7 Fatal Mistakes Made by New Freelance Writers – DON’T Become an Instant Industry Fatality!

7 Fatal Mistakes Made by New Freelance Writers – DON’T Become an Instant Industry Fatality!

Q –

I just graduated and I love to write. I’m also pretty good at it, according to my professors. I’m thinking about putting myself out there, and launching a freelance writing service. Can you tell me about some common mistakes writers make when first starting out? I’d like to avoid them if I can. Thanks!

J.C.


A –

This is an easy one. 🙂

7 FATAL MISTAKES MADE BY NEW FREELANCE WRITERS

1. A HORRIBLE WEBSITE…OR NO WEBSITE AT ALL

With the number of website design services and website templates available, there is no excuse for anyone, even a newbie, to have an unprofessional, amateur website. If  you need ideas, look at websites created by professional writers to see their designs, and the options they offer prospective clients. Here are four clean, easy-to-navigate websites created by freelance writers:

Carmine Mastropierro

Elna Cain

Allison Goodwin

Colin Newcomer

2. CHEAP CLIPS

All writers need clips but writing for free to get those clips is not advised. Most editors can easily figure out if a site doesn’t pay writers (and, hence, didn’t pay you). Why should they have to pay you when you’re working for someone else for free? And, frankly, those sites contain a lot of really awful writing. Don’t devalue your growing brand by writing for free, nor by associating with those types of companies. Remember, those articles will probably be online for years, if not decades – with your name featured right there at the top. Writing for free also devalues our entire industry.

If you need writing samples to show prospective clients, a better idea is to write high-quality, insightful, error-free articles, and post them to your website. Offer those links to editors to showcase your writing talents.

3. INAPPROPRIATE OR DOWNRIGHT BAD QUERIES

Don’t make the mistake of failing to research a market before approaching them. Lots of authors send out mass queries that are on topics not covered by a particular publication. Those writers are usually blacklisted and their future emails are automatically routed to spam. Sending out inappropriate queries is a waste of your and every editor’s time.

Also, your query should be correctly formatted, and should not contain any spelling, grammatical, or punctuation errors. That’s right. ZERO mistakes! Any mistake at all in a query, no matter how small, will tell the editor your future articles will have errors as well. No editor wants to hire a writer whose work will need extensive editing. Editors are busy enough. Sending out queries with errors is a sure-fire way to receive immediate rejections, or no responses at all.

4. PITCHING IDEAS THAT HAVE BEEN COVERED AD-NAUSEAM

You wouldn’t believe how many queries I receive on topics we have covered in the past, as well as queries about very basic topic that have already been over-covered by industry publications. Using a site’s search box can help you easily discover if they have already published an article about a particular topic. Pitching an idea that was recently covered by a particular publication, or that is already over-covered in a particular industry, or failing to pitch a new twist on an old idea is a sure sign you haven’t researched the publication…or that publication’s industry in general.

5. OBVIOUS ERRORS IN YOUR FINISHED ARTICLES

When writing your article, if you are in doubt about grammar or punctuation, or how to word or spell a common phrase, Google it. You can almost always find the answer online. It’s rare these days to find a question that hasn’t been answered. You wouldn’t believe how often new writers misspell common words, like lightening (when they mean lightning). And, of course, always utilize your word processing program’s spell- and grammar-checker.

6. CONSIDERING DEADLINES OPTIONAL

Never, EVER miss a deadline. Instead, submit EVERY story you write BEFORE the deadline. When the editor gives you a deadline, set your own deadline two days prior to that. Get it done even earlier if your workload permits. Editors are far more willing to give additional work to writers who
over-perform.

7. GETTING PERSONAL

Don’t treat an editor like he or she is your new best friend. After they respond to you, don’t send them emails of a personal nature. They don’t have time to read about the barbecue you attended last weekend, or the meal you ate at IHOP last night. One writer recently shared with me his very liberal drinking habits. He thought it was funny. I think he needs A.A. Unless they ask you personal questions, or they mention something personal about themselves that you can relate to, keep your conversation strictly business.

If you follow all of these rules, your writing career has a FAR greater chance of being a success. Most folks who think they’re writers don’t do these simple things and they ultimately fail. Putting in a little more effort can help ensure your success in this industry.

RELATED





Get 10% off "Query Letters That Worked" when you use the code below at checkout!


QUERY10






HowMaster: The Writer's Guide to Beautiful Word Crafting




Author Linda M. Gigliotti draws from years of practice as a private
writing tutor in the guidebook that teaches writers how to format visceral
writing that pulls readers into their book. She explains with instruction
and samples of published works how to craft writing that come to life in the reader's mind.





HowMaster is a wise choice for the writer who wants to weave words around the reader’s heart.


Author Linda M. Gigliotti draws from years of practice as a private
writing tutor in the guidebook that teaches writers how to format visceral
writing that pulls readers into their book. She explains with instruction
and samples of published works how to craft writing that come to life in the reader's mind.




Read more here:


http://booklocker.com/books/2304.html





Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning Speed


A systematic approach to writing that generates better quality quickly!


Chock full of ideas, tips, techniques and inspiration, this down-to-earth book is easy to read, and even easier to apply. Let author Jeff Bollow take you through a process that brings your ideas to the page faster, more powerfully and easier than ever before.




Read more here:
http://writersweekly.com/books/3695.html







The Art and Craft of Writing and Editing


Writing is a constant dialogue between author and reader.



The craft of writing involves an interchange of emotions between an author and a reader. An author creates a story line, conflict, and characters, gives his characters words to speak, and then hands off these materials to a reader. This process results in a constant dialogue between the mental imagery produced by a reader and that proposed by the author.





Read more here:


http://writersweekly.com/books/6712.html







TRAVEL WRITING 2.0: Earning Money from your Travels in the New Media Landscape - SECOND EDITION


Completely revised edition of the ground-breaking travel writing book that provides a road map to success in the digital age. It dives headlong into the entrepreneurial world of blogging and digital books, while still acknowledging the real money to be made in declining print forms.

Drawing on interviews and survey responses from more than 100 successful travel writers and bloggers, this is the definitive guide to creating success instead of waiting for permission. Written by a veteran, award-winning writer with two decades of experience as a book author, online publisher, freelancer, and blogger.

Read more here:
http://writersweekly.com/books/4814.html





One Response to "7 Fatal Mistakes Made by New Freelance Writers – DON’T Become an Instant Industry Fatality!"

  1. Pingback: How I Made My Freelance Pitches More Original – and Got More Work! – by Charlotte Grainger | WritersWeekly.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.