When it comes to freelance writing, few professionals are as knowledgeable as Ginny Simon.Corner Office Books ( a new division of HOPress-Shorehouse Books) launched Getting Started in Freelance Writing which gives aspiring and established writers valuable insight on the world of freelancing. A great tool for any writer to have on their bookshelves. We are so proud to show off Ginny and her expertise! (Cover work by Dwayne Booth)
Tell us about Ginny Simon? Education, background, career, family — whatever you want
I started freelance writing more than 30 years ago. I was working full-time so it was a part-time venture. Most of my business was with local publications. Once I started working directly with corporations, however, my business began to grow and it became full-time. Well, sort of – I had a three-year-old daughter and a new baby boy. Bottom line though is that I always wanted to write (although fiction was my priority as a kid) and, with an MBA in marketing, I thought this was something I could do successfully. My kids are grown now – and both can write!
Why did you want to write a how to on freelance writing?
I found that many people who want to write are intimidated by the process. They aren’t aware of the markets and the business aspects are unfamiliar. There are many people who want to write and I wanted to demystify the process.
This is such a tough career. What advice or what do you want readers to understand the most from your book?
There will be successes. Enjoy them. There will also be rejections – it’s part of the deal. Keep going. Multi-tasking is important – an article in progress is great but should not stop the query process which will help fill the project pipeline. Enjoy your freedom and your ability to keep control of your own schedule. Branch out when you can. And always do your research.
How has freelance writing changed over the last 10 years?
It’s gotten both harder and easier over the years. It’s easier to find assignments because most publications have cut their staff dramatically and are more inclined to use freelancers. Plus, social media has opened up new markets such as blogs. What’s gotten harder is getting paid. They’ve cut staff because their budget has shrunk. Publications that used to pay now offer “exposure.” For someone just starting or starting in a new niche, that might work – once or twice. But it does not support a business. That’s why I recommend devoting at least part of your business to working for businesses – they pay.
What do you like the most about freelance writing and what do you like the least?
There are a couple of things I really like. One is setting my own schedule. I have a horse and being able to take the time to ride during the day is important to me. Of course, then I end up working at night and weekends. But that’s my choice. The other thing, is being able to say yes to clients who may not have a big budget but who have a mission that is important to me. I do a significant amount of volunteer work which has been possible because of my flexibility.
My least favorite part is harder – I do enjoy most of my work. Of course, I don’t like the inevitable business downturns but peaks and valleys are part of any business. You have to be prepared for them. I am also not fond of companies who think they cannot publish an article because they’re giving away information to their competitors. I tell them if they can’t tell their whole story in 1200 words, it’s a problem!