Looking for ways to earn more money from your writing? Robert Bly, long-time freelancer and author of Write More, Sell More, provides guidance.
Some excerpts from his book:
Editors Hate To Take Risks
If you spell out everything in your query letter — your topic, your approach, an outline, your sources — editors know what they will get when they give you the go-ahead to write the piece. The more complete your query, the better your chance for a sale.
If they're still not sure . . .
Don't Take "No" For an Answer
Writing magazines and seminars teach us, "Come up with ideas and pitch them to editors and publishers." But I've had success with the opposite tactic: asking editors and publishers what they want and writing it for them. This strategy is especially effective when receiving a turndown for one of your own ideas. Instead of just grumbling, ask the editor, "What are you looking for?" Many will answer with specifics, virtually handing you a writing assignment.
After you've completed the story . . .
Recycle Your Articles
Sell only first rights with articles and retain all other rights. Rewrite and resell these articles in other markets. Do variations. Most writers do an enormous amount of research for one article or book, then drop the topic. If you can amortize the time spent on that research over four or five related projects, your writing business will be much more profitable.
Find Your Specialty
When supply outweighs demand, pay scales are low. That's why most article and book writers don't earn much money. When demand outweighs supply, writers can charge a premium. That's why specialists earn the big money. Maximize your value by using your knowledge and experience to sell articles that few other writers would know how to do.
Many of Bly's suggestions seem self-evident, yet many writers neglect to employ them. Using them, however, freelancers can become proactive instead of reactive and set their own fees rather than accept the going rate.
For more advice on increasing your freelance writing income, maximizing your writing time, obtaining lucrative assignments, and efficiently handling non-paying research and paperwork, check out Robert Bly's Write More, Sell More, available at your bookstore, via the Writer's Digest Book Club, or through our online bookstore.