If you haven't seen it yet, pop over to The Golden Pencil for Jenny Cromie's interview with prolific and veteran freelance writer Robert McGarvey. Not only is McGarvey the author of several books, including Start Your Own E-Business, he's weathered several economic downturns in his 30 years freelancing. (And he has a great list of freelance tips for newcomers on his Web page. Scroll down to find them.)
His suggestions in the interview are interesting. He says he's "digging in for the long struggle." Pointedly, this one:
I am not sending out 100 LOIs because 10 got no result. I am not sending out 1,000 queries because 100 got no result. Doing more, harder, of what isn’t working is not a prescription for success.This goes a bit against my suggestion on Sunday to send queries to dream markets even if you don't know if it'll work. But he follows up explaining how such queries may yet work:
Editors I know tell me they are overwhelmed with unsolicited queries (which is why more magazines are asking not to get any at all). My advice is: if you must query, “warm” it up. Use LinkedIn and writers groups to find degrees of separation and query saying, Joe Schmo thought you’d like to see my query on XYZ. Warming up an initial contact works in writing, just as it works in all selling. Doing more of what is not working, however, is just plain unintelligent.
The only thing I'll add is be sure to get permission from Joe Schmo before using his name with an editor. Writers don't like their names thrown around without their knowledge, especially if it's by someone they don't know well, or a new freelancer.
What this reminds me is that all business is basically networking. The stronger your network, the more likely you'll be able to ask an editor to refer you to another client, and will give you permission to use his or her name.
Which editor are you going to talk to today about other editors who need a can-do writer in this economy?