Today’s mail bag question is – What does a freelance writer need to get started? Ok, there isn’t a mailbag (it’s a literary device). You need a computer to make clean copies for mailing and sending files. Hand written manuscripts don’t make the cut, especially in crayon. Laugh, but it happens. Another basic is an email with a real name attached to it, not CinnamonSugar @ hot-one.com. Keep it as close to your name as possible. It eliminates confusion. A few more essentials are research skills, a dash of enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn. You could buy the top 100 books for writers. Amazon will be eager to list them for you, but I’d just recommend you start with a Writer’s Market Guide, which is a yearly publication. In addition, any market guides for specialty areas you plan to work with. You might be enticed to grab up the newest cutting-edge software designed for writers.
You could spend a small fortune…but don’t.
There are helpful programs out there that are free, or close to free, and not full of adware either. Some have paid version with added features, but often the free version will serve your needs. Some things I have come across are included in the tools of the trade tab at the top of my page. The tools of the trade page does have some affiliate links plus some additional free gems. None of these ten listed below are affiliate links though, just cool stuff I’ve found that are actually useful. Enjoy.
1) Open Office- (Free) If you didn’t already purchase your computer with all the Microsoft programs you thought you’d ever need, you could avoid spending about 400 dollars for Microsoft Office by using Open Office.
2) SAMM- (Free) A simple effective manuscript tracker.
3) Sonar3- (Free) Another manuscript tracker which keeps track of markets and submissions. I use this one for tracking everything I send out.
4) Mozy- (Free and Paid version) What if your friend Superman borrows your computer and melts your hard drive? Do you have backup? Mozy is a secure online backup tool. The free version gives you 2 GB of storage at no cost to you (or anyone else).
5) Drop box– (Free and Paid version) This is another Cloud-based backup tool. It allows you to sync devices together and have your information available from any device, or their website. Great for when you forget your notes for the big presentation.
6) Gimp– (Free) If you don’t have the money for Photoshop and you need to retouch your Author photo, or to design a logo for your site Gimp may serve your needs.
7) Storybook–(Free and Paid version) Novel-writing tool that helps keep an overview of multiple plots while writing your novel, novella, or other written works.
Now here are two for the web-slingers.
8) Filezilla– (Free) A program for uploading files and maintaining your web site.
9)Free Designer–Site (Free) Helps you design a website without knowledge of HTML.
10) Elements of style– (Free) Just to end with a bit of style and grace; this is the online version of the writing classic (P.S. There is a boatload of other books on this site too …Free).
You could spend a fortune…but I like free better! Keep writing!