All about freelancing

Welcome to NASW’s All About Freelancing page. Here we have gathered the most helpful resources, tip sheets, and guidance on everything from negotiating better contracts and pay rates to crafting editor-pleasing pitches. We hope you’ll be inspired by the incredible level of freedom that comes with freelancing — especially to write about what you love! Questions? Email the NASW Freelance Committee at

Click on any category below to see all of the available resources.

Becoming a freelancer

How I did it: One freelancer's story 
Q and A on making it with science writer Ed Yong
How Beryl Benderly got into science writing
Freelancing from abroad
Specialize or generalize your work?
How to be the happiest freelancer on your block


The Open Notebook Science Writing Pitch Database
Pitching errors: How not to pitch
NASW discussion on query letters
Rebecca Skloot on the craft of querying

Rates and contracts

The Fine Print (NASW contract database)
Fair Contracts Tip Sheet
Contract terms defined: The Fine Print Glossary
Contract questions and answers from NASW
Contract negotiation: Getting what you want gracefully
How to deal: Negotiating a better contract
NASW Fair Pay Tip Sheet: Getting paid what you're worth * 
NASW compensation survey

* indicates members-only access. 

Awards, grants, and fellowships

Grants and fellowships database
NASW Science in Society Awards
Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award
Victor Cohn Prize
SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment
Science journalism awards and grants
Reporting stories abroad via fellowships
ASJA resources for writers in financial need or needing medical financial assistance

* indicates members-only access. 

Career development

Beware the double dip – Reporting on the same subject for different clients 

Marketing and alternative income streams

Case study: Creating your own brand
Digital entrepreneurship
Expanding your work into lucrative multimedia content
Findability: Marketing yourself online
Using LinkedIn to build your freelance business
Case study: Building your own website
Small business grant writing

Book proposals, book publishing and e-publishing

Write That Book! resource guide
Self-publishing and self-marketing your book, by Dennis Meredith
The pros and cons of self publishing, a series by Dennis Meredith
A Journalist’s Guide to e-book publishing: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 
On literary agents 
A brief guide to self-republishing, by Jeff Hecht

* indicates members-only access. 

Journal access

Journal resources for NASW members

Meeting policy/press credentials

NASW press credential statement

Home office and reporting gear

Technology: Audio recording systems

Taxes, incorporation, liability and other legal issues

Legal issues with home businesses
Get a handle on home office deductions
Tax tips for freelancers with Julian Block (1 hour podcast)
Liability: How to Limit Yours, by NASW member Kendall Powell: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Secondary publishing rights
Resources for fairness in the workplace

Health insurance

Freelancers' Union: What the ACA means for you
Market Watch: The Freelancer's Guide to Obamacare

Outside resources for freelancers

A Field Guide to Science Writers, NASW's book on science writing
The Science Writers’ Handbook, by the writers of SciLance
National Writers Union
American Society of Journalists and Authors
Council for the Advancement of Science Writing
Association of Health Care Journalists 
Society of Environmental Journalists
United States Copyright Office
Copyright basics from the United States Copyright Office
Freelancers Union 
The Authors Guild

For more freelancing resources, see the All about freelancing archive.

The National Association of Science Writers, Inc. (“NASW”) supports practical measures meant to help freelancers build and sustain a thriving business, from compensation surveys that offer a historical look at the field to tip sheets on matters like how to approach contract negotiation. In offering these educational resources to support our members, and in all our activities, NASW is committed to compliance with all applicable antitrust laws. NASW members are reminded that they must exercise their independent business judgment in pricing their services or products, dealing with their customers and suppliers, and choosing the markets in which they will compete. Federal laws stipulate that members may NOT agree with other NASW members or writers on prices or terms or on any other matter which is inconsistent with exercising their independent business judgment in pricing their services or products, dealing with their customers and suppliers, and choosing the markets in which they will compete. NASW members are always free to accept any assignment at any rate they choose. For further information, please see our Antitrust Policy, available here.