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Tip 5 for Living the Freelance Writing Life: Learn to Market

Updated on June 29, 2012

Important Tip

Since I will be in the Apprenticeship program starting in July, this will be my last Hub on writing tips for awhile. I wanted to include this one because I'm learning how important marketing is for a writer. It also does not seem to come natural to many writers (at least not to me), since we're naturally introspective creatures.

I'm not the type of person that likes to "toot my own horn" or promote myself. However, I'm learning that to be successful as a freelance writer, I must learn how to do self-promotion.

Develop a Marketing Plan

The first step is to develop a marketing plan that suits the kind of writing you want to do. How you market will largely depend on who you are marketing to. For instance, if you are writing a novel or magazine articles, you will target publishers, agents, and magazine editors. A copywriter will be looking to connect with businesses that need his services.

Your marketing plan will be based on your overall business plan, so if you don't have one of those, you need to start with that. Once you know what you want to write and for who, you can begin to target those people and let them know who you are.

How will you market?

There are several online options to do marketing, as well as offline. They include the following:

1. Twitter

2. Facebook

3. Linked In

4. Email

5. Cold calling

6. Traditional mail

The methods you choose will depend on where your desired contacts associate. If you are a novelist, you will want to connect with publishers and literary agents. You can contact them through email or mail or you may find them on Twitter or Facebook. You will definitely find them on Linked in.

Be careful that you don't get sidetracked with social media. It's easy to follow other writers and this is okay as long as you don't forget about who you are trying to connect with for marketing purposes. Other writers can provide tips and information, but the other contacts you make can provide a job.

Create a Marketing Budget

Just like with any other business, freelance writers must have a budget to know how much to spend. If you are a beginning writer and do not have money to use on marketing, create a budget based on your time.

You need to figure out how much time you have to spend sending out emails, or browsing on Twitter for contacts or updating your profile on Linked In. In the beginning of your freelance writing career, you will want to spend a majority of your time marketing so that you can get jobs. Even after you get your first paying work, you will need to develop more contacts to keep the income steady.

Tips for Marketing

Here are a few tips that I have learned about marketing as a freelance writer.

  • Create a website. Do this first thing to have a place to direct contacts to see your best work. This will also provide contact information for you for anyone that happens to find you on their own.
  • Create a writer's resume. While you can do this on your website and should, some people prefer a regular resume attached to an email.
  • Review your website, your resume, and any profiles you have online regularly. Make sure they show your latest experience in writing.
  • Set a goal for marketing and stick with it. It may be to send out 25 emails a week or to tweet every weekday or find 10 new contacts on Twitter. Whatever goal you set, make sure it is reasonable but challenging, and stick with it.
  • Market even when you are busy with work. This is where I fail because I get busy meeting deadlines and forget about looking for new work. When the work is finished, I panic and frantically try to find work. I'm trying to find time to send out at least a few emails while I'm writing.

Marketing is an important part of writing if you hope to make a career at it. Take the time to learn that aspect of your business and you will succeed. You'll be living the freelance writing life sooner than you expect!


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    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks for the tips. Marketing myself is extremely unnatural. Also, I agree with kelleyward in concern about the amount of time one can get sucked into checking Facebook, etc. Internet joke: the big 3 social media firms merged into one mega company. its name is YouTwitFace. :D

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      I also went into this market blindly but I didn't spend much money out of pocket so I don't feel bad about that choice. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. I especially need to limit my time in Facebook etc because it would be better spent writing. Take care, Kelley

    • writeyourwrongs profile image

      John Crowley 5 years ago from Sheffield

      Luckily for me I went into freelance writing full time right after 5 years of working in direct sales. This meant that the tooting of my own horn and the self-promotion wasn't so bad. The part I had trouble with however was telling prospects a price. I was always worried of offending a person by having them think "Blimey that's high!".

      I just force myself to do it now despite feeling uncomfortable, and know that my prices are not particularly high where freelancing is concerned, but I echo your words strongly that yes, writers do tend to have troubles in putting themselves forward for things - only in my case it was just the monetary part of it I had difficulty with.

      Nicely written hub, I'm gonna follow you through your apprenticeship if you don't mind ;-)

    • brittvan22 profile image

      brittvan22 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Nice hub.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All great suggestions, all of which I do! A must read for anyone considering freelancing for a career.