Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Freelance Writing Quandary: Print or Online?

When I first began freelance writing part-time, I was a regular contributor to a couple of small niche magazines. Since I've gone full-time, I mainly write material for online clients (website content, blog posts, keyword articles, email marketing campaigns, etc.). Today I sent off the first print publication query I've written in about nine months. I miss writing for magazines.

Don't get me wrong, I have no intention of abandoning my online clients. They are the reason I was able to make such a quick transition from part-time freelance writer to full-time. But I miss the assignments, research and the writing process that goes into developing a magazine article. I even miss the anticipation of waiting to find out whether my story idea will be accepted or not. And I miss getting those fat, juicy checks in the mail.

What I like about writing for the web is the challenge of writing snappy content that will engage readers to stay and hear more about what I have to say. With blogging especially, I like the way you can just start a conversation and share feedback. No, I love it! And I also love how quickly you can get paid. Instant gratification.

But sometimes my online deadlines are so tight they literally overlap one another. Print magazines in contrast will sometimes give a lead time of several months to create a piece. As long as you don't try to write it all at the last minute, it's not as stressful. But waiting for the payment can be. It can take months following publication to get that check.

As freelance writers we should never get bored. We have so many different avenues available to make a living. If you are interested in freelance writing for publications, why not go for it? You can get a copy of the current Writer's Market, or just go online and check out the submission guidelines of a publication that interests you. Jenna Glatzer's book Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer is an incredible guide. She walks writers step-by-step through the process of crafting a query, creating article ideas, tackling the assignment, marketing reprints and so much more.

So I'm putting the finishing touches on my query letter right now and am preparing to hit send. Wish me luck. :)


Angie Ledbetter said...

Loads o' luck!!

Avid Writer said...

Thanks, Angie!:)

Valencia Higuera said...

This post motivates me to focus more on print markets. I enjoy working for the web. The work is consistent and the pay isn't too bad. But ultimately, I want to become a regular magazine writer. I've written a couple of magazine articles, and I agree, it's fun to research and dig deep into a topic and create an insightful piece. But with so many online clients, it's hard to stay on top of queries.

Telecommuting Diva

Avid Writer said...

Valencia, it IS hard getting motivated to send out queries that might not be accepted when you have so much paying work staring you in the face. But I really want to start writing for magazines again (but I'm not giving up my commercial writing) so as with everything I have to just make the time to do it.

Devon Ellington said...

Good luck.

I query both regularly. I like to keep up a good mix.

As far as overlapping deadlines, I've never lived a freelance life without juggling multiple deadlines. I'd be afraid I'd forgotten something!

Avid Writer said...

Devon, I think it's good to flex both muscles: querying for print and online work regularly. Boy, you should have seen how long it took me to write and send off that one magazine query today -Lol.

Lisa Romeo said...

Yup, freelancing is a bit crazy and these days, it pays (literally) to keep a hand in all sorts of media venues.

I find that if I've done enough work to make a good query that gets the nod, I'm halfway there on the article, at least as far as outlining, planning and plotting the research goes.

Good luck on yours...now I have to get back to my stack of queries for the week.

Avid Writer said...

Good luck to you too, Lisa. And thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

Jennifer said...

I'm primarily a web writer but print is definitely more satisfying.

Avid Writer said...

Jennifer, I like doing both print and web writing for different reasons. Being able to do both on a regular basis would be wonderful.

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