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Recession-Proof Your Writing Business

By Patricia L. Fry

Nearly everyone is concerned about the state of the economy and most of us will be affected by the downturn. It seems unfair that, at a time when writers have so much to say, publishers are producing fewer books and editors are printing fewer stories.

In a sour economy, however, people buy fewer books. Business drives magazines. Without advertisers, editors can’t afford to pay their writers.

What’s a writer to do? The strategy I’ve used over my 28 years as a freelance writer is to rethink my business and reorganize it. If things aren’t going your way, find another way. Here are some ideas to help keep your writing business afloat even during the hard times:

  • Woo your long-standing clients and editors. Keep in touch with them so they won’t forget you when they need something done. Why not send them a job proposal and a letter reminding them of your skills?
  • Write about the things people need to know in these times: how to live on less, stress reduction, healthy grieving, penny-saver vacations and Christmas gifts you can make, for example.
  • Go outside your comfort zone. Search out new magazines, e-zines, Web sites and businesses that might need your expertise.
  • Do something entirely different. Write business brochures, design material for nonprofit organizations, produce pamphlets to market through appropriate agencies and or/businesses—recipes for diabetics or heart patients, keeping the faith when the world seems doomed, or gardening away arthritis pain, for example.
  • Subscribe to several online and print writing magazines and newsletters. Many of them list jobs for writers while keeping you updated on the writing industry.
  • Write for less. As one writer friend says, “When times are tough, I’m never above any writing assignment no matter how superficial or low-paying. Those little jobs sometimes lead to bigger and better assignments.”
  • Take on clients. There are always people wanting help writing, editing or self-publishing a book, for example. Become their paid mentor.
  • Write speeches. CEOs and association leaders often hire speechwriters.
  • Ensure greater success during difficult times by establishing and maintaining a good reputation all the time.

—Patricia Fry is the author of A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit, (Matilija Press, 2000) and Write On! Journal-Keeping for Teens (Liguori Publications, 2001).



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