Occasionally as a freelancer you have to answer the question “What do I do with this extra cash?” Perhaps your side-career as an underwear model is ramping up or maybe the gigolo business you run from your apartment is becoming more socially acceptable. Maybe, you just got your tax return. As much as you probably need a seersucker suit or an $800 bottle of wine, you must remember that the freelance writing world is competitive and sometimes the best thing to do with all those poker table winnings is to invest them back into yourself as a writer. Here are five sure bets.
1. A Co-Working Space
We’ve done the math, investing in a co-working space will save you money in the end if you work and drink coffee frequently. Also, co-working spaces force you to work in a way that coffices don’t. Lastly, major networking moves can be made at these types of places. But which one do I chose? Worry not, some brave writer at Brooklyn Based compiled reviews of many of the co-working spaces in Brooklyn.
2. Writer’s Market
Published annually, Writer’s Market has listings for agents, magazines, literary magazines, and publishing houses. There’s probably no resource for writers that’s more complete than this book. The only downside; it’s quick to go out-of-date. However, their online resource ($40/year) is constantly updated.
Here’s some good advice, never pay your representation. Managers who ask you for money will likely tell you why this advice isn’t true, but it is. Your representation only gets paid when you do. However, there are still some reputable outlets and writing contests that require you pay a reading fee. For instance the Bomb Fiction Contest ($20).
4. Media Bistro Avant Guild/ Publisher’s Marketplace
It’s a tough call choosing between these two. Ultimately you will probably need both, but until you can afford both it’s a matter of what you want to focus more on. Avant Guild will help you get freelance writing gigs for newspapers, magazines and blogs. It offers mastheads for numerous publications at your fingertips as well as special “How to Pitch” articles for specific outlets. It’s also affordable at $55 a year. Publishers Marketplace ($25/month) is an incredibly effective tool for a writer looking for an agent–it has a searchable database of agents with listings of who they represent, as well as info on which books are selling and how many copies.
5. Knick Knacks and Social Tools
Maybe your tax return wasn’t what you expected. Here’s some more manageable investments in your writing life.
Business Cards Yes, you need them. Luckily, Vistaprint sells them for the cost of shipping.
Look The Part I’ve mentioned the importance oft before on TFL. Sometimes you have to look the part to feel the part. I used to have an old second hand jacket I called “my writer’s jacket” but this coat from The Dutch Trading Co. is actually called a “ Writer’s Jacket.” However, you can also find some nice coats like this at J.Crew and the Gap.
Drink Money I often go back and forth about whether it makes sense to buy someone like an agent or a publisher a drink when they know that you’re broke and they know that you know that they make way more money than you do. Usually, I say, it’s not, but it depends on the situation. If it’s a long night of drinking, picking up a round is just good manners. Also sometimes buying that first drink makes for a great first impression. Either way, if you put some drink money aside each month, you’re more likely not to worry about how much each networking moment is costing you.
Until next time, spend your money wisely and remember that tales poverty and pain are the only ones that truly matter. For more of my freelance (gigolo on the side) life check out my blog (this week, I rant about the cancellation of Happy Endings,) or follow me on Twitter.