Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Freelance Writers

Perhaps More Writers Should Aspire to Be Like Edgar Allan Poe…?


Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

As a preface to the main text of this post, I offer a statement fraught with truth (and, perhaps, fear, for some...):

“…most books, both traditionally published and self-published, don’t sell well. Whether your book is intended to inspire, inform or entertain, millions of other books and media forms are competing against you for your prospective reader’s ever-shrinking pie of attention.”

That quote is from Mark Coker, the Founder of Smashwords, “…the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.”—I also used it in a post I did back 2013, What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

O.K, preface accomplished…

When I said up there that “Perhaps More Writers Should Aspire to Be Like Edgar Allan Poe…?”, I didn’t necessarily mean more writers should do “spooky” stuff (but, of course, not all Poe’s writing is “spooky”…); nor, did I mean more writers should drink themselves to death…

What if you knew that:

“…Poe earned only about $6,200 in his lifetime, or approximately $191,087 adjusted for inflation.”

What if you also knew that:

“…$191,087 was all you got for 20 years of work and the stuff you wrote happened to be among the most enduring literature ever produced by anyone anywhere?”

Those quotes are from an article in The Millions, entitled, Edgar Allan Poe Was a Broke-Ass Freelancer.

A few more excerpts from the article (the Voice in these quotes is Catherine Baab-Muguira):

“Last October, in the depths of a depression so profound and overwhelming that I had to take mental-health leave from work, I started rereading Poe for the first time since I was a kid… I encountered a writer completely different from the one I thought I knew…He was actually a lot like my writer-friends, with whom I constantly exchange emails bitching about the perversities of our trade—the struggle to break in, the late and sometimes nonexistent payments, the occasional stolen pitch….Poe’s short stories weren’t the adventure-horror tales I remembered, either. They turned out to be exquisitely wrought metaphors for despair.”

“You never enter the same Poe whirlpool twice. Much of his work has a purposeful, built-in double nature; he intended we discover ‘secret codes’ of meaning… “

“This points to the other important, less acknowledged, double nature of Poe’s work. It’s both art and commercial entertainment. Few other American writers so obviously and continually straddle the gap between high and low culture, between art for art’s sake and commercial enterprise.”

“I think if Poe hadn’t had to write for money, he’d probably have faded away long ago.”

And, in a second section of the article (which contains more details about Poe’s literary life), Catherine says:

“Picture this: A tech breakthrough has made mass publishing cheaper than ever before. With the cost of entry down, new publications launch with much high-flown talk about how they’ll revolutionize journalism, only to shut their doors a few years or even months later. Because the industry is so unstable, editors and writers are caught in a revolving door of hirings, firings, and layoffs. A handful of the players become rich and famous, but few of them are freelance writers, for whom rates remain scandalously low. Though some publications pay contributors on a sliding scale according to the popularity of their work, it’s mostly the case that writers don’t earn a penny more than their original fee even when their work goes viral.

“I’m speaking of Poe’s time, not our own. Still, I expect some of this will sound familiar. Pretty much the only piece missing is a pivot to video.”

As always, I urge you to go read the full article; but, as a fitting end to this post:

“When I first cracked back into Poe last October, my therapist begged, ‘Please stop reading him. He’s too depressing.’ But my experience of reading Poe and other writers on Poe the last 11 months has been the opposite of depressing. It helped me climb out of a very deep hole.

“In the end, Poe only pocketed $191,087, but he did get the immortal fame he grew up dreaming of. And I got taken, blessedly, outside myself. If the past is anything to go by, what lies ahead is not destruction. It just might be the stuff of our wildest dreams.”

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Freelance Writing Challenges


Are you a writer who needs more money?

Writing for Money

Image courtesy of Caltiva Creatividad ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/caltiva

My experience shows that most writers need more.

I wonder how many feel they’re capable of doing some freelancing…

Here are a few past posts I’ve written.

Freelance Lies . . .

Are Fiction Writers Capable of Freelancing?

Scratch, Scratch, Who’s Got The Money?

But, to get more specific about how to prepare for freelance writing, I’ll reference an article from Living Well, Spending Less called, How to Make Money as a Freelance Writer.

Naturally, if you have a strong interest in freelancing, I suggest you go read the full article; but, here are the bullet points:

1. Determine Your Writing Niches
2. Start Acquiring Samples
3. Establish a Web Home Base
4. Develop a Pitch
5. Pitch, Pitch, Pitch

Obviously, listing the skeleton like that makes it look simple, even if full of work…

Reading the article will nicely fill-in the experience and expertise of author, Ruth Soukup.

Of course, to freelance you need time; and, if you’re a creative writer, you may feel you just don’t have enough time.

Try this article from Make A Living WritingHow I Found 70 Extra Hours a Month to Boost My Freelance Writing Career.

But, even with the time to do that freelancing, you may need some help

Freelancers Union has the article, 5 Free Online Tools for Freelance Writers.

And, The Write Life has, 9 Online Gold Mines for Finding Paid Freelance Writing Jobs.

To round-out this primer on freelance writing challenges, I’ll quote from that first, past post of mine, Freelance Lies:

#1 – Freelance writers must have deep tech/industry experience

#2 – Freelance writers need an English or journalism degree to be good

#3 – Freelance writers outsource the work and sit back collecting your money

#4 – Freelance writers are schedule-free spirits

#5 – Freelance writers have an easy job

#6 – Freelance writers overcharge

#7 – Freelance writers have low overhead so it’s all fun and profit

If you’ve done freelance writing, perhaps you’d share a bit of your experience in the Comments?
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Freelance Lies . . .


Freelance writing can be very lucrative but demands hard work and intelligent risk-taking.

Freelance Writing

Image courtesy of Svilen Milev ~ http://efffective.com

Back in 2012 I wrote a post called Are Fiction Writers Capable of Freelancing?

 

Today I want to share some info from an article on Business2Community—7 Lies About Freelance Writers You Believe.

I’m only going to list the 7 Lies here—do check out the full article for the Truth :-)

#1 – Freelance writers must have deep tech/industry experience

#2 – Freelance writers need an English or journalism degree to be good

#3 – Freelance writers outsource the work and sit back collecting your money

#4 – Freelance writers are schedule-free spirits

#5 – Freelance writers have an easy job

#6 – Freelance writers overcharge

#7 – Freelance writers have low overhead so it’s all fun and profit

Have you ever freelanced?

Do you freelance now?

Think you’ll freelance in the future?
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