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Monday, November 21, 2011

Tips from the Experts, Take #3: Go Online!

Continuing the series of tips from the ASJA panels in Chicago 10 days ago, we have Gina Roberts-Grey weighing in. Gina is an extremely successful freelancer (and fantastic person!) who has who has written scores of health and consumer issues articles for women's print and online markets including Glamour, Better Homes & Gardens, Woman's Day, Redbook, Self, Essence,,, iVillage and others, as well as numerous celebrity profiles.

Gina built her business writing health features for big women's pubs like Glamour, Redbook, and Women's Health, but several years ago, realized it was time to add something new to her repertoire. "Ads were disappearing, and it was time to create a new specialty from what I had already done," she says. For her, that meant both cracking online markets and developing a new specialty. After writing a 250-word piece on credit cards for Good Housekeeping, she pitched, and got an assignment. Since then, she's written dozens of financial-related articles for that site and for among others.  

More importantly, she says that now the majority of her work and money comes from online sites rather than print publications. "Websites may only pay $1/word [compared to $2/word or more for national print publications], but you can make a lot of money writing for $1/word when you're not doing two, three, or four rewrites," she says. "You write 1,000 words, and you get paid for 1,000 words." [Note: as someone who's experienced "rewrite hell" and "story creep" many times, she has an excellent point!]

So, tip #3: Go online, young man (or woman.) If you're not writing for online pubs, you're missing out. There's more work available online than ever before, and many sites are more open to new writers than their print counterparts. 

"All of your favorite mags have dot.coms. They use original content because they have to, and they're constantly updating their sites" says Gina. "Query those [online] editors. It's easier to break in than going the print route." You can then use those online clips to get your foot in the door with the print publication--or you may find you're perfectly happy writing for the online magazines. Gina and other freelancers agree there's less hassle involved and often a higher per-hour rate as well. 

**Readers, what say you? Do you agree with Gina's analysis? Do you write for online pubs and print magazines, and find that online markets involve less hassle? Please let me know! :)