I pitched more than usual this month but got zero commissions. Getting those rejections is a reminder that even when you have good relationships with editors, freelancing can be a tough gig. Despite this, I did have offers from my corporate clients and new sponsored content opportunities so not all was lost. Oh, but I did embarrass myself in a way that I’m still cringing about.
September – the month of rejections and embarrassment
In terms of feature articles for magazines and newspapers, this month I:
Commissions from pitches or query letters: 0
Offers: 1 (where the editor approached me with a commission)
In terms of feature articles for corporate and B2B clients – this includes sponsored content: (I don’t pitch these)
Offers: 25 (It’s worth noting that 13 of these were a batch of articles between 400 – 500 words)
Overall number of articles filed: 42 (Yikes!)
Lowlights of September
I embarrassed myself a couple of times this month.
Firstly I was talking over the phone with a new editor about a chunk of sponsored content she had commissioned me to do and I hadn’t realised she’d already sent me the entire brief.
She had attached it (and mentioned the attachment), but in my skim reading of the email I’d missed it.
So I was asking her really obvious questions, which were clearly answered in the brief.
After a little while, I suddenly realised my mistake.
She was totally fine about it, but it set our conversation back as she waited for me to skim read the document while we were on the phone together and see if I had any questions.
It wasn’t a great first impression and given that this editor has commissioned seven articles from me. I was mortified that I hadn’t read her email properly.
I’m taking it as an excellent (albeit embarrassing) reminder to slow down.
I also took my own advice from last week and pitched a regular column to one of my editors. She got back to me straight away saying they didn’t have the space or resources to dedicate to another column. She did, however, offer me a commission (a pity commission?!), which was great, but I felt a bit bashful for even asking.
And lastly, one of my corporate clients asked for a rewrite of one of my articles.
I don’t think this has ever happened before and as you can imagine, I felt pretty terrible about a) not delivering what they needed and b) having to find time for a complete rewrite. My client was very gracious and blamed a vague brief, but deep down I know that my piece wasn’t focused enough and didn’t hit the mark. I revised it and happily this version was accepted without changes.
Highlights of September
I was so lucky in early September to be asked to go on a press trip on behalf of a publication. It was to Boracay in the Philippines and what a success story this little island is.
If you don’t know, Boracay was shut last year for 6 months after the Philippines’ hard line president was dismayed to see the level of environmental damage that was being caused by over tourism.
The island re-opened in October last year and our visit was to go and see how the regeneration effort has changed the island.
My article hasn’t been published yet, but I was on the trip with various media (TV, radio and print) and here is one of the stories that has come out from the press trip.
Oh and if we’re still talking about embarrassments, some of you may have caught my Instagram story about how I dressed up as a mermaid and took mermaiding lessons for part of my Boracay story (while everyone else was at the day spa!)
I also went on an individual domestic famil to Bruny Island in Tasmania on behalf of another publication. I met the editor of this publication on a work trip earlier in the year, so I was thrilled that she thought of me for this assignment.
Native advertising and sponsored content
I know that I mentioned the huge opportunity that exists if you’re happy to write sponsored content for publications, but I wanted to re-iterate it because over $4.5K of my income this month has come from these opportunities.
Two editors of travel magazines asked me to write sponsored content for them and an editor at a newspaper approached me to write a new series of sponsored tourism articles.
Like I said in my previous post, I am seeing more and more of these opportunities. Whether or not you want to write this type of content is up to you, but if you’re looking for additional ways to get paid from freelance writing, this is one of the best.
My website and course
I am on the home straight with my website (thank heavens for that) and I am hoping that it’s going to go live in the next two weeks.
Then, hopefully, my course will go live too. At this stage, I’ve got a list of people (people with the patience of saints really) who said they were interested last year in being my guinea pigs for this first iteration – the first round will be restricted in numbers so that I can get all the feedback I need before I launch the course officially.
But I finally feel like I’m breathing a little easier.
I’ve ignored the advice of a prominent online course creator who told me that I should be giving as little of myself as possible (in order to make the most money), but this just doesn’t feel right to me.
I have at least 3 online courses that I’ve bought and haven’t finished because there’s no support and no peer group.
I’m sure not everyone is like me and I’m sure that many people can start and finish a course (and get results) without direct contact with others, but my whole purpose in offering this course is so that people get the freelance writing results they want but don’t have.
It may be foolish, but I’m not really interested in pumping out content to make as much money as possible. I want to help other writers earn a great living from freelancing. I guess time will tell whether this is wise or not.
A resource I’d recommend
You all know how much I love podcasts, right?
Well, there’s a great new one that I’m loving.
Each episode is short – only around 10 minutes (hence the clever use of ‘byte’ in the title) but they are packed with wisdom, humour and generosity.
Like many good podcasts it feels like you’re eavesdropping on two knowledgeable friends talking about topics that you want to know more about.
If you’re a fan of longer podcasts like I am, then save these up for a binge listen session.
My income for September
As usual, I set my income target for $5000 for August.
I came in over that, with $12,862 worth of work commissioned.
I invoiced for $13,087
I can’t quite believe that October is here.
I have a bet with my partner that I won’t be asked on another overseas famil before the end of the year.
It’s funny isn’t it, but despite my ‘success’ this year, I know how fickle this industry can be and I’m not going to be counting any chickens until I’m on another plane.
He’s confident I’m going to lose the bet.
What do you think?!
There are three months left of 2019. How do you want October to look?