Types of Freelance Writing Jobs

“Freelance” is a term used to describe writers (or any artists) who don’t have a set employer. Newspaper columnists, for example, are on the payroll with the newspaper, so they are not freelance writers. On the other hand, if you open up the latest issue of your favorite magazine, you may see a writer listed as “contributing.” He or she is probably not part of the regular staff and is therefore a freelance writer.

Freelancers have three basic options when it comes to the writing they do.

First, you can write books. That doesn’t necessarily mean you are a novelist, although you can be. You can also, however, write Ebooks, cookbooks, poetry, nonfiction, and other kinds of books. It takes a long time to write a book, but the payout reflects that. Of course, it is important to remember that when you write a book, there is no guarantee it will do well. You can always self-publish, but your income is never a sure thing, unless you’re under contract with a publishing house.

The second type of freelance writing you can do is what I like to call contract writing. This is by far the largest category and can be further split into two subsections – querying and copywriting. Query writers brainstorm article ideas and then contact newspapers and magazines to see if they are interested. If they are, they get a contract to write x number of words for x dollars by a certain date. In many cases, they have to send in the article and then the publication will decide if they want to buy it. For example, I might contact Vogue to see if they’d like to purchase my article on cheap fall fashion.

On the other hand, copywriters usually apply for a specific job (or are contacted to write a specific piece). The publication puts out a call, wanting an article on cheap fall fashion by a certain date. Writers apply with past experience and other credentials, and one is chosen, signs a contract, and writes that piece. Copywriters might also work for a single client (or a few clients), writing advertising copy, website copy, etc. under contract.

Most copywriters fall somewhere in the middle – they have one or two steady clients who want work on a weekly basis, but they also apply to write random jobs for people who just need an article or two.

The third type of freelance writer is the online entrepreneur. Now, all contract writers (and book writers too for that matter) work for themselves as well, but the online entrepreneur makes money in a different way. These writers start websites, usually around a specific niche topic, and do all of the writing for that website. They don’t make money per article; they make money when people click on the advertisements on their website or buy items from their online affiliate programs.

Many freelance writers actually do a bit of all three types of writing. Contract writing typically pays the bills, while book writing gives you a shot at fame and big bucks, and online entrepreneur writing allows you to have a voice. You can explore one type of writing, or do all three!

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