Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, owner of I Can Write About Anything!® and Communication Central in Missouri, started freelancing when she was in high school. Back then, she penned a column about her high school for a weekly community newspaper. Today, she focuses on subjects such as diversity, collecting, communication, networking and freelancing. In addition to writing, her services include editing, proofreading and developing website content. She is the author and publisher of the booklet “Get Paid to Write! Getting Started as a Freelance Writer” and co-author of two booklets for the Editorial Freelancers Association, “Freelancing 101: Launching Your Editorial Business” and “Résumés for Freelancers.”
Ruth riffs on what she likes about working with B2B publications and how freelancers can find and sustain work. She also talks about the Be a Better Freelancer® Conference, which she founded in 2016. Get more insights from Ruth at the upcoming workshop “How to Manage and Grow Your Freelance Business.” Click here for details on that ASBPE webinar.
Tell us a little about your work for trade magazines.
I got my start in the business area in 1983, when I was working with the American National Metric Council, a business trade association that advocated for the ongoing conversion of the U.S. to the metric system. I was looking for outlets to feature its mission and activities and started writing articles for them. In 1988, I started writing about college and university leaders and issues for a different association and created that organization’s conference onsite newsletters. I’ve since written for a number of different trade magazines.
What do you like about working with B2B publications?
They have good pay rates, interesting assignments and clear-cut guidelines.
What can you tell us about your Communication Central conference?
I created Communication Central and its Be a Better Freelancer® conference when one of my membership associations decided not to follow up on its first conference in 10 years, which I chaired. It’s a wonderful event—never huge, but always packed with practical information about how to launch and grow a freelance editorial business. The in-person networking has been invaluable, and several attendees have gotten subcontracting or referral opportunities through the conference, which I love.
Can you offer advice to freelancers about working effectively with B2B publications?
Look beyond standard outlets for assignments. Check out their websites and publications so you know what they do and might need—and have already covered. When you’re ready to pitch them, look for new voices to interview and topics not yet covered. Pay attention to editors’ requirements and house styles. Provide questions to the people you plan to interview ahead of time, and be flexible when unexpected answers pop up. Do high-quality work and stand firm on your rates.
One of the best ways to find work is to network with other people. That’s why I like ASBPE: It gives me the opportunity to interact with and learn from colleagues in business publishing.
What is your advice for magazine editors about how best to work with freelancers?
Be very clear about assignment guidelines, and pay fairly and promptly!