Freelance writing is increasingly an online profession. While many freelance writers still pitch offline publications, many fill the gaps between assignments through a variety of websites where they can interact with clients or sell content on spec. The online market is broad, with outlets for journalists, copywriters, bloggers, and jack-of-all-trades wordsmiths.
But some of the best freelance writing websites are dedicated not to selling work, but providing career advice and information about making a living as a freelancer. I will list some of my favorite sites of each kind, so you ‘ll know how to get started and where to go when you are ready to make some cash.
Where to Sell
There are many websites for writers to sell their work. I have found these few to provide consistent and regular work, reliable pay and a variety of styles to fit any freelancer’s preference. If you are just getting started, feel out each website by reviewing the FAQs for details about writer expectations and payment policies. If the site offers a discussion forum for members, consider browsing the posts to learn more about the experience of other writers.
Constant Content: Constant Content is one of the more established sites in the relatively young world of Internet freelancing. Most writers utilize this site for its online catalogue. Writers upload completed pieces and when a piece sells, the writer gets a percentage of the list price. Constant Content also has assignments available through various writer pool projects, which require a separate application to access.
Zerys: Zerys functions as a go-between linking clients and writers. Clients upload an assignment that details the kind of writing they need, the number of words, the tone and any other relevant information. They also set a per-word rate they are willing to pay. Writers claim jobs through an open job board. Once you get onto clients’ favorite writers lists, they can send you direct assignments that you can accept or reject. For those with an eye for grammar, there is a separate and straightforward application to become an editor.
Demand Media Studios: Although not as busy as it once was, Demand Media Studios still provides an outlet for writers with demonstrable expertise to provide content for a number of the Studio’s partners. In addition to writing ability, DMS also asks for information about your education and background that brings credibility to your writing.
Writers Domain: Writers Domain is a branch of an online marketing company. It specializes in creating content around keywords. Each article is paid based on a rating system, so the higher your article is rated, the more you get paid.
Upwork: The new home of former freelance sites oDesk and Elance, Upwork connects freelancers of all kinds with people wanting to hire them. The platform handles payment between freelancer and client, deducting a percentage-based fee for the service.
Blogmutt: Blogmutt is an online interface for businesses who need blog posts. Writers gain access to higher income levels as they stay with the site and earn points for quality work.
Before you become heavily invested in one site, understand its administrative policies. Some pay monthly, others bi-weekly. The turnaround time may vary greatly. On one site, you may wait weeks before a piece is approved and you get paid. One site may get a substantial amount of work from one client, and have little need for freelancers if that client suddenly has no need for content. If you are freelancing full-time, it’s a good idea to have income streams from several different outlets.
Where to Learn More
Freelance writing is an isolating profession. Writers spend most of their time looking at a computer screen, either composing pieces or surfing for markets to sell what they write. A few freelance writing websites help writers with this task by providing insight into the profession. Reading some of these sites can be the best way to learn about what’s happening in the market, how to pitch an article, how to work efficiently, how to handle the money, and other tidbits about surviving as a freelancer.
The Freelancer: An online magazine run by Contently, The Freelancer has articles on client relations, advice for writers, and resources to help with your career. Content changes almost daily, with interesting reads on topics like subject niches and freelancer experiences. Contently also has a user-submitted Rates Database which gives insight into how much online and offline publications are willing to pay. You can also use the site to make an online portfolio of your work.
The Write Life: With an active stream of blog posts, The Write Life provides up-to-date information on the freelance writing market. There is useful information on all aspects of freelance writing, including marketing your talents, entering the blogosphere, and the wide world of self-publishing. There’s also a useful section for job postings, just in case you want to look into something a bit more permanent than freelancing.
The Renegade Writer: The Renegade Writer is an excellent starting point for writers who are just beginning to explore the industry. The blog, written by two successful freelancers, covers the finer points of pitching an article to an editor and writing a letter of introduction. Although many of the more popular posts were written in the early 2010s, there is still a lot of good information worth checking out.
If you are trying to make a living as a freelance writer, follow the advice that works for you. One of the benefits of freelancing is the ability to refuse work when you have other priorities. But you’ll also have to work harder to build up a roster of clients so work will be available when you need it. Keeping tabs on the online marketplace is necessary so you know where to sell your work. The more you know, the more you can shift your strategy when you hit a dry patch. With luck, skill, and determination you will always have a place to make money writing.