Recently, when planning a talk on work-for-hire, I asked some other writers about their experience. What they had to say was so good, I am sharing it here and in my next post, with permission.
Linda Carlblom said: "One of the things I love about work-for-hire is that once you've gotten that first writing assignment, you're in that publisher's stable of writers. When they have other needs, they contact you to see if you're interested in another job. It's like jobs just land in your lap! Since my first WFH job I've had 2 other assignments in the field I love (writing for children) that I didn't have to even look for. It's awesome!"
"Writing work-for-hire has stretched me so much," Stephenie Hovland said. "I took on projects that I never would have done on my own in some tight deadlines I wouldn't have thought possible (for me.) It's given me lots of confidence."
When someone asked a question about getting WFH jobs, here's what Stephenie said:
"Here are two strategies that may (or may not) work for you. One worked for me. One worked for a writer friend of mine. (I could not make her strategy work for me.)
"1. Choose a publishing company or two (or three) who publish what you want to write. Send them samples that would fit into their current offerings and a writing resume with clips (if you have them.) Let them know you are available to write for them. Send it to a specific editor, if possible. Send via email and paper (unless you know the email was well-received. ) Check in every 6-12 months, letting them know you are still available. Watch their site and tweets like a hawk. Try out for any calls for writers that are anywhere near what you write. If they will have their editors at any conferences, make a friendly connection. If you have any writer friends who already work for them, let the friend know you want to write for that company. The friend may have information that can help you or know about needs that aren't public.
"2. Use Guru.com and/or Elance. Start with broad topics, taking anything you can get, but only for a reasonable wage. Your goal is to get a good reputation, not to make money, but you don't want to work for people who don't value your time. The people who pay decently often give good, heartfelt reviews for writers who meet and exceed their expectations. Once you've accumulated some good reviews, you can start narrowing your focus. If all goes well, you will have a few clients who repeatedly invite you to bid. They want you to write for them. Using these sites is a good idea, because they handle the money and any disputes. Eventually, you may not need to search for jobs, because you'll have several clients who look for you."
"I would add only one other thing to Stephenie's answer," Linda said ". . . on how to get work-for-hire jobs. Stay well connected to other authors. I found out about the work-for-hire opportunity that landed me a four book contract through an author friend who had written for this company in the past. They sent out an email to all their previous authors saying they were looking for six authors to write a girls book series. My friend wrote for adults and wasn't interested in trying out for this, so she passed it along to me, knowing it was exactly what I'd love to write. I would never have known about it if she hadn't been kind enough to share her email from the publishing house with me. It pays to maintain friendships in the writing world! "
Mary Scarbrough agreed. "I have had wonderful referrals from other writing friends who do wfh (Thanks, Amy Houts and Cindy Kane in particular!) and have been able to refer writers to editors as well. I'm not sure exactly how much of my wfh is attributable one way or another to referrals, but it's been significant. One regular gig--a referral from Amy, in fact--is writing Sunday school curriculum. It has given me monthly income for the last 4 1/2 years."
Thank you, Linda, Mary and Stephenie for sharing!
Note: their names link to their websites/blogs, so you can learn more about them if you like.
More quotes from other authors on work-for-hire will be on my next post.