With all the government cuts hanging over us, does it spell disaster for freelance writers? Will more and more magazines fold or will those that survive be more inclined to do everything in-house? Those are questions I can't answer, so I guess we will all find out sooner or later when more of us are chasing fewer and fewer markets. I refuse to believe that it will all be doom and gloom, though, and I think maintaining a positive attitude with a healthy dose of reality will stand me in good stead when I'm thinking up my next batch of pitches to send out.
So how can we, as freelance writers, survive?
What You Can't Do:
* Accurately predict exactly what an editor wants. Sometimes they just don't know what they want until they see it. But you can take steps to keep yourself close to the mark.
*Predict what every other writer is subbing. It's just bad luck if an editor rejects your pitch/article because they've just accepted a similar piece by another writer. But at least the knowledge that you were on the right track will take the sting out of that rejection.
*Do anything about the current or future economic climate. If the magazine does everything in-house you will only be wasting your time and theirs by subbing to them - redirect your energy to subbing to those magazines who still take from freelance writers.
What You Can Do:
* Keep researching the market: if you can get the tone, style and layout of your pitch/article right, you give yourself an advantage and increase your chances of acceptance over the competition.
*Present your work, and deal with editors in a professional manner. Follow the magazine's subbing guidelines to the letter and always be polite. Make yourself a pleasure to work with and you won't go far wrong. No editor wants to work with a writer who is too pushy or aggressive or precious about their work.
* Keep writing! If you don't write because you think it's not worth the bother in the present economic problem you'll never know if you would have been one of the few who got through and got published. So don't give up - if one editor says no, another might well say yes.
It's tough out there, but it's not impossible.