All About Freelancing archive

It isn't being published until April, but you can order this NASW-funded guide now at a discount from by using this NASW bookstore link. In the Science Writers’ Handbook, 35 science writers "share their hard-won wisdom and illuminating stories, going beyond the basics to cover everything else you need to survive and thrive as a science writer." Also, direct orders for 10% off the cover price will be available soon to NASW members.

You know how every new movie seems to spin off a dozen related products? Writers can do the same, Joanna Penn writes on The Book Designer. Penn offers some pointers on creating video, audio, and other multimedia products: "You can use video interviews with experts in your niche for blog content but also for your products," she writes. "You can use Skype for free video calling and then Ecamm for the Mac and Pamela for the PC in order to record in the split screen mode."

What's a Pitch Slam? It's an event at which writers have 60 seconds to impress a panel of editors with their story ideas, and, if they succeed, win an assignment. It's among the weekend's highlights at ScienceWriters2012 in Raleigh, N.C.. Session organizer Jeanne Erdmann offers some tips for would-be pitchers on The Open Notebook site: "Editors love a good pitch, and they love meeting new writers who can deliver a tantalizing story idea."

On the Huffington Post, David Hochman offers his advice for a successful freelance career, based on two decades in the business. Among his tips: Keep a notebook to jot down ideas, then use them in making pitches: "Edison held a world record 1,093 patents for inventions like the incandescent lightbulb, the phonograph and the Shake Weight for Men. Why him and not you? Probably because you don't write down every random idea you get and trust that it's worth pursuing."

Freelancers take note: "Have you checked your local zoning code to see what it says about running a business out of your home? You might surprised by what you learn," Robert Niles writes in an Online Journalism Review post. "Even if all you do in running your business is to type on your home computer, the fact that you're earning income that's not coming from an employer is enough in some jurisdictions to cover you under local home-business zoning and tax rules."

The digital media age serves up uncertainty as well as opportunity. One solution to the anemic job pool for science writers is to grow beyond journalism into entrepreneurship, specifically into digital publishing. Training for this kind of career growth is exactly what the Knight Digital Media Center offers in its intensive, weeklong workshop called Independent Journalist. From the Fall 2011 ScienceWriters.