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September 26, 2013

Benefits of Freelance Writing and Guest Blogging

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I often hear from authors who wish they could write full-time, or bloggers who want to make a living from their blog. This past spring, Jolie du Pre shared how she supplemented her fiction writing with article writing. I have always encouraged authors to guest blog. There are many benefits to freelance writing and guest blogging for both the author and the blogger. However, knowing how to get started can be a bit daunting.

What is freelance writing and guest blogging?

Freelance writing is also referred to as article writing. Magazines, newspapers, and other publications often hire freelancers for various projects. Online news sites also employ freelance writers. Freelance jobs typically pay the writer for their article. It may be a small fee, $5 - $10, or can be much larger depending on the publication and your resume. 

Guest blogging is when you write an article, or post, for a blog that is not your own. Typically there is no payment for guest blogging. You are probably most familiar with guest blogging when it comes to tours and promoting your book. However, bloggers can also be guest bloggers and authors can guest blog without it being part of a marketing campaign. 

Why would you freelance write or guest blog?

You are probably thinking, 'I can barely find time to work on my book or write up that review for the book I read last week, why would I spend time writing something else'. There are two big benefits to freelance writing and guest blogging. 

One, you build awareness of your brand. In other words, you get your name out there for people to see. Even if you are not talking about your book in the article you are writing, you normally get a short bio included in the article. The bio can mention your book or link to your site. The article I wrote for The Georgia AUTHORity included a one line bio in which I linked back to my blog. Getting your name seen and a mention of your book or blog in a larger publication is why I ask my clients about other interests and topics they are knowledgeable about. Journalists are always looking for sources to provide a quote. In an age when less space is being used to promote books or publications that are completely closed to indie authors, being quoted in an article can provide needed publicity. By writing an article for other publications, you are widening the audience that sees your name. 

Two, it can add to your bottom-line. The more people that see your writing the more sales you are likely to have. For bloggers, it means more readers coming to your blog. If you are using affiliate links or running ads on your site, the increased traffic can earn you more revenue. And as I've already mentioned, you can earn money directly from the sale of your article.

A third benefit is just a bonus, you are providing audiences with a sample of your writing and building credibility. With the thousands of new books being published and the hundreds of blogs out there, proving your credibility is more important than ever. In this evolving industry often the difference between amateur and professional is the writer's reputation.

How do you start freelance writing or guest blogging?

I suggest begin with guest blogging. Opportunities to guest blog are pretty easy to come by. (I'm currently looking for guest posts for October). While blog hosts may have a topic in mind, I recommend pitching your own idea. I also recommend that your topic of choice not be about your book. A great way to find a topic is to see what is popular in the news and then add your spin to the topic. It is currently Banned Books Week. Timely topics would include censorship, the changing views of what is appropriate in literature, history behind a banned book. Yes, the topic may take some research or knowledge on the subject. The reason I suggest starting with guest blogging is because you will need writing samples to get the higher paying jobs. You will also need to show that you have the skills to research a topic.

To find the freelance writing jobs you will need to do a little digging. There are a number of sites that publish opportunities. I recently signed up for the Freedom With Writing newsletter. It provides a nice combination of reviews of sites offering jobs and tips on getting the jobs. Also, do a search of magazines and local publications, most have websites that provide submission guidelines. 

Remember to add bibliographical information for any published work (either from a freelance job or from guest blogging) to your media kit. If there are online links available add them to the about me or media page of your blog.

Donna Huber
Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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