Fiction: Plan And Write A Series of Novels

Fiction: Plan And Write A Series of Novels

I’ve had some questions about writing a series of novels. Is it hard? It is worthwhile? Will your series sell?

All good questions. :-)

Questions answered

Is it hard? It can be challenging. I think of a series as one book; that mindset might help you too. In my ghostwriting life, I write trilogies for clients, usually somewhere around 200,000 words, all up. I write them because I enjoy it, so it’s not hard, because I’ve had lots of practice.

Take it word by word. To quote an aphorism, Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you’re starting out writing fiction, I recommend that you start with short stories. After a time, you’ll build your muscles, and you’ll know how stories are built.

It is worthwhile? Definitely. Each book sells the other, so if you get a series that’s a hit, you’re golden.

Will your series sell? Um… excuse me while I dust off my crystal ball… (Peers into crystal, which is clouded over.) Sorry, my crystal’s silent on this one.

No one knows what will sell. Be all about the journey. It’s the only way to write and keep writing.

I wrote a blog post about the following tips here… I hope they help.

The tips:

It’s all about your series’ CHARACTER

  1. Choose your poison: family saga, on-going quest, or…?
  2. Create a problem that’s solved over the course of the series (optional)
  3. Write BIG: do your very best with each book
  4. Keep track: Fred has blue eyes, or are they brown?
  5. Schedule it: get it written

You’ll find that Story Power: Write and Sell Short Fiction — Short Stories, Serials, and Series will help, if you’re planning on writing series.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Content Creation Made Easy: In 60 Seconds

Content Creation Made Easy: In 60 Seconds

We’re writers. Writing is what we do, so content creation should be a breeze for us, shouldn’t it? Sadly, for many writers, it’s not easy at all. They struggle with it.

So I’ve updated 60-Second Content Power: Create Better Content Faster for 2015, because so many writers need it.

Here’s an excerpt, from the introduction.

The voracious Web: content has a short shelf life

Creating content should be a breeze for writers, but it’s not. This is because the online world is voracious. A Twitter tweet (a short snippet of content) is viable for around three hours, a recent study reported. After three hours, it vanishes into the cyber ether.

Blog posts are similar, with a life-span of just a couple of days.

The search engines are focused on freshness.

This means that everyone online needs to be able to create content daily, just to survive in the online environment.

In this guide, my goal is not merely to help you to create better content faster. It’s also to help you to become supremely confident – and to have fun, as you prosper. You must be able to create your own money-making websites, blogs and ebooks, ensuring that you have an ever-increasing income.

Write once, use content over and over (you can profit from content many times)

Content — of any kind — takes time and energy to write. Few writers make the most of the content they create. I’m as guilty of not doing more with my content as any one else. However, in 2015, because you need to produce a lot of content for clients, and for yourself, it’s vitally important that you focus on:

create once, use many times.

You’ll discover how to do that in 60-Second Content Power: Create Better Content Faster for 2015. As my students are doing, you can increase your income without doing more writing. Enjoy this updated version of the program. Happy creating. :-)

60-Second Content Power: Create Better Content Faster — 2015

Your solution to content woes in 2015, no matter what you’re writing.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

5 Easy Ways To Sell Your Content Marketing Services

5 Easy Ways To Sell Your Content Marketing Services

You write content. You sell your content marketing services. However, at times you struggle to explain what content is, and what it does.

How do you convince a company that it needs your content services?

Over the past week, I’ve been helping several writers to build their service offerings, and do their own content marketing. After all, if you’re selling content services, you need to be creating content which sells those services.

You need to start at the beginning. If you’re selling content services as a blogger, Web writer, or copywriter, you need to be clear on what content is, and what it does.

Let’s look at five ways you can sell your services, by explaining how content can help a company to increased profits.

1. Content is an investment

Companies spend thousands of dollars on advertising each month. There’s a big problem with that: if they stop paying, their advertising stops. Content marketing supports a company’s advertising.

Content and advertising go hand in hand. Today, global brands like Nike, Sony and Coca Cola advertise, and they create content too, often in real time. They do it because their audience tunes out advertising.

2. Content is entertaining, persuasive and explanatory

Advertising is direct marketing. Content marketing is indirect. It can be both entertaining, and persuasive. Yes, it’s advertising, but a company’s audience doesn’t see it that way. A company’s audience may hate to be sold to, but they read content.

Today, some 80% of companies use content marketing in some form, because content converts. That is, it makes sales.

3. Content in global: it expands a company’s reach

In days gone by, a company could buy space in the yellow pages, do some newspaper advertising, and make a profit. Today, their audience is fragmented. It’s never been harder for companies to reach a specific audience.

Paradoxically, at the same time, it’s never been easier. Content is endlessly adaptable. A blog post can become part of a white paper or ebook, and can be mined for social media nuggets. A blog post can be syndicated too, reaching hundreds of thousands of readers. Getting such a wide reach through advertising would be prohibitively expensive.

4. Content wins attention, leads and buyers

Content is subtle in its effect. It gets attention, and over time, that content develop leads as well as buyers.

5. Content builds credibility and trust

When you’re selling your content services, point out any of a company’s competitors who are using content marketing. It’s a persuasive argument, because content increases a company’s credibility, and over time, trust develops.

So there you have it: five ways to persuade companies to buy your content marketing services. Content sells. Prove it, by creating and promoting your own content. You’ll get clients.

YOU can make a six-figure income in 2015, just by WRITING

Discover the secrets of creative content, when you create your own content funnels. It’s not complicated. If you’re a beginning writer, you’ll start your writing business off the right way. Content funnels are essential know-how in these days of endless Google algorithmic updates.

If you’re an established writer, you’ll sell MORE. And you’ll make good use of all the content you’ve already created.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

How NOT to Make Money Writing

How NOT to Make Money Writing

You want to make money writing. Specifically, you want to make money writing content. That’s EASY to do. Everyone wants content, so content buyers are everywhere.

A couple of days ago I received an email message from a content writer. The message provides a great example of what NOT to do to make money writing content.

The message offered me articles at $10 per 1,000 words. That’s OK; it takes me around an hour to write a thousand words, so the writer’s making $5 an hour. He may live somewhere where $5 goes a lot further than it does in a developed economy.

You’re wondering why I said he makes $5 an hour, and and not $10 an hour. One reason; you can’t spend every hour writing. You have to do all the housekeeping chores which surround writing: marketing, communicating with prospects by sending quotes and other material, communicating with clients, and on, and on. Chores are endless.

So the article writer – let’s call him “Jim” — is making $5 an hour.

Here are the mistakes Jim made in his unsolicited email message

I won’t share the message, because it’s not mine to share. The copyright remains with the sender.

1. He didn’t target his prospects

I don’t buy articles, so sending me and others like me (I’m assuming he sent messages to hundreds of other people who run blogs) is pointless.

2. He didn’t tell me his name

When you’re meeting someone for the first time, it’s common courtesy to lead with your name. (His message greeted me by name, so shouldn’t he tell me his name?)

When you’re writing to someone you don’t know, lead with your name. Hi, Prospect, my name is Jenny Smith, and I write content.

In your next sentence, explain how you heard of the person you’re writing to: I’m a (blog) reader, or I found your name on Twitter, or Fred Jones suggested I get in touch with you.

You can write anything you like as your reason for contacting the recipient. It doesn’t matter what you write. What matters is that you don’t sound like a crazed stalker, because you have a connection — no matter how slim — to the person to whom you’re writing.

3. His message is all about Jim

Here’s the structure of Jim’s message:

  • His first paragraph says he’s been writing content for eight years, and mentions several content factories.
  • His next paragraph tells me he’s very experienced in SEO copywriting, press release writing… etc. He offers no evidence for this experience. (A copywriter would shoot himself in the head before he wrote anything for $10 an hour, but I digress…)
  • Next paragraph: his fee for his 1,000 word articles.
  • Final paragraph: a bunch of links to articles at content factories.

Can you see the huge problem with this email message? It’s all about Jim. No one cares about Jim except Jim. We’ve talked about What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) — that’s a primary tenet of copywriting. When you’re promoting, it’s all about your audience, and how your offer can help them.

Jim could have made his message all about his audience and how he could help them very easily. Whoever he is, I’m sure he knows how his content writing helps his audience. He should have made his message all about that, rather than about himself.

Don’t be Jim: content writing gigs are everywhere

Jim did something right. He reached out to prospective buyers. Well done, Jim! :-) I’m not being sarcastic at all. It takes courage to reach out to people, so Jim did that, and he deserves kudos for it.

However, please don’t be a Jim. Yes, reach out to people. But send targeted, well crafted messages, which are all about your audience.

Never, ever send out mass emails. Send personal emails, about how you can help. If Jim had given the slightest indication that he knew me and my blogs at all, by mentioning something that I’d written, he would have received a response of some kind from me. If I felt that he could write for someone I know, I’d have put him in touch.

Want to write content? You can make much more money than Jim does

Check out Article Firestorm, and our free mini course.

Article Firestorm is a complete 4-week writing workshop with videos and PDFs. Its focus going beyond articles, to content strategy.

When you sell a content strategy, rather than positioning yourself as an “article writer” your income goes up. A lot.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Blog Traffic Made Simple

Blog Traffic Made Simple

You’re blogging. Good for you. It’s a real achievement to build a blog, and over time, you’ll realize that your blog has made all the difference in your writing. I started blogging without knowing what the heck I was doing 16 years ago. I can’t imagine my life without it. I’m grateful every day for my blogs.

Enough about me. You’ve got a blog, so you need blog traffic. Consider this. Blog traffic is easy, but it’s far from the most important thing. Whatever amount of traffic you have, you need to be sure that that traffic — even if it’s only ten readers a day — is helping you to achieve your goals.

Here’s how to get traffic which does what you want it to do… realize that no blog is an island.

Promote your content, and reach out to others

To get traffic, you need to promote your content. The easiest way to do that is via social media.

These four social media networks work for promotion

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn

Next, you need to reach out to others.

Easy ways to reach out

  • Comment on blogs
  • Syndicate your content
  • Mention others in your blog posts
  • Guest blog

Blog traffic in ten minutes a day

There’s only one secret to blog promotion: consistency.

When you start promoting, you’re starting from zero. It’s hard to get traction. Here’s a common pitfall: bloggers have great expectations too early. You will get traffic, but it happens over time.

It’s not your fault. We’re all in the same boat. We all want instant results. I see this with my copywriting clients all the time. They start a Facebook page, and instantly want to see results in their bottom line. It could happen, but chances are that it won’t. Consistency wins.

Can you spare ten minutes a day, or every couple of days? That’s all it takes.

Write, and hit the Publish button, and make money

Discover the secrets of professional blogging to achieve your writing goals.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

6 Ways to Improve Your Writing (and Sales) Today

6 Ways to Improve Your Writing (and Sales) Today

You want to improve your writing. You’re either a professional writer, or you want to be paid for your words. Readers and students often ask for “writing secrets”. I’m not sure that there are any, sadly.

Over the years, I’ve found what works for me and students, but they’re not secrets. One thing I can promise you, if you follow these six ways to improve your writing, you’ll sell more.

Let’s get started.

1. Stop trying to do everything at once: compartmentalize

Multi-tasking used to be fashionable, and in a sense it works. I read ebooks and make notes, or watch YouTube while I’m cooking, for example. However, trying to do too much at once is a big reason your writing may fail to accomplish what you want it to do.

Here’s a way to compartmentalize your writing. We’ve discussed this on the blog and elsewhere, when we talking about batching, and your writing process.

I suggest that you chunk your writing down into six activities:

  • Ideas: get ideas for a project, or projects.
  • Create quick titles and/ or outlines;
  • Write — first draft;
  • Research — write first, research later, otherwise “research” becomes a black hole into which your writing disappears for ever (I know this because many of my best ideas have foundered on this step. So have many of my students’ projects);
  • Edit and rewrite;
  • Polish and publish.

(For more on this, see the Easy-Write Process.)

You can chunk the above activities down even further if you like, but please, if you want to write professionally, and sell your work, don’t try to do everything at once.

2. Schedule: respect your time (no one else will)

One of my students, Mandy, has a sign on her office door: “If you’re not bleeding, DO NOT KNOCK”.

This is because when her husband committed to working from home three days a week, she thought that they could share home duties. It didn’t work out that way, until they negotiated an agreement. So, when her office door is closed, her husband deals with household matters.

Learn to say no, and schedule your time.

3. Write to EXPLORE and understand: journal

Writing isn’t typing. If only it were. :-) Writing is thinking, and the best way to work things out, is to write. We’ve discussed journaling. Your journal helps you to not only understand your writing, but also yourself.

4. Writers write: count your words daily (so you’ll know if you’re slacking)

Life is messy. Things happen. At various times in your writing career, your life takes first place, and writing takes a back seat. However, if you’re a writer, you can’t toss your writing out of your life completely.

No matter what else you have to do, spend time writing each day — even if it’s only ten minutes. And count your words.

One day, your writing will just be a habit: something you do. You won’t have to think about it, nor will you need to force yourself.

5. Stop trying to “write”, communicate instead

What do you want to say? Often, you don’t know. Allow yourself to explore your ideas. See 3. Write to EXPLORE, above.

You can improve your writing by reading more, studying grammar if you need to, and reading style guides. Start with The Elements of Style.

6. Sell something today (and every day)

You write, so that you have something to sell. Sell it. I can’t say it any plainer than that.

If you feel you “don’t like marketing”, do it anyway. Alternatively, you can treat your writing as a hobby; you may not be ready to develop a real career. If you keep writing, that will change. One day, you’ll be ready to market your writing, and it will be fun for you.

So, there you have it. Six ways to improve your writing and sales. Write on. :-)

Write and make it EASY

The Easy-Write Process will make it so.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.