Friday, May 31, 2013

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

There's money to be made from freelance writing—lots of it. For a few writers, this means big bucks. But for most writers, freelancing provides a modest income.

Today, the markets have changed drastically. While there may be fewer magazines and book publishers out there, other opportunities have opened up. We live and work in the digital age, a time when anything is possible. As they say, think outside the box. In fact, throw the box away.

There’s a vast expanse where whatever you write can find a home. The diversity of the marketplace is such that there are more ways for you to strike pay dirt than even some longtime professionals realize.

The flip side of the coin is the horde of writers and would-be writers after the bounty. There’s some 70,000 people in the United States alone that call themselves writers and have clippings to prove it. That’s a lot of competition.

Some major New York book publishers receive over 10,000 unsolicited manuscripts a year, out of which they may publish one or two. Today, it’s the sales department that decides what’s going to be published. It has less to do with the writing and more to do with the profit potential if a book gets published or not.

The average high-circulation magazine receives approximately 200 manuscripts a month. Some contend that the odds of selling to those outlets are overwhelmingly difficult. That's not necessarily so. If you’re a mediocre writer, then yes, you don’t have a chance in hell. But if you’re a more than competent writer, the chances of you selling are far greater. Perhaps only 20 of those 200 manuscripts will be good enough for an editor to take the time to read them.

Bear in mind that the flood of material that washes over editors' desks in publishing houses and magazine offices, in newspaper and syndicate offices, in television and movie producers' studios, consists mostly of badly written material. Well-conceived, well-written, and well-targeted material is scarce. Currently marketable material is even less available. The trend-setting story or article series is an absolute rarity.

Keep the following thought uppermost in your mind as you approach each new and potentially successful day: The many benefits of the freelance life and riches from your writing efforts, like the gold that lies under the mountains, come to those with the knowledge and ability to dig in the right places, the proper tools, and the overriding ambition to find it despite the often back-breaking work that's required. If you’re one of those 70,000 freelance writers, then you’ve made it.

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