Kindle Publishing: Author Earnings, and Kindle Unlimited

If you’re into Kindle publishing, you’re wondering about Kindle Unlimited. Maybe some of your books are in the program.

Author Earnings has published its October Author Earnings Report:

“And however you publish, the chances of earning a full-time living are not great. Our contention, however, is that the chances have never been better. Because every day, the writer and the reader assume control of an industry that used to rely almost entirely upon middlemen to bring these two parties together. More money is now flowing to artists than ever before, and that art is costing consumers less than ever before.”

Hat tip to The Passive Voice. The comments to the post are worth reading.

Writing Fees: You Know What You’re Worth

Newer freelance writers tend to worry about their writing fees. Stop worrying. As I’ve said many times: there are no standard rates. You charge what you charge. You decide, no one else.

I enjoyed this piece in Smart Company, What are you really paying for – hours or experience?

“Many of us who work in the knowledge industry have had our experience and knowledge trivialized by others who do not understand the depth and breadth we must go to be able to deliver timely and precise solutions… many consultants will take a few days to get back to a client to make it seem like they have had to put a lot of thought into the matter so they can justify their fees.”

Never, ever charge by the hour. Charge by the project. No one needs to know your hourly rate except you. Being reticent about your hourly rate avoids “sticker shock”. (Smile.) If you can complete a project in three hours, where another writer might take six, good for you.

Only you know what you’re worth. When you’re more experienced, charge more. You didn’t come by your experience by luck, or by accident: you worked for it.

Tip: add 20% to your invoices. Everything always takes longer than you expect. If you fail to add a fee for incidentals, you’ll find that with many clients your hourly rate drops into the basement, because they’re slow at sending material, won’t get back to you until you chase them, and so on.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Social Media Writer: 5 Tips to Get Social

Social Media Writer: 5 Tips to Get Social

You’re a social media writer now. Yep… whether you’re a content writer, a copywriter, a blogger, an author… No matter what kind of writing you do, welcome to the new world of social media writing.

Way back in the good old days, before Google took a big algorithmic stick to junk content, you could write anything you like, and as long as you applied some basic SEO (search engine optimization), all was right with the world. Not so today. While SEO is still essential, it’s not enough. Some 30 MILLION pieces of content flow onto the Web every single day. It’s mind-boggling.

So, it’s not enough to write. Anyone can write. Nowadays, to achieve your writing’s goals, you need social media. Many writers drag the chain on social media, moaning, why, oh why… Face it. Social media is the new reality. You create content (any kind), and you promote it on social media.

It’s not a punishment. Look on it as an extra. You write a blog post, publish your book on KDP, create some Web content for a client… AND you write social media content to promote it.

Let’s look at five easy tips to help you to get social.

1. Plan Your Social Media Promotion While You’re Writing (Remember to Charge for It, If You’re Writing for Clients)

Today, if you want to make money writing, you need to write more. And you need to write well.

When you’re working on a project, think about how you could promote it on social media. No, you can’t just tweet: buy my book! Well, you could. Then later, you can complain that social media is useless. ;-)

Grab little quotables from the text, and save them on a spreadsheet. You’ll need them later. Gather some images you can use in your social media campaign for the content: snap photos, or source images from the Web. I shouldn’t need to say this, but: assume that ALL images on the Web are under copyright. The only images you can find and safely use on the Web, are the ones clearly marked “Creative Commons.” Even then, read the restrictions on how you can use each image.

Of course, if you’re writing for a client, you’ll charge for this extra work.

2. Polish Up Your Bios on the Social Media Networks You Choose

Each social network you join gives you a bio page. Make good use of it. Add links to your website and blog, and craft the bio with an eye to SEO, and marketing as well. You can use a whimsical bio if it fits into your marketing goals.

Why pay close attention to your bio? Because you want people to know who you are. If you don’t include an image, and don’t fill out your bio, people won’t repost and retweet your material.

3. Hello Images (No, Not Optional): Make Image Collection Part of Your Writing Process

Source images, for your own projects, and those of your clients. I’ve just discovered a website, MavSocial, which not only helps you to manage and corral your images, but also lets you create social media campaigns. I’ve just started using this site; it’s impressive.

Source images before, during, and after you write. Social media is becoming ALL about the images. You can thank Pinterest for that. However, all the social media networks are rewarding people who use images. And as we’ve said, images aren’t optional.

If you’re new to using images, make an effort to get up to speed on image creation, and using them with your content.

4. Engage, as Much as You Can: Repost, Retweet, Comment

You’re a social media writer. Keep the “social” in mind. Engaging on social media can be an enormous time sink. However, it must be done. No one will share your content unless you reciprocate. Approached with the right mind set, it’s huge fun.

5. BLOG (No, Not Optional): Your Blog Is Your Social Media Hub

You’ve got a blog. It’s your social media hub. Post once or twice a week, and share your posts. Reach out to others. Do some guest posting if you have the time and inclination – remember, as we’ve said, “social.” Don’t expect too much from your guest blogging stints; it’s not a magic bullet.

Speaking of magic bullets…

Consistency Wins…

Be consistent. Use and engage on social media, regularly – for all the content you create. As we’ve said, no matter what kind of writer you are, today you’re a social media writer too.

EASY-WRITE Process 4 for 2015: You Need It

Easy-Write Process 2015Today, you need to write a lot, and you need to write well. The Easy-Write Process has been updated for today’s writing environment. You can’t afford to struggle with your writing – writing needs to be fun, and easy for you, no matter what you’re writing. And of course, today “writing” includes social media content.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Your Writing Career Is DEAD: What to Do Now

Your Writing Career Is DEAD: What to Do Now

Your writing career is dead. Because… You’ve just been fired from the Web development company which is your biggest (and only) client. Or, you’ve been shopping your novel around to literary agents for a year. No one cares. Or, you’ve been sending out introductions to your writing services for a month, and nothing. Not a flicker of interest.

What do you do now?

Several writers have contacted me over the past month, with variations on the “I give UP. I can’t handle this” theme.

Here’s the good news. No one can kill your writing career except YOU. You decide when you stop writing. If you’re a “real writer” (whatever that means), you can’t help yourself. You write anyway. It’s just what you do. On the other hand, maybe you’re someone who thinks that writing’s a great way to make a living. Either way, and to repeat. No one can kill your writing career except YOU.

You will survive this, as every other professional writer has. Yes, if you keep writing for long enough, you realize that all writers go through a “I don’t need this sh*t” phase, and they come out the other side.

In my early years as a writer I was a romance novelist. I got extremely lucky, and sold quickly. One of my friends wasn’t as lucky. She had ten — TEN — complete manuscripts which she sent to every publisher and literary agent who might be interested. She’d been at it for years, and outwardly, the rejections didn’t bother her.

Until she snapped. She called me one day, to tell me she was quitting. Her writing career was dead. Why bother trying to animate the corpse?

The very next day, she got “the call” from an editor at a publishing house. Not only did they want to publish her latest novel, they wanted to see “anything else you’ve been working on.”

Your writing career can switch from busted to booming in the blink of an eye.

When your own personal dark night of the soul hits you – and it will – here are some rules to follow.

Rule 1: Keep Writing

If no one wants what to have to offer, their loss. Keep writing anyway. You don’t need anyone’s permission to write.

If your rejections mean that you’ve stopped writing, take a break from it. If you can afford it, take a three-week vacation. If not, take a mini-break. Call up your dear great-aunt who lives on the beach, and invite yourself to stay for a few days. If your family commitments mean you can’t get away on your own, have a family day out. Changing your location can change your mood and mindset.

Rule 2: Get Help

Talk to someone. “Someone” can be a writing buddy – choose someone who’s upbeat and inspiring, not a writer pal who’s a real Eeyore. You need someone who’s got the Pollyanna principle as part of their personality. Your Pollyanna pal will help you to change your perspective.

If you think you need it, you can also get professional guidance; it can turn your writing life around.

Important: talk to someone, who can help you to get a different perspective. You can go the therapist route, if you think you might have a little neuroticism going for you, but usually another writer will be able to help. As I’ve said, sooner or later, all writers think their career is over, dead, at some stage.

Rule 3. Take Stock: Maybe Something Needs to Change

You’ve been turning out Kindle ebooks like sausages from a machine. The expletive-deleted things just aren’t selling. Maybe you need to change what you’re doing.

If you want to keep writing Kindle ebooks, take a look at what other writers are doing. In this kind of situation, you can usually just change one thing or two, and your ebooks will start selling. If you’re writing exciting fiction, and nonfiction ebooks which are truly helpful, you will sell. There’s a chance that you’re doing something that’s easily corrected.

Perhaps you’ve sent out email messages introducing yourself to 200 companies, and… crickets. Face it. You need to change what you’re doing. Not the messages: the content. We get lots of email messages from writers who want us to do something or other, or offer something. The messages are bland, and sometimes they’re arrant rubbish: “we can get you on the first page of Google!” and similar.

If it’s something in which we might be interested if the offer sounded enthusiastic and as if it came from a real person, rather than a robot, we respond. Everyone responds when it’s obvious that you CARE about what you’re offering. Be real in your email messages. Stop “writing”, and start communicating.

Perhaps you’ve created a blog, and you’ve had 30 visitors in three months. The same applies. Sound as if you care. Be yourself. Be genuine. Your blog can be a success, but your posts need to have a little personality. Mrs Brimbles does a great job talking about planners, for example.

Maybe you could write something different. Try creating products. 8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 Hours gives you a short and easy process which works.

Follow that. Sell some products. If it takes you outside your comfort zone, because you’re accustomed to writing for others, rather than selling your material directly, you can apply the process to getting writing jobs. Or you can step completely OUT of your comfort zone, and sell a product or three.

So there you have it. Three rules to follow if your writing career is DEAD.

Take heart. This period may be tough, but it can turn around, and faster than you imagine. It may also be the boost you need to change your mindset, and build the career you truly want.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Create a Website: Goals, Planning and Organization

Create a New Website: Goals, Planning and Organization

I’m currently setting up a new website. For writers, whether we’re Web writers or not, knowing how to set up a website which does what you want it to do is an essential skill.

The operative words are: does what you want it to do. I work with companies every day. Most are disappointed with their websites. Perhaps you’ve set up a site, and you’re disappointed it in too. Anyone can set up a website within a minute or two on site-builders like WordPress.com, Squarespace.com, and the rest… but does the site work? Does it make money?

That’s something else again, and your results from any site depend on:

  • Your goals;
  • Your planning;
  • Your organization.

You could write a book about each one of these topics, so we can’t cover them in an article. This post is an introduction to the topic; we’ll cover it further in future posts.

Let’s start at the beginning with your goals.

Your Goals: What’s Your Primary Goal for Your Website?

If you’ve read my writing journal entries, you’ll know that I’ve been procrastinating on my new site. I keep changing my mind about the elements I want.

It occurred to me that it’s been a while since I set up a site for myself, and that the process: goals, planning and organization, would be a good topic for a series of articles. Today, anyone, no matter how inexperienced, can set up a site. However, if you don’t know what your goals are, your website won’t achieve what you want it to do.

Goal-setting can be a challenge, so keep your primary goal simple. Just complete this sentence: “I want this website to____________ (fill in the blank.)”

You might want your website to:

  • Sell your ebooks on Amazon;
  • Promote your new book;
  • Sell your services: get writing jobs, or blogging gigs;
  • Be an introduction to you and what you offer.

If your site is your “name” website – as mine is angelabooth.com – you want the website to be an introduction to you, and what you offer. Of course, it can do other things for you, but that’s your primary goal for your “name” website.

Other things you want the website to do: sell your writing services etc, need goals of their own. Make a list of further goals for your website.

Please, I beg you, DO THIS. Don’t think: “of course I know what my goals are, I can keep in it my head.”

You can. However, a goal is useless without a plan with a deadline to achieve it. So write down your goals. Each goal needs its own plan.

Your Goals: How Will You Achieve Your Goal(s)? By When?

Believe it or not, your goals for your new website – whether you’re creating one for yourself, or for a client – are the most important work you’ll do in building a site.

If you’re thinking: “yes, but I need to set up the site NOW, I’ll decide all that other stuff later”, go ahead and set up the site. A few short weeks from now, you’ll realize that your website is a waste of time.

Goals, planning, and organization are vital. You can cobble them in later, but why would you? In many ways, this is a sore topic for me, because clients come to me after they’ve had a company design and develop their website. Then they want content to make the site sell. To me, that’s like building a house without a blueprint.

It presents all sort of problems, and those problems would never have arisen if they had  set goals and done some planning first.

We’ll cover website creation in further articles. If you’ve got a challenge with a website, let me know, and I’ll cover it in those articles.

In the meantime: remember, set goals first.

If You Need Help to Make Your Website Work for You…

Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into ProfitsWe cover creating a selling website, and much more, in Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits. Your website is an essential part of your creative business; it’s your PR company, your online store, and your 24×7 sales person.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Publishing Ebooks: Profits From Your Catalogue

Publishing Ebooks: Profits From Your CatalogueTurn spare minutes into profits, with 8-Hour Wins. Publishing ebooks is hot, but don’t stop there.

Years ago, before everyone and his Chihuahua, Siamese cat and Sable ferret had a blog, I’d get an idea and would create a new blog. Circa 2004, that was a great strategy. There was gold in Google AdSense. A decade later, not so much.

Look on the bright side however – today you can use the same process in publishing ebooks. It works. It’s a simple strategy, and it’s a strategy that you can execute in your spare time.

Important: from what I’m hearing, from fellow writers, from my students, and on forums, publishing ebooks is a great little business – if you focus on building up your Amazon catalogue. Some of your ebooks might sell one copy in a blue moon, but if you keep publishing you may get lucky with one ebook which sells hundreds of copies a day.

Let’s look at some tips which will help you to strike gold from ebooks and other information products.

1. Go Beyond Amazon: There’s Cash Beyond KDP

There’s more than one way to create and sell info products. Avoid tunnel vision. Yes, Amazon’s KDP makes publishing easy. However, there’s a whole world beyond KDP.

If you’ve got a good little Kindle ebook you’re selling for $2.99, why not expand on it, and turn it into an info product which sells for $29, or even $329? Turn your basic information into a set of video tutorials, a membership site, or an online class.

2. Keep Your Eyes Open: if You Can Jump on a Hot Trend, You’re Golden

Watch the news. What’s making news at the moment? Watch for news in your areas of expertise, and see what ideas they spark.

Tip: consider ebook sponsorships. And SHUSH! Other writers don’t seem to be aware of this strategy yet. It’s a good one. Consider that in 2014 and beyond, content marketing is a hot strategy for large companies, and tiny ones too.

A writer friend jumped on this idea when Faye Weldon got a sponsorship from Bulgari way back in 2001. You can use this strategy too. Let’s say you’re writing a chick lit novel. You can hit companies up for sponsorship. Who knows, they might pay you for a mention, even give you a little free advertising.

3. What Works for You? Share It

You solve problems all day long. We all do. Problems are everywhere. Solutions are golden. Unfortunately, we’re blind to opportunities – we don’t see that what we do is noteworthy, or book-worthy.

Think: problem/ solution as you go through your day. Be alert for others who’ve solved problems too. If they’re willing to share, you can write up their solution in an ebook, or a tutorial, and sell it.

4. Test the Market With Simple Products

As you can see, in 8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 Hours, you can write and sell short ebooks very quickly. Once an ebook hits, and is selling copies, read the reviews carefully. Who’s buying your ebook? Why? What else could you create to which this market might respond?

Use your short ebooks (fiction and nonfiction) to test markets. We’re in the very early days of the publishing revolution. Writers and authors are staking their territory; consider ways that you can do this too.

Some writers are collaborating, and forming virtual publishing companies. This has benefits for all members; your catalogue is bigger, giving you more “shelf space” on Amazon. Everyone benefits.

Think BIG. Testing the market is a way of doing that. Many writers write an ebook, and whether it does well, or badly, they become fixated on it. MOVE ON. You should be publishing an ebook, while editing one, and drafting a third. Move! You’re standing in the middle of a field planted with gold. Grab a shovel, and start digging. :-)

8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 Hours

8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 HoursA simple strategy, that works. What if you could create AND sell a product in just eight hours? The product could be anything: a Kindle ebook, a collection of articles, a short story… a new writing service for your clients. This program will show you how to think outside the box, get creative… Write, and SELL what you create.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

How to Sell Your Writing Online: 2 Essential Tips

How to Sell Your Writing Online: 2 Essential Tips

You want to sell your writing online. You need to do two things, which we’ll discuss in a moment. Firstly, let’s talk about the word “sell.” It makes some writers uncomfortable. Other writers suspect there’s a trick to it— and they’ll never learn that trick. And yet other writers expect their writing to somehow magically sell itself.

Let’s look at those misconceptions one by one.

  • The thought of selling makes you uncomfortable. Please get over it. If trading money for your words truly makes you uncomfortable, treat your writing as a wonderful, creative hobby. You may need to build your confidence before you can sell;
  • The trick to selling your writing: no trick. Just stuff to learn and do. You can do it. It may make you uncomfortable, and it’s work. On the other hand, selling your writing can pay your mortgage, so learn how to sell. See Your Creative Business.
  • Your writing will magically sell itself. I’m trying to think of one writer who was “discovered”, or who magically sold his writing without selling… nope, still thinking. Writing a book, or writing anything, and finding someone else to sell it for you? Illusion. Bestselling writers, before they were bestsellers, had to SELL their writing to editors who believed in them. And then they had to market their writing, after that. No writing sells itself.

More magical thinking: you can get others to “sell” for you. Literary agents (don’t get me started on that one) and affiliates spring to mind. However, there’s a catch, and I’m not talking about their commissions. You have to sell to them, before they’ll sell for you, and even after they’re selling, you need to keep providing material for them which will help them to sell your writing.

How to sell your writing online: two essential tips

I use a simple mantra: create, and promote. You need to create, or you won’t have goods to sell. Every trader needs goods to sell. Traders aim to buy cheap, and sell dear.

The difference between what a salable item costs the trader (to buy, and to sell) and the trader’s profit on that item is the margin. As a general rule, ten per cent is an excellent margin. Many businesses trade profitably with much smaller margins than that.

A creative business produces goods, and sells those goods. Your margin is the difference between what something costs you to produce, and what you can sell it for.

Top tip: a creative person aims to keep as many rights in his goods as he can. Ideally, all rights. So he sells copies of his goods directly to buyers, who have the right to read and view the work, but no other rights. If a creative person “sells” his goods to others to sell, he LICENSES specific rights in his goods, rather then selling his goods outright.

A creative person may also create “works done for hire” which means that he sells all the rights in whatever he creates. (Most creatives start out this way, then transition to selling copies, and licensing rights as soon as they can – they want to increase their margins.)

Tip 1. Create and offer your writing for sale.

See above. Creatives create what we sell. Creation always needs to come first, otherwise we have nothing to sell. Keep this in mind, because selling, once you become comfortable with it, can take up lots of time.

Always give yourself plenty of time for creation. Remember your margin, too. When you’re starting out your margins will be slim.

Once you’ve created something, you need to make it as EASY as possible for people to buy your writing. That’s why Amazon’s KDP is wonderful for writers. Amazon does it all for you. (Delivers your goods, takes the money.) However, Amazon doesn’t market your writing on its own: you have to help.

Which brings us to…

Tip 2. Promote.

Promotion is marketing. However, marketers will tell you that promotion is only one aspect of marketing. It’s true. However, it’s the one aspect of marketing that writers get stuck on, when there’s no need for it.

So, there you have it. To sell your writing online, you need to do two things – create the goods you want to sell, and promote them. It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.

If you can get your head around selling your writing, and can clear misconceptions out of the way, you can make a great living at it. Remember, there’s no ceiling on your income – just run your creative business… creatively. :-)

Get Help With Your Creative Business

Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into ProfitsYour Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits does what it’s name implies. It helps you to turn your creativity into a real business. If you suspect that you don’t have a handle on how it works, you need this program.

Tip: our current launch offering ends in 24 hours.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.