Can anyone suggest potential clients for a freelance or contract medical writer?
October 6, 2008 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone suggest potential clients for a freelance or contract medical writer? Help me hive mind!

A bit of background:
-1 year experience writing and developing continuing medical education materials for physicians (I honestly thought it was boring but it could have been the therapeutic areas); wrote slide kits (ppt presentations for meetings), literature reviews.
-1 year experience writing and developing peer reviewed journal articles on the promotional side of medical education. I really enjoy it because it has provided me with an opportunity to learn much more about clinical trials, oncology, etc. I find it very challenging and have learned a great deal about a few types of cancer but I need to have a few more years experience to truly understand the material. Most people, from supervisors to pharmaceutical companies, really like my writing. However, it is only a specialized type of writing (eg, journal articles for medical journals). At this point, that is all that I have as samples – journal articles or scientific posters.
-Dabbled over the course of the past year and wrote “executive summaries” of meetings (boring, but I can write them). There wasn’t much of an opportunity to really learn new information.
-PhD in the biological sciences (neuroscience). I enjoyed teaching biology to undergraduates, everything from intro biology to graduate level courses, because it was a vehicle for me to learn more. I loved looking at the inside of things and learning how they worked. Bringing this up because perhaps there is a market for writing for this audience? No real samples of this type of writing, however (uh, other than occasional directions for a lab or teaching material…).

Spring forward to now. I would like to become a freelance medical writer in the next few months (stupid with this little experience and stupid in this economy, I know). For various reasons, I have reached my limit for working in an office for any length of time.

Who are my potential clients? I googled, googled, and googled to find a list of about 200 medical education communication agencies - I anticipate that a few will bite but probably not many (because I am an unknown). I plan to try to specialize and offer to similarly write journal articles for clinical trials/oncology or psychiatry. The average medical writer charges $100/hour for this type of project.

To be safe, I would like to target more companies/potential clients. I don’t know what other companies write and for what rate, though. Who else has lots of data (from a clinical trial), needs help writing it, and will pay that much money? Any ideas as to where I can find a big list of these type of companies (I can only take so many hours of googling till my brain falls out and roll on the floor).

Are there other types of areas that I can break into that would be 1) interesting/provide new material to learn, 2) the average person changes between $60 to $100 (or more) to write the material, and 3) may use my background in some way. Is there a way to see samples of what they write (to be honest, this is how I learned to write material for clinical trials, by looking at other material). Is there a way I could learn about this other type of writing or market besides working for such companies full time?

In summary I am looking for suggestions for other clients: whom to target, where to find them, and the going rate. If anyone can suggest really interesting areas of writing that may require a bit of work on the side that would also be helpful.

Temporary e-mail account not linked to me: Not signing off with my metafilter name because between this and previous posts, there is enough info to figure out who I am (haven’t indicated anything to my current employer yet, and I don't want to launch a freelance career today).

posted by anonymous to Writing & Language (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You may want to investigate some of the medical equipment manufacturers; Fujitsu medical imaging and Perkin Elmer both use contract medical writers (in the Connecticut area), and need people to write descriptions of their products and their uses in terms that are useful to practitioners. Some of this work is probably tedious and dull, but some of these guys are right on the cutting edge and doing pretty cool stuff.

Also, Cliggot communications in Greenwich, CT used to publish a large number of "single-sponsor" medical journals- they always seemed to need content. It looks like they got bought up by CMP since I worked for from them, but it might be still running.
posted by jenkinsEar at 11:57 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

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