Crafting a Catchy Freelancing Ad
–Today’s guest blog is brought to you by Melanie Faith
Freelance editing can be a wonderful way to add to your income and to share skills you already possess. It’s easy enough to set competitive rates, but what other considerations go into attracting clients?
1. Oh, The Things You’ve Done!
Do any of these sound like you: penned a column for the local newspaper, pitched to an agent, written numerous children’s books, conducted critique workshops, taught English literature or composition, queried a national magazine, or published creative essays about your writing journey? All of these are valuable and marketable experiences that prove helpful to other writers.
Brainstorm a list of your qualifications. List formal education (an MFA in creative writing or a BA in English), but don’t overlook valuable life-experience qualifications. For instance, a VISTA volunteer who lived in Asia for two years might assist a nearby university’s international students who are looking for a brush-up on grammar and syntax. Or perhaps you’ve written and widely published popular fiction, such as mysteries, westerns, or science fiction. What sets you apart from other editors and writers?
Pair your credentials and experiences with the genre you want to edit. Highlight any writing or editing awards you have received– a Pushcart Prize nomination, writing fellowships or scholarships– or participation in editorial associations or conferences. Such experiences demonstrate your dedication to both your writing craft and to keeping your editorial skills current.
2. Research Your Market
Or: Who Needs Me, Anyway?
Before placing an ad, I studied the ads in two similar print magazines, an online literary journal, and the writing magazine where I would place my ad. It became apparent that not all ads were equal. The best ones avoided tired lingo in favor of a fresh pitch, announcing here’s why I’m different.
Ask yourself: which ads appeal to me? What initial hook sets certain ads apart? A snazzy editorial name and an initial attention-grabbing question appealed to me. Omit terms everyone uses; ad space is money. Many classified ads cost a flat fee with an additional charge per word thereafter. Note, too, that some publications count contact information (e-mail, web addresses or postal address) as two or three words, instead of just one. Place the catchiest, most attention-grabbing details first.
Also consider: the internet is an invaluable tool to reach clients all over the country, but if you want to work face-to-face with your clients, placing a local newspaper ad might be a great fit . Some publications offer discounts for placing consecutive ads. Do you want to focus on academic editing (research and term papers, literary essays, application essays) or on creative work? If you will accept Paypal or offer special discounts for working on multiple projects, state so. Listing a personal website with copies of your published work and testimonials from clients can be invaluable.
3. Name Your Niche:
When creating my ad, I noted that most editorial markets were pitching to fiction writers. While I can certainly proofread, polish, and critique fiction, very few editors were specializing in creative nonfiction essays (which I’ve enjoyed writing and had published) or poetry, the latter of which is dear to my heart, having received an MFA in creative writing in poetry. My ad focused on reaching out to poets and essayists who might be overlooked by other editorial services. Further, I noticed that few freelancers were listing chapbook manuscript or cover letter preparation. I’ve prepared full-length poetry manuscripts and several poetry chapbook manuscripts, two of which were published. For several years, I’ve submitted at least three manuscripts per month to publishers and know first-hand the art of writing professional cover letters. Two more skill sets added to my ad!
After considering your credentials, researching and hooking your targeted audience, and specifying the unique type of editing work you are most suited for, interested clients will surely respond.
And here is the ad Melanie was working on:
TOP-NOTCH WRITING COACH. Pushcart nominee, multi-published author with twelve years of editing and teaching experience, specializing in poetry and personal essays. Positive and constructive feedback. Critique, line and developmental editing, chapbook organization and preparation, proofreading, manuscript and cover letter preparation, and more. Competitive rates, accepts Paypal. Whether penning a first draft, rewriting, or seeking publication, I’d love to help you to meet your writing goals! Contact Melanie Faith, MFA: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIO: MELANIE FAITH is a writer, educator, and photographer who holds an MFA in Poetry from Queens University of Charlotte, NC. Most recently, her poetry was published in The Houston Literary Review and two of her travel essays were nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net writing award. Her craft articles about creative writing appeared in The Writer (Nov. ’09) and Writers’ Journal (July/Aug. ’09, Sept/Oct. ’09 and forthcoming– “From Decisions To Revisions: 5 Editing Tips To Revitalize Your Poetry Drafts”). She has been a small-town newspaper journalist, an ESL classroom teacher for international students, and (currently) a literature and writing tutor at a college prep. private high school in Pennsylvania and an online creative writing instructor.