Whether you’ve been part of the freelance writing community for a minute or a millennia, think about the colleagues you’ve met, or might meet, along the way. Perhaps you’ve already noticed that people’s motivations for choosing this medium are as diverse as the interpretations of writing itself.
For some, it’s more of a hobby, a treasured outlet for their creativity. Then, there are those who dream of making a living doing their favorite thing – writing – while also maintaining a schedule that can easily accommodate other aspects of their lives.
Although bylined work is becoming more prevalent, ghostwriting still plays a significant role in job opportunities for freelance writers. Clients are paying for the words, not the identity. While writing anonymously for the sake of an income has its advantages and disadvantages, the key overall is balance between the must and the maybe.
Written words for the well-known…
Ghostwriting is more commonplace than much of any given readership would realize, which is exactly how clients want it. Entire books are often written by another talented, anonymous writer because the would-be author has the money, yet not necessarily the time or writing skill to complete one.
Media mainstays might lend their name to excellent, captivating content (online or otherwise) for marketing purposes – it’s good for them, and good for the product/service/company/you get the idea. With enough money, it might be good for the ghostwriter, too.
The awesomeness of no attribution…
Some writers are quite happy to earn good money to have their work adopted by others. This often works best in niches that writers know a lot about, but aren’t so attached to that they feel the need to attach their names to what they write about said niche (pennames need not apply in such an instance).
In an ever-changing world, freelance or otherwise, so too changes economics and the winds of popular opinion. Words that were once so favored can be vilified in short order. If it’s between ghostwriting content that will pay the bills, or bylined work that pays very little and/or doesn’t add much in the way of building a great portfolio, the choice is easily made.
If your goal is to become a known professional (even an expert) in one or more freelance writing niches, then it’s understandable if you’re eager to get your name out there. Choosing a penname opens the door to potential renown, while at the same time keeps you, yourself, separated from the inquiring minds of a developing fanbase. Yet, caveats can appear in terms of pay and even other legalities.
In your quest for freelance writing jobs, you might find opportunities that either will pay you a nice amount of money (up to several hundred dollars per article, for example) if you relinquish any claim to the content. Yet, you might be offered a byline for that same content, provided you agree to a reduction in pay, sometimes as much as by half.
Which way works the most wonderfully?
Bylined work is more prevalent in journalism these days, so how can freelancers with other specializations still be credited? There’s no clear answer. Media companies with corresponding blogs sometimes let their freelancers have bylines. Commission-based freelancing opportunities (meaning a portion of advertising revenue from readers) also might offer bylines.
Remember, no matter how much noise the freelance writing/overall Internet landscape generates, avenues are always around to share your thoughts through your words freely, albeit sometimes in the most literal of terms. Never settle for things like unpaid test articles. Always know the worth of your words.
Build your reputation via social media and your own websites, but never let the promotional process drain your budget. Put yourself in a positive frame of mind each and every time you apply for a job, write a post, put another brick in the metaphorical building that houses your freelance writing experience. Know your strengths, acknowledge your limits, and maintain balanced boundaries throughout. Only the wisest of choices will truly light the way for your unique writing path.
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