Every writer needs one of these!

I completed my quest to find a FREE place to park my clips with Contently. I am not entirely impressed with its overall look. This is simply because it is laid out as a page of mostly black and white text in grid form. It’s not spectacular. However, due to current time and budget constraints, I am fine with it.

I lamented to a writer friend that I wanted a new place to post my clips. The great thing about Contently is that it didn’t take me that long to post most of my work on it considering I had all my work backed up in Dropbox. My friend told me I should just put up a website, like a HeatherLarson.com or something. I’d have to get a domain name, deal with some hosting provider’s CMS, take time uploading and categorizing dozens of writing clips…I just don’t have time. (Fun fact: HeatherLarson.com is usually not available, one time I could have gotten it for the bargain price of $700 so I said, “forget it!”) 

But I did find something awesome! 

I’m not sure how I found it, but About.me is amazing. See the photo of me to the right along with quick bio information and chiclets for all my social media accounts? I didn’t do that. About.me has a WordPress widget that loaded all of that in for me in a minute. It looks slick and professional. You get a set of FREE Moo cards too. I ordered some and only had to pay for $5.50 for shipping. Even the cheapest set of business cards I ever ordered through those online sites cost me at least $10-15. We’ll see how they look when they arrive. But this About.me profile has me very impressed so far. It lists all my pertinent info and current photos. Want to know my Facebook and Twitter addresses? They are there. So is my TrustCloud Score, which sounds dorky like Klout is. But I actually like TrustCloud because it shows I’ve been on social networking sites since before they were cool — and I am good at it too. 

The point is you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a “website.” You don’t need to spend a fortune in time and money on creating your online presence. And you must have an online presence today. All those business cards I have bought before? I never once gave them all out before the information on them was outdated. I’m not buying a domain and paying a monthly fee for something like my awesome About.me profile. I used to pay a monthly fee to have what About.me provides for free! 

I almost feel like a sucker now. I wish this stuff had been around in 2006 when I started freelancing full time from my apartment on a prayer and a shoestring. 

Advertisements

Where to post writing clips, resume, etc?

I have had a Media Bistro profile for seven years now. It was a great investment when I first started working from home as a freelance writer in 2006 because it provided me with access to articles about writing that really helped. Over time, this became less useful. It’s over $50/year to join Media Bistro, plus $15/month for a freelance marketplace profile. I liked the access to the educational articles as well as a slick place to post my clips, profile photo, resumes, and information about what I could do for a client as a writer.

However, this membership and profile, at a cost of over $230/year got me not one gig. So I finally cancelled it all this year. I am not quite sure why this profile I paid so much for — a whopping $1,610 over seven years now that I total it up — brought in not one gig for me. I got one bite once from someone who was confused about where I was located. This person was in Vegas; I was in Phoenix. When they found out I wasn’t in Nevada, they were no longer interested. Now I am in Wichita and got a bite from a content distribution company called AMD, or American Media Distribution. There are two problems with AMD. First, I was never able to find out how they found me, so I cannot say with absolute certainty that I got this gig with them through Media Bistro. Second, AMD has yet to assign me any work and I’ve been “in the pipeline” since December.

I am no longer waiting by the phone. 😉

My needs have changed. I have not freelanced in two years. I merely need a place to park the many magazine and online clips I have accumulated over the years.

I thought I’d start with a FREE profile site that is tied in with social media called Contently:

https://heatherlarson.contently.com

Changing career needs 

I currently work full-time doing a morning radio show so freelance writing isn’t as much a priority as it was in 2006 when writing for magazines and websites actually paid the bills. The goal now is to NOT write full-time so that I can go home at the end of the day and write for the joy and art of it. Yes, I am working on a novel and other ideas that are currently works in progress. I belong to a critique group and work with other writers. I also belong to the Kansas Writers Association and serve as Secretary on the Board.

After years of journalism and freelance writing, I am re-inventing myself. But I still want a place to show off my hard work from years past! I would like to freelance once again too, though I am not aggressively pursuing any certain publication at the moment.

Words of wisdom to other freelance writers 

Maybe another freelance writer will find this blog and it will help them. My point is this — spend your freelance dollars wisely. I no longer itemize freelance expenses as tax deductions. It makes no sense to spend $200/year on something I might not even make $50 off of with magazine writing or whatever these profiles can net for me. Because at this point, I’d just like to find a small, local publication to write for now and then and that’s likely what they would pay. Or perhaps less, since I am in Wichita. I think that’s a Phoenix price from seven years ago.

If you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, make an awesome portfolio. Make it a tangible portfolio you can hand out in business meetings. Keep word, jpg, and PDF files of it on a hard drive, DVD, CD, or in DropBox. Just back it up! Find a free portfolio site like Contently where you can post your work. Another idea I had was to post my files on Interfolio, though this is a more academic site. But it costs around $20/year which is affordable, simple for sharing, and professional.

I may test some other sites. If I do, I will post my results here on my blog. I think this free WordPress blog and Contently will have to do it for now. I still have some old business cards to use up. But new business cards are next!

While I enjoyed Media Bistro very much, it didn’t suit my needs. I loved the articles but I don’t want to pay for them, especially since I didn’t have time to read them each day. I also think Media Bistro is great if you’re in a major market like New York or Los Angeles. I have no plans to live in those cities any time soon.

Writer’s Digest may be a better investment for me right now with Writer’s Market. I think for the moment, my biggest focus is the novel, the screenplay idea, other WIPs (works in progress) and entering poems into contests. I’ve also entered one short fiction story into a contest — a first for me. It was rejected. Not bad for a first try! Changing direction in a writing career doesn’t happen overnight. Thanks for following along on my journey.

~Heather Larson

@heatherlarson