How to Win a Free Year in the Freelance Writers Den

Carol Tice

One year ago this week, Freelance Writers Den opened its doors.

It was scary times.

I had invested a ton of time and a not-insubstantial sum to create a community for freelance writers who needed expert advice.

I hoped it would be a place where other writers would also come together to support their efforts to get better-paying work.

I didn’t see anything out there like what I envisioned and what I was hearing writers needed.

Was I crazy? Did anybody really want this?

My fantasy was that maybe, as the years rolled on, the Den would slowly catch on and grow to my maximum imaginable size of oh, maybe 500 members.

I thought that would be amazing!

Turns out there was a need for a learning community for freelance writers…and I wasn’t crazy.

Membership will top 500 this summer.

And it’s not just the unexpectedly fast growth and the size of the membership that makes me say, “Wow.”

It’s the success stories. The writer who pitched five blog post ideas after getting some Den support…and got them all assigned at pro rates (watch for his guest post in the coming months).

Answering serious writers’ questions — more than 3,000 of them so far — and watching writers get it, and go right out and get hired, for living wage writing gigs.

Bottom line: The Other Den Mother — Linda Formichelli of The Renegade Writer blog — and I are thrilled beyond belief that we’ve been able to create something that’s so darn useful to freelance writers.

We want to say “thanks”…

To celebrate the Den’s 1-year anniversary, some new features are coming to the Den.

  • First off is transcripts of all our live events going forward. We’ve been doing some, but now it’ll be standard. That’s a feature many writers asked me for, and now it’s here.
  •  Shortly, ebook versions of some of our bootcamps will be making their way into the Den as free member perks, too. (They’ll turn up on Amazon for nonmembers.)
  • We’re also in the process of making the whole site mobile-enabled so events can be viewed from your smartphone.
  • New and expanded orientation videos to make it easier for new members to get the most from the Den.
  • As we expand, we will keep adding expertise. Recently, I brought John Soares of Productive Writers on as another expert in residence. Expect more announcements as we grow.

So we’re having a contest

We’re having a contest that starts today and ends July 31st. Grand prize — Linda and I are each going to give out one free year’s stay in Freelance Writer’s Den, along with a whole mentoring package designed to kick your career into high gear.

We know that times are tough out there still for many writers, and want to offer an opportunity for those who haven’t been able to afford the Den to get in there.

To enter, here’s all you do:

  • Do a post on your blog about why you should win a free year in Freelance Writers Den. What would you do with all those resources? What are your goals? What’s been holding you back? (Financial sob stories will not win you points — tell us about your writing journey.)
  • Come back here and share your headline in the comments of this post, with a link to your post so we’re sure to check it out.
  • Spread the word about your post in social media. Social sharing volume will be a factor (but not the whole deal) in our judging.

Linda and I will each pick a winner and announce them on our blogs August 1.

What-all can you win? All together, it’s a package that you’d otherwise pay more than $500 for, but you could nab it all here with some standout creative writing.

The prize deets:

1st Place Winners (2) will get:

  • 1 year free in Freelance Writers Den
  • A half-hour mentoring call with both Carol and Linda
  • Access to our Freelance Writers Blast-Off Class Audit
  • Access to our 4-Week Journalism School Audit
  • Entry in the Basic version of Linda’s Write for Magazines e-course
  • Linda’s ebooks on freelance writing: Get Unstuck, the Guide to Marketing Your Writing, and The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock
  • Carol’s ebook Make a Living Writing: The 21st Century Guide

1st Runner up:

  • 1 month free in Freelance Writers Den
  • Blast-Off Class Audit
  • The J-School Audit
  • Admission to Linda’s Basic level of Write for Magazines
  • Linda’s and Carol’s ebooks

2nd Runner up:

  • 1 month free in Freelance Writers Den
  • Linda’s and Carol’s ebooks

3rd Runner up:

  • 1 month free in Freelance Writers Den

Best of luck, writers! Don’t forget to come on back and leave us your post link.


  1. Lisa Baker

    Can I enter if I’m already a den member? I would love love love to win those other resources.

    • Carol Tice

      Woo-hoo! Congrats on being first out of the block with it, Holly…now off to check it out 😉

      And now I’m back to say…1st prize is a whole YEAR in the Den, Holly…not just one month!

      I love your idea of the Den being like freelance-writing grad school. Having just mentored someone with a creative-writing B.A. that seems to have proven all but useless in preparing her to actually earn money in her chosen field of writing, I think you may be on to something! That could make a good Den tagline, “Grad school for freelance writers.”

  2. Liesa Malik

    What a great contest idea! Although I don’t feel ready to enter it this year, I hope by next summer, I’ll be a “regular” and be more involved. Then, maybe one of my blog posts will qualify for whatever recognition you might be offering then.

    Keep going! Yours is one of those blogs I try to read regularly, and am always happy I have.


    • Carol Tice

      Hi Liesa —

      But the Den is all about helping you feel ready to get out there and market your writing…I say create an entry post now and get on in there, rather than waiting for some future time when you might feel more ‘ready.’

      I always say be a writer, not a waiter…

  3. Peggy

    Hi Carol,

    I don’t have a blog, is there another way for me to enter?



    • Carol Tice

      Conferred with Linda on this, and here’s what we decided, Peggy:

      To enter without a blog, submit your entry in the comments here, and then promote this post for social-media credit. That should work for anyone who does not have a blog, I think.

      • Carol J. Alexander

        What if I have a blog but it has nothing to do with writing…my platform is homeschooling, homesteading, and homemaking.

        • Carol Tice

          Same as above — post your entry here as a comment and promote this post instead of one on your blog, and you’re in.

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks for entering — I was considering retweeting your entry myself, but couldn’t figure out how! Perhaps time to pop in that ShareThis or AddtoAny plugin to help your chances…?

  4. Wendy

    Thank you for the opportunity to apply for this free membership. I look forward to hearing from you, and wish other entrants the best of luck!


  5. Laura Talley

    Here is my entry! Thanks for this contest! It rocks!

  6. Carol Tice

    Just want to say…there are some real nice entries here already. So people who want this should bring their “A” game!

  7. Erin

    Awesome prize. I don’t have a writer blog, so I will share this on Facebook. Thank you!

    • Carol Tice

      If you’re going to put your contest entry post up on your Facebook, come back and give us a link to it so we can check it out, Erin!

  8. Anita

    Congrats on your success with the Den. It’s a great reminder of how much one can do with a clear goal and plenty of determination.

  9. Carol Tice

    I hope everyone is checking out the first crop of entries here…there is some great stuff. Don’t forget to RT your favorite post to help Linda and me pick the winners next week!

    • Carol Tice

      Nice headline, Bree!

      • Bree Normandin

        Thanks, I had to edit the headline. I stole a few moments to write this at 1:00am because it was the only time available to me. I also added links to this post to the blog because for some reason WordPress lost them. (I could have had a brain lapse.)
        Thanks for holding the contest! This is an awesome opportunity. 🙂

    • Carol Tice

      I did — definitely gets points for a creative approach — check it out, folks!

    • Carol Tice

      That’s the spirit, Joanna! There’s no entry requirement as far as how long you’ve been writing, or reading this blog, or anything. If you want in the Den, please enter this contest.

  10. Lynn Jarrett

    I do not have a blog and plan to post my entry here. How do I “promote this post for social-media credit”? Sorry to sound like such a dumb person.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    • Carol Tice

      Just retweet this post, or share on Facebook, etc. See that toolbar at the bottom of the frame.

      • Lynn Jarrett

        Thank you for your prompt reply. I suppose I will not be able to enter the contest. I do not “tweet” and am not on “Facebook.” Thank you anyway for the opportunity.

        • Carol Tice

          You could always just write a post or comment on here that blows our minds, Lynn…we said the social promotion aspect is only one factor.

          • Lynn Jarrett

            Thank you Carol. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to blowing your collective minds!!

  11. Rosella E. LaFevre

    I’m a senior, studying magazine journalism, at one of the two accredited colleges in my home state and I feel like I’ve wasted three years in school. Our professors tend to be much better writers than teachers. Some of them seem to be terrified that we’ll succeed better than they have and so they offer very little instruction or help.

    After the last session of my online writing class this past spring, I went home and bawled for a good hour. “Am I doing the wrong thing, going into journalism?” I asked my boyfriend between sobs.

    This bitter, though very much employed, journalist who taught the class had beaten me down so hard, and for 15 excruciatingly long weeks, that I seriously doubted I could do the one thing in life that I want to do. And I’m a student with chutzpah and follow-through. A year ago, I started my own online magazine, M.L.T.S., which publishes lifestyle, education and careers content for other ambitious young women in college. Since then, I’ve been profiled in NextGen Journal, My Campus Philly, Her Campus, and The Huffington Post! When I interviewed Lori Wilson, a news anchor, for the second issue of my magazine and asked her what advice she had for aspiring journalists, she replied, “For you? Nothing. You’re doing everything right.”

    But here I was, after those accolades and the successes I’ve already achieved, feeling like I might as well give up and become a housewife.

    Very few of my classes have been much better than this experience.

    My goal, my dream, is to really boost my freelance career over the next year so that by the time I graduate from traditional j-school, I can avoid getting a day job and work with the freedom that my stubborn, independent nature requires.

    I would be thrilled to win entry into the Freelance Writers Den, phone mentoring with Carol and Linda, access to your various courses, and your ebooks, because I know that they would give me the confidence boost — and the boost in skills — that I need to be able to achieve my goals. With guidance from others who are doing what I hope to excel at, I know I can do it. That’s why I hope you’ll pick me as a 1st Place Winner.

    Thank you so much for this chance!


  12. Rob Schneider

    Okay, here’s my shot at the title:

  13. Jake Woldstad

    Hi Carol,
    Thanks for your blog. I’ve learned a lot in the short time I’ve been reading it. I’m just starting a journey into the world of writing, and find your perspective and insight valuable.

    Unlike many of the others who’ve submitted, I’m just learning how much I enjoy writing and want to give myself the best shot at successfully navigating this new (to me) world.

    Have a great week!

  14. Lynn Jarrett

    I posted this comment above as a reply to a previous comment and was not sure if it would be considered so I am submitting it as a comment now.

    Lynn Jarrett says:

    July 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Following is my entry to win the free year in the Freelance Writers Den:

    I have been fortunate throughout my life to have walked many paths and would like to have the opportunity to enhance my ability to memorialize some of these events through writing. I have reached a point in my life where recording and sharing some of life’s events is important to me.

    Late last year I retired with over 14 years in state government. Now that I have some free time, I would like to further my writing career. I have been writing in spurts on and off for years by journaling, writing essays, theme papers, and “newsy e-mail messages” to family and friends before blogging was big, and more recently, grant writing. While all of these styles of writing are different, I keep coming back to writing about life experiences in the “newsy e-mail messages.”

    I was a volunteer firefighter for 2 months shy of 19 years. I rose from an inexperienced firefighter to an Assistant Fire Chief. In my fire department, I was the first female firefighter, then the first female officer, and finally, the first female Assistant Fire Chief. Like I did then, what I lack in experience in writing, I make up in tenacity. I have a lot to offer the world in life experiences and can do so with the mentoring and expertise opportunities provided by the Freelance Writers Den. I have always wanted to start a blog and feel that with assistance from the Freelance Writers Den, it is not out of my reach.

    I understand the Freelance Writers Den has been closed to new members. I have been on the waiting list for membership and was very fortunate to have been able to listen in on a couple of webinars recently. The “How to Avoid the 12 Biggest Mistakes of Freelance Writers and Earn Big” webinar on June 28, 2012 was VERY beneficial. I took four pages of notes during the webinar and just could not write fast enough. After the webinar, I was so energized and felt this is indeed something I can do!

    I need analysis of my writing skills and critique of my work product. I joined a couple of writing groups. One group is not quite what I expected or needed, and the other may hold potential if the meetings do not keep getting canceled. I subscribe to every e-mail list for writers I come across. I have taken one writing class online and am currently enrolled in another one. I would like to make freelance writing my next career and feel by being a member of the Freelance Writers Den, it would be a great benefit and the mentoring telephone call would be a valuable learning experience. Winning the first place prize being offered would be a wonderful opportunity and a definite boost to my writing career.

    I would like to close by saying that I really would like to win the first prize for a free year in the Freelance Writers Den and the other specials. No matter what the outcome, I truly appreciate being considered for any of the prizes. Thank you for this golden opportunity!

  15. Maureen Taylor

    “I hope you never plan on a writing career.” Those words draped a pall over me for more years than I care to admit. My senior Enlgish teacher had just ripped apart my creative writing as well as my heart. Coming from a long line of newspaper editors and journalists, I had dreams of writing, nothing big, but something that would delight another. I buried my dream and didn’t think of it again.
    Years later I began teaching writing to 5th graders who despised the emotional and physical aspect of writing – pushing that pencil can really build a calluse. Throughout those years, I learned my craft from the inside out and built hope and promise in hundreds of kids. I never forgot my teacher’s words which made me determined to teach kids the love of writing.
    Somehow the word got around that I could write and I found myself on the wrong end of letters to parents, newspaper articles, reviews, dissertations…all for teachers who hadn’t learned to write well and suffered from the writing malaise that can be deadly. My own personal dissertation won a commendation for the beauty and flow of the writing. It seemed I was finally getting on the writing tract. Now, I still teach writing and 5th graders and long for a chance to write professionally. There is much I need to learn and I am chomping at the bit to learn it. Thanks so much for the opportunity to put my name in the hat.

  16. Peter Yankey


    I want to do freelance writing. I did graduate studies in Journalism; but freelance writing was not specifically on the programme. So even as I do great writing – news stories, features, press releases, news commentaries etc – as well as edit and proofread texts so well, I have little knowledge in freelance writing.

    Besides, I have been in government service ever since. My journalistic work has thus been mostly anonymous. I am not on my own; and I have always worked as part of a team. What salary I take appears routine. I don’t fully feel it as the real worth of my efforts. Freelance writing will give me that feeling of personal worth, as I receive the rewards of my solo efforts.

    A year spent in your Writers Den will then mean a great deal. With the resources available, I will get the training and confidence I need to set out strongly in the field. Linda’s and Carol’s books, for instance, will give me the needed tuition. How to network and sell my work are techniques I will appreciate indeed.

    But I am retiring from work soon, and I need to prepare the future now. Two things I plan to do along with freelance writing, are teach Journalism, and publish a news magazine. The Den’s resources, such as Linda’s Write for Magazines e-course, will help me meet the challenges involved. I can envision the mass of students who stand to benefit from the training the Den gives me. And we can take pleasure from the thousands of readers who will enjoy the worth of the Den’s training.

    Three factors have prevented me entering the Den to date. First, I just discovered the Den. Second, membership was closed then. And third, I couldn’t see how to pay the membership fee. My country, Ghana, has just begun using visa cards to transfer money outside. Even so, only a few banks are doing it, and you need to be a customer. Other transfer methods aren’t so accessible. If for instance, you have to use an international cheque from your bank, you need to have a foreign account.

    A free year in the Freelance Writers Den will mean a lot to me. It will bring me great satisfaction as a journalist, and help build a future that will profit others.

  17. Megha Subramanian

    Hi Den,

    I am submitting my entry. Thank you for the opportunity!

  18. Uli

    I’m a late starter. I mean, I’ve known since third grade what I wanted to be when I grew up. Musing in Miss Christman’s class, with its baby-blue walls and giant windows tilted open into the sun, I wrote “Writer” on the list she’d ask us to compile.

    But I’ve been in denial about that ever since. I resisted what I’d written down in that classroom, even as I always carried a pen with me to record my thoughts — on scraps of paper, bar napkins, restaurant placemats. I mean, how on earth does one become a — cue heavenly chorus — “Writer”? I sure didn’t know.

    So I worked in mental health, tended bar in Manhattan, and even went to law school –- all great sources of material, true, but all ways of hiding from what I had known since I was eight. Even as I realized that it was only by virtue of a kick-ass admission essay that I got into a respectable law school. Yet, somehow, even a legal career seemed . . . easier. Well, better defined, at least. A fixed path, with signposts and mile markers, and wow — one hell of a toll. I just didn’t now how to do it, that writing business.

    Fast-forward fifteen years. I was writing more in my spare time, and not just when the urge hit me. Taking classes, too. And then I stumbled onto the Freelance Writer’s Den. More like tumbled into, for the change it wrought, like I’d hit my head on the way in and suddenly I’m seeing things in better focus. In the last few months, thanks to Den classes and excellent forum advice, I’ve been compiling story ideas, analyzing markets, and even sent out my first pitch! More importantly, I feel like I’ve stopped running circles around my childhood aspiration, and finally know what the next steps are.

    But I’ve got some serious catching up to do! I aim to get my first clip before the end of this year, and have started on pitches for seasonal pieces for 2013. I’m scared, true, but I know that if there’s anything I don’t understand or can’t figure out, the resources of the Den are there to help.

    Oh, the places I can go, now that my internal GPS has stopped “recalculating” and is finally pointing me in the right direction. Thanks, Carol and Linda!

  19. Lisa Gilbert

    Why I need to win Freelance Writers Den.

    Please pick me. I could really use the mentoring session. Plus, I need help with my website.

    • Carol Tice

      Dang, I can’t get the link to work Anita! But congrats on starting your blog.


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