Janice Hanna Thompson—a south Texas native—is the author of over sixty novels and non-fiction books for the Christian market. She supplements her fiction habit by writing magazine articles, devotions, write-for-hire books and more. One of the chief joys of Janice’s life is training writers to earn a living with the written word. Check out Janice’s “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer,” course at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The ten lessons in this course were developed to strategically train freelance writers to earn top dollar. Each lesson includes an audio file (mp3 for download), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a power point video, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum. Email Janice at booksbyjanice[at]aol[dot]com to learn more, or visit her website at www.janicehannathompson.com.
Girls Just Wanna Have Funds
Over the past few months I’ve shared a variety of ways novelists can supplement their fiction income. We’ve talked about the significance of goal setting and have delved into the importance of magazine article writing for the freelancer. I’ve shared at length my thoughts on write-for-hire work. Why? Because I long for fiction writers to stop worrying about their financial woes long enough to write (and hopefully sell) the book of their dreams.
As a single woman—completely dependent on my writing income—I’ve leaned on a variety of methods to pad my bank account between advance checks and/or royalty statements. Some have worked better than others. I don’t claim to know it all, but what I have learned, I’m happy to share. (And by the way, I wouldn’t share any of my ideas if I hadn’t benefited from them. What would be the point of getting your hopes up for nothing?)
So, what’s on the menu for this month? I don’t want to snub the men, but I’m devoting this month’s issue to female freelancers. I’m just wrapping up a road trip across a dozen Midwestern and Western states and have met countless women who struggle to earn top dollar with their writing. Because I this, they need financial information . . . and they need it now!
When it comes to the financial, I could probably divide most of the female novelists I know into two categories:
1. About half are financially secure, thanks to a great paying job or a husband with an awesome career. Many are published novelists. They regularly earn advances and/or royalties and have achieved some level of success—financially and otherwise.
2. The other half are struggling to make ends meet. Some are stay-at-home moms. Others are single moms, working like crazy to pay the bills. Some are caregivers for aging parents, wondering if they’ll ever catch a break. And some are in their golden years, wondering if they’ll ever be able to afford to retire. You might be surprised to learn that many of those who struggle have already sold a novel. Or two. Or twelve. Just because they’re selling doesn’t mean they’ve got it made. In fact, many of them hold down “real” jobs while writing full time. Seem impossible? They manage . . . but they’re exhausted!
Most girls would—as the Madonna song alludes to—rather be having fun; however, with their current job schedules, laundry, diaper changes, and countless hours spent driving to soccer practice, ballet class, PTA meetings, and the like, they simply don’t have the time. Nor do most have the energy to think about taking on more work, particularly outside the home. That’s why freelancing is perfect for female novelists, especially those in need of earning extra money on the side.
So, what’s a weary woman to do? How does she get started writing for pay? She makes herself a perpetual student. She takes online courses. She attends conferences. She works with critique partners. In other words, she considers herself on a never-ending learning curve. (Remember, it’s never too late to start learning, even if you’ve already got a college degree.) Freelancing is a competitive game and you’ve got to have an edge.
From there, the motivated novelist begins to think outside the box. She contemplates other avenues of income. And why not? Her strength lies in her writing, after all. She begins to call herself a professional freelancer.
Next, she writes what she knows. For most women, that will include relationship, job-related, and marital issues; parenting; empty nest; stay-at-home mom; caregiving; home improvement; and the like. Her topics are an honest reflection of who she is. There’s no “fake it until you make it” in writing. If she’s not genuine, her readers will pick up on it. (And let’s face it . . . women are very discerning. They know if you’re pandering to them.)
Next, the female freelancer pens a one-thousand word article. She includes a great hook, something that will reel in female readers. Why? Because she wants other women to relate to her. It’s not really about the money she can bring in; it’s about the message of hope she conveys.
This savvy woman has a good friend—someone she trusts—read over the piece to make sure it hits the mark. She asks her friend these questions: “Does the article leave you feeling better about life? Did you grasp the takeaway (nugget of truth) at the end? Is my writing style engaging?” If her friend offers suggestions, she takes them.
When she’s sure the article is strong enough, this motivated freelancers visits www.writersmarket.com online and researches the various magazine publishers. She queries editors, letting them know about her piece (and her platform, if applicable). If it’s a good fit, he will ask to see it.
From there, her freelancing career begins to take off! Her next article is picked up for a larger price, and the following one makes a good foundation for a book. A year later, she’s bringing in more money than she ever imagined.
I know, this isn’t all about the money. And it’s possible the woman in our scenario might struggle to get articles picked up. Still, for the serious writer, bringing in additional income might be just the ticket. I’m not suggesting you quit your day job; I’m simply sharing the possibilities.
Yep. Girls just wanna have funds, whether they come from novels, articles, devotionals, or write-for-hire work. And they want to have fun bringing them in!
So, what’s stopping you? Get busy writing, ladies!