What information should a course for beginning freelance writers include?
If you were signing up for a beginner's course to freelance writing, what type of information would you want that class to include? What questions would you have that needed to be answered in a class that was supposed to teach you about developing your portfolio and getting you started?
If I were to do a beginners course in freelancing I would like it to include the following:
- how to find reputable customers/clients
- time management
- client management
- how to build my portfolio
- How to calculate costs
Never thought about it from a 'course' point of view but I have written a book for beginner freelance writers. I included:
Finding time to write.
Free writing tools that can be accessed online.
Finding clients (including free market databases and free-to-use freelance jobs sites).
Finding and analyzing writers' guidelines.
Developing your existing areas of expertise into writing specialties.
A step-by-step process to produce freelance articles that will get editors’ attention.
When to send a query and when to send in a full article.
Marketing your services online.
My book focused on starting your writing career from scratch with no money, so there were lots of free resources in there. Don't know if that's appropriate for the course you're planning but people really appreciate it. It makes your product worth more to them if they're saving money by buying it.
Have to say that when I took my first ever writing course many years ago the most valuable thing about it was actual feedback from my tutors. They not only edited and critiqued my work but even suggested markets to send it to. Very few affordable online courses have that personal touch now!
Firsly, a freshener in 'living' English grammar. How to start off a story to 'grab' your readers' attention, and that includes doing away with 'weak' verbs.
Don't write: 'I was thinking of taking a walk in the park'.
Instead write: 'I thought I would take a walk in the park'.
It might not be apparent at first glance, it'll sink in after a while.
Secondly, how to interest potential clients (magazine/newspaper features editors/sub-editors). Not being 'pushy' but convincing. You need some of your work 'in print' - paid or unpaid.
Thirdly, a good up-to-date edition of 'Writers & Artists Yearbook' or the equivalent to look for your markets, what to write/send, to whom and how. Not everyone wants it e-mailing to them, some want to see printed paper in front of them when they're sat at their desks.
Fourthly, take your time to think about your subject matter. Research skills are handly to have. If you've been to college/university you'll know about note-taking. This is when it will 'pay' in more than one sense.
Fifthly, read some of Dr.Billy Kidd's hubs on writing.
This is what I do and one thing is vital and this is to learn how to sell.
The principles of marketing and selling apply to any product - and this includes manuscripts.
A manuscript is simply a product that you produce. You now need a customer for that product. The principles of marketing dictate that you should identify the potential customers for your product before you spend time producing it. If there are no potential customers, produce a different article.
Find your market, then produce the right article at the right time, then SELL your article as being better than all your competition.
Oh! That's me. I shouldn't be telling you this!
Rather than billing your writing as 'better than anyone else's', (that's subjective) you'd be o a sounder footing by desribing your work as 'a unique insight and thoroughly researched'.
alancaster149. Agreed, so 'better' is probably the wrong word. I didn't mean better in the terms of quality of writing which, as you say, is subjective. I meant better in the term of unique angle or perspective, supported by better research etc.
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