Freelancing, contracting, telecommuting


I've been freelance most of my career (after several years as an editor in book publishing), so I know it's possible to make a living this way. Eventually I'll provide more advice here about how to do it. Slowly (while also making a living freelancing) I'm focused on getting the bones of this website in place and providing links that serve as a gateway to the information and resources you will need to do the same yourself.

Freelancing doesn't suit everyone. I happen to prefer working alone because it helps me concentrate, and being selectively gregarious I go out when I need the company--but I don't need to be working around people all day. The loneliness gets to some freelancers, as do the serious problems with cash flow (because even if you have enough work, payments are sometimes slow in coming). Many people say they want the security of a job, but when job security became an issue for many people, a few years back, my comfort level with not knowing what I would be doing a year later served me well. You need to be able to market yourself, but that doesn't mean you have to be a salesperson so much as you have to let people know you are there, are dependable, and can and will do the work you're being hired to do. There is a learning curve, but there are places to learn and books to learn from. More on those elsewhere on this site.

I'm adding some items on telecommuting, because I'm getting lots of queries from people who can't afford to keep their jobs, and for some telecommuting may be a good alternative. To the extent that I can post links to advice on how to make that work, I will do so. I will also post links on how to run a small business, because that is essentially what a freelancer is doing. Some present themselves as a company. I haven't done so only because I have been more interested in the work than in managing other people doing the work--although of course I do subcontract parts of my work. (On a book, for example, I always hire an editor; even though I edit, I can't edit myself effectively; nobody can. I also hire proofreaders. On books I help others self-publish, I also farm work out to designers and book production people. And increasingly, in the memoir market, I subcontract to video people.

How Much to Charge?
for various functions and for various types of product


What can a writer or editor expect? Proofreader? Designer? Ghostwriter? Copywriter? Resume writer? Video producer? Some of the following articles report ranges of fees reported in various genres, at various levels of expertise or complexity; some are articles on how to set rates. Some freelancers distinguish between a business model ("This is how much I charge") and a contractor model ("This is how much I pay").

Expectations vary by market Except for celebrity chefs, fees for food writing are typically very low, because food writers are often writing on the side, out of a love for cooking (or eating). I was particularly willing to take low fees for food writing and restaurant reviews when I was a young mother; later it felt more like a lightly subsidized hobby. Academic clients tend to pay very little, operating on tight budgets with academic writers with low expectation$. (On an academic book, you could end up providing a "subvention" for various production costs.) Literary journals reward authors with copies of the journal. Silicon Valley won't blink at $100 an hour and may question the ability of someone charging less. Some government agencies are impressed by high fees but can't always pay them and may ask you to bill more hours at lower hourly rates. Editors in NY book publishing are paid relatively poorly; technical editors are paid very well; editors in Washington DC are certainly paid better than an editor in book publishing will be, but their editing may not be as much fun as editing "creative" writing. Fees vary by region, by genre, by type of publisher, by commercial vs. government vs technical, etc., and by level of skill and experience. If the venue accepts advertising, find out what they get paid per advertising page, and that's sometimes, though not always, a clue as to how well they pay their writers. And keep in mind that for certain clients and certain types of material (such as one-time publications or a batch of captions), a project fee is likely to be more acceptable so the client doesn't have the anxiety of imagining the meter running.

A STANDARD PAGE IS 250 WORDS. See how many words your document contains (your software should calculate that), divide that by 250, and you'll have your page count. (Clients: You don't save money by squeezing a lot of tiny print on a page.)
Be warned: many fees --especially for consumer magazines, the ones people buy at the supermarket -- are far lower today than they were even recently. Scroll down to three articles toward the very end of this list of great links for a depressing exchange between Nate Thayer and Alexis Madrigal

Not surprisingly, several articles bear this title or one like it, including the following:
• How Much Should I Charge for My Freelance Services? (Lifehacker)
• How much should I charge? (Dan Wilson, Editor's Desktop, on why freelancers' rates aren't standardized)
• Forget per-word rates (Kelly James-Enger, Dollars and Deadlines, 5-21-10), by the author of Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets
• Cha-Ching! Hourly Rate Calculator (Freelance Switch), based on calculating your business costs, your personal costs, how many hours you can bill, and how much you want in savings and profit.
• What Is Science Journalism Worth? Part I (Kendall Powell, The Open Notebook, 1-20-15) Thoughtful piece on how the online universe is bringing down prices and time allotted for writing a piece of science journalism. The $$ realities of being a science journalist.
• Why I don't care what I make per-word (Kelly James-Enger, Dollars and Deadlines, 5-21-10) Her most popular blog post ever, updated 8-1-13)
• Don't Be the Cheapest, Be the Best (Mike Templeton, Entrepreneur, 1-30-15) Mext time you’re considering how to price your product or service, instead of sweating the pennies, look at how you can charge MORE by offering a better quality experience for your customer. You’ll be shocked at how much less stress is involved with pricing up instead of pricing down.
• How much should I charge? By the hour or by the project? (Allena Tapia, About.com) There is also "per diem."
• The Business of Editing: Fee Negotiations (Part I) (Rich Adin, An American Editor, 10-14-24). Know your required effective hourly rate (EHR), your churn rate, and your workweek parameters. Part II What is a "page," the project's size, size and schedule, difference between editing weekdays and holidays/​weekends, etc. And Part III, Calculating the Price.
• Infographic: How to Calculate Your Freelance Hourly Rate (Ryan Robinson, Creative Live blog, 1-30-16)
• The Creative Group's 2015 Salary Guide ("Moolah Palooza," salary data by job title and location--very helpful for the big picture)
• Salary Database (free to members of Society for Technical Communication; charge to nonmembers). Back up your bids for contract jobs with NAICS codes, geographical market information, and BLS Occupational Employment Statistics.
• Salary Survey 2014 (Chris Daniels, PR Week, 3-1-14). Story about the results: The Surprising Gender Wage Gap in PR (Wendy Marx, Fast Company, 12-23-14). "...the PR profession skews heavily female, men make significantly more money and hold the majority of the seats of power in the largest agencies."
• Ilise Benun Reveals a 3-Tier Pricing Strategy That Works Like Crazy, part of Ed Gandia's series of training podcasts, for his International Freelancers Academy
• How Much Should I Charge? (Lynn Wasnak, Writers Market, PDF of easy-to-read chart, based on summary of 2005-2006 fees). See also How Much Should I Charge? (Lynn, for NJ Creatives Network)
• Common editorial rates (Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), with "typical pace, per page"). Why not to pattern your rates on the EFA survey (besides that it's on the low side) The Quest for Rate Charts (Rich Adin, An American Editor 4-6-15).
• I’m a newbie proofreader – should I charge a lower fee? (Louise Harnby, 8-12-14). Includes recent examples of her hourly proofreading hours, in British pounds (a currency converter values the pound at $1.609 in Sept. 2014)
• BiblioCrunch's pricing guidelines (on the low side)
• Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW (Kindle edition, 2012) by Laurie Lewis, author of What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants (see below)
• Why should I bother using an editor, and how much would it cost? (Judith Broadhurst, The unexpected benefits of hiring a professional editor, Polished Prose)
• Freelance rates database (Contently, rates reported for journalism and for photography). Pathetically low rates, far lower than experienced journalists have been paid in the past. Let's hope these reported rates do not reflect reality.
• Tip of the Week: What a Copyeditor Earns (Erin Brenner, Copyediting, 3-13-12). Includes rates for Content Development & Management, 2012, copyediting rates, 2012.
• How much editors charge, and how to calculate that (Links on Writers & Editors site)
• Tip of the Week: More Copyeditor Earn Rates(Brenner, Copyediting, 3-20-12). Discusses rates in England, Ireland, and Canada.
• Common editorial rates (Editorial Freelancers Association) and typical pace, per page. Rates are on the low side, reflecting the low rates book publishing traditionally pays--now more than ever.
• Suggested minimum freelance rates (Society for Editors and Proofreaders, UK)
• Rate and Guidelines (UK) (The Society of Authors). Spells out common rates for author appearances (at schools, libraries, colleges and festivals); sources for freelance writing, editing, and proofreading rates; Translation rates; Broadcasting rates; Indexing rates; and Arts Council England on How to pay artists. Many useful links.
• Freelance Fees Guide (National Union of Journalists, UK) Rich in numbers.

• Rewards and Drawbacks of Editing ($ section of So You Want to Be an Editor, Editors Association of Canada)
• Common rates reported in Bay Areas Editors' Forum (2005) (PDF, summary of results from 2005 member survey of rates and types of work done)
• Fees for indexing: guidelines for clients (Society of Indexers, UK)
• Freelance Fees Guide (National Union of Journalists, UK)
• How to Charge: By the Project, by the Hour, or by the Word or Page? (Katharine O'Moore-Klopf, KOK Edit, 1-24-11)
• Tips for Putting a Price on Your Work (Alina Tugend, New York Times, 1-27-12)
• Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines (13th edition, free when you join the Guild
• How to calculate your effective hourly rate, or EHR (American Editor, 10-6-10 )
• Cost of doing business calculator (National Press Photographers Association, The Voice of Visual Journalists). Be realistic about costs you have to cover.
• Pricing guides for photography (various, American Society of Media Photographers). See also ASMP's licensing guide
• How to Set Rates FAQ (HTML Writers Guild, but principles applicable to all entrepreneurs). See also, from the same group: Discussing prices (HTML Writers' Guild FAQ, explaining the organization's rules against discussing prices online, in view of federal regulations against price-fixing
• The Designer's Guide To Marketing And Pricing: How To Win Clients And What To Charge Them by Ilise Benun and Peleq Top
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• Freelance Forecast 2011 (PDF, survey of freelancers of various types, Boomvang Creative Group). Interesting infographics showing % responses to various types of survey question. Word of mouth and referrals was far and away the chief source of new business
• Hourly rate calculator (Freelance Switch)
• The Freelancery. Walt Kania offers excellent advice on strategies for pricing, billing, and generally making more money as a freelancer, and you can download a collection of 50 of his best pieces in this PDF: The Freelancery Book. One of my favorites is "How to talk money, painlessly" (p. 107)
• How Much to Charge (Paul Lima, Chapter 38 from Everything You Wanted to Know About Freelance Writing)
• Just how do you price corporate writing/​editing (or training) work? (Paul Lima, Everything You Wanted to Know About Freelance Writing, 7-5-08)
• Triangulate your rate before you quote (Paul Lima, 4-13-12). You need an hourly rate, a per page rate, and a per word rate to triangulate.
• How to price a corporate writing/​editing job (vs. periodical work) (Paul Lima, 1-19-08). Paul provides a useful chart for calculating time on various stages of a project.
• Retainers? This Writer’s Clients Give Him a Check Every Month (Tim Lewis guest post on Peter Bowerman's Well-Fed Writer blog, 6-30-11). Retainers – essentially a guaranteed monthly income from a commercial writing client – can benefit both writer and client.
• New Publisher Authors Trust: Themselves (Leslie Kaufman, NY Times, 4-16-13). Taking advantage of a new service offered by his literary agency, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Mamet will self-publish his next book. Publishers don't deliver the marketing they promise, and money is also an issue. "While self-published authors get no advance, they typically receive 70 percent of sales. A standard contract with a traditional house gives an author an advance, and only pays royalties — the standard is 25 percent of digital sales and 7 to 12 percent of the list price for bound books — after the advance is earned back in sales."
• The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book (Miral Satter, Media Shift, 5-15-13) Miral (of BiblioCrunch) gives the once-over-lightly breakdown for various components, from developmental and copy editing to cover design, formatting and digital conversion (for ebooks), getting an ISBN, distribution, printing, etc.
• Realistic Budgeting for Documentaries (David L. Brown via Tony Levelle)


• Services and fees at Story Circle Editorial Circle (affiliated with Story Circle Network, by, for, and about women)
• Freelance Fees Guide (National Union of Journalists, UK)
• SfEP suggested minimum freelance rates (Society for Editors and Proofreaders, UK)
• How to find and price medical writing jobs (Norman Baumann, 1999)
• Thinking About Money: What Freelancers Need to Understand. How to calculate your effective hourly rate, or EHR (American Editor, 10-6-10)
• How to Set Your Copywriting Fees and Earn What You’re Worth (Dean Rieck, Men With Pens). Many comments!
• What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants, interview with Laurie Lewis for National Association of Independent Writers and Editors
• What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants (Barbara L. Jones's notes on Laurie Lewis's book,AMWA Mid-Atlantic Region)
• Select Results of the 2015 AMWA Salary Survey (PDF)
• Results of 2011 salary survey, American Medical Writers Association (PDF, Susan Bairnsfather, AMWA). Interesting analysis of results.
• See fuller list of entries at How Much to Charge? for various functions and for various types of product (Freelancing and contract work, Writers and Editors)
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• Folio's 2013 Editorial Salary Survey (Michael Rondon, Folio, 12-20-13) Age, experience and education are increasingly less indicative of pay levels for magazine editors, in this survey at three major job levels—editorial director/​editor-in-chief, editor/​executive editor and managing/​senior editor—in three magazine industry segments: b-to-b, consumer and association
• Folio's Five-Year Editorial Salary (infographic for salaries for 2008-2012, for top three editorial management levels, at consumer magazines, business-to-business magazines, and association magazines--just to give you a sense of the markets)
• What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants by Laurie Lewis (a book about pricing as part of a career strategy, not just a job strategy--solid practical advice and templates)
• Go Ahead, Raise Your Business's Prices (Jason Fried, Inc., 11-1-10). "Sure, some customers will complain, and others might take their business elsewhere. But there’s a good chance you don’t want those kinds of customers, anyway."
• Freelance Writer Rates: Who Pays the Most Online? Paul Tullis, TravelersNotebook, on Matador Notebook). Freelancers’ newsgroup polls members; range is $0.03 to $2.00 per word, for travel writing. The links to publications go to the "writer's guideline" pages.

• Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians . Read chapters 9 (Structuring a Business) and 10 (Set Realistic Fees)
• Avoid Pricing and Discounting Mistakes (Karyn Greenstreet, Self-Employed Success)
• Pricing strategies and cost factors (Encyclopedia of Business)
• Should you post your fees? Publish your pricing? Hit yourself with a stick? (Walt Kania, The Freelancery, 3-22-12). See response from American Editor: The Business of Editing: To Post or Not to Post Your Fee Schedule?
• How Much Should You Pay a Personal Historian? (Dan Curtis, 7-8-09)
• Seth Godin's pricing formula (S&S). Substitute & Story. Is there no good substitute for your product? Does your price tell a story?
• Pricing Strategies for Resume Writers (Resume Writers' Digest, which has no accent on final e)
• What to say to your low-balling clients (Laura Spencer, FreelanceFolder)
• Why should writers work for no pay? Contributors to the Huffington Post have begun to chafe at its no-pay policy. They could take a lesson from stand-up comedians who faced a similar insult in the 1970s. (Michael Walker, OpEd, Los Angeles Times, 4-1-11)
• Should I work for free? (Jessica Hische's amusing and realistic chart)
• When to work for nothing (Michelle Goodman, New York Times, Shifting Careers, 11-9-08)
• Proposals and bids: Put the price on page one. In bold. (Walt Kania, The Freelancery, 3-27-12, p. 127)
• The Business of Editing: Best Price “Bids” (Rich Adin, An American Editor, 10-12-12)
• Per diem rates, U.S. Department of State. If you're estimating travel costs abroad, these might help.The foreign travel per diem allowances (which vary by country and within a country) provide for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses when an employee is on temporary duty overseas.
• Benchmarks for Estimating Editing Speed by David W. McClintock (originally published in Corrigo: Newsletter of the STC's Technical Editing SIG (June 2002), pp. 1, 3.
• How long does editing take? (Jean Weber Hollis, Technical Editors' Eyre: Resources for technical editors)
• Value Added: Mom taught daughter how to pursue success (Thomas Heath, Wash Post, 9-1-13). To get her first technical writing job, Pam Hurley called and called and called. Finally she got a gig teaching employees how to get to the point. Her fee went from $500 a day to $2000 and then up from there (for teaching critical thinking).
• How much can you earn? Really. (Walt Kania, The Freelancery, 4-2-12).
• Why Low Self-Worth Drives Lower Wages for Women Freelancers — and What You Can Do About It (Dianna Huff, for International Freelancers Academy
• 2012 Freelance Industry Report (rates paid for various skills, broken down in various categories--a helpful survey)
• The Best-Paid Moonlighting Jobs in America (Kimberly Palmer, U.S. News & World Report, 8-23-12)
• Female Editors-in-Chief Make $15,000 Less Than Men (Alexander Abad-Santos), Stat of the Day, The Atlantic Wire, 9-26-12)
• Boost Your Freelance Brand 100 Percent with Your Expert Status (Thursday Bram, Freelance Marketing, Freelance Switch, 9-4-12)
• How much to expect in a book advance. One of the best sources for recent book deals is Publishers Marketplace, a subscription website that tracks book deals (by $$ size), with agents listed and a wealth of information, including a contact database, hosted web pages, a rights and proposals board, a book review index, a book tracker. Publishers Marketplace publishes Publishers Lunch, a free sampler of the more comprehensive Publishers Lunch Deluxe ($20 a month), which keeps you up to date on recent deals.
• Authors' incomes collapse to 'abject' levels (Alison Flood, The Guardian, 7-8-14) ALCS survey finds median annual earnings for professional writers have fallen to £11,000, 29% down since 2005
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• Who Pays Writers? We Asked the Editors (Jane Friedman & Manjula Martin, Scratch magazine, talk with Nicole Cliffe, Dan Kois, Alexis Madrigal) "What do web editors actually do? How do they set writers’ fees? What are they looking for in a pitch and an editorial relationship? Scratch invited web editors from Slate, The Atlantic, and The Toast to talk openly about fees, pitching, and other controversial issues in online journalism (including how to pronounce 'gif')."
• Scratch, a digital magazine for writers, about Writing + money + life. (Subscription $20 and worth it.)
• Writers talk about money
• Contract terms (especially but not only in book publishing)
• Council for Advancement and Support of Education on compensation. Summaries of CASE statements etc. about pay levels contains fascinating nuggets. For example: There is high turnover in fundraisers and women earn less than men at the job.
"A new study finds that "agreeable" workers are paid significantly lower salaries than "less agreeable" ones. And yet many managers say they don’t reward bad behavior."
Interesting summaries; you must pay to get the articles and reports.

REALITY CHECK IN THE DIGITAL ERA
• A Day in the Life of a Freelance Journalist—2013 (Global Editor of the Atlantic Magazine asks Nate Thayer to write a story, for $zero. Hello??? Nate Thayer responds.)
• A Day in the Life of a Digital Editor, 2013 (Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, responds to Nate Thayer. "The biz ain't what it used to be, but then again, for most people, it never really was."
• When People Write for Free, Who Pays? (Cord Jefferson, Gawker, 3-8-13)
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How much and how do ghostwriters charge

Most of the ghostwriters and collaborators I know go for more upfront money and charge more for no byline. Some of them charge an hourly fee for the research, which can eat up a great deal of time, and then a flat fee for the writing. Authors (the ones with content to be shaped into a book) often think the writers (the ones who will actually get the book written) will be willing to write a whole book for their share of income. Most professional writers know that there are rarely many royalties beyond the publisher's advance and many authors are willing to pay a writer's fee higher than the publisher's advance--because for many authors, the income is not the most important goal. (This is particularly true in this era of falling advances.) Indeed, for many "authors" of nonfiction books, in particular, the book is a credential and the ghostwriter is a business expense--the real money will be made from the business (or speaking fees, especially for motivational speakers) that come because of the book. For a book that is self-published (an increasingly common practice), of course, there is no standard and trustable way to share "royalties" and ghosting a book may be part of a bigger package: both writing the book and handling production (particularly with memoirs and family histories--or the increasingly common personal history).
• Freelance ghostwriting rates (Dr. Freelance)
• Ghostwriter (Wikipedia--see section on Remuneration and Credits, credits being a factor in pricing on collaborations).
• Pricing for ghostwriting (The Penn Group, a business writing service)
• Cost of Ghostwriting (Manhattan Literary)
• See Claudia Suzanne's frank and thorough textbook Secrets of a Ghostwriter: The Only Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering Ghostwriting Theory, Skills, and Politics. She also offers occasional workshops on ghostwriting.
• Expensive, Affordable, and Cheap Ghostwriters
• Ghostwriting Prices (Writers for Hire, with fee range on the low side--the ghostwriters of bestsellers are paid more than that)
• Four Ways to Compensate a Book Ghostwriter (ghostwriter for hire, byline discount, revenue share, or business partner -- Helen Kaiao Chang, Ghostwriter Needed)
• How to Be a Successful Ghostwriter (Kelly James-Enger, Writer's Digest, 6-7-11). Covers typical ghosting fees and terms to cover in your collaboration agreement.
• A ghostwriter who offers all-day workshops on ghostwriting in Southern California (and I'm not talking about Claudia Suzanne) says in his promotional material that the typical ghostwriting fee for a short business book starts at $25,000 to $45,000; for a memoir begins at $45,000 and runs to well over $100,000; and for a ghostwritten novel is from $65,000 to $100,000. See section on Book collaboration and ghostwriting.
• What Should I Charge to Ghostwrite a Book? (Brian A. Klems, Writer's Digest, 6-10-08). Klems writes: “As-told-to” ghostwriting often nets you less money per hour because you get other benefits—such as a byline, an advance and a split of the royalties (up to 50 percent). But if you’re willing to skip the byline and future earnings, you can act as a work-for-hire ghostwriter and charge more on the front end." (Correction about work-for-hire: Under copyright law, not all types of work by independent contractors will qualify. The work must be "specially ordered or commissioned" as
• a contribution to a collective work,
• a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work,
• a translation,
• a supplementary work [to another author’s work, such as a foreword, chart, or table],
• a compilation,
• an instructional text,
• a test,
• answer material for a test, or
• an atlas.
(A tenth category, "a sound recording," was briefly added and then quickly removed from the statute after intensive lobbying by recording artists.)
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How to make money as a
freelance writer or editor

The good, the bad, and the truthful


• The “Gig Economy” (David O. Stewart, Washington Independent Review, 9-6-15)
• Five ways work will change in the future: Life inside the new gig economy ( Killian Fox and Joanne O'Connor, The Guardian, 11-29-15). Rather than move up, employees may move sideways (freeflowing ideas and career paths), taping into new networks. Robots are stealing jobs/​freeing us for more creative activities. "Websites that match employers with freelancers are growing fast – and so is the potential for lower wages and inequality" -- the race to the bottom. There will be more workplace monitoring (or GPS, or reporting on each other's performance, etc.). Retirement will be pushed back; elders will keep working--which could raise GDP.
• 10 Years of Freelancing: One house, one recession, and the best job in the world (Jen A. Miller, Notes from a Hired Pen, 3-2-15) Four time-honored strategies for navigating the gig economy.
• The Bezos Effect: Why The Washington Post Wants to Be the Uber of Freelancing (Dillon Baker, Contently, 8-25-15) "The Washington Post, one of the more tech-savvy newspapers of the old guard and the third-largest national news provider, recently released a new platform called the Talent Network, which went live June 22 and is meant to connect freelancers to editors throughout the newspaper’s 600-person newsroom in Washington D.C." Anne Kornblut "explains that it was inspired by other software-driven freelancing networks such as TaskRabbit and Uber—she says they even jokingly referred to it as 'UberLancer.'" You submit profiles and are vetted into the system. Many freelancers among us suspect that this is going to be a raw deal for freelancers.
• Show Me the Money: The Economics of Freelance Science Journalism ( Rose Eveleth and Rachel Nuwer, The Open Notebook, 11-5-13)
• Accounting for the Numberphobic: A Survival Guide for Small Business Owners by Dawn Fotopulos
• Summertime & Wondering Why (Richard Adin, An American Editor, 6-8-15) "Back then, most freelance editors viewed themselves as craftspersons, members of a guild, not businesspersons....Accepting that editing was a business with great financial potential meant that I tackled creating that business as if it were (could be) a highly successful, organized and structured business. That meant setting a workweek, buying medical insurance, establishing (and funding) a retirement account, establishing (and funding) a vacation account, and so on."
• Survival strategies of an online freelancer (Michael Meyer, CJR, March/​April 2015)
• Alternative Income Sources for Writers, Norman Bauman's summary of an ASJA meeting on the subject in 2002 may be helpful, especially about technical writing. See also the material he added to his website: Catherine E. Oliver on what's required for technical writing. Norman's other reports include How to find and price medical writing jobs (1999). For more such summaries, including an interesting piece on text retrieval and search engines, go to Bauman's website, Medical Writing in New York.
• How to Win the Bidding War (E-Myth co, 4-16-09, author undesignated) It's about more than price.
• Training podcasts, International Freelancers Academy (Ed Gandia's helpful free podcasts on various practical topics)
• Seven Years as a Freelance Writer, or, How To Make Vitamin Soup (Richard Morgan, The Awl, 8-2-10). A dose of reality about writing for magazines, from a man who wrote for the top magazines. "Freelancing isn't just about finding good stories. It is also—more so?—about finding good editors." Which isn't easy. "But the editor will never choose you over the publication to which he is married. It will not even be a fleeting thought in the editor's mind. The freelancer can have a lot of fun, but is ultimately the editor's plaything. And any one freelancer is, above all things, unnecessary and replaceable."
• 8 revenue ideas for authors/​experts (Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound)
• Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer by Moira Anderson Allen
• How to Earn $250 Per Hour As a Freelance Writer (Linda Formichelli, Copyblogger, 8-27-14)
• 22 income streams for authors, experts, consultants (Joan Stewart, Publicity Hound, 9-26-12)
• The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle by Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage, and Ed Gandia.
• Eight Years of Solitude (Susie Cagle, 3-16-14) Freelance "journalists quietly, privately lament our low, late pay, our inherent insecurity, and the dual pressure to appear productive and successful while also available for hire. During my relatively brief stint as a staff writer, I saw the wide discrepancy between labor and payment for staffers versus the freelance work our site and many others rely on to fill content columns and drive traffic."
• What rich authors know that poor authors don’t (Joan Stewart again!)
• Most of all, money is a story (Seth Godin, 2-27-14). Pricing based on cost makes no sense. Price based on value of the product to your client or customer.
• Become a Six-Figure Writer (Marcia Layton Turner's free e-zine)\
• 8 Points to Smarter Client Contracts (Erik Sherman's WriterBiz, 11-19-09)
• Freelancers’ Guide to Getting Paid—on Time (Diana Middleton, WSJ, 7-16-09)
• Go Ahead, Raise Your Business's Prices (Jason Fried, Inc., 11-1-10). "Sure, some customers will complain, and others might take their business elsewhere. But there’s a good chance you don’t want those kinds of customers, anyway."
• Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money by Kelly James-Enger
• Tricks of the Trade: Study Suggests How Freelancers Can Land More Jobs ( American Sociological Association (ASA) , 2-14-14)
• Think Beyond The Book: Authors Or Anyone Can Make More Money By Achieving Maximum Audience And Revenue For Your Knowledge Faster, Better And Easier! by Melanie Jordan
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Affiliate marketing


• What Is Affiliate Marketing (Commission Junction)
• Getting Approved At Affiliate Networks
• HTML Tips: Anatomy of an Affiliate Link (Lynn Terry's clear explanation of the part for which most people's eyes glaze over)
• Rosalind Gardner's Super Affiliate Handbook (explaining how she makes $30,000 to $50,000 a month in affiliate commissions)
• You Can Make Money: A Step-by-Step Guide to Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing (Terry Whalin's ebook, a free download in exchange for giving him your name and email address, one of the tricks of the biz!).
• 30 Days to Massive Traffic (Anthony Morrison, a free 76-page ebook)
• Amazon Associate Affiliate Marketing, Part 1 (12-19-12) and Part 2 (1-10-13) Giuseppe Macchiaverna, on his How I Make Money Writing blog.
• Warning: "Thin Affiliate Sites"
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Content mills/​farms(low-pay sweat shops for writers)


This is a mere sampling of the negative things you'll hear about content mills.
• The Reality of Writing for Content Mills--14 Writers' True Stories (plus 263 comments -- Carol Tice, Make a Living Writing, 4-12-13). Demand Studios, Textbroker, Writer Access, Yahoo Contributor Network (Associated Content), Suite 101, Seed, Examiner, BlogMutt, CopyPress, Internet Brands, Break Studios, Media Shower, Content Authority, Epinions, Web Answers. See also Writing for Content Mills: Did You Pick the Wrong One?
• Media Startups Try a Lower-Cost Model: Unpaid Student Writers (Austen Hufford, Wall Street Journal, 6-21-17) Chapter-based, for-profit media companies like Spoon University and Odyssey have been popping up in college markets across the U.S.
• Experience at a Price (The Accidental Medical Writer) "content mills like the ones mentioned in Hufford's article is that they reap huge financial gains from advertisers off the backs of writers who work for free in the hope the "exposure" will get them somewhere."

• Fiverr: Writing work on your terms David Shrauger, Examiner.com, 6-30-14)
• 5Across: Beyond Content Farms (Mark Glaser, MediaShift,
• Doonesbury Takes a Whack at Huffington Post. No Hard Feelings, Says HuffPo Bureau Chief (Rebecca Rosen Lum. Fog City Journal, 4-25-12) on HuffPost expecting bloggers to post for "exposure," not pay)
• Freelancing Basics: One Way Not to Start Freelancing (Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, STC's notebook, official voice of the tech comm community, 2-28-13).
• Master Content Mill List (Entrepreneur Cure)
• Demand Media's eHow Learns Hard Lessons: Strategy Began to Fall Apart as Google Changed Search Algorithms (William Launder, WSJ, 10-20-13). eHow's traffic and value plunged as "Google introduced changes to its search algorithms to weed out content its computers showed wasn't what searchers sought... The [new] goal, in part, is to pass muster with algorithm changes that try to weed out articles that appear uninteresting, such as ones that generate lots of back clicks by Google users or appear to duplicate text on other Web pages."
• The Answer Factory: Demand Media and the Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell Media Model (Daniel Roth, Wired Magaine, 10-19-09). "Plenty of other companies — About.com, Mahalo, Answers.com — have tried to corner the market in arcane online advice. But none has gone about it as aggressively, scientifically, and single-mindedly as Demand. Pieces are not dreamed up by trained editors nor commissioned based on submitted questions. Instead they are assigned by an algorithm, which mines nearly a terabyte of search data, Internet traffic patterns, and keyword rates to determine what users want to know and how much advertisers will pay to appear next to the answers."
• Content Mill Demand Media Expands Its Reach -- To More Newspapers! (Erik Sherman, CBS MoneyWatch, 5-21-10) "For its normal web pieces, a typical Demand Media rate for an article of a few hundred words is $7.50, with copy editing paying about $3.50 an article, according to many freelancers I've communicated with who work for Demand."
• Erik Sherman's pieces on Demand Studios
• Content farm (Wikipedia-- firms that use freelancers to generate "large amounts of textual content which is specifically designed to satisfy algorithms for maximal retrieval by automated search engines"
• Writers Explain What It's Like Toiling on the Content Farm (Corbin Hiar, MediaShift, 7-21-10)
• How Much Are Examiner.com Writers Really Earning? (Writers Weekly, 5-13-09)
• Are Content Mills the Future of Online Publishing? (Aaron Wall, author of SEOBook--read his blog )
• 3 Ways to Escape the Content Mills and Earn More as a Freelance Writer (Linda Formichelli, The Renegade Writer, 5-21-12)
• Here’s the Escape Hatch for Writers Who Want to Leave the Low-Pay Grind (Carol Rice, Make a Living Writing...practical help for hungry writers). See also In Which I Confront Content Mill Owners About Their Rates…In Person
• Content Mills and Diminished Dreams (Rob's Loud and Skittish blog, 10-9-12)
• Top 5 Ways Bleacher Report Rules the World! (Joe Eskenazi, SF Weekly News, 10-3-12) Bleacher Report is a San Francisco-based, aggressively growing online giant, tapping the oceanic labor pool of thousands of unpaid sports fanatics typing on thousands of keyboards. Its mastery of key words, despite poor writing, gets it those all-important pageviews that drive advertising $$.
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Becoming more productive

Start by "overcoming resistance." Read The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Stephen Pressfield, on overcoming resistance to achieve the unlived life within.
• Steven Pressfield Q&A on The War of Art (Walt Kania, The Freelancery, p. 146 -- a dozen and a half Q&As with Pressfield).
• Dumb Little Man (Jay White and others with tips on how to be more productive)
• Super Sad True Habits of Highly Effective Writers: Part 1 ( Courtney Maum's compilation of writers' secret rituals for revving up to write, Tin House, 5-8-12). And Part 2.
• Does Your Small Business Need a Virtual Assistant? (Karen Leland, HuffPost, 8-12-11. Kathy Goughenour a virtual assistant trainer, recommends five steps to successfully outsourcing work to VAs.
• Stupid Writer Tricks: How To Be More Productive (Karen Woodward, 6-6-13)
• It’s Time To Finish Your Book: 9 Productivity Tips for Writers (Joanna Penn, guest post on Write to Done)
• Suggestions for Being a More Productive Writer (Joanna Campbell Slan)
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Attracting, nurturing, and wisely choosing clients
and knowing when to let them go


Some items about "job interviews" are included because in a sense each effort to land a freelance gig can be like a job interview--except you'll be expected to deliver on your own.

• 8 tips for interviewing freelance writing clients (About Freelance Writing)
• Landing Big Money Clients: Who they are, what they want. (Walt Kania, The Freelancery, 7-22-11)
• Digital portfolios for journalists: What are your options? (Susanna Speier, Poynter, 4-10-13)
• 12 Breeds of Clients and How to Work with Them (Jack Knight,Freelance Switch). Very helpful; do you recognize the types? (Note to headline writer: "disinterested" doesn't mean "uninterested.")
• 5 Pieces of Job Interview Advice That Can Help You Land Freelance Clients (Christina Nicholson, Fast Company, 5-10-17) You don’t have to start over completely once you become your own boss. Here’s how to repurpose your interview prep for freelance life.
• FreelanceWritersEditors (a forum for published professional freelance writers and editors to discuss the business of publishing - getting into print, finding and keeping clients, handling difficult situations, getting paid, networking, useful resources)
• Nuggetoids of helpful freelancing truth (Walt Kania, The Freelancery, 4-5-12). Sample: "Most times, the client is just as uncertain and clueless as you are. Especially if they are yelling. So don’t take it personally."
• Dealing With a Client Who Calls and Calls and ... (Alina Tugend, NY Times, Shortcuts, 10-18-13) What to do about troublesome clients.
• Should You Pay For Referrals? (Bob Bly, guest-blogging on Successful Customer Follow-Up 5-30-11). Bly doesn't give referral fees because he wants his clients to know his referrals are objective. Referral gifts are another matter -- and not a bad idea if someone has referred a client to you. (You can send ME lobster!)
• Everything You Wanted to Know About Freelance Writing by Paul Lima. See sample chapters:
Sample Pitch Letters (Chapter 35, on selling yourself to a corporate client) and How Much to Charge (Chapter 38, on quoting a price to a corporate client)
• Too Busy to Get Clients? (C.J. Hayden advising, If you don't have enough time for marketing, something about your business needs to change. Stop what you're doing, and take the time to figure out what it is.)
• The Vendor-Client Relationship (YouTube video showing how some clients expect unrealistic pricing--this may sound like a parody but a lot of these lines will become familiar--don't fall for them)
• What Can Your Clients Reasonably Expect From You? (Laura Spencer, Freelance Folder, 11-22-09)
• Three Habitss of the Best Job Candidates I've Ever Interviewed (Sara McCord, The Muse, Fast Company, 4-10-17) Take it from an experienced recruiter: Making a great impression isn’t rocket science, but it’s easy to get wrong. 1. They make it clear why they fit the organization. 2. They show they're listening. 3. They write thoughtful thank-you notes. ("Pro tip: In addition to sending an email within 24 hours, also send a handwritten one so the hiring manger will be reminded of you fondly a few days after the fact.")
• The Best Interview Questions to Ask in Every Round (Dorianne St Fleur, The Muse, Fast Company)
• 30+ Ways to Create an Incredible Client Experience (Freelance Switch)
• Don't Exaggerate Your Size. Nearly every entrepreneur exaggerates his or her company's size to impress clients. Jason Fried (Inc. June 2011) says such behavior is silly—and unnecessary. Don't exaggerate your experience either!
• The Designer's Guide To Marketing And Pricing: How To Win Clients And What To Charge Them by Ilise Benun and Peleq Top
• Retainers? This Writer’s Clients Give Him a Check Every Month
(Tim Lewis guest post on Peter Bowerman's Well-Fed Writer blog, 6-30-11).
• What to say to your low-balling clients (Laura Spencer, FreelanceFolder)
• 8 Points to Smarter Client Contracts (Erik Sherman's WriterBiz, 11-19-09)
• Dr. Freelance (Jake Poinier's advice on freelance jobs and client relationships)
• Clients from Hell
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Getting paid, on time,
and other tips on keeping a healthy cash flow


• GetPaidNotPlayed: Deadbeat Client Stories, Twitter thread (hashtag #getpaidnotplayed), run by Freelancers Union spring 2012. Among items tweeted
• Don't fall for "you'll get publicity"
• Small claims court in your jurisdiction is a good resource for small claims.
• Get part of the payment up front (25%, say), the rest in scheduled payments, and last 10% on completion.
• Always get it in writing.
• Freelancers Union conversation: What's your worst deadbeat client story? (run by Sara Horowitz)
• Teeshirt submission to Threadless ("If i wanted to work for free I'd choose to be a volunteer, not a freelancer")
• Show Me the Money: Getting What’s Due (Karen Berger's blog, CreateWorkLive 11-30-08).
• We Want a Discount... (translators Danilo Nogueira and Kelli Semolini on the many reasons clients feel entitled to a discount, Translation Journal, 12-20-10)
• A Factory for Words in a Sea of Debt (Jim Dwyer, NYTimes, 6-19-09, on 50 unpaid freelance writers unpaid by "textbook factory" Inkwell Publishing, in turn unpaid by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
• The Business of Editing: You Want a Deposit! (Rich Adin, An American Editor (8-4-14). See also Refusal to use escrow (Online Freelancing Guide)
• More Freelancers Fight to Be Paid (Joe Light, WSJ, 4-27-10)
• The Simple Tricks Experts Use to Always Get Paid For Their Time (Laura Roeder, Copyblogger)
• 10 Ways To Get Paid Faster (Benjamin Tomkins, Crisis Survival Kit, Information Week, 10-2-08). See also 8 Tips for Freelance Designers to Get Paid Faster (Web Designer Depot, 2-4-11).
• 3 Ways to Get Paid Faster (Jessica Stillman, Inc., 10-31-12). Cash-flow is key for small businesses. Improving yours could be as simple as changing a bit of wording on your invoices. Here's how.
• Using Small Claims Court for Freelance Business Disputes (Marshall Lee, The Self-Employed, 11-9-12) "Three out of four freelancers will have difficulty collecting a debt at least once during their career…"
• The Wealthy Freelancer (blog, Steve Slaunwhite, Ed Gandia, and Pete Savage), co-authors of the book The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle, available by Kindle (so you can read it while flying to a meeting with a client).
• 11 Things to Do When a Client Files Bankruptcy (Carolyn M. Brown, Inc., 11-22-10)
• The danger of speaking the truth. Marc Canter, Marc's Voice blog, What really happened at Broadband Mechanics (getting stiffed by Radio One, the Black media empire, etc.)
• Makeup Artist David Tibolla Explains Why He Supports The Freelancer Payment Protection Act
• Support the Freelancer Payment Protection Act (in New York). Read the Summary of 2010 Independent Worker Survey or the full report .
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Sample contracts and agreements for services


• Rights 101: What Writers Should Know About All-Rights and Work-Made-for-Hire Contracts
• Standard Freelance Editorial Agreement (download from site of Editors' Association of Canada, EAC)
• Standard Freelance Editorial Agreement (Sarah Jolly, SJ Editorial). This excellent contract VERY clearly spells things out in important areas most editors probably never think about.
• Sample Contracts for Freelance Writers
• Model Contract for Translators (PEN)
• Collaboration agreements (samples, Writers and Editors)
• Permissions and release forms (many samples, Writers and Editors site)
• How to Deal with Indemnification Clauses (ASJA position paper, 2003, posted on Writers and Editors website)
• A no-nonsense editing contract (Jefferson Hansen's)
• Sample copyediting contract (Erin Hartshorn, The Well-Chosen Word)
• A complex agreement for services (The Proofreaders)
• Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee? (IRS--believe me, this issue will come up, if you freelance.)
• Agency Contracts for Freelancers
• Contract Advice (for members of the National Writers Union, NWU)
• Contracts 101: Negotiating Contractor Agreements (Vimeo, Dave Putt, VP of Client Services, MBO Partners). Putt,not a lawyer, explains the terms of a sample consulting agreement helpfully for independent contractors (and those who hire them)--especially why to avoid overbroadness in noncompete, indemnification, nondisclosure/​confidentiality, warranty, injunction, arbitration, errors and omissions insurance, and other clauses. Hire a lawyer when the expensive words "liens" and "bond" appear.
• The Copymancer's sample contract for editing work (Rose Jasper Fox).
• Book Contracts, in the page on Copyright, work for hire, and other rights issues. See
Contract terms (book publishing, including reversion of rights clauses) and Books about rights, contracts, copyright, clearance, and other issues of importance to writers and editors.
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Negotiating freelance arrangements


•
The Complete Guide to Setting and Negotiating Freelance Rates (Tom Ewer, Lifehacker, 4-11-13)
• Get Paid What You’re Worth: 37 Negotiation Tactics for Every Freelance Writer (Demian Farnworth, Copyblogger, 9-24-12)
• Pricing & Negotiating: Book Cover For Politician’s Memoir (Craig Oppenheimer, aPhotoEditor, 3-12-14). Rights are very much an issue on this kind of contract.
• Contracts 101: Negotiating Contractor Agreements (Vimeo, Dave Putt, VP of Client Services, MBO Partners).
• We have no budget for photos (photographer Tony Sleep on why to avoid negotiating with clients who "have no budget")
• Never Negotiate Your Freelance Rate (Planscope)
• Freelancing: 7 Tips for Negotiating High End Rates (Tom Ewer,, Bidsketch)
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Income tax for entrepreneurs and freelancers

• Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee? (IRS--believe me, this issue will come up, if you freelance.)
• IRS Gives 10 Tips on Employees Versus Independent Contractors (posted by Tax Institute)
• Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online. IRS process for getting a permanent number (instead of your social security number) for filing business and tax reports, for anyone paying subcontractors, including cleaning workers.
• Top Tips to Prepare 1099-MISC Forms on Your Own (RoberG Tax Solutions). If you subcontract out $600 in work to any subcontractors, you need to issue a 1099-MISC to each subcontractor. Order forms from the IRS and get the 1096 transmittal form, too.
• A Simpler Form for Home Office Deductions (Ann Carrins, NY Times, 1-17-13) If this form becomes reality, and if you take $1500 or less for your home office deduction, this will be good news for you.
• Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). A tax payment system provided free by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Pay federal taxes electronically via the Internet or phone 24/​7.
• A Primer on Taxes for Freelancers (LaToya Irby, All Freelance Writing, 1-14-13). Irby also posted these pieces:
~ 4 Types of Tax Deductions (standard, itemized, above-the-line, and business/​schedule C)
~Documents You'll Need for Tax Time (9-10-12)
~Freelance Writers Have to Pay Quarterly Estimated Taxes (6-8-12)
~What to Do When You Can’t Pay Your Taxes (3-29-10)
~The Downside to Taking Business Tax Deductions (5-27-11)
• What Writers Can Deduct from Taxes (Savvy Book Writers, 2-17-16)
• Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) . Your Voice at the IRS. "Our job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly, and that you know and understand your rights. We offer free help to guide you through the often-confusing process of resolving your tax problems that you haven’t been able to solve on your own. Remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all!"
• Secrets Of Claiming A Home-Office Deduction (Richard Eisenberg, Forbes, 2-8-13)
• Employee or Independent Contractor (section 2, p. 7 of IRS form 15a)
• How to Avoid Income Tax Deduction Problems With Home Office Deductions (eHow.com) If you take a deduction on the depreciation value of your home, you will have to pay capital gains taxes on this amount when you sell your home. Make sure to keep copies of your tax records so that you can calculate this amount in the future.
• Simplified Option for Home Office Deduction (simplifies the calculation and recordkeeping requirements of the allowable deduction--simplified method compared with regular method)
• Tough Rules (Julian Block). See also See also Julian Block's Easy Tax Guide for Writers, Photographers, and Other Freelancers: Trim Taxes to the Legal Minimum
• Tax Aspects of Authors/​Writers/​Screenwriters (D. Larry Crumbley, accountant but not lawyer)
• (Seven) states without an income tax (About Money). See also Taxes and freelancing (overview of Schedule C) and Tax Deductions for Bloggers
• Taxes for Writers (Carol Topp)
• Taxes for Freelancers (Durant Imboden, Writing.org)
• Tax Deductions Guide for Freelancers and the Self-Employed (Lindsay Van Thoen, Freelancers Union, 2-13-14) Form 1040, Schedule C, Part II, explained.
• Tips to Get It Right (Julian Block, HouseLogic.com, click on arrows for slide show illustrating home offices)
• Don’t Forget These Home Office Tax Deductions (Miranda Marquit, Peak Personal Finance 1-25-10)
• Office-in-Home Tax Deductions - Home Business Use of Your Home (Randy Duermyer, About.com)
• Red flags for audits (Julian Block, NY Financial Writers' Association).
• Taxes for business travelers: What is and isn't deductible ((Nancy Trejos, USA Today 4-8-13)
Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) (a clear explanation by IRS.gov). An EIN is a federal tax identification number used to identify a business entity or household employer (e.g., of cleaning people or caregivers). Just as you get a Social Security number (SSN) when you first start earning income, so you should probably apply for an EIN when you become an entrepreneur. It's required if you have employees or are incorporated, and useful if you are filing 1099 forms sent to subcontractors--on which you're probably better off providing an EIN than an SSN. Here's IRS on How to Apply for an EIN. Here is NIST's explanation of TIN/​EIN. A federal Tax Identification Number (TIN) (a "95 number") is similar in function, according to NIST -- in being a 9-digit number issued by the IRS, as a way of uniquely identifying a business entity. Many companies use them as a way to facilitate financial management when an individual or firm may operate with different names, or names may change over time. A TIN/​EIN is used by "employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, nonprofit associations, trusts, estates of decedents, government agencies, certain individuals, and other business entities," explains NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology).
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Incorporate? Or not? Which way?
• On Your Own vs. Owning a Company: A Freelancer’s Essential Decision (Ruth Thaler-Carter, Intercom, STC)
• The Nuts & Bolts of Running Your Freelance Business. PDF of genuinely informative slideshow from Lisa Breck's presentation 4-2-11 to AMWA freelancers (program here, includes other helpful resources). Breck's slideshow includes overview of sole proprietorships and partnerships, of LLC (Limited Liability Company), of S-Corp.
• Introduction to LLCs. Nelson on the dangers of sole proprietorships and partnerships and the advantages of forming a limited liability company (LLC), plus FAQs about LLCs
• A CPA Explains the Advantages and Disadvantages of an S Corporation (Stephen L. Nelson clearly explains the many disadvantages and advantages of an S Corp tax status, and provides SCorp Kits for each state of U.S.)
Google these terms and others in these presentations and you'll find even more, but this will give you an overview.
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Tools for freelancer writers and entrepreneurs


• Dropbox. A free service (up to a point) that lets you post your photos, docs, and videos online for accessing on the road or sharing privately with others--particularly helpful for files too big to email. I pay for more storage and I use it all the time to exchange big documents and graphic files, etc., with clients and subcontractors.
• Hootsuite (social media dashboard to manage and measure your social networks)
• Endnote (software tool for publishing and managing references and bibliographies)
• Mendeley (desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data, collaborating online privately or in groups, reading and annotating PDFs
• Evernote (organize your notes and thoughts in one spot)
• AwayFind (let urgent emails cut through the clutter and find you--don't keep checking email constantly)
• 5 Timekeeping Apps for Your Small Business (Mashable)
• Online billing tools (Dave McClintock, on Entrepreneur, 11-19-10, reviews five billing and receivables tools for security, payment plans, support, mobility, and branding ability(how well you can brand your bills with your logo etc.): QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, AcceptPay, and PayPal, with nods to Outright and Xero.
• Top 10 Productivity Tools for Entrepreneurs
• Five Best Note Taking Applications (Lifehacker review 2011)
• Five Best PDF Tools (Lifehacker review 2011)
• Five Best Desktop Personal Finance Tools (Lifehacker review 2011)
• Five Best News Aggregators (Lifehacker review 2011)

Blog roll -- blogs for freelancers, about freelancing and consulting
• ABC Copywriting
• About Freelance Writing
• All Freelance Writing (Jennifer Mattern manages a team of bloggers)
• The Artist's Way (Julia Cameron, whose video course, Julia Cameron Live, can be watched online ($149)
• Active Voice
• Clients from Hell
• Copyblogger
• CreateWorkLive (Karen Berger's blog about surviving and thriving in the creative community)
• Diary of a Mad Freelancer
• Dumb Little Man (Jay White and others with tips on how to be more productive)
• Dr. Freelance (Jake Poinier's advice on freelance jobs and client relationships)
• Freelancedom
• The Freelancery (Walt Kania)
• Freelance Switch
• Freelance Writing Gigs
• Freelance-Zone.com
• The Independent Journalist (SPJ's blog for freelancers)
• Inkwell Editorial
• Irreverent Freelancer
• Jane Friedman (Writing, reading, and publishing in the digital age)
• Jet Hiking (Amber Nolan, the JetHiking Gypsy, hitchhiking to all 50 states by airplane)
• Red Pen Management
• Smiling Tree Writing (some interesting interviews on "independent writing")
• The Renegade Writer
• Stand Up 8 Times (Diana Schneidman on making a living as a corporate freelancer or consultant)
• The Urban Muse
• The Well-Fed Writer Blog (income-boosting resources for commercial writers)
• Writers and Editors
• The Writing Base (rock solid tips for freelance writing success)
• The Top 100 Freelancer Blogs (Heather Johnson, Bootstrapper), including blogs on writing, copywriting and marketing, design, programming and Web development, finance and business, photography, consulting, and freelancing and parenting
and by the way:
• Why Your Freelance Writer Website Makes You Sound Like an Idiot (And How to Get Your True Voice Back) (Sophie Lizard, guest-blogging on Write Your Revolution
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Work for hire (work made for hire)


• Work for Hire (Wikipedia's helpful entry)
• RIGHTS 101: What Writers Should Know About All-Rights and Work-Made-For-Hire Contracts (2003 ASJA position paper)
• Works Made for Hire Under the 1978 Copyright Act (PDF, Circular 9, U.S. Copyright Office)
• Sound Recordings as Works Made for Hire (Statement of Marybeth Peters, The Register of Copyrights before the Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property Committee on the Judiciary, May 25, 2000)
• Work Made for Hire Agreements and Derivative Works (Ivan Hoffman, BA, JD)
• More stories on work for hire (Copyright and Work for Hire, Writers and Editors site)
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Adventures in Freelancing (YouTube spoofs)
• Part I: The Trend Story. An amusing but all-too-close-to-true video spoof of a magazine editor assigning a story to a freelancer.
• Adventures in Freelancing, Part 2: The Public Relations Professional "With apologies to the handful of PR people who help instead of hinder. You know who you are."
• Part 3: The Rewrite (again, oh so true, about needing to rewrite because editors sat on piece too long, for example)
• Part 4: The Job Interview "If you've interviewed at a ladymag, you've met this editor-in-chief." (You may have had a similar experience at a book publishing firm.)

Ageism in Freelancing: Here’s How You Can Beat (Carol Tice, Make a Living Writing). Excellent advice on "skill-ism" (keeping up with changing technology and venues, playing to your demographic, changing your mindset, and other ways to keep up with the market.


And Now, the Tricky Part: Naming Your Business (Emily Maltby, WSJ, 6-29-10) and Name Choices Spark Lawsuits (Emily Maltby, "Start-Ups Can Get Mired in Costly Trademark Scuffles With Bigger Firms," WSJ, 6-24-10)

Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online. IRS process for getting a permanent number (instead of your social security number) for filing business and tax reports, for anyone paying subcontractors, including cleaning workers.


Behance Network (platform for creative professionals)

"Brevity may be the soul of wit, or lingerie, or texting, or quail eggs, but all subjects are not the same. Efficiency of expression is in some realms a virtue and in some realms a vice. Brevity is certainly not the soul of news, if by news you mean more than information. 'The point' is not always easy. There is not always a 'takeaway.'" ~ Leon Wieselter, on the impoverishment of writers providing "content" for the new media, in Washington Diarist: Writers Have Become the New Proles in The New Republic

Benefits of freelancing
• Freelancing: a choice not a punishment (Tam Harbert)
• 2012 Freelance Industry Report
• 4 Reasons why being a freelance copywriter is one of the best and safest jobs in today’s new world (Excess Voice)
• On Returning to “a Job” After Freelancing (Deb Ng, Kommein.com, 12-28-10, on why many freelancers do not yearn for a steady "job")
• 101 Reasons Freelancers Do it Better (HR World). Whether they're entrepreneurs, Web workers or something in between, freelancers enjoy a better lifestyle than their cube-dwelling brethren.
• Quit Your Day Job: How to Sleep Late, Do What You Enjoy, and Make a Ton of Money as a Writer by Jim Denney. The book is more realistic and helpful than the title.

Best Business Practices for Writers, 2012 (a roundup of links to stories on the topic)

Best Cities for Freelance Workers (Maggie Clark, NerdWallet, 2-20-14). What makes these 10 cities best for freelancers (and note: New York City does not make the list, which is not focused on publishing).

Business Cards:
• Moo (good quality and service for short-run business cards -- better quality than Vista, and you can have variations: same front side but different images on back, etc.)
• 30 Creative QR code business cards (Webdesigner Depot)
• 10 Tips for Designing a Professional Business Card (Andrea Campbell, Bright Hub, 3-11-11)
• Using Adobe Photoshop to Make Your Own Business Cards (Laura Jean Karr, Bright Hub, 11-16-10)
• 7 Free Business Card Templates for Microsoft Word (Tricia Goss, Bright Hub, 12-23-10)
• Cost of Printing Business Cards: Is It Really Cheaper to Make Your Own? (Linda Richter, Bright Hub, 2-21-11)

Business gifts. There's a $25 limit, says IRS, Publication #463

A Completely Subjective Dos and Don'ts Guide to Freelancing (Jeremy Gordon, Lifehacker, 9-3-13)

Consider gigs as a virtual assistant. Or hire one. According to the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA), a virtual assistant is an independent contractor who (from a remote location, usually a home office) supports multiple clients in a variety of industries by providing administrative, creative, and technical services. AssistU provides advice on becoming or hiring a virtual assistant. This is a fast-growing category of home-based businesses. Services the IVAA lists include association management,coaching support, graphic design and editing, transcription services, author assistance, desktop publishing, multimedia presentations, social media services, and website design.

Corporate Publishing vs. Traditional Freelancing: Author, Prepare Thyself (Howard Baldwin, ASJA Word, 10-2-13) Content marketing, custom publishing, sponsored articles--the pros and cons of corporate publishing and how it differs from traditional journalism.

Days can be endless when you are an independent contractor (Vickie Elmer, Capital Business insert, Washington Post, 9-18-11).

The Digital Nomad's Guide to Working from Anywhere on Earth The work-anywhere, travel-the-world fringe lifestyle is going mainstream–and these apps, services, and events are here to help. Genereal advice as well as links to


Elders in Action. Get certified (or not) as elder-friendly. Their website (see its upper right corner) is elder-friendly.


E-payment and accounting systems:
• Bay Business Group (Web-based bookkeeping for small businesses
• Bill.com (Web-based payment system)

Ergonomic office chairs (Ergogenesis) (customized chairs for if your body is not "normal" size) and an adjustable keyboard tray(The Human Solution) so you can stand while writing. (Tips courtesy of Susan Bairnsfather). Others rave about Aeron chairs, Herman Miller chairs, slightly tilted foot rests -- and setting a timer every hour to remind yourself to get up for two minutes, roll your eyes from side to side (they've been staring at a screen), and stretch. If you want to stand and type, consider the Geek Desk.


Everything You Wanted to Know About Freelance Writing by Paul Lima. You can read this excellent primer free online, clicking on chapter-by-chapter hotlinks. Sample chapters:
• Sample Query Letters (Chapter 12)
• Sample Pitch Letters (Chapter 35, on selling yourself to a corporate client)
• How Much to Charge (Chapter 38, on quoting a price to a corporate client)
• Accurately Pricing Services (Chapter 39)

Fax services. With electronic faxing service (a fax comes through e-mail as a PDF) you no longer need a dedicated fax line. E-colleagues have recommended these reasonably priced fax services in the U.S.: MyFax, OneSuite Fax ("you can call it fax-to-email, FoIP, Fax over IP, web fax, or ifax; either way, it’s essentially a virtual fax machine to which you can affordably subscribe from your OneSuite account." OneSuite provides low-cost long-distance phone connections, which are particularly handy for calling in to long teleconferences--which you can do from outside your office.

Fitness tip: Active sitting, standing and adjustable-height or treadmill desks, and walkstations

The 5 D's of a Successful Freelance Career (Jon Phillips, Freelance Folder, 8-25-2007)

5 Ways to Boost Professional Credibility Credibility Tops Freelance Writer and Editor Wish List (National Association of Independent Writers and Editors survey)

Foreign transfers. Payment between countries may be a problem if you use a small bank or credit union; they're easier in a bank with a SWIFT account. Three terms to understand for transfers from Europe (IBAN, BIC, and SWIFT) are explained well at http:/​/​auctionfeecalculator.com/​iban_transfers.html"target. As that site explains: BIC + IBAN is often the cheapest way to transfer money internationally and is now free of charge in much of Europe. In the U.S. you are charged a fee if an international transfer has to go through an intermediary bank, so read up!

Freelancer Directories
Many writers and journalists organizations have begun offering freelance directories, so if you're looking for a freelancer in a special field, that's one place to look, and if you're freelance, make sure you're listed in the directory of organizations to which you belong. Here are some directories. I'll list more as I remember or you make me aware of them:
• Association of Health Care Journalists (see AHCJ's list of independent journalists)
• Editorial Freelancers Association (search by state, skill, specialty, hardware, software)
• Find a personal historian (Association of Personal Historians, to help Mom and Pop write their memoirs)
• Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) (freelancers in an organization that traditionally attracts staff journalists)

• Freelancers, Here's How To Budget Your Money (Laura Shin, Forbes, 7-17-14)
• Freelancers, Here's How To Do Your Taxes (Laura Shin, Forbes, 7-18-14)
• Freelancers, Here's How To Save, Pay Down Debt, Retire And Splurge (Laura Shin, Forbes, 7-21-14)
• Freelancers, Here's How To Protect And Structure Your Business (Laura Shin, Forbes, 7-22-14)

Freelancers are totally screwed: What today’s cultural treadmill means for writers (Noah Berlatsky, Salon, 2-4-14) As a freelance writer, I'm never off the clock. Which means I get paid for fun, but also that fun becomes work

The Freelancer’s Introduction to CRM (Thursday Bram, Freelance Folder, 10-1-08) Customer Relationship Management. Software-based CRM systems allow you to store all your information on current and prospective customers in one place. Overview of types, and read the comments.

Freelancer's Business Start-Up Kit (Alan Kotok, Science Careers, 5-20-05) Business will not come to you; you have to go out and make it rain.

***Freelancer's Survival Guide by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (read free online) If you're still even a bit dewy-eyed, read what Rusch has to say. In addition, if you want your books published, read this long blog entry on how you can't count on publishers to give you a fair contract and you cannot always count on agents to watch out for your interests: Advocates, Addendums, and Sneaks, oh my. In short: read every line of every contract and educate yourself on what to watch for. Read also: Giving Up on Yourself, Part 1

The Freelancery: The freelancer's guide to getting work, making a buck, and staying happy (PDF, Walt Kania's excellent advice on freelancing) The 50 most useful, most-read articles from
thefreelancery.com.

Freelance writing's unfortunate new model (James Rainey, On the Media, LA Times, 1-6-10). With many outlets slashing pay scales, the well-written story is in danger of becoming scarce. "With the advertising-driven income in a state of disarray, the source of future freelance dollars remains in doubt." Media analyst Alan Mutter worried about "journicide -- the loss of much of a generation of professional journalists who turn to other professions."

Freelance Writing (many articles, About Careers)

Freelance writing's unfortunate new model (James Rainey, On the Media, Los Angeles Times, 1-6-10)

Freelance-Zone.com. "Work smarter, not harder." Has job bank, various sections, helpful articles, such as A Job Opp You May Not Have Considered, Amanda Smyth Connor's story about Community managers, who are in charge of developing and maintaining the style and tone of content (social media, etc.) that is posted within a community

Freelancing Sucks (Drew Magary, The Concourse, 8-7-14). Everyday you're hustling.


Geezerguts: making a buck, no matter what . Download this free eBook PDF by Jane Genova, Speechwriter-Ghostwriter. (Oy vey - All those [middle-aged] unemployed writers--her story of loss and comeback. She lost everything at 60 and started over as a freelance writer-entrepreneur.

Getting Started as a Freelance Writer, expanded edition, by Robert Bly

Getting Started in Consulting (Alan Weiss, Contrarian Consulting 9-5-11). See also his column Ten Things You Should Know Before Meeting With A Prospect (9-12-11)

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (see Wikipedia entry about GTD, which also lists proprietary and free software). The idea of this excellent system for improving productivity is to get those ideas and to-dos out of your head and down on paper (or app) so you can manage them; to organize them in order of time and priorities (doing quick and easy projects sooner and breaking larger projects down into tasks that can be done quickly, and so on).

Going it Alone at 40: How I Survived My First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment by Liz Broomfield

The Help: How I Work with a Virtual Assistant (Michelle V. Rafter, The Word, ASJA 6-5-13)

How to
• How to Be a Freelance Writer (Angela Hoy, free e-book, PDF--once over lightly)
• How to Bribe Yourself to Do Nasty Things (Taylor, Men with Pens)
• How to create an invoice (Allena Tapia, about.com)
• How to Enlist a Global Work Force of Freelancers (Kermit Pattison, NYTimes, 6-24-09), and good luck to all
• How to Generate New Business by Delivering Talks to Organizations and Professionals Groups (International Freelancers Academy)
• How to Handle Rejection and Criticism as a Freelancer (Mark McGuinness, for International Freelancers Academy) Above all, do not take it personally.
• How to Pitch (X magazine), through Avant Guild
• How to Share a Folder Over Your Network (for Beginners -- Adam Dachis, Lifehacker 6-6-11)
• How to start up as a freelancer or contractor, British-style (Tim@​Caprica)
• How to Critique Fiction (Victoria Crayne)
• How to Cope with Critiquing (Rich Hamper, including advice on how to critique)
• How to Survive Summer Break When You're a Parent and Self-Employed (Katharine O'Moore-Klopf, KOK Edit Blog, 5-27-13)
• How do I get started in freelancing? (Western New England Editorial Freelancers' Network)
• How to Ensure Your Freelance Business Survives: A Ten-Point Plan (Anthony Haynes, guest-blogging about continuity management on Louise Harnby's site)
• How To Use Contract Work Sites to Break Into Freelancing (Allena Tapia, About.com on Freelance Writing)


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including links about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare)
Health and disability insurance
Other helpful resources on health insurance
Liability and property insurance

Health and disability insurance

I am not qualified to recommend any particular insurance provider, but I am listing sites others have recommended. Some freelancers look for very high-deductibles, mostly basic coverage for catastrophic (highly expensive) care (mostly in-hospital, but outpatient chemo can also be extremely expensive). Others look for an integrated healthcare system (such as Kaiser Permanente), believing in preventive health maintenance. I'll start with some links that may be helpful under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), though what will happen to that under Mr. Trump is anyone's guess.
"With Obamacare, I’ll have health insurance for the first time in quite a while."--Freelance copyeditor interviewed about her specialty for The Millions
The insurance marketplaces, or "exchanges," are available at the state level. "Assistance for premium costs: For those with incomes under specified thresholds, federal tax credits will be available to help cover the costs of premiums."
"Choices will vary by states: These will be state-based exchanges, so choices will vary depending on where you live. The federal Health and Human Services agency has posted an interactive map that provides some useful information. It also provides a link to state exchanges and websites."
• The Affordable Care Act (Pat McNees's many links to information about ACA, health care reform, why medical costs are so high, and medical errors)
• HHS basic information on the coming health insurance marketplaces.
• HHS interactive state-by-state map.
• New York State of Health: The Official Health Place
• Covered California, the new marketplace for affordable private health insurance

Other helpful resources on health insurance

• Health Insurance (PEN's list of organizations offering health-care access to writers and artists)
• Affordable Health Insurance Options for Members of the National Press Club (Affinity, etc. -- some journalists accept steady gigs on small papers to qualify for NPC membership and health insurance)
• Freelancers Union insurance
• FracturedAtlas (liberate the artist)(various kinds of insurance for artists)
• HealthCare.gov (learn how new federal rules about health insurance may affect you)
• eHealthInsurance (compare different insurers' plans side by side; ask for advice from an agent)
• HealthInsuranceInfo.net(consumer guides, by state, for getting and keeping health insurance, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute)
• Health Insurance Consumer Information (News You Can Use from Healthinsuranceinfo.net)
• Finding Health Insurance if You Are Self-Employed (Marci Alboher, NY Times, 3-17-08). Note the date; some things have changed.
• What the Self-Employed Need to Know About Obamacare (Dinah Wisenberg Brin, Entrepreneur, 9-25-13)
• The SHOP Marketplace (the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace, open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees (FTEs), open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees (FTEs--which does not include independent contractors).
• "Your most important asset is your ability to earn": Private disability insurance for freelancers (Meg Cox interviews financial advisor Amy Keller, on Freelance Feast, 7-20-12). Why freelancers need private disability insurance, and when to get it.

Liability and property insurance


Many authors routinely strike out or modify the part of any contract that holds the client or publisher blameless for any suits related to a particular story. Clearly it makes no sense for writers to agree to indemnify and hold blameless the client or publisher. Some publishers' contracts include indemnification clauses that hold the publication blameless and assign the burden of liability to the writer (even though editors may change the content). But even for a nuisance lawsuit, legal costs can be substantial. Ask that such a clause, or any indemnification clause, be struck from the contract, or change the wording so that the writer is liable for content only "as submitted or approved by the writer," as one health writer suggests--see also the language suggested in the following important position paper on how to deal with warranty and indemnification clauses:
• How to Deal with Warranty and Indemnification Clauses (Writers & Editors site) and Contract terms (especially but not only in book publishing)
• Media Liability Insurance (Authors Guild). The Guild has an agreement with AxisPro to offer its members professional liability insurance. Download the FAQ for more details. See application form for Axis Pro WriteInsure liability policy, for three covered activities: freelance writing (including commentary on third party websites and blogs), book authorship, and/​or your own blog.
• WriteInsure, through Axis Pro/​Argo Insurance Group (media and entertainment liability coverage, professional and miscellaneous errors and omissions, and cyberspace liability). Leading underwriter of media liability insurance. Available through Authors Guild and ASJA, among other organizations. Axis Pro offers four levels of coverage through WriteInsure, ranging from $100,000 per claim (with an aggregate payment limit of $300,000) to $1,000,000 per claim (with an aggregate payment limit of $1,000,000). The program covers legal expenses incurred in defending a claim and any monetary damages or settlements you may be required to pay. The "self-insured retention" (similar to a deductible) ranges from $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the amount of coverage you purchase.
• Affordable media liability insurance is available for members of the National Federation of Press Women (through Walterry Insurance Brokers). Walterry appears also to offer Chubb's MediGuard errors and omissions liability insurance for broadcasters and for newspaper publishers. I know nothing about these except that they exist.
• AxisPro's booklet Media Law 101 (a loss-prevention guide, this PDF booklet provides basic info on defamation, defamation, invasion of privacy (more complex than you might expect), trademark infringement, and copyright infringement). See also its loss-prevention guides on Copyright Best Practices and on Trademark and Trade Dress Best Practices.
• Liability insurance for writers; taxes and incorporation (Kay Murray, The Writer, 12-3-02)
• Indemnity clauses and liability insurance (The Writer, 1-31-02)
• MusicPro Insurance (for instruments and computer equipment)
• Liability Insurance — Nyet (Rich Adin, Business of Editing, An American Editor, 5-22-13). When a client insists that a freelance editor has errors and omissions insurance, what does the editor do? Explain why it makes no sense for editors.

Please let me know of other insurance available to creative professionals!

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Invoice for "ruining my day" (designer Jessica Hische's invoice can be adapted for other service providers)


Leaving the Staff: Freelancing Without Freefalling (transcript of Authors Guild Foundation symposium, 2006, with panelists Nick Taylor,Susan Dominus, William Georgiades, Meryl Gordon, and Michael Greenberg)

Lessons Learned in Auditioning for Job (Alina Tugend, NY Times, 12-3-10). Advice on how to handle prospective employers' requests to produce creative samples or give business advice -- when to do it and how to protect your work.

Lessons (Re)-Learned From the Other Side of the Editor-Writer Equation (Karen Berger, CreateWorkLive--a blog about surviving and thriving in the creative economy, 5-30-11). This is healthy advice that will probably go unheeded by the people who need it: How to be helpful to editors looking for writers and how not to create a bad impression by being too eager and self-focused. Recommend it to chronic listserv bitchers and moaners.

“Mothers: Don’t let your babies grow up to be freelancers,” cracks one journalist, freelancing after leaving a staff job, as quoted by Rebecca Rosen Lum in California Progress Report story
Freelance Journalists Suffering in Second Wave of News Media Collapse 6-23-10



The New American Job: Are freelance and part-time gigs the future? (Linda Stern, Newsweek/​Daily Beast 1-27-09)

New survey reveals everything you think about freelancing is true (David Uberti, CJR, 2-17-15) Data from Project Word quantifies challenges of freelance investigative reporting

No!Spec (educating the public about speculative (spec) work

On-Demand Workers: ‘We Are Not Robots’ (
Lauren Weber and Rachel Emma Silverman, WSJ, 1-27-15) Is Technology Liberating or Squeezing the New Class of Freelance Labor? Lawsuits, protests and forums suggest flexible laborers aren't very enthusiastic about the new work model at the likes of Uber and Handybook.

On Returning to “a Job” After Freelancing (Deb Ng, Kommein.com, 12-28-10, on why many freelancers do not yearn for a steady "job")

101 Reasons Freelancers Do it Better (HR World). Whether they're entrepreneurs, Web workers or something in between, freelancers enjoy a better lifestyle than their cube-dwelling brethren.

Pay the Writer, Harlan Ellison getting mad at people expecting freebies
Click here for readings and film clips starring Harlan Ellison (writer of "speculative fiction"),a series of Sundance "digital shorts." BEGINNING WRITERS: In particular watch this one: Pay the Writer


The Power of Personal Passion: How entrepreneurs can turn what they love doing into successful businesses (Eileen Gittins, creator and CEO of Blurb, for Forbes 5-26-10)

Prompt payment for freelancers (contractors, suppliers), with discount! Gawker reports that Time Inc. will pay you promptly, if you pay them for the service. And NBC Universal has a different version of the payday loan scam for freelancers.

PR Work (Norman Bauman's excellent notes on Doing PR Work, an ASJA panel featuring PRSA members--year? I'm not sure!)

Purposeful Porpoising: working smart when you gotta word hard (Meg E. Cox, Freelance Feast, 10-06-12)

Quit Your Day Job: How to Sleep Late, Do What You Enjoy, and Make a Ton of Money as a Writer by Jim Denney. The book is more realistic and helpful than the title.

Referral Key. I do not know from personal experience if this is worthwhile. Someone I know who thrives uses it, however.

The Savvy Freelancer blog (Lexi Rodrigo)

Science and medical writing (Writers and Editors webpage of helpful links)

SCORE, a nonprofit that helps small business owners learn the ins and outs of starting and running a business, offering inexpensive classes and free one-on-one mentoring by retired, successful businesspeople

Secrets of a Freelance Writer:How to Make $100,000 a Year or More by Robert Bly (third edition), how to make the big bucks writing ads, annual reports, brochures, catalogs, newsletters, direct mail, Web pages, CD-ROMs, press releases, and other projects for corporations, small businesses, associations, nonprofit organizations, the government, and other commercial clients.

Seven Tips for Freelancers: Looking for Work Online (Cynthia Haggard, 11-12-08, reprinted at QuinnCreative)

Seven Years as a Freelance Writer, or, How To Make Vitamin Soup by Richard Morgan (The Awl, 8-2-10)
"Freelancing is basically just courtship, but the freelancer-editor relationship is nothing more than friends with benefits. The editor likes you because you remind the editor of when they had enthusiasm and appetite and vision and so you make the editor feel powerful in the way that nostalgia empowers people. But the editor will never choose you over the publication to which they are married." An excellent description of freelance journalism: the good, the bad, and the ugly.


Social Security. Several possibly helpful articles: Collect now, or later? Timing your Social Security benefits (Tara Siegel Bernard, NYTimes, Your Money, 7-10-09), Continuing a conversation on Social Security (Tara Siegel Bernard, NYTimes, 7-16-09), A boot camp to prepare for retirement (also by Bernard, 7-24-09)

Solopreneurs, freelancers hoping for more help from the election winner (Shane Snow, Washington Post, On Small Business, 11-6-12). "Contingent worker, freelancer, contractor, temp, solopreneur — a variety of aliases serve the growing ranks of Americans who brave the economy [... as part of the contingent of ] independent workers that makes up as much as a third of America’s workforce, some of whom have been forced from salaries to 1099s, but many of whom choose freelance as a lifestyle."

Some Questions to Ask About Potential Work (PDF, Anne Ketchen, Freelance Editor, on the very helpful KOK Edit website

Some Thoughts on Writing, followed by a conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Spot.Us, Byliner, Atavist Are Showing Freelance Writers the Money (David Cohn, Idea Lab, 6-8-11). "I think gigs or "gigging" will be the way freelancers turn their practice into a career in the future. Instead of pitching story to story, you'll be working project to project or gig to gig.And that means reporters who work on projects will need representation." Among places to be spotted:
• The Atavist. Read also Literary journalism finds new platforms by David L. Ulin (L.A. Times 5-15-11). "Byliner, the Atavist and Virginia Quarterly Review take the form into the future."
• Byliner. Read also Will Byliner Save Longform Journalism? (Elana Zak, New Media Bistro 5-12-11)
• Longreads. Aggregates (links to) the best long-form stories on the web. See its Community Picks section.
• eBuyline
• StoryMarket ("Freelancers: Discover Entrepreneurial Journalism. Showcase your work, bringing editors to you. Sell your original work to publishers a la carte."
("welcome to the future of content syndication")



Talking Shop, Hazel Becker's account of a session at the Excellence in Journalism in which writer Amy Wallace and Mark Robinson, feature editor at Wired, discussed the behind-the-scenes collaborative work done to perfect the piece What Made This University Researcher Snap? (Amy Wallace, Wired, 2-28-11), about a University of Alabama scientist who gunned down six of her colleagues in 2010. "Their presentation was interesting because it exposed the human sides of the two panelists – an accomplished freelancer who was scared to take on the project and an editor who put a lot on the line with his publication to get the story done." Concluding section: Advice for freelancers.

10 Myths About Self-Employment (Steve Pavlina, 7-24-06). He also wrote 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job

10 Reasons Why You Have To Quit Your Job This Year (James Altucher, Altucher Confidential, Business Insider, 5-10-13)

Ten Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Writer (Laura Spencer, Wright Thoughts, 6-21-07)

10 Reasons Your Freelance Career is Failing (James Clear, Freelance Switch 12-5-11).

Third Hand Works ("Welcome to the atelier of time" -- readiness educator Cairene's advice for creative types on how to administer their business)

3 Lessons Children Can Learn from a Freelancing Parent Lexi Rodrigo, The Savvy Freelancer, on Freelance Folder. Lexi offers a free copy of 31 Days to Start Freelancing if you sign up for her e-mail.


Trading a Pink Slip for a Passion by Carrie Sloan (Elle, 4-7-10). How an untimely layoff led four women to a whole new career--including Jennifer Campbell's shift from public television to personal history work.


25 Secrets for Successful Freelance Writers by Robert McGarvey (Kindle edition, 105 KB, $2.99). From one of the most successful freelancers in the business.

Uber and the not-quite independent contractor (Justin Fox, Newsday, 6-23-15) In the sharing economy, should there be a tax category of "dependent contractor"? Some countries make that distinction.

What It Feels Like to Be a Freelancer (YouTube video on not defining expectations)

What to Expect When You Finally Do Become a Freelancer (Lexi Rodrigo, creator of The Savvy Freelancer blog, for Freelance Folder, 10-31-11)

What to Expect When You're Freelancing (Laura Spencer, Freelance Folder, 12-6-12)

The Well-Fed Writer. Income-boosting resources for commercial writers (copywriters, business writers, corporate writers or marketing writers) by Peter Bowerman. Check out The Well-Fed Writer Blog (income-boosting resources for commercial writers), his free e-newsletter cum e-zine (subscribe and catch up on back issues), and his books:
• The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less
• The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living
• The Well-Fed Writer: Back For Seconds A Second Helping Of "How-To" For Any Writer Dreaming of Great Bucks and Exceptional Quality of Life (mostly new content includes case histories)
• FAQs answered by Peter Bowerman
• The Deluxe Well-Fed Tool Box and The Well-Fed Writer Time Line (automatic download after purchase).


What Exactly Is $70,000 in Freelance Income? (Kristen King, (ink)thinker blog, 12-28-07)

WhichDraft.com (the blog) and WhichDraft.com (the forms), a self-directed legal resource (not legal advice!), for those who can't afford legal advice and can take advantage of this contract assembly web site (with multiple version tracking, comparison red lining, and online collaboration tools). We haven't tested it. Let us know if it works for you!

When Office Technology Overwhelms, Get Organized (David Allen, NY Times, 3-17-12).

Why I Love Social Media (Katharine O'Moore-Klopf, KOK Edit, 7-31-09)

Why I’m Grateful I Got Sued By American Express and What You Can Learn From My Experiences (Nathan Rabin, The Mental Illness Happy Hour). What he learned: Don't go $36,000 into debt to research a book, and don't turn to a debt consolidation company get out of debt.

Work Geography Is Dead. Long Live LifeGeography. by Peter Shankman

Working from Home: More Pros than Cons? (New York Jobs Insider, 11-15-17) A site offering employment advice.

Why Write for Newspapers? (Sue Fagalde Lick, Writing-World.com, 2007) By the same author: The Newspaper/​Blog Connection

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• American Medical Writers Association (AMWA's freelance directory)
• American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA). Definitely helpful for freelance journalists & writers of nonfiction books
• Association for Women in Communications (AWC), most helpful for women in corporate world
• Association of Personal Historians (APH) (personal historians help people tell their life story, or lessons learned, in print, audio, or video)
• Association of Work at Home Women (AWHW)
• Authors Guild (advocacy, lobbying, and education for American book authors, in particular)
• Authors Registry (a clearinghouse or payment agent for organizations wishing to distribute payments to individual U.S.-resident authors)
• Binders Full of Women (Facebook group). See Emily Greenhouse's delightful article, A Facebook Page of Our Own: Binders Full of Women Writers (Vogue, 6-26-14)
• Displaced Journalists (a community where displaced journalists find common ground and "begin to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get on with our lives and livelihoods." Parent company: Real World Media
• Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) has excellent postings of editors needed for specific projects
• Elance and oDesk have merged and are now Upwork
• FreelanceWritersEditors (a forum for published professional freelance writers and editors to discuss the business of publishing - getting into print, finding and keeping clients, handling difficult situations, getting paid, networking, useful resources)
• Freelance L (discussion group for publishing industry freelancers in all lines of work, including editing, indexing, proofreading, writing, typesetting, design, research, other)
• Freelance Folder ((tools, advice, forums, resources for freelancers and entrepreneurs)
• Freelance News (journalism.co.uk)
• Freelancers Union, a support system to help the growing independent workforce thrive--solidarity, benefits, community, and a political voice. One reason people join this for the insurance; here are some comments in 2010 on the insurance). Here is announcement 6-22-12 that the NY State Legislature ended its session without passing the Freelancer Payment Protection Act
• Freelance Success (FLX, to which many freelance journalists subscribe)
• Freelance Switch (advice and resources for freelancers
• Freelance Writing Organization--Int'l (online resources, job offerings, a free blog listing, as long as it's about writing--I have no personal knowledge of this organization)
• Authors in Facebook and Goodreads authors groups often seek freelance editors.
• Morning Coffee Newsletter (Freelanc Writing.com's blog on freelance writing jobs)
• National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE)
• National Writers Union (NWU) list of publications that pay $1 a word or more, one of several resources listed on SPJ page of Tools for Freelancers
• The Newspaper Guild. See Newspaper Guild: Constitution amended to admit freelancers (9-10-04). The Newspaper Guild/​Communications Workers of America "reversed decades of history by agreeing to open its ranks to freelancers....a belated recognition that the fight for full-time jobs in the newspaper industry has been lost, at least partially, to publishers advocating workforce 'flexibility.'"
• The Scriptorium (a virtual room for writers)
• Union & Guild Resources for Writers

Freelancer Directories
Many writers and journalists organizations have begun offering freelance directories, so if you're looking for a freelancer in a special field, that's one place to look, and if you're freelance, make sure you're listed in the directory of organizations to which you belong. Here are some directories. I'll list more as I remember or you make me aware of them:
• Association of Health Care Journalists (see AHCJ's list of independent journalists)
• Editorial Freelancers Association (search by state, skill, specialty, hardware, software)
• Find a personal historian (Association of Personal Historians, to help Mom and Pop write their memoirs)
• LinkedIn ProFinder (helps clients find the best freelancers or independent professionals in your geographic area)
• Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) (freelancers in an organization that traditionally attracts staff journalists)
• Upwork
---If you're hiring (find quality freelancers)
---If you're freelancing (find rewarding projects)

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