The royal road to freelance assignments is for the writer to establish himself or herself as an expert in some subject area, a group of 35 writers was told last night at the Playwright’s Celtic Pub at Eighth Ave. and 45th St., New York.

Hemming, Mullan
Allison Hemming, Hired Gun Talent Agency, and Sheila Mullan, senior board corespondent, mni/Deutsche Borse Group and director of NYFWA.
Host for the nearly three-hour session was the New York Financial Writers’ Assn., the 75-year-old group that puts on the annual "Financial Writers Follies" (which will be Nov. 22 this year at the Marriott Marquis). Nearly 1,000 attend that black tie event.

Allison Hemming, of the Hired Gun Talent Agency, spoke and answered questions for more than two hours.
She was to have shared the podium with Mediabistro, but no one came from that firm.

Mediabistro, founded in 1993 by Laurel Touby who sold it to WebMediaBrands in 2007 for $20 million, has a range of services for writers, employers, publishers and those in related industries including training courses. Its "morning media news  feed" is a news service that is sent to an audience that requested it.

It carries detailed listings on 1,100 writers who can pay by the month ($21) or by the year ($145). Employers can post jobs for $279 or $578 for the "Job of the Day."

You Must Be Social Media

Hemming said writers must have a presence in social media and must "participate" in it. Employers are likely to check LinkedIn bios as well as resumes that are provided by jobseekers, she said.

Writers who work for companies or individuals must craft a positive image of them, she added.

"I am going to make you look great," is the approach that should be used, said Henning.

On the need for having a specific area of expertise, Hemming said writers should ask themselves the question, "Why should anyone want to read me?"

Writers who approach prospects must find out up front how big the budget will be. This will help them to determine how much effort they will put into a pitch. "Ask lots of questions at the beginning of interviews," she advised.

playwrightOne writer wanted to know if a freelancing business can be conducted while the person has a full time job. Hemming said employer permission should be sought since it’s not good to hurt one’s relationship with "the mother ship."

Expertclick, Editorial Freelancers Have Listings, a website operated by Mitchel Davis of Washington, D.C., has published for many years the Yearbook of Experts, which profiles writers and firms who have special expertise.

Listings are $500 a year. Currently listed are 800 experts.

Editorial Freelancers Assn., New York, a group with chapters in more than 20 states, lists writers who are members. One year membership is $145 and two years, $260.