Today I’m going to be interviewing Christine Rice - freelance writer, editor, and author. She has been publishing her writing since 2007. She is the author of four books - Poetry for the Heart, Essays for the Soul, My Not-So-Ordinary Life, and Freelance Writing Guide - and is planning on publishing two more books by the end of 2012. She has been a freelance writer and an editor since 2011. Her newest book, Freelance Writing Guide: What to Expect in Your First Year as a Freelance Writer, was just released in August 2012.
Karen: Christine, welcome to my blog.
Christine: Thanks for having me, Karen. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Karen: What started you writing? Are you self-taught or did you study writing?
Christine: Mostly, I learned how to write from being an English major in college and my specialization was professional and technical writing. Some of the things I learned were: to conduct effective online research, write literary analyses, keep accurate bibliographical information, edit other students’ writing, design brochures and web pages, give proper step-by-step written instructions, and much more of course. I learned the most from all the writing practice I got from writing essays and papers, because there were so many! I received good instruction on how to write clearly and concisely - to get my message across with using as few words as possible. College was a great experience and I highly recommend that other writers get educated on writing. My newest book, Freelance Writing Guide, has a chapter called “Writing Courses,” which provides information on how to get educated in writing.
Karen: What is your inspiration?
Christine: Life itself is the main source of my inspiration, and my ideas come when my mind wanders. I like to brainstorm to come up with ideas to write about. That was how I came up with the focus for Freelance Writing Guide. I knew I wanted to write a book about freelance writing, and by thinking about the topic and writing down thoughts about the topic as they came to me, I discovered the slant of my book which is reflected in the subtitle: what to expect in your first year as a freelance writer.
Karen: What made you decide on this topic?
Christine: I decided to write about the business of freelance writing, because it was a main part of my life, since I was and still am a full-time freelance writer. I decided on the topic after I had worked very hard for nine months and had learned a large amount of knowledge about the career field, and since I was approaching my one-year mark as a freelance writer, I thought I had enough credibility to write a book about what it’s like to be a freelance writer during the first year. And when I looked back at all I had learned and gone through during that time, I wished I had a book, with all that knowledge bottled inside, to read before embarking on my journey as a freelance writer, because it would have saved me a lot of time and trouble from the research I did and the experiences I went through. Wanting to bottle my experiences in a book to help other inspiring freelance writers was my underlining reason for writing and publishing Freelance Writing Guide.
Karen: Did something happen in your first year that prompted the writing of this book? (Or do you explain this in your book?)
Christine: My experiences in general inspired me to write the book. I had gained a lot of knowledge during my first year, so I had a lot to share with other people. I had learned about search engine optimization, online writing communities, networking, marketing, resume writing, writing for content websites, traditional publishing, and much more, which is all found in my book.
Karen: As a freelance writer, what is the best advice you can give to those new to writing or new to freelance writing?
Christine: For writers looking to embark on a freelance writing career, don’t expect a lot of profit in the first year. I’m sure many writers don’t want to hear that, but we can’t live in denial. The first year of freelance writing is about getting acquainted with writing for the Web and print publications, building a network, starting and maintaining a blog and website, and finding your niche in the freelance writing world. So if you plan on quitting your day job to become a freelance writer, you should save up enough money to cover expenses for the first year before you become a freelance writer, or make sure your family can cover household expenses with less income. Also, you may have a lot of business expenses, if you need equipment and supplies to start, and that would factor into your net profits. It’s best to have a financial cushion, so-to-speak, so that you don’t get stressed over money. The profits will definitely increase, but in the beginning it’s good to have a financial backup.
Karen: What kind of writing goals do you set for yourself?
Christine: My book reviewing goal is three books a month. I have another goal of writing at least one blog post a week for each of my two blogs. Mostly, I have a to-do list or a list of goals, but with no deadlines. I’m very self-motivated and productive, so items don’t stay on my to-do list for long. When I have things I need to accomplish, I often stay up all night to get them done, because I don’t like leaving loose ends. My long-term goals are to publish Chronicles of a Troubled Girl and Articles for the Mind by the end of 2012, Freedom from Fat in mid-2013, and second editions of two of my books in 2013 as well.
Karen: As a freelance writer, how much time do you spend on marketing your books?
Christine: An average amount, I suppose. Most of the marketing I do is when the book first gets published. I write and publish a blog post, a press release, forum posts, and events. After the book has been on the market for at least a year, I will seek out additional reviews from book reviewers. I create postcards with my book cover as the image and mail them to people I know. I have giveaways and discount days. Marketing gets done in short bursts so to not overwhelm the public with constant promotion.
Karen: All the books you've written are non-fiction. How does this plan apply to someone who writes fiction? In your opinion, can a fiction writer do as well in these areas?
Christine: Sure, fiction writers can become freelance writers. They can publish short stories online or in print magazines, and novels. And my book talks about all of that. Being a freelance writer is mostly geared to writing content for websites and clients, which tends to be nonfiction writing. But some fiction writers I know are great freelance writers, because they are able to write both fiction and nonfiction. It is definitely possible for a fiction writer to do well as a freelance writer.
If you are interested in my book, Freelance Writing Guide, you can pick up a copy at Amazon, Lulu, or Smashwords. If you wish to learn more about me, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and my blog.