Christine begins by outlining the various forms of freelance, everything from writing for an online audience to ghostwriting for someone else. She gives no illusions about how you should be in this for the love of it, especially from the beginning, or you' never survive the grind required to be successful.
From there, she moves on to marketing yourself and the need to establish a presence. The easiest way is to create your own website(as most of us do). Should you blog or just have a site that promotes your services and work? Christine makes it clear that these two things have different purposes - the blog is to connect with readers, while the website is basically an advertisement for your product and services.
She also touches on networking, and in this she emphasizes the need to be realistic. If you're an unknown writer, you're not going to be chummy with the Style Editor at the New York Times. Start by interacting with readers and those in your field. Participate in online forums, and build your connections over time.
From here, she goes on to discuss searching for jobs and the education you'll need, if for no other reason than credibility. These are basic things any freelance writer will require to find his or her way into the market and establish a niche. You have to have some business savvy in both approaching editors and in tracking your business. Then you have to be committed to a lifestyle change that will be necessary to be successful.
In summary, Freelance Writing Guide: What To Expect In Your First Year As A Freelance Writer by Christine Rice will help get you off the ground if freelance writing is where your interests lie. Those who have no idea the elements and entry barriers will find this guide useful in preparing them for the road ahead.
And now, on to the interview!
1. What inspired you to write Freelance Writing Guide: What To Expect In Your First Year As A Freelance Writer?
I knew I wanted to write a book about freelance writing, because I had learned so much during my first year. I decided that I could share my experiences and knowledge as a career guide book. I thought that a book about what freelance writers can expect in the beginning of their careers would have been helpful to me when I embarked on my journey to become a freelance writer, so I wanted to help new freelance writers and save them some time that I had spent on researching and experiencing.
2. In your opinion, what's the biggest obstacle a person looking for a freelance writing career needs to overcome?
Let me share a little story with you. I attempted freelance writing for a short time five years ago, but I quit because the income was so little. What I didn’t realize was the income was low because I was starting from scratch, so to speak. I needed to build a portfolio, learn about the career and all the opportunities available, and improve my writing skills in order to earn more money. I ended up realizing that freelance writing is a rewarding and enjoyable career for someone who has a passion for writing. So if you can look past what looks like not much money, and look instead to what is possible from investing time and energy into your true passion, you will be able to focus on working hard to grow your freelance writing business, and your life will be more enjoyable because you are doing what you love for a career.
3. Your enthusiasm comes through in your work, and I've heard that such passion usually comes from experience. Care to share any stories of your rise into the freelance writers' market?
When I first started writing for Textbroker (a ghostwriting marketplace), I was at a writing skill level of three and making only one cent per word. But as I wrote more and the quality of my articles improved, my skill level went up to level four and I began making 1.4 cents a word. Then I was offered three direct orders that were two cents per word each. Next, I was selected for a team project which paid more than three cents per word for two assignments. It was really exciting to see the rewards increasing with each new opportunity.
4. What was the process like to write this book? Did you outline, or did you just write as inspiration hit you?
One night, after I decided on the title of the book, I sat down and brainstormed. I wrote down, in note form, everything I knew about freelance writing from my experiences and what I had learned in my research. I typed it up, added more details, arranged the chapters and parts, and edited it. I think of it as a pretty formal outline, especially since I hadn’t outlined in a while and didn’t create outlines for my other books. I then wrote in spurts of anywhere from 1,000 to 3,500 words at a time, usually once or twice a week. Towards the end of the first draft, I wrote almost every day. I remember dreading the inevitable editing process, but when the time came it was actually a breeze, because I had put in good effort on the quality of the first draft. The two edits I did took about two weeks each - with a three-week wait time in between - and most of my efforts were spent on the organization of the paragraphs and subtopics within the chapters, and minor grammatical changes.
5. How would you describe your writing style to someone who has never met you?
My writing style can change slightly depending on whether I'm writing for social media and blogging, the kind of book I'm writing, and the type of writing medium. In Freelance Writing Guide, I use what I call a "business-casual" writing voice by speaking to the reader in second person singular (you) in a knowledgeable tone with a touch of optimism. I would generally describe my writing style as pleasant and direct.
6. Did you always envision yourself as a writer?
Honestly, no. As a child, there were many careers I wanted to try when I became an adult. I was interested in psychology, acting, law, fashion design, and veterinary science. I did not follow through with any of those passions for long. I did, however, enjoy writing from age nine onward. I would write short stories, poetry, and journal entries in my spare time. It wasn’t until 2006 that I decided I wanted to become a professional writer, and the passion has stuck ever since.
7. What other projects do you currently have in the works? What kind of timeline can we expect them released on?
In January of 2012, shortly after I began Freelance Writing Guide, I started writing Chronicles of a Troubled Girl - a compilation of all of my journal entries from age nine to age thirty. (It will be a nice companion to my published autobiography, My Not-So-Ordinary Life.) I paused from working on it due to finishing up and publishing Freelance Writing Guide. I plan to continue Chronicles at the end of September and publish it by November. In December, I intend to publish a book of all the articles I wrote as a freelance writer in 2011 called Articles for the Mind - which carries the same title theme as my two published books: Poetry for the Heart and Essays for the Soul. I am also currently working on Freedom from Fat, which is a memoir - composed of journal entries and blog posts from 2010 to ongoing - about my experiences with weight loss and reaching my health goals, which I plan to publish around May 2013 when I have reached my weight loss goals.
8. What kind of stuff do you like to read? Got a favorite book?
I really do not have a favorite book, because the joy of discovering a new book and experiencing the story for the first time makes every book a favorite. Plus, there are just so many great books out there. Right now, I am enjoying reading fantasy and sci-fi books, as well as occasional nonfiction books that help me in my career. I’m currently reading Blood Faerie by India Drummond, which is a dark fantasy.
9. What do you think of the current transformation within the market concerning traditional versus indie publishing?
I think it’s great that indie publishing has become so popular. Writers have the right to get their work published, if they so choose, and indie publishing allows them to do so. I am all for individuals and self-employed business people doing what they’ve always wanted to do - publish a book - and making a living by fulfilling their dream. I am also happy that indie publishing is so inexpensive, because the author - the one true person who put their heart and soul, and precious time, into the book - can earn a more fair share of the sales.
10. What advice would you like to give a newbie writer?
Becoming a writer is a progressive journey; therefore, your skills will constantly be improving and you will always be learning something new. Growth is what being a writer is all about. So be patient and enjoy the journey, and you will reap the rewards.Christine Rice is the author of four books: Poetry for the Heart, Essays for the Soul, My Not-So-Ordinary Life, and Freelance Writing Guide. Her books can be found on Amazon, Lulu, and Smashwords. You can learn more about Christine on her website, her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.