Many writers join HubPages hoping to develop their online writing skills, meet some friends, develop a readership, and perhaps even make some money on the side, but in many cases, Hubbing has lead to a freelance writing career. Believe it or not, every time you publish a Hub you are adding to an online portfolio of your work which may be discovered by reporters and editors. It is not unusual for Hubbers on our site to be contacted by individuals asking if they might be interested in doing some freelance work.
Bard of Ely is one such Hubber who has found a sporadic freelance writing career through his Hubs. His writing background is quite interesting, as are the Hubs he writes! It comes as no surprise that he has caught the attention of journalists and editors.
In the interview below, Bard of Ely shares a bit about his nearly lifelong writing career- and offers some tips for anyone interested in getting the odd freelance writing side job through HubPages. Enjoy!
From your bio, anyone can see that you are a very passionate writer. What got you started writing? And when did you begin to take on professional writing projects?
I started writing poetry and songs in my late teens way back in the late sixties. I was hoping to one day be a successful singer-songwriter and to impress the girls. I am still hopeful! But writing professionally for publications such as magazines and newspapers began in 1998 really when I was given a column in the Big Issue Cymru magazine for homeless people. I had had a column in Magic Saucer Junior UFO News back in 1979 and 1980 but that wasn’t for money and had a limited circulation. I also began writing my book Herbs of the Northern Shaman back in 1998 and got it published in 2002 by the American Loompanics Unlimited publishers. Sadly that company folded and my book went out of print but it is back in full colour, with all new photos and additional text republished by O-Books/Moon-Books.
Did you join HubPages hoping to develop your freelance writing career? What were your expectations?
I actually joined HubPages hoping to make some money. I was searching online for ways of doing so and hit upon the site so thought I would give it a go. I have to admit I didn’t make anything to well over a year but I stuck around because I liked the site. It gave me somewhere to showcase my work and I made some great friends there. I was also impressed with the quality of a lot of the Hubs.
Do you think freelance writers behave in any particularly different ways on HubPages, either in their writing styles or in the manner in which they present themselves in their bios?
Well, yes, there is a community spirit and regular Hubbers who communicate with their fellow writers and may well interview them (like you are doing now) or feature them in their own Hubs. I think there is more of this at HubPages. I also think that many Hubbers take more pride in their work here than they would at other sites or that writers do elsewhere. This is because HubPages gives us all so many features we can use in creating out hubs and it is all really easy to use. This is a big attraction of HubPages – it is simple to find out how to do things even if you are not much good with computers and the Internet. Bios here are very varied. Some I think are overdone when it comes to stuffing them full of links but maybe they get good traffic from doing that.
A couple weeks back, you posted in the forums about how you had been given a new paid job from one of your Hubs. Which Hub was it, and why do you think that Hub in particular got you a freelance gig?
It was my hub about the Kogi Guardians of the Heart of the World. It got me work because it was about a unique tribal people who had already had a TV documentary made about them many years ago and now their message is even more urgent and topical. Basically the spiritual leaders/shamans of these people called Mamos, who live on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Columbia still live by the pre-Columbian culture and wisdom that survived the Spanish invasion. They refer to us as the “Younger Brother” and believe they know the right way of living on the planet. Their understanding of ecology is a fine art and they are able to determine the state of the rest of the world from signs in flora and fauna, habitats and climatic conditions on their sacred mountain home. They were and are very worried about Climate Change because the amount of snow on top of their mountain is getting less and less, as is the cloud cover. Chris Everard, who is a film-maker and author, was researching the Kogi when he found my site. He liked my work and asked me to write for his Feed Your Brain magazine. I am currently working on another article for it and being interviewed as a guest on his radio show.
What advice would you give to Hubbers who would like to follow in your footsteps and get writing gigs through their Hubs?
Well, I suppose the best way is to write about specialist subjects that you may know about. Everyone has their own hobbies and stuff they are passionate about and this is where you should look for topics and inspiration for your Hubs. Try and become a niche writer. I have done a lot of hubs on conspiracy theories, on Tenerife, on wildlife, and recently on tropical fish. There are many Hubs I have written within those areas of research and interest. It can be anything really – whatever you most enjoy in life is what you know most about and what you should be able to write about and share.
The other advice I would give is work at promoting your hubs elsewhere on the Internet. Think of your Hubs as a showcase of your writing skills. Share the links to them on other sites such as forums and social networking sites. That helps get you the traffic. And most importantly don’t get discouraged and give up. Just keep on Hubbing!