As an active member of several writers’ forums, I often answer questions from new writers. I know how lonely the life of a freelance writer can be, and how much difference getting some advice, a helping hand, and sympathetic ear can make.
However, when people started contacting me off the forum, asking longer questions, wanting marketing advice, and asking me to critique their work, I realized that this had gone beyond a helping hand and I was in danger of spending half my working time writing for no pay.
So, I decided to set up a coaching service with the emphasis on essays. At first, I ran a four-week Writing Essays for Publication workshop locally to test myself, and decide what I had to offer. I spent a lot of time writing down my own experiences, listing tips and researching markets. I recorded myself giving these workshops, and critiquing the work of all the participants.
I was delighted both for myself and all the participants when all of them managed to have one or more essays accepted by paying publications/ websites during those four weeks. For several, it was the first time they had ever been published.
I then wrote up four weekly modules in a similar format, and offered an email course for those who didn’t live close enough to take part personally. I have writers from all over the world participating in the email course, many from the forum where I helped people for free for so long.
Once again, their success has been my success also and, using the unsolicited praise and thanks I received from many of my students (with their permission of course), I have drawn up a sales page for the course, which I send to anyone who wants details.
I also offer a monthly critiquing service and coaching sessions in person, by telephone or by email, which again has led to sales by my students.
I am regularly in touch with all of my former students with tips and new markets. These useful snippets of information have often turned past students into new coaching clients.
I still give plenty of advice for free but, when the questions become very detailed, I now have an alternative to offer writers, which benefits all of us.
Ann Goldberg has been writing and publishing articles, essays and online content for several decades. She offers a four week email course “Writing Essays for Publication” as well as a monthly or hourly coaching and critiquing service. Contact her atpgoldberg09(at)gmail.com. She blogs at: http://livingandwritinginisrael.blogspot.co.il