Selling Yourself As a Writer

A freelance Writer
Make the most of the opportunities available

When you offer your writing services you are selling yourself. If you have some notion that you are a writer and not a salesperson then carry on with your day job. If you are serious about writing for a living you are the one who is ultimately responsible for promoting your work. Taking on paid writing jobs involves selling and you are selling yourself far more intimately than if you were offering a widget or other tangible product. Writing comes from within you.

My experiences with selling go back over 20 years, so I by now I should know a thing or two. I was told once by a salesman I respected that there are three basic rules to selling:

  1. See the people;
  2. See the people; and strangely enough,
  3. See the people.


That may seem somewhat trite and glib but I have personally implemented that rule and enjoyed a lot of success with it. The difference here is we don’t “see” the people as we are dealing for the most part in a virtual internet world. In this virtual world a prospective client can be thousands of miles away in a different timezone and on a different continent. Nonetheless, the principle is the same – get your virtual self in front of prospective clients.

It will be easier if you concentrate initially on following these three simple steps. They are not exhaustive and nor are they the definitive rules that should be slavishly adhered to. Consider these guidelines and very flexible ones at that.

 

It’s not what you know it’s who you know. Wrong !

With writing that does not follow. Concentrate on areas of knowledge and experience that you already have. I worked in marketing for an IT service provider before making the leap to full time writer, so it should come as no surprise that I concentrated on writing samples and bidding for work that was IT related.

I purposely stayed away from offering my services to people I knew because I found rejection much easier to deal with if it came from an unknown, unseen stranger half way around the world rather than someone I knew and respected.

 

If you are hunting lions go to Africa!

If you are looking for paid writing work there are numerous internet resources that service buyers post projects and specifications on and ask for bids. Personally I have found three internet resources to be of immense use in finding paying work and when I’m hunting for paid work, they are the writing equivalent of Africa.

Get A Freelancer (GAF), eLance and Craigslist all provide an array of writing jobs ranging from small one-off projects to full-blown employment opportunities. These sites are by no means the only ones; however, they are the ones I am most familiar with. Registration is free for these resources but to be considered for the juicier projects you’ll need to think about paying some money for a premium registration with GAF and eLance – of the two, GAF is my preferred provider and only costs me $6 per month for Gold Membership.

 

An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance!

In terms of making an initial impression this is absolutely true. When you ask for work make sure that your samples are proofed and checked, rewrite them until they are as perfect as you can make them and think about making the project providers life easy. Put your name and contact information on every page and article you submit, offer to prepare a test article or sample of your writing skill on a topic of their choice.

In short, do everything to make the decision to use you, appear to be the natural choice for the project provider. There is a caveat with all of this, which is, do not make false promises and deliver what you say when you say you will. It pays to back up your image with actual delivery and performance.

For the serious professional writer, checking and proofreading is essential

Supaproofread will check spelling, grammar and punctuation as well as provide recommendations for making your content clearer and easier to read.