Last night I was on a panel about freelance writing for the Main Line Writers Group of King of Prussia, PA. The event drew 20 attendees - about twice the usual number. It seems that there was some interest in the topic, so I thought I'd write down the main points I covered.
1) Editors change jobs often: try to keep in touch with them. My co-author and I sold three books to three different publishers - all through the same editor, as he switched from one job to the next.
2) It is vitally important to deliver your work on time. Harlan Ellison used to complain about editors who complained "I don't care if it's good, I want it Tuesday!" Not all editors feel the same...most want your work good and on time. If you must deliver your work late, don't wait until the due date; let your editor know at least a week in advance.
3) You need a marketing plan to sell a book today. And social media is a big part of marketing. That's why I have 3,000 + friends on Facebook.
4) Finally, it's tough to make a living as a freelance writer. You can go months without collecting a check. It's good to have an additional source of income. Get married, get a part-time job, get an investment portfolio. Or move to a country where the cost of living is cheaper. Me, I'm considering doing all four.