Earlier this week I went to a community Christmas party where I didn’t know most of the people in attendance. These are particularly fun for me as I always relish the opportunity to make new friends in a fun setting. This one was no different except I was able to meet a woman who I am uniquely qualified to help. Forced into early retirement by health issues, unable to commit to a strict schedule due to family concerns, and hurting due to the complete upheaval of her life, she is desperate to find a means of adding to her small retirement income and overall despairing that she’ll ever find one. Why do I think I can help her and what does this have to do with you?
Usually I post book reviews of sci fi, fantasy, or romance fiction titles for you, but this week I have something a little different. Since many of you are writers, aspiring or otherwise, I thought you might be interested in some advice regarding how to make money from home as a writer. Whether you’re looking to supplement your income or replace it, today’s book is a handy stage by stage guide to developing as a paid work at home writer.
Book Review: Freelance Writing Riches by Maggie Linders
Freelance Writing Riches, as I said, gives you a handy stage by stage guide to becoming a full-time paid writer in any subject. The book is a manageable size, with 10 quick chapters that outline how you can start making money almost immediately through to becoming a well-paid writer. Maggie Linders gives as much of a step by step as possible within the scope of the work, including items such as important grammar and organizational skills you’ll need to succeed, writer resources, and some common concerns people have when considering whether to venture down this path. The chapters are well-organized, taking you from absolute beginning (i.e., not making any money as a writer) through to landing high dollar clients and what it takes to remain on that path. It ends with some common questions Maggie has received regarding what it means to be a full-time writing professional.
What I like about this book
Maggie understands that sometimes people who can write can’t wait the months or even years it might take to build up the portfolio you need to go after the better paying clients. Many writers struggle to find a way to do this – it seems to many like a Catch 22. You need a portfolio to land a job, but you need to land a job to build a portfolio. In addition, it can be daunting to go after clients, particularly for those writers who consider themselves introverts (hint, I used to be one of those) or those that haven’t been in the industry very long.
Like any career, there are no shortcuts and Maggie doesn’t pretend there are. However, there are some good entry points that can earn you cash while you build. Maggie discusses each of them in detail and by name and what you need to do to take advantage of them. She provides a breakdown of potential expectations regarding what you can earn and lists (with links!) of resources where these jobs can be found. She also discusses some of the common scams out there and how to avoid being a victim.
What is challenging about this book
Reading through the text, the numbers Maggie provides are completely in line with what I would expect if I were to start over from the beginning. As Maggie says, I wish someone like her had been there for me while I was working my way through a very similar process (and yes, I do remember the ‘old days’ when Demand Media was easier to work for). However, looking closer at the numbers, I realized they might not be so accurate for a beginning writer such as my friend mentioned above, who hasn’t yet mastered research skills, typing speed, or gained much of a background in writing for their field of choice. While I agree whole-heartedly with the pep talk Maggie offers in the introduction, her estimates on how much you can earn from the beginning of your writing career, starting from bidding or broker sites, might be a bit inflated.
Not only are her estimates based on an ability to produce 1,000 words in an hour, they are also based on how consistently you can find and secure orders you can write. In other words, you don’t want to quit your day job until you have a clear idea of how these techniques will work for you. Some of the sites mentioned tend to run on seasonal peaks, and that may make a difference for you as well.
My recommendation is to follow Maggie’s advice regarding developing your sample articles, but also keep track of how long it takes you to produce them. While there may be extra steps involved in producing the high quality you’re looking for in these samples such as getting feedback from friends or relatives, you will want to be sure whatever you submit for order fulfillment is also of decent quality if you want to keep your ratings. Understanding how long it took you to produce a high quality sample will give you a more accurate measure of your writing speed that you can then plug into Maggie’s equations to see what your income might look like for you. Then you can try out some of the sites she suggests to see how often orders are placed that you can grab.
Maggie Linders has produced a much needed resource for individuals interested in getting started as a writer in her book Freelance Writing Riches. The techniques Maggie discusses in this book are techniques I used myself while building my way up, so I know from tested experience that they do work although they may not work as immediately or as consistently as Maggie suggests. Even as a professional working in the industry for several years, I found tidbits and advice that I had forgotten which helped me improve my own brand. Thanks to those reminders, I was able to double my income in a month. You can bet I’m recommending this book to my friend mentioned above and I hope it will be helpful to you, too. Overall, this is the most concise and complete guide to the development of a solid writing career I’ve seen yet. I give Maggie 5 out of 5 stars for this helpful resource.
Also, if you’re a writer, don’t forget to join us in the new #WOW555 Challenge. The prompt is already live and you have the rest of the week to craft your 500(ish) word response. I’ll post a call for entries Friday morning. You can copy/paste your entry into the comments, submit a link to your site where the story is posted or email me your story at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to keep it super-secret who wrote it until Monday’s reveal.