Freelancer rules of the road

October 21, 2009 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

To free-lance or not while job hunting? That’s a big issue facing many of us. The reasons to do some free-lance work (or contract or consulting work, as it’s sometimes called these days) are compelling: extra income while job-searching, making new contacts and getting your name out there, and keeping your skills (and resume) fresh.

Yet there is a downside: the free-lance market (especially the well-paying part) is extremely crowded these days and getting a foot in the door can be time-consuming. And if your goal is to land a full-time, permanent job (with benefits) it may be difficult to juggle that search with seeking well-paying free-lance work.

But happily, there are some good resources and advice if you want to try to establish yourself as a free-lancer, even on a temporary basis: — This is a site produced by Maya Payne Smart, a free-lance writer in Richmond, Va., who also provides support for other freelancers (and helped me with the research for this blog post).

(She can be reached at:

Maya is also on the board of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. She publishes a free newsletter that offers insights and inspiration for free-lance writers.  The next newsletter profiles Marcia Layton Turner, a six-figure freelancer, and offers tips on filling the assignment pipeline.–This site publishes a weekly newsletter with guides to publications that are seeking new freelancers.  There’s also a forum where you can post questions and get advice from other freelancers.  Last year the group held its first conference, which provided a great opportunity to meet agents and editors. The link follows:–This site posts job listings and occasionally there are some for freelancers.  The “How to Pitch” section offers advice on getting into glossies.  It also has a free-lance marketplace ( where you can post a profile for editors to peruse when they are seeking writers.  Some freelancers have found well-paying work through the site.

Trade Magazine Directory–Also, Marcia Layton Turner, a successful freelancer has created a spreadsheet of trade publications that pay $1/word or more:

And if you still read books, here are a few titles that Maya suggests for those breaking into the free-lance market: (a quick check shows they are all available at

  • Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer’s Guide to Making More Money by Kelly James Enger
  • The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell
  • The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock: The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Selling More Work Faster by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell

*Here’s an easy-on-the-wallet upcoming event for sourcing, tips and networking:

EVENT: RISK REPORTING – Two Seminars to Help You Report the Real Stakes
The National Press Club is offering two seminars to help you cover stories that involve risk. From plane crashes, food poisoning and climate change to terrorism, the environment, health and public safety, there are key questions you need to answer in order to tell your audience whether something is risky and, if so, how much. Find out what risk really means and understand why fears don’t always match the facts.
The two 1 ½ hour seminars will be held October 26 – 28 at various times at The National Press Club at
529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. The sessions are free for National Press Club members and are $10 per session for non-members. Coffee and snacks will be provided. RSVPs are required. For schedule information and to sign up, call 202-662-7523 or email Space is limited.

Session I: The Basic Components of Risk (it’s more than statistical “odds)
Session II: The Psychology of Risk Perception

The sessions will be presented by former Emmy award-winning Television Reporter David Ropeik, an instructor at Harvard University. David is co-author of RISK: A Practical Guide for Deciding What’s Really Safe and What’s Really Dangerous in the World Around You and author of the forthcoming How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don’t Match The Facts.

*And as always, a few job leads — keep ’em coming…Let’s show the world that we can help each other land well!

*First, I’ve been contacted by a respected D.C. publisher looking for sales/marketing candidates.  If you are interested or know of someone who may be available, please contact me (here or at or on Facebook) and I’ll connect you.

*A good broadcast opening:


The Washington Bureau has an opening for a Producer to work with the Senior Justice Department Correspondent.

This position includes the delivery of editorial content for all ABC News platforms.  Very strong television production skills and experience are required.  In addition, requirements include strong reporting and writing skills, the ability to cultivate sources, the ability to cover breaking news, and some expertise in the development of story ideas and pitches.  Works days and hours will vary depending on the news being covered.

Internal candidates apply through JOBS ONLINE on the HUB and use requisition #211288

External candidates apply through and use requisition # 211288

Please also send resumes to Robin Sproul, Vice President and Bureau Chief.

*A librarian/research-related opening:


Architectural Librarian
SmithGroup Inc.
( a nationally recognized, award-winning architectural, engineering, interior design, and planning firm is looking for a Librarian to manage our architecture/design library and information resources. The library collection is an eclectic mix of industry-specific building product information, technical literature, serials, general reference works and material samples, constituting one of the largest collections in the DC metro area. The library lends full-time support to the work of approximately 170 staff.
Applicants should have a Master’s of Library/Information Science and experience in a corporate library in an architecture or engineering setting is preferable. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential as well as the ability to effectively work with all levels of management and staff.
Please send a resume to More:

SmithGroup is an organization of architecture, engineering, interiors and planning professionals, noted for design excellence and focus on its clients’ markets, including healthcare, learning, workplace …

*Part-Time Library Work

American University Library invites applications for a part time Reference
Librarian for the fall 2009 academic year
(12 hours) beginning immediately
through December 15, 2009 with a potential renewal for the spring. General days
and hours include: Thursday 5:00pm to 9:00pm; Friday 2:00pm to 6:00 pm;
Saturday 2:00pm to 6:00pm.


Requirements: ALA accredited M.L.S. Academic or equivalent reference
experience and experience with electronic information resources. Excellent
communication skills and the ability to work independently and collegially.
To apply, send resume, cover letter, names, addresses,
and telephone numbers of three references to: Michele Mikkelsen, Director,
Administrative Services, American University, University Library, 4400
Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 20016-8046 or via e-mail:

Happy hunting!


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Job-hunting and the Tax Man Late-in-the-week Grab Bag…

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