It’s my pleasure to sit down (in cyberspace) with author and writing instructor Janice Hanna Thompson. Janice recently launched a new online writing course entitled “Becoming A Successful Freelance Writer.” For most of us novelists, we know that the process of crafting a novel takes a lot of time (though there are a few writers who write quickly). All of us have toyed with the idea of taking on freelance work to earn additional income while working on our novels. That’s where Janice’s expertise comes in.
I can tell you that I recently took an online course with Janice via ACFW and found it very informative, interactive, and was very pleased with the time Janice invested in answering students’ questions during the course. I’ll let Janice tell you more about the course launch.
Janice, could you tell us a little about your new venture?
Of course! Thanks for asking. On April 20th, 2010, I debuted my new writing course “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer” at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The sole purpose of this venture is to teach struggling freelance writers how to earn money with their writing. Here’s how it will work: students can purchase one lesson (for $24.95) or all ten (for $199). They don’t have to feel compelled to buy the whole package, though they will get a package price, if they do. Each lesson will include an audio file and a video power point presentation of me teaching the lesson (available with just a click of the mouse), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum, where I will meet with authors for some group mentoring (at designated times). Right now there are ten lessons, but eventually those ten lessons will become ten separate categories with multiple lessons in each. For example, the current lesson on magazine article writing will eventually have multiple other lessons underneath it—all meant to teach writers how to make money writing articles. People who take these courses will have the benefit of meeting other freelancers in the forum and can also chat with me about their projects. Best of all, the site will continually grow. New, fresh material will always be available. (I’ll be recording new lessons routinely.) I’m so excited, because I know that struggling freelancers can and will learn how to make money with their writing.
What prompted you to set off on this new adventure?
For years I’ve been writing novels and non-fiction books. I’ve been so blessed to have over fifty books published, as well as dozens of magazine articles and even a movie script. It’s been quite a ride. . .and it’s not ending anytime soon! I’m currently contracted through 2011. The longer I’m in this business, however, the more I’m aware of the basic need of the average freelance author to make “better” money. Sure, many of them eventually sell books. They get advances and royalties, (though, not often in the range they had hoped). As a full-time freelancer, I’ve faced this myself. Several years ago, I found myself hollering, “Where’s the money?” I made up my mind to find as many creative ways as I could to bring in money as a freelancer. I’ve learned so much since then, and want to share what I’ve learned with others, so that they can benefit, too.
Why are you so passionate about teaching others how to make money with their writing?
I meet so many struggling writers. So many are just hoping and praying to sell a book. They pour all of their energies into that venture. Most don’t realize that they could be making money much sooner if they would explore other avenues (besides just books). The possibilities are endless. If I can share what I’ve learned about the money-making aspects of writing, then I’ve helped another struggling writer on his or her journey.
What has it been like, supporting yourself full-time as a freelancer? Is there really money to be made?
As I mentioned, there was a time (back in 2007) when I wasn’t sure I could do it. At that time, I hadn’t set any real goals for myself. That all changed in the fall of 2007 when I began to strategize about the future of my writing. Instead of worrying about the challenges I faced, I got busy and put together a plan. I began to look for non-traditional ways to earn money with my writing. . .and it worked! That’s not to say I’ve “arrived,” but I have managed to support myself full-time from that point till now.
If you could list one of the biggest frustrations that freelance writers face, what would that be?
The biggest frustration of all is this: Some markets don’t want to pay. This is especially true when it comes to the Internet. It’s so challenging to make a living when you can’t figure out who pays and who doesn’t! But that’s why I created this course! There are so many markets that do pay, and many of them are relatively untapped. Freelancers can earn money. . .they just have to discover where the money is! (And I plan to help them in that journey!)
You’ve said there’s money to be made. . .but where? What avenues are available to freelancers?
At www.freelancewritingcourses.com, students will explore multiple areas where they can earn money with their writing. Lessons include:
· Setting Career Goals
· Magazine Article Writing
· Write for Hire Work
· Marketing and Public Relations
· Becoming a Public Speaker
· Becoming a Creative Writing Teacher
· Making Money as an Editor
· Writing and Selling the Non-Fiction Book
· Writing and Selling the Novel
· Secrets From the World of the Pros
Each lesson will cover a host of possibilities and will give real, practical suggestions.
How, exactly, will these courses work?
When participants sign up and pay, they will be granted access to the “inner sanctum” of the site, where they can view the various components of the lessons, (the audio file, audio script, worksheet, power point and forum). I would suggest folks start with the first lesson (Setting Goals) and go from there. They can print up a copy of the worksheet and follow along with the audio and power point presentation. Then, at a designated time, participants can meet with me in the forum to discuss the topic at hand. I love the fact that this is all so user-friendly and participants can work at their own pace.
If you could tell beginning freelancers one thing, what would it be?
Don’t give up. Keep going and keep looking for creative ways to make money. Examine new markets. Learn all you can about the industry. Become friends with editors. The potential for money-making is there, but much of it is relational.
Janice, where else can people find you on the web?
My freelance writing courses site: http://www.freelancewritingcourses.com
My book-related website: www.janiceathompson
My blog: http://janicehannathompson.blogspot.com/
My facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/jhannathompson?ref=profile
My facebook reader’s page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Janice-Hanna-Thompsons-Readers-Page/303537684650?ref=ts
Explanation of the Course on YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-5IZSNaZFU
Thank you, Janice, for your mentoring heart and for taking the time to share with us about this new course. I know writers will find it very beneficial.