Sunday, May 06, 2007

Reflections on the NZ Freelance Conference 2007...

Earlier in the week I headed up to Auckland for the NZ Freelance Conference. It was a day long conference attended by about 100 writers from the established to the aspiring (ie me).

It was a full on schedule but the organizers managed to keep everything to time by holding up a time card at 2 minutes and at times up...which unfortunately sometimes cut into an important line of discussion.

What did I learn:

- I learned that one of the magazines that I had planned on submitting to had no interest whatsoever in getting any submissions from new freelancers. As the editor said ‘she has a stable of freelancers and isn’t looking for more’.

- Another editor said ‘the door was open to freelancers…and to…bring on the article ideas’ (note to self - formulate ideas in query letter and send of end of next week).

- A publisher for a group of magazines also said ‘his company open to working with new freelancers and always on the lookout for ideas…as his company constantly planning new magazines.’ (another good lead)

- The pay for freelance writers in New Zealand was stuck at around 40 cents a word and not likely to change any time in the future. And one magazine apparently paid 40 cents a word for the first 1000 words and then 20 cents a word all words over a 1000.

I was inspired by:

- Listening to the stories of writers how have been successful in establishing their freelance writing careers. For a while I started to feel downhearted as each and every one of them had come from a journalistic background.

- But then I listened to Hsin-Yi Cohen’s journey ‘from scratch to specialty in a year’ and was re-invigorated with hope. Hsin-Yi has managed to take her passion, dogs, and develop what sounds like a fairly lucrative freelance career writing about dogs…mainly for magazines and websites overseas.

- Talking to others at the conference who were also working on developing freelance writing careers and how they were going about it.

- The discovery that there is a freelance writers group here in Christchurch. I have made contact with the organizer and am now on their mailing list. They meet once a month.


Earning a living wage as a freelance writer in New Zealand can be done but not by many. The successful ones were the ones who specialized and the ones who sold their articles overseas….both of which I am already doing…so it looks like I might be on the right track…

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Yvonne Russell said...

This sounds like validation that you are on the right track... plus new leads, new ideas and meeeting new people.

All in all, it sounds like a success for you & a worthwile experience. Great to hear Liz.

All the best
Grow Your Writing Business

cehwiedel said...

I found your blog through a Google Alert on "freelance writing".

I also maintain a blog on writing, "Prosthetic Device." Please see:

Would you be open to being interviewed (via email) about your effort to jumpstart your freelance writing career? The focus would be on important tips (like NZ writers selling online and overseas) and why you decided to document your effort with this blog.

Congratulations on your 7 accepted articles (as of 20 April 2007).

I look forward to hearing from you.



"Prosthetic Device"

Julie said...

Hi Liz,

Sounds like the conference was a good experience. I took notice when you mentioned that a magazine you planned to query was not in the market for new freelancers at all. I often wonder if many magazines have this policy or if they just tell newbies that so they do not become inundated with queries. Either way, I wish I had a better way of identifying which pubs were open to queries from freelancers who are either new or new to them. I guess it helps to check if the same names keep popping up in bylines.


hi cehwiedel and welcome...have sent you an email...

Julie, I know that sometimes in the masthead page, in small print, a magazine will say doesn't accept unsoliciated material...

Cheers, Liz

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