It’s often said freelancers should find a niche to specialise in, rather than trying to do it all. Do you agree freelancers should have a niche? If so, how can an aspiring freelancer find their niche?
It helps enormously to have a niche in freelancing. It gives you a point of difference; something that makes you more qualified or experienced to write about a particular subject, and therefore makes you more likely to get work in that field.
I’ve always been a science nerd, so my niche found me from a young age. Think about what interests you, what you love writing about, what you have access to information about and contacts in, and what you have career or life experience in, and start there.
How can a freelance writer ensure their pitch grabs an editor’s attention?
So many ways! Check if they have pitching guidelines and follow those, check your story suits the publication and audience, check they haven’t covered it recently, pitch to the right editor, make it grab them from the very first sentence, make it succinct, mention any exclusives you have, and make it clear why this story is important now. There are some great online resources of successful pitches, so look at those to get an idea of what has worked for certain publications.
Why have you chosen to spend the last decade as a freelance writer rather than in a traditional nine-to-five job?
Because I love the flexibility; the variety of publications, editors, subject areas and audiences; the job security (compared to an in-house journalism job); the fact I can work from home; I can work whatever hours suit my creative urges; I can procrastinate productively, and – surprisingly – the income is better than what I’d be making in-house.
Bianca Nogrady is a freelance science journalist and author with more than a decade of experience as a full-time freelancer writing for outlets such as ABC and BBC, Nature, Australian Geographic, the Australian, Scientific American, and Ecos. Bianca works from home in the Blue Mountains and wouldn’t give it up for any office job in the world.
Join Bianca Nogrady for her workshop, How to Succeed as a Freelance Writer on Saturday 9 November, 10am-4pm at Writing NSW.