The Importance of Writer Portfolios

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on April 28, 2007 in Freelance Writing Business
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If you want to be as successful as you can be as a freelance writer, you should take the time to build an effective writer portfolio. Your writer portfolio is a showcase of your abilities, and it offers potential clients a snapshot of the quality of your work. Here are a few tips when it comes to building writer portfolios:

1. Don't link to something like a content producer page for Associated Content, and call it a portfolio.

Here's why:

  • It's unprofessional.
  • Sites like AC are technically a client, b/c they're generally paying for your work. Showing what you've done for only one client is simply not an effective portfolio. You should be able to show that you can sell your work beyond them.
  • There might be niche diversity, but there's no style diversity. They look for something very specific in formatting, and you should be able to show that you can adapt your style and format to multiple client needs.

2. Host your portfolio yourself when possible.

This gives you the greatest control in tailoring your portfolio to target your specific market. If you want it hosted elsewhere, find a solution built specifically for writers, and that offers a great deal of flexibility.

3. Include multiple clients' projects in your portfolio, but don't include every client.

Choose your one or two best representations in each area of services you offer to give that overall snapshot I mentioned earlier. If you only offer one service, you can add more pieces in that particular niche or style.

4. Make sure you have permission to include your work in your portfolio.

If you fully signed over your copyright to the client, you may have no right to claim authorship of the work. Make sure you understand your contract or anything that you're agreeing to, and always try to get something in writing saying you can use a piece in your portfolio as an exception to the copyright transfer if you sign it away.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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