How To Make It: 10 Rules For Success From Freelance Writers

Paul Boutin

Freelance Writer

Has Written For: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Slate, Valleywag, AdWeek, VentureBeat, The Industry Standard, Reader's Digest, MIT Technology Review, Engadget, The New Republic, MSNBC, Salon, Outside, Cargo, Business 2.0, InfoWorld, PC World, Independent Film & Video Monthly, The Content Strategist, California Legal Secretary, TechWeb, Samsung Beacon, BusinessWeek, occasional ghostwriter, and involuntary Huffington Post contributor

Rule: Get published as widely as possible.

"My best gigs don't come from networking or self-promotion. They come from editors who have read something I wrote elsewhere and want more of it for themselves. The new writers I mentor often spend too much time at social events, or on social media, when they should be cranking out a few more underpaid freelance articles or blog posts instead. Editors look for writers by reading other publications, not by going to parties or trolling Twitter. Write for as many publications as you can, to spread your clips as widely as possible. Say yes to assignments you're iffy about. Embrace publications that your hipster friends ridicule—I learned a lot writing for Reader's Digest. In a few years, when you're established and have a prestigious gig, then it will make sense to be picky."

Favorite Pieces and Projects:

"Video Mad Libs With the Right Software" (New York Times)

"Read My Mail, Please" (Slate)

"The Law of Online Sharing" (Technology Review)

Website / @paulboutin

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