When you're inexperienced in the freelance writing world, job sites can seem like a godsend. They're easy-to-access clearinghouses for all kinds of potential gigs you can apply for. But are they really worth the time and trouble? Put simply, most are not.
What you have to know about writing job sites is that there's no free lunch. You're not going to find a job site that doesn't charge you a fee, doesn't take a cut of your earnings, sends you quality jobs and doesn't waste your time. There's always a cost to the good sites, so get used to it. The trick is to pick one that's worth the hassle or cost. To cut to the case, that site is Reedsy.com. But I'll come back to that.
First let me go through some of the other major job sites for freelancers and talk about why they're not worth your time:
Contena: This comprehensive website has a reputation for having some questionable business practices, but the main thing I don't like about Contena is that they treat members like they're beginners. They pitch you hard on going through their training program, and if you're a seasoned freelancer, you don't need that noise. I'd give these guys a hard pass.
Upwork: Upwork is a nice marketplace and well-run, but like many job sites, you're bidding against other service providers, which means you're in a race to the bottom. That's going to kill your fees, because 90% of people will choose the lowest bidder. Upwork also takes a substantial cut of your fees.
Guru: In Internet years, Guru is ancient, but its business model has evolved until today it's become another race to the bottom environment. Avoid.
Freelance Writing Jobs: This job archive is fun to scroll as you look for relevant work, but you're on your own to find something that suits you. You can find work, but you're going to spend a lot of time doing it.
FlexJobs: This is a strong employment site, but it's not just for writers. It's a general employment site, which means you won't find features targeting freelancers. Personally, I like job sites that get what I do so they can protect me.
Textbroker: The pay for Textbroker gigs is typically not great, so it's okay if you're a newbie but it sucks if you're experienced.
Contently.com is a pretty useful place to look for corporate writing work—marketing, press releases, corporate communications, etc. You need a substantial resumé to land gigs, but if you have that, you can get access to some solid-gold companies. However, I'll take Reedsy over all of them.
Why? Because Reedsy is a curated marketplace for editorial professionals that you have to apply to join. They don't take everyone, so you're competing with first-rate pros, not fly-by-nighters who will underbid you. Once you create your profile, you should get a pretty consistent flow of clients querying you about bidding on their jobs. I get 3-4 queries each month from Reedsy from people who want to write books. It is, hands down, the best source of quality writing leads online.
Reedsy isn't perfect. When you make a bid on a job, they add a margin to both ends of the deal. If you bid $40,000 on a book, Reedsy will take 10%, so your take will be $40,000 - $4,000 = $36,000. Meanwhile, they will add 10% to the bid the prospective client sees. That person will see your bid as $44,000. Beyond that, Reedsy pays you through Square, which takes its own fee, too.
Yeah, that can be a little bit of a hard pill to swallow. However, the quality of the leads Reedsy brings you is worth the fee shell game. If you want to get great clients and play in the big leagues, apply to become a member. Now, go write.