I've been turning to craigslist to try to find freelance writing gigs. There's really not a lot of good stuff there for professionals. What people are looking for are people to write content for social networking sites, offering either no pay or pay on a scale depending on how many people click through your piece. Folks posting potentially interesting writing gigs are paying ridiculously low fees. One guy wanted a name for his new company. He said he'd pay $30 for "a good college try" and $200 if he chose one of the writer's candidates. I could get almost 10 times that in the "real world" But for the sake of adventure and some pocket money, I decided to give it a shot. I had a great rapport with the guy and gave him two rounds of names, about 25 names in all. He liked aspects of many of them, but ultimately was unable to select one. He invited me to submit more but I politely informed him he'd already exhausted the time and creative energy I was willing to DONATE to his cause. At least he paid the $30 quickly.
But in the last 24 hours, some things seem to be moving in the right direction. First, I saw a posting a week or two ago from a small independent press in Indiana that was looking for submissions from Boston authors (the press historically had focused on Indiana and midwestern writers but wanted to expand its scope), so I sent a letter and my manuscript via email. Then I saw a post from a guy who has a hot sauce blog and he was looking for people to write short reviews of hot sauces. He was only going to pay $5 a review, but you do get free hot sauce. Again, he and I seemed to hit off and he agreed to send me my first shipment of five different sauces to sample. Then just last night, I responded to a craigslist post from a literary agent looking for novels to represent. So I sent a query letter to her.
Last night, I got a voicemail from the independent publisher. I called him back this morning and he told me he liked my concept. He hadn't noticed that I had attached the manuscript so he said he would read it and call me back later in the day. Still waiting, but this is the first time a publisher has actually seen my work so it's very exciting.
Later this morning, my hot sauces arrived in the mail. They have the following interesting names: Hemorrhoid Helper, Idiot Boyz, Pit Bull, Dave's Insanity, and Hog's Ass. Can't wait to start tasting.
And just a half hour ago, the literary agent asked to see my first 50 pages. So much of my work on my novel once I finished writing it has been filled with the monotony and disappointment of researching agents, sending out query letters and sample chapters, receiving rejections, and waiting to hear. Suddenly, everything seems to have moved into fifth gear. Of course, it could all end in disappointment - which has truly been the story so far - but at least it's happening quickly and with excitement rather than a foreboding sense of futility.
I'll update when I hear something on these developments, and will include a link to the hot sauce site when my reviews are published.