Full Time Writer: Develop A Great Writing Career

Want to become a full time writer? It’s easier than its ever been. This week’s offerings will help you to develop a great writing career.

Full Time Writer: Develop A Great Writing Career

The two things you need to become a full time writer: writing and buyers.

Essentially, to become a full time writer you need two things:

  • Writing which sells;
  • Clients and/ or readers who buy enough of your writing so that you have a full time income.

Nothing else matters. No, you don’t need a website or a blog, although obviously they help.

Let’s look at those two things in a little more detail.

1. Writing which SELLS.

You’re a writer. Therefore you need writing to sell.

In our article on the one big secret, we mentioned Ryan:

I asked him: “What did you write today?” He told me he hadn’t written anything. He’s sent out a few queries, and he’s waiting to hear from the editors.

I suggested that to get paid like a professional, Ryan needs to develop a writing process which focuses on writing.

With my writing students, I find that producing — writing stuff — is their one big challenge. If you can produce, you can get clients and readers. And you can make a full time income, which means you can become a full time writer.

 2. Clients/ readers who buy your writing.

Once you’ve got writing which sells, finding buyers and/ or readers isn’t much of a challenge. Where writers go astray is that they try to get the buyers/ readers first. They want some sign that an audience will magically appear, and buy, before there’s anything to buy. Needless to say, this tactic works poorly.

After 30 years of working with clients, writing magazine articles, and writing books, I know one thing for sure: your clients and readers don’t know what they want until they see it.

When you’re getting writing clients, you need stuff to show. This means that you can say — I can do this for you, or you need something like this. If you haven’t got anything to show, your prospective clients will brush you off.

When you’re writing short stories, novels, nonfiction ebooks, and even reports, it’s obvious that you need the products for your readers to buy. Writers however tend to want a guarantee: will the book that I started last week sell?

Just about anything will sell. I’ve seen ebooks in the top ten in various niche categories which are selling well on the Kindle book store overall, so I can say that with absolute confidence. These books may not appeal to me, but these days, on Amazon and the other ebook retailers, you have a global audience, so the answer to will it sell is — probably. But only if you finish it and publish it.

This week’s offerings: the help you need to become a full time writer.

 NEW: Instant Coaching (Phone Consults)

Writers have asked for a program which gives them solutions, when they want them, and with Instant Coaching, you get those solutions. Coaching is via phone, or Skype. If you choose Skype, we can record your session, so that you have it available on MP3.

Web Content Creator: Dominate the Web — a complete package in content creation

A tsunami of content flows onto the Web easy and every day. Someone needs to write that content. Becoming a content creator is a great way to develop a full time income.

It’s never been easier to become a full time writer. Write stuff that people want, and you’ll make a great income. Be aware that there’s no ceiling on your income either. Most importantly of all: your work will be your pleasure, and that means that it isn’t work at all. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Marketing for Writers: Get Hired Via Your Blog

Marketing for Writers: Get Hired via Your Blog

Marketing for writers is a tricky topic, because most of us hate marketing with a passion. We’re writers, why oh why do we need to be marketers too? I feel your pain, but… Here’s why: in 2014, there are millions of writers around the globe. Writing has become competitive, because there are so many people who claim to be “writers.”

Putting it bluntly: if you don’t market, others are eating your lunch.

Today, we can’t afford to stand above it all, waiting and hoping for prospective clients to get in touch. Even if you have a full order book, your clients may cut back on their business, or change their business model. Publications die. You need to market consistently.

Your blog is central to marketing, it’s your marketing hub.

Blogging’s long been a great marketing tool for writers. For example, Jesse, one of my writing students, is making over $8,000 a month from one simple marketing strategy: his blog.

Marketing for Writers: How To Turn Your Blog Into a Money Machine.

Jesse has turned his blog into a money machine. You can do it too. More on that in a moment.

Choose Your Targets: You’re Auditioning for Them.

Start by deciding for whom you want to write. If you’re just starting out, you may say you’ll write for anyone who’ll hire you. Sadly, “everyone” ends up being no one. Decide to woo your prospects, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

I’ve often talked about the magazine I wooed for nine months, before the editor finally called me. Not only did he give me an article to write, he hired me to be a regular monthly contributor. I wrote for that magazine for 15 years, through several editors.

Here’s why I was able to do that: I loved the subject matter, studied it endlessly, and always read the magazine cover to cover. Writing for them wasn’t a chore, it was a pleasure.

These days, it’s much easier to woo people. You can get in touch with anyone, with little effort. The easiest way is by doing what Jesse did: he wrote about his prospects on his blog, then he let them know he’d written about them.

Action tip: make a list of companies and publications for which you would love to write. Add prospects to the list as you come across them.

Your Blog Is Your Sales Tool. No Blog? No Problem.

If you’d like to use Jesse’s strategy, you need a blog. You can use any blog for this strategy, no matter what you’re blogging about on the blog right now. Just start a new “Hire Me” category on your blog.

If you haven’t got a blog, you can create a blog in moments. Sign up for Medium, or Quora, the Q and A site. Or you can just blog on your Google+ account.

One tip: if you’re blogging on a website you don’t own (that is, you haven’t registered a domain name, and don’t have a Web hosting account), keep regular backups of your blog posts. Companies get bought – viz Posterous, whose principals were hired by twitter… or they close down.

You’ve got a blog. Great. Now it’s time to make yourself memorable.

Jesse’s Experience: Make Yourself Memorable.

Even just a couple of years ago, a writer could create a blog about whatever, and you’d get a certain amount of traffic because of the RSS feed, and search engines.

That’s no longer the case. In 2014, it’s a real challenge for writers with a new blog to get traffic. It will come, but you need to put in the effort first.

As Jesse found, there’s a shortcut.

Remember wooing? In time-honored fashion, writers who are wooing clients send them query letters. They’ve done that for decades, and they do it today, although today it will be a query email. A query is a proposal. Basically it’s you saying to a company or publication… Hey, want a story about this? Or, would you like me to write about that for you?

Write for Results: Write, and Reach Out.

Jesse says: “My process is simple. I choose companies I want to write for. Then I develop a couple of blog posts about them. Before I publish a post, I send them a quick message introducing myself. If they have a blog, I comment on the blog. A few days later, I contact them to let them know about the post.”

Most companies and publications have alerts for their names, so when you write about them, they will acknowledge you. However, Jesse doesn’t stop there. Next, he sends his prospects a query (proposal), offering to write something or other for them.

Can you see how clever this is? Jesse auditions for his prospects; he writes about them. He says: “If a company has a blog, writing about them is easy. You simply respond to something that you saw on their blog. Mostly I do a review of the company, researching news reports, customers, and products. I get responses because few writers take the time to get to know the companies they want to work with.”

Everything’s Personal Today. Your Marketing Needs to Be Personal Too.

These days, everything is personal. Google tracks you around the Web. If you’re researching a product you want to buy, you’ll see ads for that product appearing on many websites you visit. Your marketing needs to be personal too.

Choose companies you’d like to work with, and write about them. Then get in touch with them to let them know, and query them – offer to write something for them. When you personalize your marketing, not only do you get to work with the companies you choose, you’ll become a lot more confident too.

Give Jesse’s process a try. It’s marketing for writers which works.

Want to make the most of new opportunities? SYWON 2 (Sell Your Writing Online Now) helps you to do that.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Exercises: Try Them, They Work

Writing Exercises: Try Them, They Work

Writing exercises can be immensely useful, but few writers bother to do them until they hit a block. That’s a shame, because writing exercises can not only help you to improve your writing, they can make writing less stressful too.

A few months back, I published Writing Exercises: Tap the Other 99.99 Per Cent of Your Brain, and I’ve just updated it with another exercise:

I’ve found Gabriele Rico’s clustering concept immensely useful. Clustering works much as your brain does, by associations. Start with a word, and circle it in the center of your page.

clusteringYou can see that the seed word in the cluster on the left is “turn”. You can choose any word you like. I use clustering to develop characters in fiction; my seed word is the character’s name.

Easy Writing Exercises: Start with Morning Pages.

Here’s an easy exercise, which works well if you’re struggling with your writing: Morning Pages. They’re three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing which you do first thing in the morning. Yes, just grab a cup of coffee, and start writing. :-)

Morning Pages prime the pump of your writing. Whenever I do Morning Pages, I find that all my writing flows more smoothly all day. If I feel that I’m not as productive as I could be, I get back to doing my pages every morning.

Here’s what happens with Morning Pages. For the first week or two, you’ll find that your pages are odd. They tend to be full of complaints. Gradually, you’ll find that there’s a shift, and your pages start to be more useable.

There’s a danger here, however. You may have a couple of days in which you turn out material which is perfect for a project. That’s fine. However, be aware that your pages need to be stream-of-consciousness writing.  Otherwise, you’ll find that instead of Morning Pages, you’re working on your “real” writing, and Morning Pages will soon stop being effective writing exercises.

Let me know how Morning Pages — and other writing exercises — work for you.

And if you have your own exercises, please share them. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

You’re a Writer Entrepreneur (Vanishing Guides)

Writing: Entrepreneur Bundle

It’s time to take the next step in your writing career, and become a writer entrepreneur. What does a “writer entrepreneur” do? He uses his writing skills to forge his own path as a writer.

He sets his own hours, and his own rates. And he makes an excellent income.

Do you want your writing freedom?

I work with writers every day. Many are frustrated. They have challenges with their clients, with their mindset, and with completing work. They have little creative freedom. They fail to see that opportunities are all around them, which they could take advantage of easily.

Want to do your own thing? Our latest Vanishing Guides bundle can help.

The Writer Entrepreneur Bundle: for you, if you’re ready for the next step.

The Writer Entrepreneur Bundle contains three essential products to help you to write articles (the foundation of Web writing); to help you to sell with easy-to-learn copywriting skills; and to help you to create info products.

We recommend these writing guides to writers who want to be free to create what they want, and charge appropriately.

 Do more with your Kindle products.

I’m thrilled that we have so many self-publishing opportunities today. However, most writers upload their ebooks to Amazon, and call it done. Sadly, they’re not even aware that they’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re creating some ebooks on home schooling. You’re home schooling your kids, and you have a lot of great information you share. You know that one book sells another, so you’ve published five ebooks on home schooling.

You could do a lot more. You could create workbooks, and coaching classes, and sell them on the Web. Not only would these additional products help you to promote your Amazon ebooks, they would sell on their own, too.

Much as I love Amazon, it’s a crowded marketplace. It’s a challenge to get traction. Some of my students are doing well on Amazon, but they could be doing better, if they took advantage of the opportunity to create and sell info products.

Grab it before it’s gone…

As you may know, our Vanishing Guides are available for a limited time before they vanish for good. The Entrepreneur Bundle is available until July 29.

Enjoy. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Kindle Fiction: How to Write Your First Short Story

Kindle Fiction: How to Write Your First Short Story

You want to write Kindle fiction, and you’ve heard that writers can sell short stories on Amazon. However, you’re unsure how to start. How do you write a short story which sells?

Recently I was working with a couple of writers who were convinced that they couldn’t write fiction. One said, “I don’t have any imagination,” the other said: “I don’t know where to start.” Everyone has an imagination, and more to the point, you can train your imagination to provide you with characters and plots.

We’ll look at “where to start” in this article.

1. Start Your Short Story With a Character.

I’ve been writing fiction for so long that I usually start with a plot. Someone wants something, needs it desperately, and is determined to get it, no matter what. However, if you’re new to fiction, the easiest way to start a story is with a character.

That character may be someone you know, someone in the news, or even a character in a book. The only requirement is that you “know” this person. You know how they’re likely to behave in a situation.

Alternatively, close your eyes, and see what your imagination tosses at you. Say to yourself: “I need someone to write about…” An image of a person will appear – and hey presto, you have a character.

2. Start Your Short Story With a Motive.

You can also start with a motive. My favorite motivational tool is the seven deadly sins: wrath, avarice, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. You can create many different kinds of stories from these archetypal character flaws, because they provide motivation.

Let’s say you chose wrath – anger as a motivation. Who’s angry?

If you’re writing a children’s story, you could write about a little boy or girl whose parents are divorcing. The child acts out. Who helps the child? Perhaps it’s a teacher, or an aunt or uncle. With this kind of story, the child, and the adults around him, learn a life lesson as a result of an incident in the story.

Perhaps the child runs away because he’s so upset and angry. If you choose this as your incident, the story may be more adult than a children’s story; it’s your choice. :-)

If you’re writing a romance (more on genre in a moment), think about who’s angry. Perhaps a young couple is making preparations for marriage. They’re living together, and are discovering different things they dislike about the other person. One of them is angry enough to call off the wedding. What happens? Do they get back together?

3. Start Your Short Story With Something That Intrigues You.

What intrigues you? It can be almost anything. Anytime you think: why did that happen? What caused that? you may have the seed of a story.

In Australia, the trial of Gerard Baden-Clay for the murder of his wife Alison has been in the news. The story captured public attention.

Referring back to our character flaws and motivation, what motivated the errant husband to murder his wife? Did he murder her in a fit of anger? (He denies murder.) Or did he murder her for lust or greed?

Check your local newspaper. People do weird things all the time. You can read your local paper and find the seeds of dozens of stories.

4. Start Your Short Story With a Genre.

Readers have favorite genres. I love Westerns and will read just about anything with cowboys and horses. I also love Victorian fiction, so stories set in the past appeal to me.

If you have a favorite genre, think about the tropes in that genre. Or about your favorite novel. What stirs your imagination about it?

Currently there’s a huge writing industry that’s sprung up around Jane Austen’s novels. Austen’s novels are in the public domain, because they were published a couple of centuries ago. For example, here’s the top 20 Jane Austen-inspired books of 2011.

If you love Austen, and want to use her characters in your short stories, go for it. Millions of people love Austen, so your stories have lots of potential readers.

So, there we have it. Four ways to start your short story. Give them a try. You may be surprised at the Kindle fiction you create… and sell. :-)

Want to write short stories and publish them? Fiction Fiesta gives you everything you need. Just follow the step by step process.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Kindle Unlimited and Ebook Sales

Kindle Unlimited and Ebook Sales
I’ve been receiving questions about Kindle Unlimited, and what it will mean for ebook sales. Since the program’s so new, it’s impossible to say. However, I LOVE ebooks, so anything which brings ebooks to a wider audience is devoutly to be encouraged.

Here’s what we know.  Kindle Unlimited costs around $10 a month, with a 30-day free trial. Currently, it’s for US customers only. It looks like a great deal, and since I read at least a book a day (I’m a fast reader), I’ll be joining when it’s made available in our part of the world. When you subscribe, you can borrow ten ebooks at any one time. Just return your ebooks once they’re read, or if you decide not to read them.

Currently, there are some 600,000 titles in Kindle Unlimited. Presumably, these are the titles which were already enrolled in KDP Select.

 Kindle Unlimited and ebook sales…

For your ebooks to be available for the Kindle Unlimited program, they must be enrolled in KDP Select. That means, that if you want to be part of Kindle Unlimited, you must give Amazon exclusivity. That may well be a deal-breaker for many authors. Some authors make more money on their titles on the other ebook retailers in aggregate than they do on Amazon.

In Kindle Unlimited, you get paid when someone reads over ten per cent of a downloaded ebook, out of a pool of funds. The big question of course, is how much will you be paid per book?

David Gaughran reports:

There’s actually no way of knowing right now. Authors had the same questions when KDP Select launched in December 2011, and I remember estimates ranging from $0.30 to $2. In the time since, borrow payouts have averaged $2.19. It seemed like Amazon was always keen to keep the rate around $2, adding and subtracting money from the fixed pool each month to keep things at that level.

Currently, there are many more questions than answers about Kindle Unlimited. This means that some authors are freaking out… Don’t. :-)

What to do now: is it worth switching your entire Amazon catalogue to KDP Select, so it’s available in Kindle Unlimited?

In a word, no. Your milage may vary, of course. :-)

I uploaded a new title to Amazon a few hours ago, and I ignored KDP Select, as I’ve been doing for the complete series of ebooks of which this latest title is a part. I’ve made my marketing plans for the series, and they never included KDP Select, because I  publish the series elsewhere. If I wanted to enroll the titles in KDP Select, I’d have to take them down from other retailers, and it’s not worth the hassle.

I’m outlining a novel which I may serialize in KDP Select, so the parts end up in Kindle Unlimited. I’ve written a couple of series for ghostwriting clients, and they’ve done reasonably well. This particular novel would serialize easily, and once I’ve written a first draft, I’ll look at publishing the first three or four parts, to see how they do in Kindle Unlimited.

Kindle Unlimited: good or bad for authors?

Some of the authors I’ve chatted with are nervous about Kindle Unlimited, but I’m not. I tend to be optimistic, and as I’ve said, I’m happy about anything which brings ebooks to a wider audience.

Nate at The Digital Reader’s published Is Kindle Unlimited Good or Bad for Authors – Six Viewpoints – it’ss worth reading for a sense of what others are thinking.

What we know for sure is that Amazon’s not resting on its laurels. Kindle Unlimited was inevitable, because Scribd and Oyster are using the subscription model. My feeling is that Amazon’s been working on this longer than those two services have been available anyway.

It’s very early days with Kindle Unlimited. Look at the service as another way to market your ebooks.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Fiction: Short Stories Into Novels

Writing Fiction: Short Stories Into Novels

You’re writing fiction. You’ve just completed a short story, and the world you created in the story intrigues you. How do you turn your short story into a novel? A romance fiction student asked me that last week, and I thought it an excellent topic for a blog post.

When turning short stories into novels, you have two options. You can expand a story you’ve written into novel length, or you can set a novel in the world of the story you created.

Turning Short Stories Into Novels.

I recently completed a short story that I could easily turn into a novel. The story has three main characters. We meet another couple of characters, and we hear about several other characters.

Without bending my brain too much, I could easily expand the short story. I’d just need to give the main characters more scenes with each other, and with the minor characters too. Everyone has an agenda, so the all the characters’ conflicts could be developed.

I’d need to add many scenes. We looked at the number of scenes in short stories, novellas and novels. Currently my short story has seven scenes.

I could easily come up with another 50 to 60 scenes by developing the characters, and starting the story earlier. The short story starts with a minor scene just before the two main characters meet. Two characters with whom the female character is in conflict have just left. So I could start the story showing the conflict between those characters in a couple of scenes.

Look at your own stories, and think about how you might develop them, to turn them into novels.

Tip: most of the short stories you write will be just that – short stories. You write them, and you’re happy with them. You publish them to Amazon. Occasionally however, you’ll come across stories which could be more.

Using a Short Story World to Craft a Novel.

We’ve talked about writing in series. Perhaps you’ve written a short story or three, and you like the world you created in the stories. Maybe the characters live in a small town, or in a large city. Or one of the characters works for a company, and you feel that there’s so much conflict in the world you created, that you could use that world as the background of a novel.

By “world”, we don’t just mean the setting. We include characters too. In the story we discussed above, a couple of the minor characters who never appear in the story, would make wonderful main characters in a novel. I may yet tell their stories in a couple of novels.

Tip: When You’re Writing a Short Story, Write the Story.

You main goal when you write fiction is to complete it. My students find that finishing a project can be a big challenge. When you’re writing a short story, and think: I could turn this into a novel, resist the impulse to start expanding your story immediately.

You’ll get into a muddle. Complete the short story first. Publish it, and get some distance from it. You can always turn it into a novel later, but only if you complete the story first. If you give in to temptation to expand a story while you’re writing it, chances are that you won’t complete anything. And yes, I speak from my own experiences as well as my students’.

Have fun writing fiction. If a story has potential, it’s exciting to take the story, and develop it further.

Here’s a graphic to summarize the concepts…

Short Stories Into Novels

Want to write short stories and publish them? Fiction Fiesta gives you everything you need. Just follow the step by step process.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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