I’ve always wondered how artists and illustrators pay their bills and still have time to create. Some artists like myself, who need extra income, have little information on finding art and writing jobs other than by asking other artists/writers and checking newspaper job listings for part-time paid positions or freelance jobs. But the Internet is such a wonderful vehicle to use when you need to find information or even jobs that you wouldn’t be able to find locally, so the Kite Tales team and I decided to do some research.
Many artists tend to look locally for jobs, like the local library, bookstore, even teaching at schools that offer art or writing programs – which are emotionally rewarding jobs. However, there are many other options. When I searched for “freelance jobs” online, I found several websites that offered contests and art and story submissions. This can be a fun way to brainstorm ideas. Illustrators, perhaps you’ll find you had a little writer inside of you that you never knew existed! Or writers who like to doodle, that’s a start to becoming an artist through practice, so why not give it a go!
Here are several websites we found that can offer opportunities for artists and writers to get published, in addition to making money*:
Freelanced: The Freelance Social Network – The site offers an inexpensive way to find freelance jobs for both artists and writers. You simply create a profile for a few dollars a month (up to $25.) You can find tons of listings and apply for them, then wait for responses. In addition, it’s a great place to network with other artists and writers, though you can find similar networks for free. It’s up to you to decide if a paid network will offer better or more serious work, or if you might be able to find those jobs listed for free elsewhere.
Freelance Writing – This website gathers writing jobs from all over the internet and puts them in a searchable list. It also has tips and articles on freelancing practices, how-to guides, contests, and more. They will email jobs that match your search criteria directly to your inbox.
Authors Publish Magazine – After you sign up for the free email, you’ll get updates on several publishers accepting submissions for both magazines and books – a great way to make extra income. Some of the magazines looking for submissions from fresh new voices include Chicken Soup stories, Women’s Day, and even The New York Times.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn claims to be “the world’s largest professional network” and it is definitely a valuable tool. You can create a profile with your resumé, links to your work, and much more for free. You can browse lists of jobs – freelance and full time paid positions – and there is now a separate tool, LinkedIn ProFinder, that connects freelancers to employers, again for free, and will send jobs matching your criteria directly to your inbox.
Indeed – A powerful job search engine that lets you customize your search down to the mile or word. You can find many traditional writing and illustration jobs here as well as non-traditional ones if you search with an open mind.
You can also try sites like Freelancer and Upwork, but with a note of caution. “Content mills,” as these are often called, can result in a lot of work for a little pay if you’re not careful, but there are also plenty of great jobs on these sites. Pay attention to community feedback, do your research, and stick to your guns regarding reasonable pay rates and you should be fine.
And remember, if you apply for any project on any of these sites and get a response, make sure you ask questions and research the company. Never accept a job unless the terms are laid out clearly. Freelancers should always use a contract to protect themselves. You can find sample contracts and other great resources at the Freelancers’ Union. With a little common sense and hustle, you should be able to supplement your income or find a steadier one using the Kid Lit skills you know and love!
*Kite Tales and SCBWI do not endorse these websites in any way and list them here for information purposes only. Use them at your own discretion.
Catherine Lee currently works part-time as an illustrator and writer, perfecting her portfolio and working on finding an agent later this year. Her work can be found at www.catelee.org.
Sarah Parker-Lee is managing co-editor of Kite Tales, reviews books for Dwarf+Giant, & writes for non-profits fighting injustice all over the interwebs. She is also available to edit your novels & writerly endeavors. She writes YA alt. history & sci-fi. Her humor blog, Dogs and Zombies: A Dog’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, shambles towards your tasty brains Summer-ish 2016. Twitterings: @SarahSoNovel