Marketing Mistakes to Avoid if You're a New Freelance Writer

by Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach

If you’re trying to build a business as a freelance writer, you need to market yourself and your business, of course. But avoid these common marketing mistakes and you’ll build your business (and your income) much faster:

Setting Up Too Many Online Sites Too Soon
Most writers love to blog. In fact, I see writers who set up blog after blog before they find any writing jobs that pay, thinking these blogs will help them build their writer's platform. But then, before they know it, they’ve eaten up all their available writing time simply trying to keep up with the many fun sites they’ve created.

Create just one blog or website that you can use to promote your freelance writing, then get some writing jobs that pay before you branch out and set up additional fun sites.

Writing for Free for Too Long
In the beginning, freelance writers need published clips so they can get bigger and better writing assignments. And it’s often necessary to write for free to get these published clips. Yet many writers continue to write for free long after they’ve acquired published clips. They spend their days writing book reviews or conducting interviews with authors. They end up spending a LOT of time doing this, and it eats up the time they could, and should, spend writing for pay or looking for new assignments or clients.

If you're a new freelance writer, write a few short articles for online directories or no-pay markets to get clips. But once you have these clips, start looking for writing jobs that pay. If you like to write book reviews and interviews with authors, do this only after you’ve acquired some steady writing assignments that will provide you with income.

Spending Too Much Time Doing the Fun, Easy Stuff
To earn money as a freelance writer, it’s necessary to send out queries and take other actions to get new clients and assignments. This is usually uncomfortable for new writers, so quite often they avoid the real work that can help them earn substantial income in favor of spending too much time doing fun, easy stuff like tweeting, posting to Facebook, and even writing short low-paying articles for content mills. They convince themselves this is building their business, yet it isn't bringing in any new clients or assignments.

Start your workday looking for new assignments or clients and save the social networking and more fun stuff for later in the day.

It isn't difficult to build a substantial income as a freelance writer if you spend most of your time focusing on actions that can earn you money.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is an author, freelance writer, certified professional life coach and writing coach, speaker and workshop presenter. She has written over two dozen published books and hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines, and other publications. She lives and writes by the sea in Jensen Beach, Florida.

Visit her blog at and for daily tips to help you stay focused on your writing career, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge at


Magdalena Ball said...

Good tips, Suzanne and some are traps for seasoned writers too (especially the last one).

Kathleen Moulton said...

I liked how you said, "Start your workday looking for new assignments or clients and save the social networking and more fun stuff for later in the day."

New writers have to think about starting their workday and focus on what they will do. It's too easy to get distracted.

Good reminders for me!


Shirley Corder said...

Suzanne, thank you for your tips (and prods!). As Maggie said, these don't just apply to new writers. I am SO bad at moving out of my comfort zone.

Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, great tips and reminders! It's so easy to get distracted and not put the real work into what you want.

Anonymous said...

Great, thanks for such nice blog. I've been a full-time writer jobs for nearly two months now and am still adjusting, so it is great to hear other experiences and advice.

Karen Cioffi said...

Andie, good for you! Suzanne offers great writing advice.

Debbie A Byrne said...

Great tips Suzanne!

Evelyn said...

Important stuff to keep in mind. Thanks, Suzanne!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Susanne, neat! Seems everyone should read this. Never know when even poets and novelists like me might need to earn some extra cash! (-:

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