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Sunday, March 30, 2008

4 Questions For Finding Your Perfect Freelance or Fiction Niche

I needed to find my writing specialization areas to put on my new business cards. It's kind of like scanning the yellow pages - I tend to pick companies that list what I need done - the electrician who will do small, quick jobs, or the cleaning company that does windows. People feel like you're a good match if they know precisely what you do.

Specializing in freelance areas like food or parenting helps you focus your efforts and build editor clientele, so I asked myself the following questions.

1. What Have I Published?
If you haven't yet, no problem. Just skip to question #2. Example: So far I've published travel articles, regional pieces, parenting essays, book and product reviews, and food articles. So that gives me authority in these areas.

2. What Do I Love to Write About?
The answers are pretty much the same for me - travel, parenting and food. But I would add writing, book reviewing and teaching, though I haven't published in some of the areas yet. But list all areas you love to write about, even though you haven't published yet. Some of your best writing comes from things you feel passionate about.

3. What Do I Know and Who Do I Know?
My areas of expertise include food, parenting, writing, teaching college English, teaching non-traditional students, literature, acadmic writing, book/product reviewing and travel.

My expert pool includes: My hubby, who is a geolgist and lead/mold inspector, experts I've interviewed for previous articles (a pedatric heart surgeon, policeman, other writers), my brother who works with autistic children, my mom who does geneology, a teenager and preteen who live with me.

4. What Do I Read?

I read articles in the same areas I've published in. But for my fiction tastes, I like paranormal and humor authors like Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, Janet Evanovich, Jim Butcher, Kelly Armstrong and Naomi Novik. So in ficition, I write what I know and find interesting. It's hard to understand a genre if you don't read much in it.

  • In the end I decided to focus on three areas for my business card:
Tricia Grissom
Parenting, Food, and Travel Writer

Don't list too many, or it dilutes the idea you're a specialist. Tomorrow I'll post a list of some specialization areas in freelance and book writing, so you can see where your freelance or fiction heart lies.

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