I am a technology journalist with over 20-years of experience. I am currently working full time as a senior writer with a fairly major publication. I am trying to see if I can earn some extra money doing freelance work and was looking for advice on how to go about finding it.
At this stage of my career I am not interested in bylines, just the extra money. Are there any suggestions you might be able to offer on how I might go about finding even remotely decently-paying gigs, where I don’t really have to use my real name when pitching for a job?
Thanks for writing.
Using a pseudonym has a long and respectable history. In the U.S. using a pseudonym is legal as long as it’s not used for illegal purposes.
There’s really no reason you can’t just pick a name, write and submit under that name.
You won’t, of course, have credits you can point to, at least not at first, but the strength of your writing should be enough.
Most U.S. banks will also make it fairly easy to set up an AKA (Also Known As) on your business account. The new banking regulations make this a bit tougher, but sit down with the bank manager and explain you’re going to be writing and accepting checks under a pseudonym.
An alternative is to write under your pen name and bill under your real name. Most publishers are happy to do this too.
As far as finding gigs, you query, submit on spec, etc. just as you did in the beginning.
Another approach would be to use your real name but write in a completely different field. If, for example, you ski, you could use your current writing credits to help get assignments about skiing. The chances of your current employer making the connection between you and articles on a non-tech topic are slim.
I’m also wondering if you have some sort of a contract or agreement with your current employer that spells out what sort of limitations, if any, they put on you freelancing for others. My hunch is they would be most concerned about your writing for competing tech publications. If you’ve got an agreement, review it so you know where you stand from a legal point of view.
I know some of my readers regularly use pseudonyms. Any thoughts about this?
Write well and often,
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