I sent out a lot of pitches in January (24 to be exact) and was waiting on quite a few responses from editors. But February didn’t quite bring the responses I was expecting.
February – the month in review
One commission turned into a non-commission (the short version is that I pitched a travel story to an editor, she commissioned it, but ended up tweaking my pitch and ultimately what she wanted was too similar to another story I had in the works, so I had to decline the commission).
Two pitches that initially received positive feedback from editors didn’t get the green light. One editor took it to her editorial meeting and it wasn’t approved, and the other left her position as editor and now I have to resubmit the pitch to the new editor.
And another story, which was commissioned, got killed. Out of all of them, this was the one that I felt bruised by. I felt that I had let down the editor as well as my case study. I’m hopeful that it will end up on the publication’s online page, but it won’t go into the print edition.
So you can’t always count your chickens, and even if they are hatched, there’s no guarantee that they’ll survive. How’s that for a harsh lesson for the second month of the year?!
So with regard to writing articles for magazines and newspapers, this month I:
Pitched: 8 articles
Silence: A LOT!
Offers (This is where the editor has approached me to write an article): 2
It’s been a much slower month in terms of feature article ideas that I’ve pitched, and I think some of that is because I pitched so much in January. I spent a fair bit of time writing a small business eBook for a client, which ended up needing lots of revisions, so that took more time than I initially expected. I was also really busy with feature writing that was already commissioned, corporate writing in the business sector as well as health content creation work.
I am still trying to make sure I market myself though, even while I’m busy. Last month I wrote about doing five marketing activities each day and this month I’ve tried to keep that up. As well as all the ‘little’ stuff of pitches, tweeting about writing resources and sending out letters of introduction I:
– Attended a networking event hosted by an agency I do some work for – it was great to meet the directors in person and it’s always good to meet other ‘communicators’ and hear about their work.
– Had a half hour Skype session with marketing guru Ilise Benun who helps freelancers and creatives. It was so helpful to talk to her about my feature writing work as well as my corporate writing and content creation work. Ilise really prompted me to think about some steps to define my content writing niche, which I think will be health writing for social enterprises and organisations. I also wrote a piece for Ilise’s blog about how I almost lost 5k through a really common freelancer mistake.
– Signed up for Kate Toon’s SEO course, which does terrify me because I’m not SEO savvy (I guess that’s why I need to do the course!), but I think it’s a skill I need to learn. She also talks a lot about finding your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) so I know it’s something I need to focus on.
– Interviewed several Australian Virtual Assistants to help me decide who I am going to use to schedule my social media feeds, support me with general admin and website updates.
– I’m trying lots of new ways to engage with people on LinkedIn and am having some real success (a post is coming on that soon!)
I have to admit I didn’t meet my monthly income target this month, and I think part of that is because the income is coming in from two bumper months in December and January. I don’t want to get complacent though and I am planning on really ramping up to exceed my monthly target in March. Stay tuned!
What about you? How has your February been? Did you try anything new in February?
After your spreadsheet post, I set one up and love using it. I also did not meet my February target, but like you had a good month in January. But with school starting back and settling my 4 year old into her new kinder, I lost the first of weeks of Feb. Then when I was ready to do some work I panicked because there wasn’t much happening. But in the panicked frenzy of activity I got one commission, an spec piece published a big content writing piece kicking off tomorrow. Phew! Freelancing is not for the faint-hearted!!! Btw, I am loving your blog. xx
Did you really set a spreadsheet up?! That’s so great! That’s interesting that you also didn’t meet your February target. I was the same as you in terms of settling into the new year and feeling that put me back a week or two. I also think I need one or two more ‘anchor’ clients because I don’t want to have the feast and famine cycles that seem to be so common in freelance life.
But it sounds like your moment of frenzy worked well for you in the end? Congratulations too on your commission and big content writing piece – sounds like a big win. And thank you so much for your kind words about my blog – I’m so glad you are enjoying it, I love writing it.
I think I love these posts the most. It’s so interesting to get a glimpse of your working month! I’m curious to know more about why you are doing the SEO course. Do you feel SEO knowledge will help inform your writing (i.e for clients), or is this for your blog?
Oh thank you Michaela, I’m so glad you’re interested in reading these posts! I’m doing the SEO course because I feel that it’s essential skill for writers in the online space to have. More and more the corporate clients I am working with want to increase their visibility and reach and I don’t think ‘just’ creating good content is enough. I also love a new challenge and I am about the least tech savvy person you can imagine so SEO is my Everest 🙂
Hi Lindy! I’ve just discovered your blog thanks to Dianne Jacob’s repost. I’m a French food blogger as well as business and copy writer.
Thank you so much for your posts – I’ve been reading a bunch of them in the last half hour! It’s great to see how another freelancer does it, and get your advice. I want to do more food writing – in French or English – but haven’t been so good at marketing myself. I’ve glimpsed a few ideas from your posts, and have subscribed to your newsletter since I’m really interested in hearing about your professional experiences and feedback. I’m looking forward to reading you on a regular basis!
Hi Anne-Liesse, thanks so much for your comment – it’s lovely to have you here!
I’d love to hear more about your work and what you’d like to achieve in terms of food writing. With France’s rich culinary traditions, I imagine there would be lots of overseas outlets that would be really interested in your work. Let me know if I can help out with ideas of places to pitch/query!
I’ll look forward to hearing from you again 🙂
Thank you so much, Lindy! I would love to get your help/opinion on places to pitch. I haven’t been good at doing it, in France or internationally – I guess I’m afraid of putting myself out there and having my pitches rejected. But marketing myself is one of my main goals in 2017 so I’d rather get better at it!!…
"A bientôt" around here!
I can really understand your concern about being rejected Anne-Liesse, but I think it’s absolutely part of being a freelance writer. And it’s also where you learn and grow – if you get rejected it tells you about your pitches, the publication you are targeting etc. Get in touch with me via the contact panel and we’ll chat offline if you like 🙂