Have you got a question about freelance writing? Something that mystifies you and holds you back from pursuing this career full out, because you don’t want to look stupid?
If so, you’re not alone.
Freelance writing questions flood in every day on my email, on my Facebook page, in my blog comments. I started Freelance Writers Den to create a forum for more easily getting questions answered.
It’s the Den’s 4th anniversary this week (don’t miss the picture of me wearing a party hat!). Over 60,000 forum comments later, the questions keep on coming.
I hate it when writers tell me they’re not taking action, because they don’t know what to do. You can get the info you need fairly easily! Here’s how:
Do this first
Before you ask anyone else, ask yourself: Could I figure this out myself, between me and Google? Writers are constantly asking me questions that make me wonder if their Google is broken, or perhaps doesn’t work as well as mine.
It’s a good skill for freelance writers to be self-reliant, so see what you can do on your own.
If you’ve still got questions about that, there are three basic moves that will answer nearly any writing question you have:
1. Ask your editor.
I’ve heard a million questions that have to do with the article writing process. And the vast majority of them can be answered by simply asking your editor.
I know — writers are scared to do that. They think it reveals they’re an amateur. So instead, they ask everyone else. Even though no one else but your editor can answer questions like:
- What if my source isn’t getting back to me, and my deadline is looming?
- If my original idea isn’t panning out, what should I do?
- When will I get paid?
- Is this based on wordcount or a flat fee?
In fact, pros ask their editors questions like this all the time. So if you’ve got an assignment, just go ahead and ask your editor for all the details.
I’ve seen editors spend hours wringing their hands about what to do on an assignment, when a 2-minute call to their editor would have cleared it up. Don’t do this to yourself!
2. Find experts.
If you don’t have a current assignment, or you have questions about how to market your writing and find good-paying clients, you need another experienced writer, editor, or marketing manager to guide you. You might network and find a friend of a friend who’s willing to walk you through how the freelance writing game works.
Or better yet, you can find a community of writers, where you can tap many peoples’ experience.
That’s what Freelance Writers Den is really all about. At this point, we’ve got about 1,400 writers sharing strategies and giving each other courage. That’s a lotta knowledge. We also have a pro staff of about two dozen experienced writers and editors, too.
There are plenty of other online communities, but the quality of feedback you can get on the free ones tends to be spotty. I know, because I belonged to quite a few before I created the Den — and I built the Den partly because of the bogus baloney I was seeing on some of the free places.
Paid membership platforms attract pros, and newbies who are dead-serious about getting started, so the quality of information tends to be way better.
When you get a chance to try out a new community, jump on it. You can do that Thursday, by the way, for Freelance Writers Den — everyone who has signed up on this list will be able to get a 1-day free pass. Come, ask a question, watch a video — get the info you need.
3. Get a guidebook.
I’ve written several e-books to answer writer questions already, and of course Amazon is full of e-books on freelance writing.
But I’m particularly proud of my new one that’s about to come out: 100+ Freelance Writing Questions Answered. (NOTE: This book is out, and you can get it for FREE just by signing up for Make a Living Writing updates. Check out the sidebar for the form.)
And yes, it really does have answers to more than 100 classic freelance writing questions in it — real questions asked by you, my blog readers.
This e-book is my question-answering encyclopedia. It organizes answers I’ve given into 15 handy chapters by topic, and also includes the full posts I’ve written to answer mailbag questions I’ve gotten over the years.
How can you get your hands on the 100+ Questions guidebook? As I write this, we’re still finishing up the files.
But all Den members will have a chance to grab a free advance copy in the 4 days starting Thursday, when the Den reopens for new members. Free e-books are just one of the many perks of Den membership.
Contest rules & prizes
To celebrate the 4th anniversary of the Den, I’m giving away four bundles of goodies to four lucky winners. You’ll need to post today or tomorrow to be considered — I’ll be writing up the post announcing the winners Wednesday night.
Here’s how the contest will work:
In the comments below, ask me your biggest question about freelance writing. What’s holding you back?
Most interesting or unusual questions will win.
Here’s a look at the four prizes on offer:
WINNER 1: The mega-bundle!
- A 1-month free pass to Freelance Writers Den
- All 4 Freelance Writers Den ebooks (The Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success, How to Be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger, Freelance Business Bootcamp, How to Get Great Freelance Clients)
- 5 more ebooks! Including an advance copy of my soon-to-be-released e-book, 100+ Freelance Writing Questions Answered, Start Here: 40 Freelance Writers Share, 13 Ways to Get the Writing Done Faster + Linda Formichelli’s e-books Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race, and The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock
- A 30 minute mini-mentor session with Carol
- Linda’s Query Checklist
- A 1-week free pass to the Den
- 4 Den e-books
- 3 More e-books — 100+ Questions, Start Here, and 13 Ways
- Linda’s Query Checklist
- 1 week free pass to the Den
- 4 Den ebooks
- Bonus e-book: 100+ Freelance Writing Questions Answered.
- 1 week free pass to the Den
Additionally: ANYONE whose question is *not* covered in the 100+ Questions e-book will win a free copy of the e-book! I defy you to ask something that isn’t included! This e-book is pretty comprehensive.
I’ll answer at least five of the most interesting and unusual questions in a post on Thursday, and announce the contest winners.
Good luck, everyone! Deadline to submit is 5 pm Eastern on Wednesday. What’s your freelance writing question? Leave it in the comments to win Den access, e-books, and more!
NOTE: This contest has ended. Congratulations to the winners!