Since I'm just back from a very long drive to an from Utah, I'm going to piggyback off of Jennifer Goforth Gregory's recent blog post: should you look for new clients around the holidays?
I'm in agreement with her: yes! I signed two new clients in the last two days. I did the marketing legwork to grab them before this month, but they still need someone, and they need them right now, for assignments due before the end of the year (and if you're wondering how I got them, one was from a letter of introduction I sent in April; the other a referral from an editor I'd worked with before).
So what can you do right now?
- Pitch a story. Of course. Newspapers and magazines don't shut down over the holidays. They may be looking for stories to run around the end of the year. I'm going to guess most have their year end wrap up pieces assigned, but the news keeps on turning, and spring and summer aren't that far ahead. I'm sharpening up a pitch for something I want to write in July. I won't send it until next year, but I'm working on it now.
- Send a few letters of introduction (LOIs). I've been using the same basic LOI since 2018. I can tweak it to send to a new batch of potential clients next week. I probably won't the last two weeks of the year, but that's because I'll also be busy!
- Follow up on older pitches, LOIs, or other marketing outreaches you made this year. This is the time to tie up any loose ends. Even if a pitch might feel less timely now, you could always put a new spin on it, or the email could prompt an editor to tell you what they're looking for right now.
- Send editors you like thank you notes for the stuff you worked on together this year. You can let them know that you're open for new assignments…whenever you are. If you're working over the holiday, tell them that – they might need someone to fill in if staffers are taking off. If you're not free until January, that's fine too! Let them know that. They're probably at least peeking around the corner into the new year.
- Reach out to editors you like by haven't worked with in a while. You can do a similar version of the last email: hey, happy holidays, just wanted to see how you're doing and if you needed any writers right now. This can also help you identify who has switched jobs, and contact them there to see if they need writers at their new place of work (Goforth Gregory is a huge user of Linkedin; I'm less so, but this is one area where it really helps; it lets to find out where someone went).
- Speaking of, post to Linkedin (or Twitter or whatever will replace Twitter or whatever social media platform you use) that you're looking to take on a few new assignments/sign a few new clients. This can also let other freelancers know you're looking. I refer out work all the time. Sometimes these posts or Tweets or what have you catch my eye too.
- Ask your editors if they know of someone who could use a writer like you. This can work really well because you don't have to prove yourself to someone; the editor is already going to vouch for you.
- I used to send holiday cards, but most of my editors are working from home at least part time. So I don't do this anymore, but if you do have editors you like who you know are in the office, you might want to consider sending one along.
So if you have the time and inclination – or need to drum up work – now is a fine time to do so.
Three more notes before I get to the regular features:
- About those two clients I signed this week: I got emails from them both while I was away, and when I replied saying I was available, they were both over the moon. I tell you this not to brag, but to remind you that freelance writing isn't a one way street. Editors need us just as much as we need them. I solved a problem for both of these editors by taking on work they had to assign out. Keep this in mind if you ever think you're bothering someone by pitching them your work or services.
- Speaking of bothering, be a bother if you haven't been paid. I have a check that's three weeks late, so I asked the editor for an update. He had no idea I hadn't been paid yet. If I had stayed quiet, nothing would have happened, and I'd still be waiting on that check in the new year. The person who cares most about your money is you. Speak up.
- And a follow up from the last newsletter: the ebook about freelancing for laid off journalists is on! I don't have a publication date, but I have hired the designer and copyeditor and am getting myself sorted to start writing. I'm still taking survey responses (and giving out discount codes for my existing ebooks), so if you haven't done so, get on that!
"Google, GE and others have a chief medical officer. Should you?" for HR Dive
"Finding refuge for refugees" for Georgia State University Research Magazine
"3 ways HR pros can justify L&D budget request" for HR Dive
"How platform teams deliver best cloud practices" for CIO Dive
"How to prioritize retention in 2023" for HR Dive
"New guidance for point-of-care testing for reproductive health" for Clinical Laboratory News
"How to approach antimicrobial stewardship after COVID-19" for Clinical Laboratory News
"Holiday wish lists: 3 investments manufacturers seek going into 2023" for Manufacturing Dive
What I'm Reading
How the Dukes Stole Christmas by various
Murder, She Wrote: By the Time You Read This, I'll be Gone by Stephanie Kuehn
Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro
We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Story by Simu Liu
What I'm Watching
- God Forbid. This is a docuseries about the downfall of Jerry Falwell, Jr. If you love to be enraged by the hypocrisy of Christians who don't ever ask "What Would Jesus Do" and then do that, this one is for you.
- Weird Al movie. This was weird and wild in the best possible way.
- Tinder Swindler. I heard so much about this docuseries, and most of the blame thrown on the women who were swindled. Hey guess what: that attitude is why no one in law enforcement took them seriously. Not a good look. Anyone can fall for a scam. Blaming victims, especially based on their gender, is a bad idea.
- My Life is Murder. Another season of this Lucy Lawless show from downunder! Love it.
- The Vow. I watched both season 1 and 2 together. I have the same questions as Linda Holmes of Pop Culture Happy Hour: what about the money? It's barely addressed here. I have so many questions. Also, if podcasts are your thing, I also l listened to the CBC one on this first (when it first came out). A lot to think about.
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