Freelance writing doesn’t mean free
Not always. There are ways to make money by writing. Here’s how: Rumman R Kalam
You’re a writer in Bangladesh and you write in English. If you’re banking on your talent for a full-time job, you will be hungry more often than your friend who’s a business graduate. For those of us who have a day job and want a little something-something on the side out of their ability with the pen, there are quite a few opportunities.
Knowing that time is of essence, there are two paths one can take. Think of it as a video game where you have to choose a path towards your destiny. Unless you’re the kind who has no life and can play the game for more than 4 hours a day, then pick both.
Try being a Blogger
This might seem kind of ridiculous but there is a need for proper bloggers. How would you define a proper blogger? The Oatmeal, Joystiq, LifeHacker—these are blog sites where they host either one or several bloggers. Here in Bangladesh, we have Dhaka Foodies, Rantages.com, Priyo.com and the likes. What is it that sets apart these blogs from your average housewife’s “My Housewife Blog?” A Target. No one wants to read about what your kid had for lunch. They might want to read about how to make what your kid had for lunch. When you open a blog, you should be able to describe what your blog in less than five words. The less, the better: Dhaka Foodies—food; Rantages—humour; Priyo.com—magazine; some of these terms might seem broad but that’s where consistency comes into play. The broader your term, the more posts you can make. If it’s a one man show, it’s good to stick to a niche or something simple like reviewing Bangladeshi phones only. We definitely need a review site for the phones that are only available in Bangladesh. Write about stuff that you would read yourself (reading them because you wrote them doesn’t count). Exposure is the second deal. You want to reach out to your target audience. Social media has made it extremely easy for us; you’d have to be a donkey with carrots for ears if you haven’t figured it out already. Write your stuff and find the groups on Facebook who are into it. For example, if you’re a gamer, share the links of your posts on the group’s or the page’s wall. Don’t just copy-paste the same thing everywhere, use your writing skills to make a personalised post for each share so that the people in the groups feel as if a person shared it and not a spam bot. What’s the ultimate goal? You can cash in on your popularity and get sponsors or ads. A specific phone brand might want you to review them. That’s what happens when you have more than a 100,000 followers.
How about a Freelance Writer?
This one’s pretty cut and dried. Since you’re not a full-time reporter, your best bets are the supplements or the target pages in a newspaper. For example, if you like culture, write about music and movies for the culture sections. A good rule of thumb is to always write with using actual facts with sources and good grammar. No one wants to know about your repertoire of ethereal words sent from heaven either, write readable stuff and make them short and concise. Treat the editor like a human being. Do not send your article in the body of an email, that makes the entire thing rather messy and it’s a dreadful experience for the reader. Attach it as a separate doc file. You wouldn’t put your cover letter with your CV, would you? If you send in an article without a by-line or any sort of introduction, you will be treated the same way. Likewise, if you sound like a needy puppy scrounging for a bone, it wouldn’t do your credibility any good either. Say hi, and let the editor know why you are writing the piece and why he should publish it. “You should publish this because I think it’s very good and I want the people to know about it!” is not a good reason, it never is. You should judge your work from a perspective. Why should the editor and more importantly, why should the people read the piece? There’s a reason you don’t come across any reviews of Michael Jackson’s Thriller in recent issues of Kerrang! Magazine. Some things are just not relevant anymore and it’s no use beating a dead-horse either. Moreover, if you write about Triple H’s hairdos for a youth magazine, don’t think that it’s relevant either. WWE and readers don’t really go hand in hand. Maybe hand to hand but not hand in hand. Be accurate, concise, and mindful and know what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. With luck, you’ll end up as a contributor or even more, and get to write about freelance writing!
The writer is the editor of Rantages.com and a goat with opposable thumbs
Collected :: From The Daily Star |