Greetings, writer friends.

In Part Three of How to Make Money with Your Writing, I touched on publishing a book as a means to make money. However, there is a quicker way to get your writing out there and be paid for it, and that is with freelance work.

For some, freelance work is not necessarily how they viewed making money with their writing. Making money from the ads on your blog, which can solely be about your passions/interests, is different than making money from freelance assignments, when you need to be open to writing about a wide array of topics. If you want to be successful and have a lucrative business doing freelance work, then you have to be open to various topics and “small” jobs, some even unpaid, especially when building your portfolio.

Roger Morris is a professional freelancer who found success in the last few years and became a full-time freelancer in 2012. In an article from Writer’s Digest, Morris essentially states that those who want to write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and websites need to either choose to specialize in a topic (his are wine, food, and travel), or write generalized articles.

He discusses that when sending query letters to the editors of various publications, pitch a couple of detailed ideas for pieces, or even just ask the editor whether they are open to ideas from new freelancers. Steel yourself for rejection, because it will come, but so will the opportunity to write for publications, build your portfolio, and maybe even make some cash.

When you do it right, you can get some assignments writing about topics you truly enjoy — and you can even get the work done on that last summer vacation.


Another approach to freelance work is through public forums like Craigslist (be careful), or freelance websites like oDesk and Elance.

Both oDesk and Elance are sites for companies to post their jobs and freelancers to post their availability. As a freelance writer, you will make your profile and post your job history, resume, and portfolio, as well as a detailed description of what you specialize in. You will also establish your rates for various assignments, and can then browse the website for jobs that interest you.

Elance boasts having nearly 283,000 freelance writers offering services through their web site however, so there is definitely some stiff competition. Really focus on marketing yourself through your profile, and offer good prices for work in the beginning. Every job that you complete will then be listed in your work history, with your “employers” being given the opportunity to rate and comment on your work. When searching through freelance opportunities on these sites, writers will submit a proposal for jobs and employers select their choice.

Another approach to freelance work is through creating your own website via WordPress or Weebly (free and my new favorite; so much easier than WordPress to design with. You don’t need to know about code, plugins, etc., which is a lifesaver for those who are not tech-savvy).

Once you create your website and design your services, rates, and portfolio pages, then it’s time to start marketing yourself. Make a profile on LinkedIn, learn the art of search engine optimization (SEO) so that your website comes up first in Google, join Facebook groups and forums online for writers, and socialize. Part of being a freelancer means being friendly, making genuine connections, and finding the balance between marketing your business but not being the annoying person who sends automated Twitter messages every five minutes.

For an example of a local freelance writer in Phoenix, check out Suzanne Heyn’s website. Look to see how freelancers are doing it. Testimonials are a huge part of any freelancer’s website, as well as being able to discuss short story publications, awards, nominations, etc. This harks back to my earlier blog post about making money with short stories, and how even if you’re not making money from selling them, any time a short story is selected and published, it only further supports your expertise as a writer and someone worth hiring for freelance work.

On next week’s post, I will get more in-depth regarding the pros and cons of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. It is a topic I am very passionate about, being a self-publishing supporter myself, but something I think all aspiring authors should understand before they go about trying to sell their work.

Until then, keep writing and keep dreaming!

For more information on Ashley R. Carlson, see “About the Author” below and find her dilly-dallying at her:

Twitter: @AshleyRCarlson1


Midnight Publishing offers skilled and affordable media architects for manuscript editing, self-publishing consultation and guidance, and author marketing. The ultimate role of the editor is to help the author connect with the reader. A good editor enhances that connection, providing another eye and view for the author. Our editors are artists of language, grammar, and the mechanics that help a manuscript take the journey from ordinary to great. Midnight Publishing also offers self-publishing consultation, query letter editing, graphic and web site design, business copy writing and editing, and more.

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Midnight Publishing’s founder, Lauren Wise, on Twitter: @MidnightWriting