Become a Writer By Sharing

Become a Writer By Sharing

As you may know, going forward, we’ll be focusing more on entrepreneurial writing — growing a real business with your writing skills. I know that readers come to this blog, wondering whether/ if/ how they can become a writer.

These days, whether they like it or not, almost everyone everywhere is a writer of some kind. If you want to make a living at it, you need to decide what you’ll do, rather than what you’ll write. If enough people become interested in what you’re doing, your writing will make money. You can promote things to them, and sell products to them.

Your options are limitless. Your business is either directly, or tangentially, on writing, with something extra. If tangentially, you might become a YouTuber, for example. I’ve been checking out stuff on YouTube, and judging by their views and their blogs, and what they’re selling and promoting, many YouTubers are making a living there. They’re not YouTube stars, with millions of views, they’re using the YouTube platform to gain interest in what they do.

Stop focusing on writing, start thinking about what you’re doing, and what you LOVE

What do you LOVE? Everyone loves something. You need to find that thing that you love, and enjoy writing about.

Let’s look at some examples.

Ryan Bidduph travels and blogs about it all: his travels, his blogging, his money-making ventures.

Another travel blog, A Sort of Interesting Life, focuses on life on a narrowboat; a canal boat. Dan Brown’s YouTube channel is engaging. He’s written several Kindle ebooks.

Mrs Brimbles blogs about journaling, art, and much more. She has a great YouTube channel.

Of course, there are also all the lifestyle “mommy bloggers”. They blog about their lives, and get sponsorships from many different companies. Blogger Lucy Aitken Read wrote an ebook about her “no poo” method of growing a healthy head of hair without shampoo.

All these people do what they love. Their lives are interesting, and people become aware of them, and want to learn more about their adventures. Jackpot. :-)

Write, and share

Nick Stephenson writes ebook thrillers, and writes about Kindle publishing.

So, what can YOU write and share? Start thinking about it. Your writing is secondary. You don’t need to become a great writer. You just need to love something, and share what you love with others.

Does it sound too simple? It truly is. With millions of people online, you can find an audience (or as some people call it, a “tribe”) which loves the same things you do. Or at least, is interested in what you do.

Do things. Write about them. Focus less on the writing, and more on what you find interesting. You’ll become a writer by sharing.

Here’s an excellent resource to help you to master writing.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Publishing: Oh, the Horror

Publishing is a business. Wow, stating the blindingly obvious, right? Yes, but many writers have a strange view of publishing. Publishers (and editors and literary agents) are seen as close to god-like. Carolyn Jewel will tell you what happens when the you-know-what hits the fan in a publishing company.

The Flush Pile – An Author’s Perspective

It’s not pretty, but it happens. As Carolyn says:

If you have books with a publisher in the Flush Pile, here’s what’s quite likely:
1. No, you are never going to be paid money owed to you.
2. Yes, you could well lose your books. Gone.

Self-publishing’s starting to look pretty good to you, isn’t it? ;-)

Something else to be aware of. You may not hear about problems with a publisher until it’s too late, and you’ve signed a contract. Viz the lawsuit that Ellora’s Cave has filed against Dear Author. Authors keep their mouths shut when there are problems, because it’s the safest option.

Thanks to The Passive Voice for the link.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Websites for Writers: Mediumly Useful

Websites for Writers: Mediumly Useful

You’re a freelance writer. Do you have a website? Please don’t flinch. Websites for writers are still a contentious issue, and I’ve no idea why that should be so. Your website is your silent salesperson. It helps clients to find you.

Of course, writers aren’t alone in dragging their feet on websites. Many companies do the same thing; they set up a Facebook page, and that’s their “website”.

You don’t need a website, necessarily, as long as you have a profile of some kind online, as we discussed in:

There’s another option too, Medium. Medium is a mix between a blog, and a social media network. I’m lukewarm on it, but then I have lots of websites. If you don’t want to set up a site, not even a Tumblr or Blogger blog, Medium might be perfect for you.

Medium provides a fun writing experience…

I did post something on Medium, just to try it out. It’s a fun writing experience; sophisticated and elegant.

As Marcin Wichary, who works at Medium, points out:

Medium’s editor is easy to use and contains just the right amount of formatting options. It’s flexible enough to allow me to write anything from a few casual paragraphs to an epic tale of thousands of words and photos — but not so extensive that I’d spend hours fiddling with settings, only to put together something that looks bad and makes me unhappy.

… BUT…

There’s always a “but”, and in Medium’s case, there are several.

Let’s look at them.

  1. You don’t own anything. Chances are that Medium won’t lie down and die, as Posterous did, when its developers got hired by Twitter. Medium’s founder, Ev Williams, who founded Blogger and Twitter, (probably) won’t let that happen;
  2. You’re one in a crowd. Your articles don’t stand out as being by anyone in particular. It’s much like Google+ in that way. Readers are notoriously blind to bylines, so unless you link out to other properties, your chances of being discovered by prospective clients are limited;
  3. You may not get much traffic. Kenneth Reitz in “Why I Left Medium”, found his traffic declining when he moved his content to Medium.

Reitz said:

As months went by, I found myself happily writing as my traffic slowly declined.

This isn’t the end of the world, but here’s the kicker — I couldn’t do anything about it.

Writers: You don’t need Medium. You can host your own blog on your own domain with lots of other tools and hosts. Be your own “platform”.

Medium pays some writers (but not well)

This intrigued me. Apparently Medium hires some high-profile writers, and pays them with clicks. Here’s a story about it on Gigaom.

As a rule of thumb, don’t write for any companies which pay you with clicks. (If you have your own website, you can get paid for clicks, by AdSense and other advertising networks.)

I like Medium, I think it’s gorgeous, but it’s only marginally useful for writers. It’s better than nothing. You CAN make it work for you, if you treat it like a social network. However, you need to ask yourself: will any of my prospective clients see this article?

If you’ve tried Medium, I’d love to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment, or contact me on Google+ or Twitter.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writer Coaching: Team Up Closing (24 Hours)

Writing Coaching: It's Team Up Time Again

Are you ready for 2015? Our final Team Up session of writer coaching closes in 24 hours. It’s your chance to get coaching at a fraction of its usual cost.

Already enrolled:

  • A writer who wants to write Kindle short stories (he’s heard they’re profitable, but he’s a newspaper journalist who’s only ever written non-fiction;
  • A writer who’s struggling to complete a book — he can’t get motivated to complete a couple of chapters;
  • A writer who wants to build her client list. She has challenges setting boundaries, and her clients are taking advantage of her inexperience;
  • A blogger who needs to monetize his blog — he has an amazing blog, which is costing him time and energy and could be earning for him;
  • A writer who’s got huge bills he needs to pay, but feels uncomfortable with self-promotion…
  • A writer who… ??? (Fill in the blank. What’s YOUR biggest challenge?)

 Turn your writing career around, or build a career

I love working with writers. Everyone’s an individual, with their own challenges. No one needs to struggle alone. Although I provide plenty of motivation and inspiration for writers in my various blogs, sometimes you need help which is specific to your situation.

In Team Up, you choose a goal, and we work together to help you to achieve it. You can ask any questions you like. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out… Although I usually do know. :-)

Over the course of my career I’ve received lots of help from colleagues and mentors. Team Up is my way of giving back, and paying forward.

Let’s write together. Of course, our interactions are completely confidential.

Questions? Ask, using the form below.

Enroll in Team Up today.

 

Become a Better Writer (and Profit)

5 Ways to Become a Better WriterI just posted 5 Ways to Become a Better Writer.

I’m posting it here too, because it’s important: concerns about not being “a good writer” underlie most writers’ struggles. Pay attention. When you KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’re becoming a better writer every day, it will boost your confidence.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Writing Income In a Week

5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Writing Income In a Week

You want to increase your writing income. What if there were five things you could do over the weekend, to make more money next week? There are.

I’ve been working with a coaching student we’ll call Ellie. Ellie’s been freelancing for a couple of years. Normally you’d expect that Ellie’s income would be increasing. She has more experience, she’s getting better clients, she knows how to prospect… Ellie should be excited, because she knows there’s no ceiling on her income: her income can increase, every year.

On the contrary. Ellie’s on her way to making less money this year than she made last year. It’s a bad time for her too; her partner had an accident and hasn’t been working.

I created a quick little set of tasks for Ellie to implement over the weekend. These five little things aren’t a complete solution of course. However, they’ll give Ellie some confidence, will shake things up, and will get her moving in the right direction, which is upward, ever upward. They may do the same for your writing business.

By the way, if you’re struggling like Ellie, take advantage of Team Up while it’s available, so that you can take control of your career. Get a plan; get motivated, and crush it, as Gary V would say. :-)

1. Raise Your Rates by Ten Per Cent

Simple, but effective. If you haven’t raised the fees for your writing services in a year, raise them today.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to do this. Yesterday I did our weekly supermarket shopping, and my favorite brand of coffee is suddenly a dollar dearer. No one asked me whether I wanted to pay more. I’ve got a choice: pay more, or drink an inferior brand.

Nor do you need to make a fuss about it. Just raise your rates. I’d be surprised if any of your clients quibbled about this. Your expenses go up. You need to charge more. So you do.

You’d be shocked at the writers I speak to who haven’t raised their rates in half a decade. Please run your writing like a business, and raise your rates.

2. Add Additional Writing Services

You’re blogging and are writing other content for your clients. What else could you offer? Go to elance.com or another outsourcing website and browse the projects. These projects are posted by companies who are hiring writers, right now.

You’re sure to find services you could offer, which you haven’t considered. For example, Ellie was creating Web content for clients, but hadn’t considered ghostwriting. As you can see from my writing journals, ghostwriting forms a big part of my writing day.

Clients look for ghostwriters for many different kinds of projects. Books of course, but also articles to be published under their name in trade journals; company histories; book proposals; presentations; speeches… Most people hate writing. They’ll get out of it when they can.

Most of your clients aren’t even aware that ghostwriters exist. Let them know. Ellie picked up a couple of projects the same day, once she’d outlined her new services and contacted her current clients.

3. Create a Mailing List

The biggest mistake I see freelancers – both new and established – make is that they don’t build a mailing list. They send a final invoice for a project, then never think about the client again. They could triple their income with a mailing list, because if someone’s hired you, chances are he’ll hire you again.

I’ve used aweber for my mailing lists for a decade. Create a list today. Send out regular mailings. Let your clients know what you’ve been doing. They’re like you. They forget your name once a project’s done. Remind them.

4. Got a Blog? Publish an Ebook to Promote Your Writing Business (Use the Material You Already Have)

If you’ve got a blog, you’ve got content. You can do lots with that content. The very least you can do is revamp it, and publish it on KDP. Amazon will expose you to an entirely new market.

Ensure that your ebook’s valuable to your target audience; that is, to quality clients (see below.) Put your URL in the front matter, as well as in the back matter. Then forget about it. Look on the ebook as a little salesperson for your writing business. It will take a few months, but you’ll get enquiries from it.

5. Set Fire to the Dead Wood

You’ve got dead wood in your client list. These are the clients who cost you time and money. You’ve heard of the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80–20 rule: 80 per cent of your income comes from 20 per cent of your clients.

Fire the dead wood. If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ve got a tribe of clients who give you tiny projects, then make you chase them for payment. Make a list of them. When they approach you with a gig, send them to another writer.

Next, make a list of your best clients. Study it. What industry are they in? Consider ways you could find more great clients, just like them. Here’s an easy way: give them a call. Ask them to refer you.

So there we have it. Do these five things. You’ll increase your writing income.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Pinterest Freebie and Final Team Up for 2014

Pinterest Freebie and Final Team Up for 2014

We’ve got two goodies for you today. Firstly, as you may know, I’m a huge Pinterest fan. I encourage my clients and my students to use this amazing resource. Especially now. Pinterest has become even more useful since its recent Search revamp:

When you type a search term into the search query box, Pinterest pops up suggestions in a slider. I typed “novel writing”. My query became tags; more tags appeared, in a slider. When you click on a tag in the slider, it’s added to the search query, to narrow your search.

For my query, the site offered these tags on the slider: process, ideas, projects, prompts, romance, and an arrow, offering even more tags.

Check it out, you’ll find LOTS of uses for the new Pinterest Search function. :-)

Pinterest freebie is no longer available.

Final Team Up Personal Coaching for 2014

Next, we’ve got our final Team Up personal coaching sessions for 2014. Enrollments are open until September 30. It’s your chance to get personal coaching at a price that anyone can afford.

We last ran Team Up a few months back, and it was meant to be the final session for 2014. However, we’ve had so many requests that it’s only fair to run it again. We’re coming up to the busy holiday season, so this your chance to kick your writing career into gear for the holiday, and for 2015.

I always enjoy Team Up, because I get the chance to write with both new and established writers. It helps me, as well as the writers, because I can see the challenges which writers are having at first hand.

Enjoy. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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