The Freelance Writer’s Toolkit: The Beginners Guide to Freelance Writing

Look for

The Freelance Writer’s Toolkit: The Beginners Guide to Freelance Writing

toolkit

coming in July 2009

INTRODUCTION

I have spent YEARS compiling information and writing articles on writing, freelancing, and self-publishing. RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH. That’s about all I did. I didn’t write much. I told myself I needed to know the business first.

Okay, I would say 20+ years is enough research.

I published a few things. My first print publication was in August 1997. I wrote an article called “Conch Architecture” and it was a piece about the uniqueness of the gingerbread on Key West houses. Florida Living magazine published it for the price of $300. It cost me more than that to travel from West Palm Beach to Key West to finish the research and take photographs (thanks to my Daddy for financing that trip and accompanying me on the trip!).

You can imagine how excited I was to have my first published article! Well, ‘stuff’ happens, as they say. In August 1997, UPS went on strike. My article made it to very few newsstands and bookstores because UPS did not deliver that month. I hit every store I could find and bought up the copies that I could find, but there were precious few. It was very depressing.

I went on and published a piece here and there to local newspapers – no pay, of course. In 1999 I found an out of print book called “Safe Counsel” and went about transcribing it into little books. I then pitched the books to several publishing houses and received a contract through Heritage Books, Inc. for two of the books. Safe Counsel: A Complete Guide to Health Care and Home Remedies in the Late 1800’s and Safe Counsel: A Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Childcare in the Late 1800’s were published in 2000 and I sold over 1000 copies of those. I did a fair bit of the marketing myself on those.

Both of the books are out of print now and someday I hope to complete the other little books that I made from those. Now that I know more about layout and marketing, I will get on that soon. I did complete one – Safe Counsel: Advice on Love & Marriage from the Late 19th Century – which you can purchase in my online store at www.double-roads.com

Onward and upward – I quit writing for awhile, due to family issues and going back to college. I started teaching English at the high school level and was very busy with that career. In 2008 I pitched a column idea to my local paper and started writing a weekly column (again unpaid) called “Getting to Know You”. I interviewed local residents once a week and wrote up an article on them. That was tremendous fun for the summer, but I had to let it go when school started back up. The upshot was that I did some fabulous networking in my community during that period and got to know some great individuals. Not to mention everyone knew my name! (Okay, okay, St. Pauls, NC is a very very small town). But it was so cool to walk into places and have people say, “Hey, you’re the lady who writes the column for the St. Pauls Review!”

In 2009 I gave up teaching high school and started teaching part-time at the local community college. This freed up my time to do what I had spent 20 years researching how to do – Write.

My sister in law in Australia turned me on to Elance and I was off and running.  I no longer just do work through Elance; I have also been able to land a few gigs right here in my town – in the REAL world.

I’m not rich, although I could probably quit teaching and support myself quite well with my writing business. And it is time for me to share what I know – all those YEARS OF RESEARCH – with you.

Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.

Best of luck to you in your freelance writing career and I pray abundant blessings for you,

Karen

About Karen Y. Hamilton

Walt Whitman says about his autobiography, Specimen Days “…At any rate I obey my happy hour’s command, which seems curiously imperative. May-be, if don’t do anything else, I shall send out the most wayward, spontaneous, fragmentary book ever printed.” This is what I feel at this juncture of my life, the need to gather together memories of my ancestors as well as my own memories into some semblance of order. Because all of those fragments, all of the fragments that make up any life, become stories. I am the mother of three sons, who affectionately (I hope!) call me 'gypsy mom' because I tend to wander around a bit soaking in the universe's wonders. I am currently working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University. I have published essays with Heritage Press, Florida Living, and the St. Pauls Review. I am currently working on a book of poems about the Florida Everglades pioneers and a memoir about grief and the bonds of friendship. I live in my hometown, Jupiter, Florida and work as a freelance writer and curriculum specialist.
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