I got a nice email from Jennifer Mattern who runs All Freelance Writing. She wanted to make sure I knew that starting next week she’s posting jobs on her site only once a week. She spells out her reasons in a post she called Freelance Writing Jobs No More – Sort Of.
Like Jenn, I eventually stopped posting jobs too. But there are lots of job sites out there and even if you take them all together, they are just the tip of a huge iceberg. Which doesn’t mean you should use them.
Let me say it loud and clear:
Job postings should never be your sole source of job leads!
In fact, most the posted jobs are entry level writing jobs, or quick writing jobs that can be done in a hurry to generated some cash, or places that, if your work accepted, give you the beginning of a decent list of writing credits.
Just as the best corporate jobs are rarely advertised, so it is with the best writing jobs.
How To Find The Hidden Job Market
One of the reasons I keep telling writers they simply must have their own website or blog is because my website, www.annewayman.com, is how I get most of my ghostwriting business. The phone rings and someone needs a ghost. They find me by searching, like what they see enough to risk a call. Some stumble to me through this blog, but not many. Others, of course, come from referrals from satisfied clients. I don’t think I’ve worked a job I found on the net for at least a couple of years, maybe more.
Does that mean there are never good jobs in the job postings? No, of course not! But what, eight or nine out of 10 are likely to be low paying. It takes patience. experience and some luck I think to winnow the gems out. (I think I just mixed another metaphor – sigh.)
The other type of job that’s posted here to keep an eye out for is the lowish paying gig that might turn into something bigger. If it’s advertised that way it probably isn’t. But once you’ve got a prospective employer on the phone, ask where he or she is headed with their business. There are, of course, no guarantees, but again, you may be pleasantly surprised. But it’s up to you to ask!
The Market Has Changed and Is Changing
If you’ve been writing for more than a few months, you simply have to accept that the writing market’s have changed and are changing. If you don’t accept that you’ll just make yourself miserable.
T.W. Anderson has been eloquent about how the market has changed and is changing. He blogs and offers his services at Complete Writing Solutions. Entries like Research in the 21st Century give insights valuable to anyone trying to get a handle on how the writing/research world works today.
Although I was one of the early adapters to writing for the web, blogging mystified me for awhile. In fact, I blogged for probably six months before I had any real sense of what blogging and a blogging community might be all about. Then I learned to twitter, or to tweet. Yes I have a facebook account, etc. etc. etc. And you can pay me via PayPal. I’m fairly current. And I pay enough attention so I probably won’t miss the next big thing completely.
It’s up to you to stay in tune enough so you don’t miss it either.
So Where Are The Good Paying Writing Jobs?
Actually, assuming you don’t live in total isolation, good paying writing jobs are all around you. (And, because of the ‘net, you can live in east podunk and write in metropolitan areas.)
Probably the lowest hanging fruit is commercial writing – the kind that Peter Bowerman teaches so well over at The Well-Fed Writer and in his book by the same name. You’d probably be pleasantly surprised if you called a dozen or so businesses near you and asked how they get their writing done. I’ll bet if you call say five a day for a week you’ll end up with at least one gig.
There are still decent rates to be had in the well known consumer magazines and even, I suspect, at a few of the large daily newspaper. Writer’s Market will be your best source – the online version.
I have a writer girl friend who writes books on a work for hire basis and is making well over $100,000 this year after she subcontracts out part of the work. She got there by working inside publishing houses for awhile, but you could do worse than call a few publishers that service niche markets and find out what’s going on. You might be exactly who they are looking for.
Another ghostwriter I know writes books you’d recognize. She got a referral to one and that has led to several others.
And there are in-house jobs for writers and editors. I suspect there are more now than there were twenty years ago. At least there are more in San Diego, for example. When I started so much of publishing was centered in New York city. That’s no longer true. These jobs aren’t the typical newspaper gigs.
There’s a great deal of stirring going on as folks try to figure out what’s going to replace newspapers, or supplement them in a profitable way. At the moment, that means websites of one sort or another and those companies can be located anywhere.
Look around you; it’s not just sites trying to replace newspapers. I’ve made good money writing for dating sites, real estate sites and know others who have also made money simply because they checked to see what sort of websites were happening in their are. Websites need content. Content means writers. Web writing is not all going to the article sites, not by a long shot. Many employers still want to be able to look their writers in the eye.
Few if any of these jobs are ever listed on sites like mine. First of all, I don’t post inside jobs so you won’t find out if there’s a full-time writing job next door to you on my site. Nor will you find jobs here that require you to go into someone’s office, but over time, I’ve turned office jobs into work at home gigs.
Your local Craigslist is one good place to look. (Are you aware CL lists cities all over the planet?) Even better, call or go in person and introduce yourself as a writer, leave your card. They may not need you today, but you’ll find, if you put yourself out there in a regular way writing work will come to you.
It Really IS Up To You
Much as we might want it to be different, it really is up to me to find the work I want and that pays me what I’ve decided I’m worth. It doesn’t happen automatically, not really. It never has, it probably never will.
Decide what kind of writing you want to do. Decide how much you want to be paid. Then, if you can’t command those kinds of writing jobs right now, figure out what you need to get there in a year or ten. Start working toward what you want and you’ll either get there or someplace else that turns out to be way better than your original dream.
Easy? No, but actually pretty simple. As some might say, Easy Does It; But Do It.
No clue where the image came from originally – got this one from dozens and dozens at google images.