Guest Post: Maria Rainier on Freelancing

How Freelancing Can Help You Self-Publish

By

Maria Rainier

As freelancers, we work several small jobs but dream big dreams, many of us burning the midnight oil with our novels-in-progress while freelancing keeps food in the pantry.  Money, however, isn’t the only thing we stand to gain as writers for hire.  In fact, freelancers by the very nature of our jobs can develop useful skills in the business of writing and publication, especially self-publication.

Networking

When I became a senior in high school oh-so-many years ago, the idea of four more years of academia began to appeal to me as much as a soup bowl of BP oil spill for dinner.  I figured I was a good enough writer to make it as a novelist while waiting tables at night, and that college would just be a ticket to alcoholism and debt.  It took three of my most-loved teachers to tell me that I’d be better off wasting time and money at school if for nothing than to network.

They were, of course, right.  Just as networking with college professors and university affiliates helped me publish several short stories within six months of graduating college, freelancing puts writers in touch with numerous contacts.  With many occupations, it’s as much about the people you know as the skill you have, and the businesses of writing and self-publishing are no exceptions to this rule.  Plenty of talented writers go unnoticed because they don’t know anybody in the industry, and plenty of mediocre writers make millions because even though they barely know how to put together a decent sentence, they know how to network.

Maybe you scratch the back of someone in marketing; maybe he or she scratches your back by marketing your newly self-published how-to book.  Maybe you exchange e-mails with a graphic designer, who can then design your novel cover.  The possibilities grow with the number of contacts you gather.

Continuously hones writing skills

Two things make writers write better: writing and reading.  Writers ought to read in their spare time—even for a few minutes by lamplight before their eyelids grow heavy in bed at night—but most importantly they should constantly be writing.  Like any Olympic athlete, writers must undergo constant training, and keeping oneself busy via freelancing can be just the regimen to hone one’s skills.

Diversifies writing skills

If you want their money enough, you can work for anybody and write about anything.  This makes freelancers very versatile writers capable of relaying information and opinions on various topics in different voices.  A freelancer may hand in a business article brimming with professionalism in one hour and blog a carefree piece on hair extensions the next.  The ability to take on different personas and research varying topics to relay them accurately can help freelancers eventually publish something substantial of their own.  Any knowledge gained becomes yours and can be applied to a novel plot, character bio, or evidence in an academic commentary.

Increased awareness of the current market

Freelancers often write on new material—new technology, scientific breakthroughs, new Hollywood gossip, political news, and the like.  This makes freelancers very aware of what is current, what is in.  Freelancers interested in self-publishing can use this knowledge to their advantage: what topics are popular, what books are getting read most by what demographics, what’s controversial right now?

Market your self-published work via your freelance career

With every article or blog post you get published, your bio follows.  If you’ve got a self-published book under your belt, announce it in the bio and add a link if your host allows it—easy marketing.

You can even let your self-published work help your freelance career in turn.  Play it up in your resume and send it out to potential employers.  Every little bit of experience—particularly publication—helps.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, where recently she’s been researching different music degree programs and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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