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The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing

Book Description

Prime Your Freelance Writing Career for Success!

So you want to be a freelance writer. Great! But now you're faced with a laundry list of questions: Should I freelance full time or part time? Should I write for magazines, newspapers, or online markets? How do I dream up the perfect article idea, and how do I pitch it successfully? How do I negotiate contracts, foster relationships with editors, and start getting steady work while avoiding financial panic attacks and unpleasant ulcers?

The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing answers all of these questions--and much more. From breaking in to navigating the basics of the business, this book is your road map to a fruitful and rewarding freelance life. You'll learn how to:

  • Dig into various markets, including consumer magazines, trade journals, newspapers, and online venues.
  • Make your digital mark and build your writing platform.
  • Pitch like a pro and craft solid query letters that get responses.
  • Conduct professional interviews in person, by phone, or by e-mail.
  • Write and structure various types of articles, from front-of-the-book pieces to profiles and features.
  • Quit your lackluster day job, and live the life you've always wanted.
Filled with insider secrets, candid advice, and Zachary Petit's trademark humor and blunt honesty, The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing won't just show you how to survive your freelancing writing career--it will teach you how to truly thrive.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Dedication
  4. By Way of Introduction
  5. Chapter One: Battling—and Besting—the Basics
    1. Defining Freelancing
    2. Knowing Your Markets
  6. Chapter Two: Ideation Vacation
  7. Chapter Three: The Dreaded Platform Discussion
    1. Make Your Digital Mark
  8. Chapter Four: Finding a Way In
    1. A Guided Tour of a Magazine
    2. The Brave New World of Breaking In
    3. How High?
  9. Chapter Five: Pitch Perfect
    1. The Nightmare Query
    2. Gone to Market
    3. Process Docs
    4. You Should Avoid the Slush Pile Entirely
    5. The Goal
    6. Game On
    7. A Query, Deconstructed
    8. Random Basics
    9. The End
  10. Chapter Six: Talking the Talk
    1. The In-Person Interview
    2. The Phone Interview
    3. The E-Mail Interview
    4. The Reporter’s Tool Kit
    5. Laying the Foundation
    6. Access Hollywood
    7. A Note on Tape Recording (and Not Getting Sued)
    8. Popping the Questions
    9. The In-Person Interview
    10. The Phone Interview
    11. The E-Mail Interview
    12. Off-the-Record Sources
    13. Difficult Sources
    14. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
    15. A Note on the Vulnerable Source
  11. Chapter Seven: Walking the Walk
    1. The Short Game: Front of the Book
    2. Playing It Straight: The Basic Newspaper Story
    3. Dyeing Your Dachshund: The How-To
    4. Quiz Show: The Q&A
    5. The Real Deal: The Journalistic Feature
    6. Playing off Personality: The Profile
  12. Chapter Eight: The Men and Women Behind the Curtain
    1. A Preflight Submission Checklist
    2. Time to Submit
    3. How to Work with Editors
  13. Chapter Nine: Mostly Not Boring Business Basics
    1. Payday!
    2. Contract Basics
    3. “Can You Send Me an Invoice?”
    4. Wait a Second …
    5. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
    6. The Terrible Subject of Taxes
  14. Conclusion: Getting to -30-
  15. Appendix
    1. Sample Queries
    2. Fact-Checking Checklist
    3. Querying Magazine Articles: A Checklist
    4. Words of Wisdom
    5. 15 Things a Writer Should Never Do
  16. About the Author
  17. Colophon