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June 16, 2001
For Freelance Writers Online Markets Bring Greater Opportunity
By Tad Hulse

When the advent of the World Wide Web was finally accepted as the next step in technology and communication, many established writers in the print world expressed their scepticism about the online writing opportunities. Writers who ventured into this arena were sought as unprofessional hacks, not serious about their integrity, their talent or their career. The Internet was browsed over as the last place a fledgling writer could turn to and try make their mark in the literary world, or in the least, make a few bucks. As America slowly exited the high-rolling '80s, where everyone's career was based entirely on money and materialism, the '90s told us that quality was far better than quantity. And even though the online writing markets were first seen as trivial and insignificant, in the past decade it has now surpassed all expectations making it one of the best forums for freelance writers to make top dollar amounts, giving the print world a run for its money.

When I started my freelance writing career, which was not long ago, I assumed like everybody else that the key to success was to be published in the biggest,
most topical magazines in print. I would slowly work my way up, building a reputation and credibility from my work; and then "the job" that everyone waits to for would come my way and no more strife. No longer would I feel like a bottom-feeder, having to accept everything I was handed. Boy was I wrong. Query after query after query, still only sporadic assignments were offered and the bills were stacking up. As with most writers, I never questioned my competence, just my attitude and perspective. Perhaps I was going about
this all wrong, focusing on the wrong markets? And then I was introduced to the Internet.

Today, the Internet offers an incessant amount of possibilities for freelancing writers around the world. Most businesses and print-publications now have
websites that cater to online users, making themselves more accessible to the customer (or reader) and more dependent on Internet-oriented freelancers. However, the advantages and disadvantages of online versus print are still distinguishable.

Most online markets (mostly E-zines of all sorts) have a lesser word standard, but in turn offer more assignments on a regular basis and work regularly with
freelancers all over the world. They also pay faster (usually through electronic bank transfers) but its variable. Some may offer publication without copyrights (which allows you to submit the article elsewhere), some pay surprisingly well. Topics can range from everything imaginable to the inconceivable. But what they lack in coinage, they make up for recognition.

On the other hand, print markets usually pay on a higher scale, offer less but bigger assignments (articles are typically feature oriented - around 3,000 words), are more finely polished and looks a bit more prestigious. This is an area most writers attempt to break into right away, which may take one longer to get established and recognized, but nevertheless, pays off for he or she who is persistent and not swayed by rejection. Namely consumer magazines fit into this category, the types you might find in supermarket checkout line or convenience store (men's, women's, teens, travel, health, entertainment, etc).

As E-commerce continues to thrive and flourish amid this new century of technology and advertising, its only a matter of time before print-based businesses and publications start to primarily focus on the online market. Just watch, magazine circulation numbers will soon evolve into how many hits a website gets per day. Instead of receiving subscriptions by post, monthly issues will be sent vial E-mail (this is already taking place). And when this changeover becomes a reality, those freelancers with the most experience, knowledge and skill of the market will prosper greatly and become the leading pioneers of a new generation of writers.

Become Internet-inclined; start building relationships with online-editors, because when the rates do improve (and they will, considerably) its going to give the print world some considerable competition, and those who have the expertise will be in a better position to acquire the best paid jobs. Every site on the World Wide Web, both business and private, understands that fresh literary content is needed on a regular basis if they want their readers (or customers) to return repeatedly. Thus, the opportunities arise. whether you take advantage it or seek them out is up to you.

Tad Hulse is an American freelance writer who can be currently found residing in Oslo, Norway when he's not out exploring the rest of Greater Europe. He's contributed works to numerous websites and publications, namely about travel and culture.

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