach. If you are trying to sell an article without a prior commission, you will need to research your target publication or market. It’s important to ensure that the article you write would ‘fit’ with the style, type and subject matter of the publication’s other pieces. The article will need to be something that the editor would want to publish, possibly related to some current hot topic or significant anniversary coming up.
If you have received a commission for work, this should specify the subject matter, the length and some indication of the required style for the publication that has commissioned the work. An excellent resource, well worth perusing regularly, is online-writing-jobs.com which has a comprehensive list of job postings that you can look through.
Freelance Contract Sites A booming type of site is the direct contact/contract site. These sites started out as a means of sourcing cost-effective software coding but now carry all types of work including content writing for websites and editing or proofreading contracts. Some of the most popular ones just now are: Getafreelancer.com, Rentacoder.com, Guru.com and Elance.com.
You will notice that there is stiff competition on these sites especially from Asia and the Indian subcontinent where the prices quoted can be much lower than those of equivalent specialists in North America or Western Europe. They are well worth watching though, as new projects are posted every day and the demand for native English speaking writers is very high.
Paul Docherty has over 13 years experience of technical and business related writing, as well as project managing complex technical writing projects. Visit http://www.freewritingadvice.com for more information and free advice on writing either as a job or as a hobby.