Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Get Your Name Out There!

I was working on a ghost writing project earlier on this afternoon and realised that I've been covering how to earn money and prosper as a freelance writer on this blog but had not really covered how to get your name out there. It is all well and good relying on ratings on sites like Guru and Rentacoder whilst you find your feet, but spreading the word about your work is a different matter. I, like any other writer, love to see my work in print with a byline that clearly labels it as my work. However, it is tough when you're starting out.

One way to get your name in print is to join a website like Associated Content. The financial reward is related to how popular your articles are but your content will be printed and attributed to you. Associated Content is a useful website for gettig our name out there and can also act as a portfolio for your work should you ever need to show examples to an employer. You never know, some clients ma find you through your AC content.

You can literally write about whatever interests you for Associated Content. There are no restrictions as long as it is clean! If you don't know what to write then you could always use their "suggested content" tool to pick up articles. For example, I wrote one a few days ago about cocktails for 4th of July parties, which was on the suggested list. You can have a read of my 4th of July cocktails by clicking on the link. This is a good example of the kind of work they are looking for. You can also reach the Associated Content website itself by clicking on the link.
It is definitely worth checking out.

If you like the article I wrote then please subscribe to my articles using the "subscribe" tag just under my name. My articles will be sent to you as and when they are published so you can have a read and get a few ideas!

Happy writing!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Your Questions: Spelling!

I received a bit of a strange question last week from a UK writer that was struggling to get and keep jobs from US clients. It isn't one that I thought anyone would ask but that is why I'm responding to it today.

What is the difference between US and UK spelling and do I need to know it?

If you are a freelance writer then you need to be versatile and adaptable. You need to be able to fulfil all of an individual buyer's requirements. If you cannot do that then you will not be able to build up ongoing relationships with select clients that could possibly ensure your business stays afloat for years to come. This is why you should take the time to learn the difference between US and UK spellings.

I was lucky in that I went to college in the US for a year and had to learn the different spellings pretty quickly. I now have a good grasp of both US nd UK spellings, slang and sentence structures. I have clients from both sides of the Atlantic that know I can fulfil any requirements they ask for because I know how to write like a Brit and like an American. There is a number of SEO companies in the UK that are big freelance employers and millions of clients in the US so you really can't afford not to know the difference between the languages. There are definitely fundamental differences.

If you have to be able to spell in the US or UK way quickly but don't know how to then you can use the language settings on Word. That's a good cheat tip! However, you might want to study a few articles on websites like the BBC for UK stye and USA Today for US style. There are writing guides available on the Internet as well.

In the next couple of days I'll be posting a quick guide to US/UK spelling and writing here for your reference so stay tuned!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Your Questions: Getting Paid!

Thanks to everyone that has emailed a question to me since my last post. Rest assured, I will get to them all so stay tuned for the information you want and need. The question that I'm going to answer today concerns payment. Two people asked roughly the same question:

How can I guarantee that I will get paid for work that I do?

The reason why I'm dealing with this first is because it is very important for you if you want to make a living out of writing. It is also a legitimate concern. After all, if you don't get paid then you have no career.

The first and most important thing to know is that there is no guarantee that you will be paid for the work that you do if you do not protect yourself. Agreeing to do work before putting measures in place will leave you open to con artists and those that will take your work and run. I have only ever not been paid for my work once. I made good use of the work I had done and ultimately benefitted from it, but it doesn't always turn out that way. You can try the following to protect yourself and ensure you get paid:

1 - Get A Deposit - Some writers only work on a deposit basis so they get a percentage of the total fee before anything is written. This is great for you because you have something for your work no matter what. However, most buyers are rightly sceptical and will not pay you in advance. They are as mistrustful of writers as writers are of them. They have no guarantee that you will not run off with the money. Also, very few buyers will trust unknown writers with an upfront fee because they have no idea what you are capable of. Try negotiating and remember that there is no harm in asking, but you are not likely to be taken up on your request!

2 - Draw Up A Contract - This is an excellent idea because it gives both writer and client peace of mind. However, it is only suitable for larger jobs in reality because every client knows that a writer doing a job for $50, for example, is not going to take them to court if they are not paid. It is not financially viable. However, for any jobs you do that are over $200 or $300, a contract is a must.

3 - Use A Protected Site - Finally, the best idea and way of protecting yourself! Certain sites, like Rentacoder, require the buyer to deposit the full amount agreed upon for work before you start on the project. The funds are in a neutral escrow and are released to you as soon as the buyer approves you work. There are actually writers that will only work through Rentacoder and ask all potential clients to set up a project for them rather than doing it privately. As long as you complete the work, you are guaranteed to get paid.

So there you have it, a quick guide on how to make sure you get paid! I hope that was useful for you. If you have any questions on this or any other questions that you may want to ask, just give me a shout!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Ask Me Anything!!!

Hi all! I'm back! The last couple of months have been manic here so I apologise for not posting on here a little sooner, but I am well and truly ready to go on here now so look for more posts in future weeks!

I set this blog up to help people looking to break into the world of freelance writing in the near future but in order to do that I need to know what you want to know... if you get my drift!!! This is basically an open invite to anyone with a question to ask about the world of freelance writing. Everyone looking to take a specific career path has questions about the profession they wish to go into, but the questions that I think you may ask might be completely different to those you want to know the answers to. Help me to help you!

If you have any questions that you would like me to answer then please let me know. Just drop me a line at louise.crowley@gmail.com and I will write a response on here as soon as I can. Of course I'd let you know when it's up.

Looking forward to hearing from you all! Stay tuned!!!