Newbie Freelance Writer Needs Advice

Hi Jodee,

I am very new freelance writing. Writing has always been a passion for me, and I finally decided to publish some stuff online. I have published an academic dissertation on and received good feedback.

I have written on Hubpages purely for fun and recently I have started ghost writing, as well as writing for an article directory.

Of course, the income is very low, but it gives me pleasure to research and write. Despite the low income, I ensure that what I write is of high quality.

I have three questions:

1. How to make that step-up form being a content and directory writer, to a freelance writer?

2. What do I need to do to increase my income?

3. Sites like ask for a resume- if new to the business, will a covering letter do?



Hi Iva,

To answer your first question, you already are a freelance writer. The number or type of projects you take on or the size of your pay check doesn’t determine when you get to use this expression to describe yourself. You write and you work for yourself: you are a freelance writer. Congratulations!

If you want to increase your income, start applying for better-paying gigs. The leads posted here at FWJ on weekdays are a good place to start. Get some business cards made and start telling everyone you know that you are a writer and that you’re always happy to talk to prospective clients.

You can also make a list of prospective clients you would like to work with and start pitching them to hire you for their writing needs. Setting up a blog or a web site is another way to get the word out about your writing services.

One thing you do need to do if you want to get hired for writing gigs is to follow the client’s instructions to the letter. If you are asked for a resume, you will need to send one in. Failing to do what you are asked to do will lead to your application being discarded.

Here’s some tips about freelance writers and resumes:

Do You Need a Freelance Writer’s Resume?

How to Translate Previous Work Experience onto a Writer’s Resume

Functional Resume Format for Freelancers

What would you add to Iva’s questions about how to increase your freelance writing income? Do you have a question you would like to get answered in an upcoming column? Tell us what you are thinking in the comments section.


4 responses
  1. allena Avatar

    I’m guessing Iva is an ESL speaker- just picking up a few clues. What I always ask ESL speakers to do is to continue studying English, and get with an editor, proofreader, writing group or a patient teacher who can give them some feedback.

  2. Debra Stang Avatar

    I get several letters like this every week from my writing website. Some, like this one, is well written, and I try to provide helpful tips. However, I also receive some that are so poorly written I know they won’t ever make it as a freelancer, at least not if they are feelancing in English. Does anybody else get that kind of letter, and if so, how do you handle it. I want to be kind, but I don’t want to give false hope…

    1. Susan Gunelius Avatar

      Debra, I get those kinds of inquiries all the time. For example, I received one that said, “I wanna be writer,” and nothing else. I typically point them in the direction of how to learn to be a paid writer. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I started my series here on FWJ “How To Be a Paid Writer” — because I wanted to have a place to point people to.

  3. Killeen Gonzalez Avatar

    This comment is for Iva Re: tips for making more money……First Congratulations on choosing to be a freelancer. Second, I would recommend ( if you haven’t done so already )that you set up a blog that contains samples of your work. You might also want to consider writing for Associated Content, Suite 101 and Triond. Associated Content pays very well. With them you get up front payments ($2.00 to 6.00) as well for PVs. Once you are with them long enough you can also become a featured writer and get $10.00 to $20.00 per article for featured assignments. Suite 101 gives performance bonuses ( 10 % ) once you reach 50 articles. The performance bonuses can be fairly lucrative. Triond pays per PVs only. Third, you may want to consider sites like lists businesses that are looking for writers, marketers, PR people etc. I have gotten well-paying jobs from that web site as well. I hope that those suggestions help. Best of luck to you!

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