October 22, 2003
Learn to Network -- and Double or Triple Your Sales! By Bob Freiday, author of 10 Golden Rules of Freelance Writing and How I Broke Them (How to Break the Rules and Make It as a Magazine Writer) | printable version
When I first "broke in" as a freelance writer and began to actually write full time, I was thrilled to death to be writing for one editor who ran two bi-weekly newsletters and another who ran one. Thus, I had three different publications to write for-- which seemed to be providing me with plenty of work.
At first, I was earning 10 cents per word, which was usually around $185, $225, sometimes even $300 per story. Great! I was excited. But then, with school clothes and Christmas coming up and children's birthdays and such, I realized that I truly needed to expand the business, somehow.
Network for New Business
Hmm. What to do? As always, being a rule breaker, I picked up the phone and called one of those two editors. "Hi," I said. "It's Bob. Just a quick question for ya. Do you happen to know of any other editors who might need a good writer? I'm kind of looking to expand a bit; crank out more work. Do you know anyone?"
And what an unbelievably lucrative phone call that turned out to be! Wow! In a nutshell, the editor said something along the lines of, "Well, Bob. Sure! I know many editors who could use a good writer. And I can comfortably recommend you, for sure. Let's see. Got a pen? There's Joan So-and-So, over at Such-and-Such publication. And Jill, over at That Other Publication. And Jim What's-His-Face, who handles three different newsletters for us. I don't know if you realize it, Bob-- but I'm in a building with about twenty other editors. We publish, like, forty different publications here. And-- OH! Why don't you call Tammy-- who edits This Publication and also That Publication. She's always hungry for good writers. Sure-- let me give you their extensions. Here you go... "
Wow! WOW!! It was unbelievable-- and it's called "networking." I'm sure you've all heard of it. It's what salespeople do as well as people who are looking for new jobs. You meet people, hand out your business card, and network among those people to "make new connections" with even more people. And it works as well with editors as it does for salespeople's potential clients and job hunters' potential employers. In fact, it often works even better -- and sometimes exponentially!! In my initial networking effort -- a single phone call netted me the names of six other editors who needed writers!
Needless to say, as I got comfortable cranking out huge volumes of material each week, I again got hungry for even more work. (Once you get the "machine" rolling, the work becomes easier, and you find yourself with more time to write even more material for even more publications -- kind of like an Article Factory!) So I began to ask my new editors if they knew other editors who needed good writers.
Bingo! Cha-ching! I could hear the cash register chinging after that! Within a few months, I found myself writing for over a dozen different editors, and for over 24 different newsletters. I could barely keep up with the work.
Network for Higher Paychecks
Networking will not only bring you new business, but higher paychecks, as well. For example, when I spoke to some of these "new" editors recommended to me from my existing editors, I found out that some paid 12 1/2 cents per word instead of 10 cents, and some paid 15-cents! Again, cha-ching!! From 10 to 15 is a fifty-percent raise!!
Here's an even bigger raise I "gave myself" by networking: Even earlier in my writing career, just as I was getting started, I was writing um, adult materials for some major men's magazines and a few other "rags." I called an editor, asked him if he knew anyone who paid more than his pathetic $15/story (I didn't say that, of course!), and he referred me to an editor at a different publication, who began buying stories from me at $200 a pop! That was a real doozy of a raise, eh?
The bottom line with networking is, don't be shy!! Don't be afraid to ask! If you don't, you'll always remain at the bottom rung of the ladder. The only way up is to open your mouth -- or put it in an email. Ask, and you very well just may receive!
Bob Freiday, the disobedient writer, is the author of the new book, 10 Golden Rules of Freelance Writing and How I Broke Them (How to Break the Rules and Make It as a Magazine Writer), available TODAY as a paperback or an instantly downloadable ebook. See:
Bob Freiday began his writing career back in 1987, and has published well over 500 articles in more than 50 different publications. He's written for Prentice-Hall, Simon & Schuster's Business & Professional Publishing Division, Inbound Logisitics Magazine, Woman's World, The Asbury Park Press (NJ), Executive Business Magazine, The Aquarian Weekly, New Jersey School Leader, and many others. He's also written book chapters for Prentice-Hall and Prentice-Hall/Dunn & Bradstreet. In addition, before his writing career, he wrote ad copy promoting the likes of Twisted Sister, Aerosmith, Chuck Berry, Blondie, The Stone Pony (Asbury Park, N.J., and of Bruce Springsteen fame), and many other clubs and bands. Originally from Freehold, N.J. (Springsteen's childhood home, and the subject of his song, "My Home Town,"), Freiday now resides in Ft. Myers, FL.