Publications that pay $500 and up

And a new money guide for freelancers

Hi! You made it through the year 2020 and the year known as January. Congrats!

In an effort to get this newsletter out more regularly in 2021, I’m going to make it a little bit shorter. I’ll include one section on pitching (since that’s why you’re here, right?) and one section on everything else.

Since I’m no longer traveling anymore, I’m also revamping my personal newsletter as 12 Things. Each month, I’ll share 12ish things that I’ve been working on (stories, etc.) or obsessing over (podcasts, books) and probably a photo of my dog. See the end of this newsletter for a preview. Of the dog, that is.

And lastly, some fun news: Where to Pitch made it onto The Write Life’s 2021 list of the best websites for writers! Thanks to Farrah Daniel for including us.

On pitching

  • Loving this database of successful freelance pitches! Pay it forward and add one while you’re there.

  • Abby Lee Hood shares the pitch that got her into the NYT’s Opinion section (plus others).

  • Pitch Like a Honey Badger, an amazing writing course wherein I learned everything I know, has another session in April (with the original teacher; I had a different one). If the $240 price is out of your budget, they offer scholarships.

  • Rae Witte’s newsletter, Approved Pitches, includes, um, approved pitches, along with subject lines and rate$$$.

  • Lola Méndez is offering a freelance writing consultation service where she’ll help you improve your pitches, find editorial contacts, and whatever else you might need. If you can’t afford the $300 fee, she shares links to several hours of free advice.

  • 50+ pitching guides for NYT, NatGeo, Wired, WaPo, Bustle and more from Freelancing With Tim.


Struggling to stay on top of your freelance finances? Baffled by quarterly taxes? Then you need The Money Guide for Freelance Writers: How to Manage (and Feel Good About) Your Finances, which was written by my friend and mentor, Alexis Grant, the former executive editor of The Penny Hoarder, and her dad, who’s an accountant. These two know their stuff — and they don’t gloss over any of the technicalities. This guide covers everything from setting rates and maximizing profits to the ins and outs of LLCs, tax deductions, S-Corps, and retirement. Where to Pitch readers can get 20% off by using the code WHERETOPITCH.


On everything else

Just keep pitching!

What awaits you at 12 Things…

Want more Mochi in your life? Sign up for my new 12 Things newsletter!

xoxo

Susan

How to write when things are hard

From someone who knows


Before we get to the newsletter, a reminder that today’s your last chance to grab The Writer’s Bundle, a package of 12 courses and tools for freelance writers who want to earn more money this year. You’ll get $2,000+ worth of resources for $99. 

Some highlights include: 

  • 30 Days to Freelance Freedom (value: $149), which helps newbies build and scale a freelance biz

  • Pitching 101: How Writers Find Better Client Leads (value: $97), which includes tips on finding a niche and templates for pitching clients

  • A Q&A with journos like the brilliant Kristin Wong about breaking into top-tier pubs like the NYT and WaPo (value: $99)

If you want in, you’ll need to act before midnight PST. When you buy through my link, you support Where to Pitch — so thanks for that :)


Hi friends,

Things are hard for a lot of us right now. Between wildfires and climate change, the fight for racial justice, income inequality — and, oh, you know, the pandemic — it’s not surprising that many of us have lost focus.

It’s times like these when we all dream of a salaried job: one where, if you’re having a rough week, you’ll still get paid (as long as you send an occasional Slack meme and show your face on Zoom). It’s times like these when freelancing — where you literally won’t eat unless you sell a story or finish that goddamn blog post about credit cards or CBD oil — can feel really hard. 

I feel you. I recently lost a pregnancy halfway through the second trimester, and have since been struggling to put words on paper. When I lost my boyfriend five years ago, I had a similar experience. But I kept at it, and eventually the words did come

So while I can’t say I’ve been in your shoes, I do know how hard it is to write when writing is the last thing you want to do. And here are some ways I’ve coped: 

  • Commit to 25 minutes: I mention it so much, you’d think I was sponsored by the Pomodoro Method. I’m not — I just harp on it because it has saved me so many times when I was on deadline and thought there was no way I could make it. So set a timer for 25 minutes (or 20 or 15, whatever seems manageable to you) and force yourself to start. By the time the buzzer beeps, you’ll probably be flowing and ready to keep writing. 

  • End in the middle of a sentence: If you’re working on an assignment over multiple days, never wrap up the day’s writing in a neat little bow. Finish halfway through a sentence; that way, when you return to your doc, you’ll automatically have a prompt that helps you get going. I wish I could remember who you could thank for this magical tip — Taffy Brodesser-Akner? Ann Patchett? — but am really not sure.

  • Go for a walk: Ok, fine, you probably already know this works — but you probably also don’t do it often enough. I fight my partner all the time when he suggests it, thinking that nothing so simple can solve my problems (and what does he know about writer’s block anyways???), but unfortunately he’s always right — and it always makes me feel better. Sorry in advance to those on the west coast who might not be able to do this right now.

  • Give up for a while: Not forever, but maybe for a few hours, or even a whole day. Last week, when I was having zero luck with anything, I literally lay in bed and binged all of Indian Matchmaking. The next day, I was able to work because I wasn’t fantasizing about… lying in bed and binging Indian Matchmaking. Obviously this is way harder if you have dependents or an ASAP deadline, but hopefully there’s a way you can squeeze in some “I give up” time somewhere.

As a freelancer, life is going to keep happening — and we have to keep writing. 

I’m doing my best to be grateful for that freedom; believing if we follow the rainbow instead of the rain, we’ll eventually end up on the other side. 

xoxo

Susan

PS. Don’t forget about the bundle! Here’s that link again if you want to grab it.

Want to earn money as a freelance writer?

This will help

Hey all,

Popping in to let you know about The Writer’s Bundle — a super sweet deal for freelance writers.

My friends Lexi and Jess at The Write Life have packaged together 12 courses and tools on earning money as a freelance writer. 

The 12 resources available through this year’s bundle normally retail for $2,000+. But through this deal, you can get your hands on ALL of them for just $99. 

The catch? The bundle is only available until Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 11:59 p.m. PST. In other words, check it out now if you are interested!

Here’s what you get when you download The Writer’s Bundle: Freelance Writing Edition

✴️ Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Career, from Stephanie Land and Andrea Guevara (course value: $49)

✴️ Freelance Blogging in a Weekend, from Elna Cain (course value: $95)

✴️ How to Make Money Self Publishing Non Fiction, from Yuwanda Black (course value: $397)

✴️ Master Self-Editing, from Bryan Collins (course value: $297)

✴️ Breaking Into Media Q&A, from Kristin Wong and Alex Webb (event value: $99)

✴️ 38 Tips for Expert Writers on Medium, from Dave Schools (course value: $49)

✴️ ProwritingAid license, valid one year (editing tool value: $79) 

✴️ Pitching 101: How Writers Find Better Client Leads, from Carol Tice (course value: $97)

✴️ Turn Content Into Cash, from Heather Lloyd Martin (course value: $297)

✴️ 30 Days to Freelance Freedom, from Craig Cannings / FreelanceU (course value: $147) 

✴️ The Social Media Starter Kit, from Andréa Jones (course value: $297)

✴️ Productivity Power for Writers, from Tim Leffel (course value: $99)

Not bad, right? Here’s that link again so you can see all the deets: The Writer’s Bundle.

I’ll be back in your inbox with a life and writing update soon…

xo Susan

P.S. If you purchase the bundle through my affiliate link, you’re helping support this newsletter, and I thank you for that! But the truth is, I wouldn’t recommend this if it weren’t a great deal. These resources will keep you learning through the rest of the year!

a boatload of COVID-19 resources for freelance writers

including some events happening today!

Hi writers,

I have a draft of a different newsletter that’s been ready for over a month. I was waiting for a “good” (read: normal) time to send it, but it seems like we might not be there for quite some time.

So, while I’ll send that one soon (it talks about finding story ideas, and includes advice from several fabulous journalists), I wanted to place a higher priority on resources right now.

I’ve been slowly collecting these from places like Twitter, Facebook, and Opportunities of the Week and Study Hall (both of which are worth subscribing to!). I hope you’ll find them helpful. Head’s up that some of the workshops below are very soon — like in an hour!

can you spare $10 for families in need?

But first, a request to check out a project I’ve been working on: #10Give10.

It’s a nationwide campaign based on one simple fact: If 10% of the Americans who received a stimulus check donated just $10, we’d raise $140 million overnight.

We’ve partnered with GiveDirectly to transfer the cash to low-income families in need, and we just launched today.

If you’re in a position to give, lovely; if you’re not, ZERO worries — I know many freelancers are having a tough time right now. Regardless, I’d greatly appreciate you spreading the word!

Here’s the link again: 10give10.org

BTW, if you do end up contributing, please tag me @susan_shain when sharing your donation on Twitter. I’ll give an additional $1 for every WTP reader who participates :)

financial resources

reporting resources

virtual events

$$$

If you are going to apply for assistance, do it ASAP. Several of the funds I was planning to include said they’re already closed to applications due to an overwhelming number of submissions.

other opps

  • My friend and mentor Alexis Grant is helping Marie Forleo expand her writing team, and has two copywriting positions available! (Remote with benefits!)

  • The South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) is waiving membership fees for the rest of the year

  • I’m no fan of writing on spec, but I received this via email and thought I’d pass it along: And Lately, The Sun is calling for submissions until 6/30. “We want to see stories which thoughtfully investigate potential futures under our changing climate. This is an open call with no fee to submit. Accepted stories will attract a payment of either AUD$80 (standard payment) or AUD$500 (editor's choice).”

thoughts

worth a listen

and a laugh

That’s all for now, folks. If there’s anything I can do to help — whether that’s send some grocery money or include your LinkedIn profile in the next newsletter — please let me know. I mean it.

And if you’re in a position to help, please consider participating in #10Give10!

xoxo

Susan

PS. If you liked this, wanna share? Or click the lil heart below? TY!!

How I doubled my freelance writing income last year

... without losing my mind

Hello writer friends,

In 2019, I doubled what I made the year prior, and nearly tripled what I earned at my first full-time writing job.

While I’ll get to how I did that below, let’s first acknowledge a few things I already had on my side:

A. Privilege. I have no loans and no one who relies on my time or my income. My boyfriend’s paychecks would cover our necessities if things went awry. And I’m in good health.

B. More than six years of devotion to the basics: filing clean copy, on time, every time; prioritizing a high-paying niche; firing low-paying clients; seeking recurring work; being responsive; etc. etc.

C. A focus on content marketing, which pays much better than journalism. I still write journalistic stories because my soul would die without them, but I could never live off journalism alone.

With that as my foundation, here are the two changes that helped me double my income in 2019:

1. I made myself sick

Starting in mid-2018, I set a goal to feel sick to my stomach whenever I sent a rate quote to a potential client*. (Major hat tip to Jennifer Goforth Gregory’s “The Freelance Content Marketing Writer” for this golden nugget of advice.) 

Like, I literally felt nauseous after clicking “send” because I felt like I’d quoted an absurdly high price. Yet time and time again, the client came back with something like “great!” or “how about X price [that was lower than what I quoted but still higher than what I normally would’ve asked for]?” On only one occasion did the client say “um, nope” and then refuse to work with me. 

Admittedly, my niche (finance) and experience were the main reasons this strategy was successful. But I think all writers could do this to some degree, because we’re not talking about a specific rate — we’re talking about asking for more than you’ve been asking for. What’s absurd to one writer might not be absurd to another; what’s absurd to all of us is not absurd to Taffy (you go, girl!). 

That said, if you’re just starting out, maybe don’t take this advice. But if you’ve been around the block a few times, and have some clips under your belt, and know you are going to do a good job, try it on for size. Start with asking for a little more, then keep going — you might get lucky. 

*I have only tried this technique with content marketing clients (ie. companies) — not with editors at news outlets.

2. I became obsessed with deep work

Cal Newport is my new hero. Not only did I quit Facebook and Instagram after reading “Digital Minimalism” last January (thereby freeing up lots of time), but I also became about 10 million times more productive after reading his 2016 book “Deep Work.”

Though all his stuff is worth a read, the book’s message is pretty easy to distill: Work in focused chunks, with zero distractions. No phone, no email, no dashing off clever tweets. Believe me: It’s tougher than it sounds, at least at first. I can’t remember how long Newport recommends doing it, but I started with 25-minute sessions and worked my way up to an hour. 

To stay on track, I use the Marinara extension for Chrome. I tell my bf I’m “doing a deep,” which is code for “don’t bother me,” set the timer for an hour, and dive in. At the end, I take a five-minute break to stretch, pee, eat. And then I do it again. I average around four deeps a day, though sometimes I’ll only get through two and once I got through six (and then basically couldn’t form sentences the rest of the day). After I’m done with my deeps, I’ll focus on admin stuff like email.

It’s incredible how much work you can get done in a focused hour. It’s mind-boggling how much you can get done in four. By working in deep spurts in 2019, I became much more efficient with my time, which allowed me to take on more assignments and earn more money (without losing my mind). 

What do you think? Helpful? Maybe these shifts will help you smash your income goals in 2020!

xoxo, Susan

YEP

“New freelancers sometimes worry that talking to other freelancers is fraternising with the enemy. I call BS on that! Be collaborative and collegiate because there really is enough space at the top for all of us. Go out and find your people. Forget WeWork, find a local, affordable co-working space. Or join a virtual community (like my Slack group for freelancers!) and make the best colleagues you've ever had.” ~ Anna Codrea-Rado in The Professional Freelancer

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