I'll also be moderating a panel on Six-Figure Freelancing at this year's ASJA's annual writers conference in New York on May 20 and May 21. (I've posted about the annual conference before: if you're serious about your work as a writer, it's well worth the expense.) making money as a writer You'll hear from three uber-successful freelancers: Damon Brown; Wendy Helfenbaum; and Jodi Helmer. Each has a very different career path but all have reached a level of success that many writers only dream of.
Some of the strategies I'll cover on Thursday include:
- Specializing. Early in my career I took on any assignment, on any topic, that was offered to me. That helped me gain a lot of experience but meant that I spent a lot of time getting up to speed on topics as varied an animal dissection alternatives to community leadership schools to charity car shows to religious-based weight loss programs. Today I specialize in health, wellness, nutrition/diet, and fitness subjects (with a bit of psychology and self-help tossed in). It may limit my work opportunities a bit but makes me far more efficient in the long run.
- Developing regular clients. I have moved from doing mostly articles for print magazines to a mix of ghostwriting (mostly books and book proposals), content marketing, and blogging. I'm always looking for regular clients, however--those who will hire me more than once (and hopefully many times!) Even some of my ghostwriting clients have hired me to write more than one book for them, and that means I spend less time marketing myself.
- Working efficiently. Specializing and developing "regulars" is one way to to do this. Another is to use my time wisely. I use my mornings to write and save less challenging tasks (like doing interviews, sending queries, and doing background research) for the afternoons, when I'm not as focused. Sounds simple, but you'll get more done when you take advantage of your natural energy ebbs and flows.
- Building relationships. I do a lot of interviews even today, and always take the time to send personal thank-you notes to those I speak to. I also refer work I don't take on to other freelancers, and attend conferences like ASJA to meet not only agents, editors, and potential clients but other freelancers as well. Being connected means more than having a social media presence; it means having IRL (in real life) connections as well.
Let me know if I can hope to see you this coming Thursday, April 21, in Winnetka, or on Saturday, May 21, at ASJA in New York!