Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Are Fiction Writers Capable of Freelancing?

“Creative” and “Fiction” might be considered somewhat synonymous when used as adjectives for the word “Writer”.

“Freelance” is not as often associated with the act of writing fiction.

I’m stepping way out on a limb in this post since I don’t know of profitable avenues for Creative/Fiction writers to pursue in the arena of the freelancers.

What seems more natural is for a writer of fiction to use their creativity in freelancing as a non-fiction, money-making “day job”.

In my previous post, Simple Question ~ Can Writers Make Money?, I quoted Chris Brogan from his ponderings on writers making money:

“The money for fiction authors? Oh, I forgot that part. That doesn’t work. Fiction is about passion except for the very few percent of the herd who really can move books like no one’s business.”


Perhaps, not

I would like to propose a challenge to Creative/Fiction Writers.

I wonder how many won’t take the challenge because they’re right where I am—working too hard on writing the fiction I must write to consider writing fiction for others

Also, I wonder how many people can conceive of the idea of freelancing fiction.

Is there a market?

Why would folks want or need a freelancer to create fictional copy for them?

And, I should point out, I’m not considering ghost writers here, unless, of course, they receive their pay regardless of the book being published

If you’re enterprising enough and have the time, would you even consider discovering a freelance market for fiction writers?

If you want an even greater challenge, consider creating such a market, fostering it, making it come alive

For those of you who would rather freelance non-fiction (and, for the enterprising who might consider discovering or creating a market for fiction freelancing), the site provides a potential resource (or, model).

From a press release:

“ introduces students, professional writers and freelance writers to writing jobs available through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Writers are also able to choose writing jobs that meet their interests and advance their career through a tiered system designed to promote writers for quality and reliability.

“According to Stephanie Leffler, CEO of CrowdSource, ‘We employ a recognition system modeled after offline career paths to motivate and reward our best writers. Those who compose quality work are able to earn a position as an editor. Editors who do a good job can earn a promotion to editorial trainer and so on.’”


Have I pointed toward a resource you might consider using?
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
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25 responses to “Are Fiction Writers Capable of Freelancing?

  1. Simone Benedict February 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I do like this idea, Alexander. I like it as a writer, for one, because I could see the creative challenge of freelancing fiction. Yet, I can see the possible confines of it as well, perhaps?

    As a reader, if I **were** a wealthy woman, I’d pay fiction freelancers good money to write the kind of books I like to read!


    • Alexander M Zoltai February 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Dear Simone,

      So good to see you back :-)

      Yes, the ‘confines” of freelance fiction—writing to the desires of others—rather like the ultimate Writing Prompt, eh??

      Hey, let’s work on that making you a wealthy woman


  2. Stuart February 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    That’s a challenging piece, Alexander.
    “Why would folks want or need a freelancer to create fictional copy for them?” I’d say that’s a definition of an advertising/marketing copy-writer in some cases.
    Artists accept commissions to paint portraits and even landscapes and in doing so create a personal view of the sitter or panorama. So why not writers accept commissions to create fictions for people! Parents do it when they invent stories to tell their children. People embellish tales to tell to friends and acquaintances at social gatherings.
    Thought provoking again :-)


  3. Catana February 2, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    I wouldn’t touch any of it with a ten foot pole. I’ve done non-fiction writing and hated it. Why should I waste my creative energy writing something that’s probably going to pay very little, and, as often happens, would no longer be mine? A lot of freelancing give the buyer full rights, including stripping away the author’s name and using the material as their own. Not much different from ghost writing, when it comes right down to it.


  4. grahamwhittaker February 3, 2012 at 1:40 am

    I guess it depends on the criteria for ‘freelancing’. Though the market for freelance fiction has reduced since magazines no longer publish large amounts of fiction. I started freelancing fiction over 40 years ago with She magazine. I have published freelance fiction in hundreds of magazines, newspapers and a variety of periodicals. There used to be entire volumes of short stories published monthly and a well paying market for them, Stephen King wrote many for these ‘pulp fiction’ mags. Over 40+ years I have made a decent income, (though continued to work full-time in other writing areas. Though the market for print freelance fiction has reduced, the on line market is beginning to grow, especially in the short, and short-short market. Creative writing in the short story market is growing again thanks to ebook readers and time constraints of readers. In fact, under my Dora Graham name next month the new book called “Genre” will be available on line and in print under the Creative Writing series. The 43 short stories in this edition are all previously published (all freelanced) and range through erotic, sci-fi, horror, romance, drama, stories with a ‘twist’. I am actually very upbeat about the market for freelance fiction again since it fell a little into the doldrums for a while. The reason for the new edition in the Creative Writing series though Alexander is that many (maybe most) of the fiction ebooks are in short story format and very VERY badly written. There is little understanding currently that short stories and poetry are very DIFFICULT forms of writing. The impression is that they are easier. They are possibly the hardest to write. There is a NEW market for freelance fiction in the making, and though very small at present, the electronic form of ‘pulp fiction’ products will soon grow rapidly and these will be quality products which editor pay for. The concept of FREE, and the concept of ‘making tons of money’ do not sit well together. Quality fiction will always sell, and. (if I may be prophetic) mainstream publishers will get the hang of it very quickly that people once more need access to quality fiction that readers will pay for on a monthly basis. We may see the re-emergence of Uncanny Tales, Tales of the Unexpected, Romance Stories etc. Nice post again Alexander.


  5. grahamwhittaker February 3, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Again. Sorry about grammar in that last post. Mild and annoying epileptic seizures. (Just in case readers think I’m just an idiot.)


  6. Alexander M Zoltai February 3, 2012 at 5:23 am


    I respect your experience and thank you for detailing it here—to let folks know how it used to be and how it may yet be again :-)


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