My main focus here will be talking about how to find gigs as a freelance writer or editor because that’s what I have hands on experience with. I do want to note, however, that some of these ways, I’ve stolen from freelancers in other industries. So, as always adapt, learn, and explore to find out what works for you.
This article is going to be broken up into two different sections for people who are looking for work as writers or as editors. A lot of the same techniques you’ll use to find work in one field, you’ll use to find it in the other.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the writing and editing field is saturated with a lot of people who want to call themselves professionals whether they are or not. The actual pool writing and editing professionals is fairly small.
I say that so you will always remember that this is a small community. Don’t bad mouth another editor or writer because of something vain or you don’t like their work. It can get you barred from getting any more work in the future.
For both editing and writing, to first find where to look for gigs, you have to narrow down what your niche is. Until you know what type of stuff you want to write, it’ll be really hard to find work that feels enjoyable and pays well.
If you’re still struggling in that field to grasp on to a niche, write down all the things you are passionate about. Then write down all the things you are a master at. By master, I mean what skills or knowledge could you share with others in a clear and informative way.
See where your passion and master lists blend or crossover. Are you skilled at crafting and know how to teach someone to stitch? Target in on the craft market and find places that pay well within it. Or better yet, remix that to see what markets outside of craft would also be interested in your stories. Like maybe you see a common parallel between the way children learn and the way you found yourself through crafting—that would be a great piece that blends two different markets and audiences.
The more you write in your niche, the more you’ll start getting recognized in it and getting work from clients and publishers that read within it.
Maybe you don’t want to nail yourself down to any niche and just want to write whatever pops into your head. That’s cool. I suggest grabbing a copy of the Writers Market and going through to find places that excite you. Once you have a list of publications that publish stuff you want to write, pitch them.
That’s pretty much how any beginning writer can start getting an idea of the places they can pitch ideas to for work and even get on role as a staff writer.
A place I’ve also been able to pick up gigs is on Reddit. There are quite a few freelance writing subreddits that let freelancers post their services and let clients post their jobs. I will stress that if you go this route to have a contract ready and don’t agree to do any work without having it signed to make sure you get paid.
Unlike some freelancing sites, Reddit doesn’t have any safeguards in place to protect you and your work, so that is up to you.
Like Reddit, Facebook is a great place to find freelancing groups that post job roundups or binders that talk about their contacts at certain big publishers. These groups can sometimes be hard to get into because (small community) they don’t want to damage their relationships with certain publications, so are guarded about this information.
I’ve already talked about Upwork and Fiverr in previous articles so won’t bore you here with more of the same information besides to mention that they are sites for writers to find success if they work it right.
For ghost writing work, some small publishers have open calls for ghost writers and will pull people on to write books for their publication. If you are trying to get one of these jobs, make sure you have a finished novel to show them so that they know you can write a full novel. A lot of writers apply to those roles but many of them have never finished a well-written novel, having one will ensure you get a job at these places.
Advertise on your site if you have one. I’ve had a few people reach out to me through my website for work and have even made sales based on nothing other than the fact that I have a track history of high quality work.
Upwork and Fiverr are, again, great sites to find this type of work. Be careful, though, about what projects you sign up for. Don’t become a horror story for that site.
Publishers, small and big, are often on the look out for copy editors to work on their pieces and get them publication ready. I’ve had luck Googling ‘copy editing jobs’ and finding places that are hiring for remote work.
Social media is a bigger place, in my experience, to find editing work than it is for finding writing gigs. A lot of publications have a social media page and will post openings and positions on there instead of advertising through job search engines.
Also, engaging with editors as an editor and fan of language will help with your networking. A few editors that I have spoken with have said that they have gotten their roles because the right person in the right place liked them enough.
Like with writing, advertise your services on your own site. Show what your past clients think of you if they have praise to share. Having a blog helps with this because with the right SEO work, you can rank high on searches when people go hunting for an editor.