Monthly Assessment: March 2016

What I’m listening to: Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots

cashAfter a month of nonstop work, it’s a bit hard to come to an abrupt halt. I finished every project in the queue and had time to breathe. I’m sure it won’t last long — I have revisions due back next week and two more projects about to start up. For now, I’m relishing the free time.

I’m enjoying also the shape of my bank account. For the first time in ages, I’m heading into tax season with one healthy bottom line. If I owe anything on the tax returns, it’s there plus some. But as we know in freelancing, today’s success doesn’t guarantee a thing. Marketing will ramp up again.

For those of you following along and sharing your own monthly review, get your numbers together. Here we go:

I sent one. It resulted in an immediate assignment (again) and a $2K+ invoice.

I sent none. Zero. Not for lack of wanting to, but for lack of time. Because I research every company before I approach them, it just wasn’t possible with the workload I had.

Social media:
I did get a few inquiries through Twitter. Nothing solid yet, but interest is there. My account had been hijacked, but the results were actually good. I was getting a ton of retweets from posts I hadn’t made, and even some comments from people I’d been wanting to market to. Whoever had hijacked it was sending out some good tweets — I almost hated to take back control!

Job postings:
Zero. I find much more work by sourcing it myself. Better than competing with scores of writers for pay that isn’t quite what I’m after.

New clients:
I just completed work with my newest client, and I’m awaiting their revisions/feedback. This was a referral client from last month.

Existing clients:
Another slam-dunk month thanks to my favorite clients. They made up the bulk of my invoices this month, and the projects were coming in steadily (and at the same time, but I managed to work the schedule out).

I got two rejections this month, but I’m not surprised. Both publications are highly coveted by many poets. I’m going to keep at it. That’s how they get to know your name — repetition (or pestering, depending on your perspective). I didn’t submit this month, but the day is young. I’ve been too busy with revising poems to send out just anything.

Boom! I surpassed my monthly goal yet again, this time by nearly $1K. That makes me happy. Had two projects finalized, I’d be looking at closer to $4K over the target. Oh well, seed for next month.

Bottom line:
I’m enjoying a spate of name recognition — all clients came to me this month without my having to market. I don’t expect that to last, and I think any freelance writer would be foolish to think there’s ever a time you don’t have to remind people you’re there.

For now, I’m looking ahead to June. The more work I line up now, the better those lean summer months will be, especially since we have trips planned.

Writers, how did you do in March?
Were your earnings what you expected/hoped for? More? Less?
What do you think was your most successful marketing method? Least successful?

About the author




  • Paula March 31, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    March was pretty good for me. But like you, I was so overwhelmed with work I didn't have the time to even think about LOIs or queries. I did reply to two job postings, though, to no avail.

    I turned in the first of three quick advertorial assignments to a new client. They increased the word count, but pay per word so I didn't mind. When I turned it in the publisher thanked me and told me it was great. (The first project for a new client is always nerve wracking, so Inappreciated the feedback.)

    My existing clients kept me busy: I turned in six assignments to Favorite Editor, one article to another editor I love working with, a copywriting project for my sister's company (my invoice is covered by her end client), and Ineven squeezed out two columns.

    I am working on five additional assignments that will all be wrapped up by next week., One may be sent in before the calendar changes to April.

    As for earnings, I received payments for $1500 more than my modest monthly goal, but if I turn that one piece in yet today, I'll have invoices out for double my monthly goal. And the projects I should wrap up next week total more than half my monthly goal.

    So my bottom line is that I need to keep doing what I'm doing!

    The funny thing is I've gotten so used to juggling 10-15 projects at once that being down to just five has me feeling a bit antsy.

  • Devon Ellington March 31, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    I had a pretty good month, except for the last few days.

    I was thrilled that a radio play of mine was accepted in VA and will be produced/performed in June (yes, there's money involved).

    I also had a mixed media piece accepted into a local art show.

    I had some good opportunities, and some more on the horizon.

    The most effective has been staying on top of calls for submission, and networking in person at chamber events and the artist hobnob.

    I finished a book manuscript. It's marinating, while I work on the next one.

    Amber Quill shut its doors, but I'm excited by some new possibilities. I hope to move the Gwen Finnegan series to another publisher by the end of the year, and the digital shorts should be repackaged and out again over the summer.

    Fingers crossed!

  • Lori Widmer April 1, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Paula, that sounds like a really good month! You've had a few of those lately, haven't you? And I have the same reaction when the work pile dwindles. You start to worry about dry spells.

    Congrats on the radio play, Devon! I hope there will be a link where we can hear it. You do some really interesting things!

    Sorry about Amber Quill. You've had a good long relationship with them, no? I'm sure your series will find a new home. I hope the new publisher will be as good to you as the folks at Amber Quill were.