As productive freelance writers, we want to get many high paying jobs and get them done as efficiently as possible. Winning multiple assignments is a great way to do this.
Two Main Ways to Get More Freelance Writing Assignments
First, you get multiple assignments for the same topic. In the second, you get multiple assignments from a single editor. Of course, it’s also possible you can get multiple assignments on the same topic from a single editor.
1. Multiple Writing Assignments for the Same Topic
My main area of freelance writing since 1992 has been as a higher education writer creating supplements for college textbooks. Supplements are updated every time a new edition of a textbook is released. Many times I have obtained multiple supplement-update jobs for the same textbook revision. For example, for one American government textbook, I updated or created:
- The instructor’s manual
- The student study guide
- The test questions
- Online sample tests for students
- Internet exercises
- Articles for further reading on the Internet
- PowerPoint lecture outlines
I won these from 3 different editors who all worked on different supplements for the same book. In order to update all these supplements, I had to read both the new textbook edition and the old textbook edition thoroughly so I knew what had been added to the new edition and deleted from the old edition; this was quite time consuming. However, I did it just once and then applied what I’d learned about the changes to 7 different supplements rather than just one.
(This is a well-paying niche with little competition. See my e-book Writing College Textbook Supplements: Developing Test Questions, Quiz Questions, Instructor Manuals, Lecture Outlines, and Other Curriculum Components for all the details on how to be successful.)
There’s another way to slant this technique for those of you who write for magazines, newspapers, and trade publications…
Take the same information you use for an article and then rework the material to create a different piece on the same subject. You can also sell reprint rights to pieces you’ve already published as long as you’ve retained the copyright and abide by any agreement you had with the original publisher.
2. Multiple Writing Assignments from the Same Editor
The best source for new assignments is an editor who’s given you previous assignments. It’s far more difficult to sell yourself to a new editor than to one who already knows the quality of your work and your ability to finish assignments on time.
This cuts 2 ways. It’s always a good idea to ask previous clients for more work. Another tack: when an editor gives you one assignment, ask if she has anything else for you.
In my above example about writing 7 supplements for the same textbook update for 3 different editors, I obviously won multiple assignments from editors.
An Outdoors Writing Example
When I lived on the island of Kauai in Hawaii in the late 1990s, I got an assignment to write a piece about outdoor adventure activities in the islands for a new national outdoors magazine. I covered mountain biking in the rainforest on Kauai, hiking to an active lava flow in Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park, and night diving with manta rays on the south side of the Big Island. Just as soon as I turned in the article, I pitched several ideas over the phone, which led to another feature on summiting Mount Shasta in northern California.
Be careful not to over-commit to too many projects at once. However, if you can handle a lot of work, be sure to let editors know when you’re requesting multiple assignments. They may be concerned you’ll miss a deadline, so reassure them that you won’t.
Have you used these techniques to your advantage? Any suggestions to add?