Last Updated on: June 20th, 2017
The “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Candace Simonson, and she has a lot of great advice for freelancers regarding writing sites.
Take it away, Candace!
Freelance Writing for the Web
Writing has been a love of my life since I was a small child. My mother read to me, told me stories, and played school with me which encouraged me to pen little stories and fairy tales.
At age ten, I won a reading contest at school – for writing. The student who read the most books for the month won the reading contest. I was only one book away from reading the most and winning the prize. Instead of reading another, I wrote a story, and reported on it – and won the contest. That is another story, which can be read at my website: “
Instead of reading another, I wrote a story, and reported on it – and won the contest. That is another story, which can be read at my website: “The Budding of a Writer.” My first publication came at age 17 with a poem. I was thrilled and bitten, although I didn’t write any more articles until I was in in my 30s.
Write What You Know
Writers will tell you, “Write what you know.” That is wise advice – who can tell what you know and do better than you? Working with Church Education with teachers and students, I read many church education magazines which gave ideas, thoughts, and articles on how to lead, promote classes, and gave HOW-TOs for crafts, games, and lessons. That got me started. Our Christian Ed. department had accomplished some very original ideas which did well and rivaled any the magazines offered.
I began to send in several how-to articles to these magazines giving descriptions of what we did and how we accomplished it. “How to Motivate Teachers,” “A Grab Bag Full of Ideas,” “Sock it to Pop Day,” and “Make a Magic Story Board” were just a few articles published. My writing career was underway as most articles were accepted.
Get Rejected, Do Research, and Move On
Don’t get me wrong, I have my store of rejection letters too! That is part of becoming a writer – developing a tough enough skin to accept the rejections. Many times it was simply the wrong market. Check the guidelines, work the market and gear it to the reader.
My journey began long before the computer age. That meant spending free time at the library, digging through resources, researching facts and figures, looking up writers’ guidelines for various magazines. I bought lots of stamps, paper, and envelopes. I had to learn about queries and
I had to learn about queries and rights, and sent out multiple manuscripts and samples with my SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope). Then the waiting game began – sometimes several months. I had to learn the art of patience and basically forget about my submissions, in hopes of receiving a thin envelope in the mail. A thin envelope meant there was a check inside – a thick one meant they had returned my manuscript.
Writing for the Web
The digital age has brought a whole new world for writers, not only in writing for the web, from the way we do research to formatting and submissions.
Blogging and writing notes in Facebook are one way to write for the web. Your thoughts are published and your name is exposed for style and credibility. Beyond those two mediums, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, and many other online sites will also post articles without review or editing. There are as many websites that will post your fiction or poetry. These are excellent ways to get started and get readability, but why not write well enough to get paid?
Get Paid to Write
Sites such as ehow.com, experts.com, hubpages.com, and many others will pay a one-time upfront payment for articles, but offer no royalties. Think of how many times your work may be viewed. Some sites will pay “per click” – every time someone clicks on your article or on an advertisement listed with your article, you get paid. This could be very low, or very high – depending on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) content. However, there is another market online that pays either per word, per article, or a flat fee. Many paper magazines and newspapers also have online editions, and 90% of them have freelance contributors.
However, there is another market online that pays either per word, per article, or a flat fee. Many paper magazines and newspapers also have online editions, and 90% of them have freelance contributors.
Some magazines and newspapers have both – a pulp copy and an electronic version as well. They may pay for publishing in both venues. Many of these magazines want a query first. Look at their guidelines and follow them explicitly.
More and more magazines have given up the paper copies to go entirely online. E-zines need expert content and most welcome freelance submissions. E-zines thrive on quality content and credibility of its authors. They often pay for first rights; you are free to sell it again (although at reprint rights). Always check the guidelines. A caution – if you have put an article or story on a “free” website or blog, even if it is your own blog, it may be considered published content. In this case, you must be careful in selling it for first rights. It would be
Always check the guidelines. A caution – if you have put an article or story on a “free” website or blog, even if it is your own blog, it may be considered published content. In this case, you must be careful in selling it for first rights. It would be
A caution – if you have put an article or story on a “free” website or blog, even if it is your own blog, it may be considered published content. In this case, you must be careful in selling it for first rights. It would be reprint or second rights.
What Kind of Stories or Articles to Submit?
Online formats look for all sorts of stories and articles. Find your niche. If you like to write about sports, seek out the sports magazines, report on sports in your area, and search for the informative news as well as the entertaining story about a sports figure.
Fillers are a great and easy way to break into a magazine or newspaper. Pulp copies buy many fillers to simply fill up empty spaces. What kind of fillers? Pick up a magazine and flip through the pages. They are full of fun and quick reading paragraphs – “My Most Embarrassing Moment,” “My Happy Place,” “My Guardian Angel,” “My Good Deed,” and on and on. Fillers can be lists (serious – “Five Flags of Autism” or funny – “Ways to Determine Mid-Life Crisis”). Quizzes, puzzles, recipes, reviews (of movies, restaurants, etc.), biographies of interesting people in the community – there are many ways to submit a filler. See what the magazine wants and again – always follow the guidelines.
Pick your genre and write to the topic. What do you know about best? A plethora of choices are available from gardening to extreme sports or entertainment. Do your homework. Look online or buy a sample of the magazine. See if they publish fluffy stories or hard facts. Is it mostly nonfiction information, or do they accept fiction or poetry? Do they include fillers?
Be wise about what you submit. It would be silly to send a travel article to a dog magazine – unless it was a story of dog sledding in Alaska. Many rejections come simply because it is the wrong market, or the author has not followed the guidelines.
Where to Submit?
Finding online writing opportunities is only a search away. A good place to start is http://www.freelancewriting.com/guidelines/pages/. This website lists most online magazines in whatever genre you prefer.
How Much Money Can I Make?
How much you make can vary widely. Most magazines pay by the word, as little as one cent per word and as much as $2.00 or more per word. Note that the higher pays may be few and far between. Some magazines offer a flat fee. It depends on type of rights. Fillers can range from $10-200.
PAY ON ACCEPTANCE = Payment is made immediately upon the manuscript being received.
PAY ON PUBLICATION = Payment is made after it is published (this could be 1-2 yrs. Lead time – usually 6-9 months) – For submissions, think 6-9 months ahead – Christmas articles should be submitted no later than July.
Find your writing interests, search magazines or blog sites, double check guidelines and write away. Writing articles and stories, and even fillers can be a lucrative business if you know how to tap into it.
A Special Announcement from Candace: A New Anthology Has Been Published!
A Quick Read: One Minute Stories from all over the World, released May 2, 2015, began as a fun experiment on LinkedIn.
A challenge was given to authors to create a complete story in twenty-six sentences – A through Z. Each sentence had to begin with a letter of the alphabet. Wonderful stories appeared, from all over the world. With each author’s permission, I compiled these stories into a small, quick, easy-to-read book. What has resulted is a book easy to carry with you anywhere so that you may enjoy a “quick read” anytime.
A Quick Read: One Minute Stories from all over the World is available in paperback, on Kindle, Nook, or iReader at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
A Special Announcement from Lorraine
Back when I first started blogging, I had a free blog on WordPress.com called Lorraine Reguly’s Life. It was a small blog that grew and grew.
When the creative challenge of writing an A to Z story arose on LinkedIn, I decided to tell part of my story with this blog in one of the “quick read stories.”
Here is a sample of a “quick read story” that I contributed to A Quick Read: One Minute Stories from all over the World:
At last, I’m getting a new website for my blog.
Blogging is something I have grown to love during the past year.
Carol, my mother, has no idea what blogging is, but she is slowly understanding the concept, as I get her to proofread some of my longer posts.
December marked the turning point for me.
Edits were made to many of my professional profiles online.
Family relations have suffered too, because I’ve spent more time online than usual.
Growth on my blog has prompted me to consider moving it to a self-hosted site.
Hosts have been contacted and questioned.
In my attempts to select a good host, I had an affair with Google, and learned a lot!
Joomla was a name I had only heard of once before, but didn’t know what it was until recently.
Knowing WordPress is kind of my thing. Lorraine Reguly’s Life is the name of my current blog, but I’m going to be re-naming it when I make the move.
Lorraine Reguly’s Life is the name of my current blog, but I’m going to be re-naming it when I make the move.
Moving is scary. Never had I imagined I would move! Of course, I didn’t expect to write such popular posts, or attain a PageRank of 2 on my free little blog. People now land on my site each day, by the hundreds. Really! Statistics prove it!
Never had I imagined I would move!
Of course, I didn’t expect to write such popular posts, or attain a PageRank of 2 on my free little blog.
People now land on my site each day, by the hundreds.
Quite impressive, right?!
Statistics prove it!
Too bad I didn’t make this decision sooner; I regret it.
Usually, I have the foresight to make good decisions faster than this!
Victory will be mine soon, though.
What is weird is how one particular post has hit the number one slot in Google and has stayed there, providing me with excellent exposure.
X-ray vision is not something I have, otherwise I would have moved to my own site long ago, utilizing the opportunity to grow my PageRank faster.
Yesterday I checked my Alexa rank and was pleased to see over 400 sites linking into my blog.
Zero is probably where my PageRank will start at when I move, but that’s okay with me, as my posts will remain in the number one slot in the search engines, and people will continue to link to my site wherever it’s located, enabling me to grow my PageRank again.
A Second Contribution of “A Quick Read Story”
I also contributed another story, too, called Child’s Play, which serves to show the variety of the stories in A Quick Read: One Minute Stories from all over the World:
Always the entertainer, I had to laugh at my nephew, Bobby.
Bobby was hilarious.
Crouched on a chair, he was babbling to his sister, Tammy, in a language all their own.
Down below, Tammy hid beneath the tablecloth.
Everyone knew she was there.
Fooling no one, Tammy giggled in response to Bobby.
Granted, she was cute no matter what, but she was being particularly cute today.
Having had celebrated her second birthday yesterday, she was still wearing her hat.
Instead of trying to speak, Tammy simply babbled back.
Jumping up, she revealed her whereabouts by yelling, “Boo!”
Kangaroo-like, she started to hop around the dining room.
Laughing, Gran sat and watched the children’s antics.
Maybe Tammy looked more like a frog than a kangaroo, it’s hard to say.
Naturally, Tammy didn’t care what she looked like; she was having fun.
Often she acted silly— that’s what two-year-olds do!
Party hat tilted sideways atop her blond curls, Tammy nearly knocked Gran over, misjudging the distance of her last jump.
Quickly, Gran righted herself, chuckling at the tot’s behavior.
“Ribbit! Ribbit!” Bobby said, jumping and joining his sister on the floor.
Starting to hop across the room with Tammy, Bobby suddenly cocked his head.
“Try to get me, Tammy,” he shouted, continuing to hop around and Tammy gave chase to her five-year-old brother.
Under the table they went.
Vying for attention, Tammy mimicked him with a “Ribbit!” of her own until Bobby spotted a toy and asked Gran to remind him of its name.
“What’s this called, Gran?” he queried.
“Xylophone,” she said, enunciating each syllable.
“Yes!” Bobby repeated. “Zy-lo-phone!” he shouted, pride lacing his voice.
Again, A Quick Read: One Minute Stories from all over the World is available in paperback, on Kindle, Nook, or iReader at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Be sure to buy the book A Quick Read: One Minute Stories from all over the World, too! It’s available in paperback, on Kindle, Nook, or iReader at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Talk to you soon! 🙂
Please thank Candace for sharing her wisdom with us by Tweeting the following message, and then engage with us in the comments below. Feel free to speak your mind and answer the questions, too! 🙂
Thanks for sharing your #freelancingtips in the FITS series, @CandySimonson. Useful!Click to tweet
A few questions for you:
Have you any experience with writing sites? Which ones?
What do like/dislike about them?
Which tips did you find helpful today?
Did you enjoy the “quick read” stories?
Check out the other freelancers in this series:
If you want to raise your freelancing rates, read How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client.
If you want to know why you should be gathering testimonials you can use on your website, read about The Power of Client Testimonials.