Getting that first job is the hardest as no one wants to hire an unproven writer (as I’ve come to discover in the past few weeks). So you have to start somewhere, usually at the bottom, at least until you’ve gain some footing.
For the past couple weeks I’ve been working on finding my first writing job and adding to my portfolio. It’s been hard finding the balance between working on my novel and getting paid work for my writing.
I’ve done a lot of research about becoming a freelance writer, the ins and outs and the problems I might come across, etc. Of course, there’s no ONE way to do it and that’s part of the beauty of being a freelance writer. You will have to carve your own path.
If you haven’t already, I’d suggest reading a few books about freelance writing. Start & Run a Copywriting Business is a good place to start if you’re interested in getting into copywriting.
1. Content Sites
After having seen some good reviews about OneSpace (previously known as Crowdsource) I decided to sign up with them first. They have tests that you need to pass to be accepted so they sounded more legitimate than other content sites I’ve come across but… it was a massive fail.
After passing the two prerequisite tests, I found out they weren’t accepting any new writers at this time so it was disappointing to say the least. I’ll probably check back with them later but for now it’s a dead end.
Zerys was also another content site that had decent reviews by writers so I signed up with them and turned in my writing sample. For the sample, I got a writing score of 4 out of 5 stars…but again it didn’t really go anywhere as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of work available.
I also signed up with skyword. It works differently from the other two content sites as you have to fill out your profile and wait for them to match you with assignments. If they ever do.
So these content sites seem to have the same problem of not having a regular stream of work available. I’ll still check back with them regularly but it seems to be pretty slim pickings for now.
Nonprofits are also a good way to build experience. I used to volunteer quite a bit but I haven’t been able to do so for the past few years and I would like to take it up again. It’s always been something I enjoy doing so I signed up to do some volunteer writing work for UNV.
If that’s something you’re interested in it’s definitely worth a look to help build your portfolio.
3. Short Stories/Novellas
I’m a storyteller at heart and it’s what I enjoy doing most. It’s definitely an avenue worth looking into if you’re a fiction writer.
Novels are great but per word short stories can actually make you more money (unless you’re the next J.K. Rowling).
So here a few good publications to look into to help you start out.
Fantasy and Science Fiction
As the name goes, they accept fantasy/sci-fi fiction. They do require the entire manuscript up front though so be sure your story is edited and ready to go.
They accept horror, sci-fi and fantasy and pay 6 cents per word. Not too bad if you’re just starting out.
Heroes and Heartbreakers
They say romance pays and it’s true. At $1,000 per story, it’s a pretty nice rate. It’s great if you enjoy writing romance although they do require longer submissions at 15k to 30k words per story.