How to Survive as a Freelance Writer

Everybody wants to be a writer - to write best-selling books - and to become famous as well as rich. On the plus side of such ambitions, just about anybody could and/or can become a published writer - but, the big thing seems to be that not everybody knows how to "survive" until they hit the big time.

To be successful as a writer, you'd better know the rules of the game - whatever it is you write about has to have "mass appeal" and a certain uniqueness that makes it stand out brighter than similar works - you had better know how to string words together in such a manner that your readers find what you've written to be interesting, informative, and/or of definite value - and you should have your marketing/sales program all worked out before you get too deeply involved. In this day and age, it is not enough to write something and send it off to a publisher or two, hoping that they'll "discover you" and life will be luxuriously happy for you ever after.

Assuming that you know all of these rules, and that you've dedicated yourself to eventually getting your manuscript on the best-seller lists, the basic thing you've got to worry about between now and then is how you're going to survive until the big day...

First of all, take time out for a trip to your local public library and ask for a copy of the national directory of publications. In this great volume, look up the names and addresses of all the publications that carry for sample copies of these publications - look them over and when you see an article that you could do a quick follow up on, or perhaps you're stimulated with an idea for an article along the same lines; knock out an article and submit it to them. If they like it, they'll get in touch with you and send a check. It's as simple as that and you can easily make $50,000 per year in your spare time, just submitting articles as a free-lancer to magazines.

Very definitely, be sure to pick up a copy of Writers' Digest. In each issue, you'll find any number of publications soliciting material from free-lance writers.

If you're into writing "How-To" information, look up the addresses of the publications purporting to offer How-To information, and submit your materials to them. You'll find that most mail order publications will welcome mail order self-help/better-profit articles and be glad to give you advertising space in exchange.

Probably the easiest way to go is via mail order. Say you're writing/putting together a best-seller on mail-order business financing.

I would recommend that you take your writer's outline - table of contents - and from this list of chapters you're going to include in your book, you write short 2 - 3 page "reports" than can be inexpensively produced and sold for a couple of dollars each. Indeed, a short information report such as this one.

By all means, weave into the text of these reports, some sort of commercial/advertising that promotes the book you've either written or are writing; and of course, your address so they can order it from you.

The next thing is to make up an advertising circular for these reports and to get it out to all the mail order dealers. What you want to offer is a chance for them - these mail order dealers - to buy the complete set of reports from you - 10 reports that sell for $2 each, with reproduction rights, for $15 or $20...

Be sure to offer your reports package to all the mail order catalog houses such as Mitchell Enterprises, Copely Mail Order, Allen Publishing and Southern. Don't worry about them making all the money - if you've written your reports as I've instructed, the promoters of your reports packages will be promoting the sale of your book for you, with all the orders for the book coming direct to you. Besides, you'll be making a "ton of money" from just the sale of your reports package.

One thing you really should do though, is send all your reports package offers out at the same time. In other words, get the whole reproduction offer together, about 50,000 strong and drop them off in the mail on the same day. Don't mail them out a couple of hundred at a time because if you do, your buyers will be competing with you before you've covered all your prospective buyers.

Without a doubt, if you put together a reports package with reproduction rights selling for $20 and get it out to 50,000 mail order dealers on the same day, you'll pull in at least $50,000 form that mailing. The bottom-line secret is to offer all new titles - have patience in getting everything altogether - and then "dump" them all in the mail on the same day - the more you send out in that first mailing the bigger your return will be.

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