Posts Tagged ‘freelance writer’

Filling The Funnel

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Since my last post in October of 2014, a lot has happened. First of all I was offered a job in sales and marketing which I took up on the 20th of that month. I was working for a small, family run security company; lovely people and the potential to grow with the business however, fate took a hand and I find myself back doing what I know and love. Ghostwriting. In a nutshell the company had a lot of work come in over Christmas which they did and paid their staff but the clients have yet to pay them. Consequently they can’t carry on without the money to pay wages and bills, so they had to let staff go. It is a pity as I enjoyed working with the owner and they were good to me over Christmas when I had a heart attack and needed a few days off. Still, I confess I prefer the uncertainty of working for myself but having my time to use as I please to the regular, if rather small, pay cheque.

So what now? How do I recoup the lost 14 weeks of no funnel filling? I have poured nothing in the way of prospects into the sales funnel so there is no new projects dribbling out the bottom. I need to start filling the funnel, getting out there online and pitching my services to potential clients. I did this for the company I just worked for, so why not do it for my own business? It is how it is done and without it you aren’t a freelance writer, just a writer with a lot of free time to fill. I will be looking at my marketing mix, editing my existing products, creating some new ones, making things happen. Stay tuned!

Keeping Busy

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

As a freelance writer I only make any money when I am writing for other people… and they pay me. Cashflow is always a balancing act in any business and none more so in the writing game. Ghostwriting/co-writing a 60,000 word novel can take months and you don’t usually get paid up front. Getting paid is the key, of course. I know very good writers who have full order books and work 12-14 hours a day but forget to put enough focus on getting paid for all their hard work.

At the moment I have two ghostwriting projects that I hope to complete before the end of October and get paid for… which should carry us over the Christmas-January period which is always pretty slow. I have two or three regular gigs writing articles for web sites and the tutoring but the college lecturing has fallen flat this year. It seems fewer people are enrolling in community college courses all round, not just the ones I offer. Fortunately having several income irons in the fire helps to flatten out the cashflow peaks and troughs.

When it comes to what I call ‘investment writing’, those books and publications I write for myself as the client in the hope they sell down the track (what most people refer to as writing a book, being an author etc); I have several projects still bubbling away on the back burners. The trip to Malaysia and the Philippines in April still needs to be written up as do the many story ideas that were generated by having flip flops on the ground over there. I have a couple of books that need editing, re-writing, up-dating and re-publishing, not to mention lots of web site maintenance. A writer’s work is never done!

 

 

Silver Linings

Friday, December 16th, 2011

As the academic year ends I am faced with a hiatus of some six weeks before the students I tutor return to school and nearly eleven weeks before I can expect any income from the next round of tutoring. My community college courses won’t start until early February and it will be one to two months before they bear any fruit, depending which courses run. Providing people sign up for them and they actually eventuate. Book sales are a bit of a mixed metaphor. Any Amazon Kindle income takes 40 days to clear the cheque and costs $15 for the service. I expect 30%US taxes will be withheld from the totals soon, too, making it even less lucrative. My other distributors haven’t gotten around to paying anything on sales to date and my Escape Artist pals in Panama are very hard to pin down for payments. They pay but it takes dozens of emails to make it happen. My WriteRighteam earnings come in sporadically and I am owed several hundred dollars from them and of course Adsense is a ‘who knows how much this month’ affair.

These are the very real issues a freelance writer/publisher/lecturer/tutor puts up with for the love of his craft and the ability to write for a living. Christmas is upon us and for many it is a time of not so good cheer as so much pressure seems to be brought to bear to have a good time, to eat and drink to excess and to buy presents galore. On top of that the unneeded extras such as Christmas crackers that are a waste of time and space on the table; I mean, who wears the silly paper hats anyway? Or keeps the rubbish plastic thing inside with the lame joke and what have you. I am so over that as my 13 year old daughter would colloquialise.

Six weeks of five kids at home means they will need airing from time to time and that costs money. You can only walk to the local park so often before even the dog says ’nuff! Going anywhere costs money, either for fuel and parking or train fares and often it is cheaper to drive and pay for parking than pay for seven train tickets. You have to be switched on and only travel on the Sunday Funday discount fare, pick free but fun destinations and take your own food and drink. It requires more thought, more planning and more preparation, in all, more effort and that is something we have been weaned off of in this day and age. Which is all thanks to those who make their money flogging all the effort saving stuff that costs so much. Sadly, too many have bought into the belief you need to spend ‘that much’, it is what things cost today and so on. You need to spend money otherwise you are depriving your kids.

Rubbish! Your kids want your time and your attention far more than a ride on a $2 roundabout or a new plastic made in China toy to add to the hundreds they already have littering their bedroom floor. Not so long ago people knew they were not rich and even not really middle class and they had values and standards and did the best they could with what they had and they had a fun time doing it. It wasn’t always easy but they survived and times got better but then we all fell for the advertising con, that we deserved to live the middle class lifestyle even if we had to go into debt to do it. In fact, we were failures if we didn’t have tons of credit.

We live credit card free and our only debt is out mortgage, the rest are expenses we can cut out as and when we need to. We are working class and proud of that, even though I have a Masters degree, we have a mortgage, private health insurance, own two old cars and a block of land in the country. We just don’t see the need to pretend we are what we aren’t, nor do we feel any shame in not being huge ‘successes’ with the big house, new cars and all the stress and worry of losing one or both incomes. My wife gets to stay home with the kids while they are young and once they are in school, she will work and her income will be a bonus we never had before, so we don’t plan to spend more like most but rather save it and make better use of the windfall.

Orwell wrote of the biggest fear of the middle class being that they would fall into the working class below them, but the reality was that they had nothing to lose ‘but their aitches’. In other words, the stress of trying to maintain a lifestyle because of peer pressure when the income didn’t allow it was phenomenal. The working class, on the other hand, were already down there and had nothing to lose, nowhere to go but up and thus none of the stress. Of course they had their own worries but in modern, 21st century Australia, we will neither starve nor want for medical care and we are very grateful for this. The worst that could happen is having to go to the Church Free Dinner Night on Wednesdays. That is a very well patronised charity project in my neighbourhood and lots of poor in our community avail of this generous and very Christian act. I know because when I drive past, the car park is always packed! How poor are we really if we can drive to the soup kitchens?

 

 

Diploma In eWriting

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

While my other site, ‘The eWriter Project‘ is cleared of hackers and robots, I will post this here for now. I was involved in a thread on LinkedIn Group ‘The Freelance Writer’s Connection’ that devolved into discussing the need for a degree to get some online writing jobs. I am going to develop a qualification for eWriters because there isn’t one I can find so far, to date. Not only that, many experienced and talented writers, without degrees (as I was until 2009) or the wherewithal to get one are missing out on writing work because of this lack of a piece of paper. as highly as I rate my MA(Writing) as an achievement and know it has improved my writing considerably, I was still pretty good before that and made a living from my words nevertheless.

This will be another part of my ongoing mission in life, The eWriter Project. I think I can contribute to writing and writers by helping them use this amazing gift we have, the Internet, to improve their lives and add value to the lives of those who read what they write. I hold the alphabet, language (particularly my own, English language, a true world language) and the ability to communicate in so many ways in the esteem of gifts from the Gods, or God if that is your deity. Knowledge not shared, not put to some practical use, even if this turns out not to be a success, is wasted. I haven’t any time to waste. I will never forget I died in 2009 and came back from the brink and as Louis L’Amour said, we might not know the hour of our going, but we can do something about the way in which we go. And the way we live before that hour.

Tom Clancy And Perry Gamsby’s Latest Best Seller Out Soon!

Friday, August 12th, 2011

OK, I am lying through my teeth here but I wanted to get your attention. I have just returned from perusing my local bookstore and once again I noted how so many books released of late are co-written. Tom Clancy has three other writers, so too Clive Cussler and James Patterson. Eric Van Lustbader is writing under the Robert Ludlum name with a Bourne sequel (call me a cynic but I expect to see it in the cinema soon). So many writers, big names, have ‘and Bob Nobody’ in much, much smaller font on the cover.

I know it is because the big name sells books and the big name is now so well off he or she no longer A) needs to work so hard and B) the publisher needs to make money. They get to pump out inventory that they are pretty sure will sell purely because of the BIG NAME on the cover. Few will notice the little name, or care. The style will be similar to the BIG NAME’s original and at best all they will have done is proof read and make a few suggestions. Given how meddlesome some editors are, completely revising the original manuscript at times, I would not be surprised if the true story was ‘little name and BIG NAME’s regular editor with BIG NAME simply agreeing to have his name on cover and take a cut.

OK, we know it is a business, we know it is all about selling paper but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Although, I am the first to confess that were I offered a crack at being a little name next to a BIG NAME, I would not knock it back. I am a freelance writer, a literary mercenary. I write for money just like BIG NAME does.

How To Write An eBook In 20 Hours

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Over on my Online Writing web site I have posted an article about writing eBooks and how it can be done consistently to ‘code’ in just 20 hours for a reasonably sized 12,000 word eBook. This is not the next great American novel, nor is it supposed to be the definitive text for anything. It is a researched, 100% original information product. Basically I allocate 5 hours to research and 15 hours for writing, editing and formatting with an hour or so in there for planning. The web brings everything one needs to know right to one’s fingertips and speeds up the process considerably. This is not a peer reviewed PhD thesis being written but it does require good habits and procedures to keep it legal, legible and legitimate enough to pay good money for.

The reason I wrote this article and divulged some of my many secrets to the world is that apart from not being able to handle all the eBook writing business out there anyway, I feel there is a genuine need for writers to be able to make a living online. The internet has opened up writing as a vocation for many of us yet at the same time it has sealed the fates of many writers who for decades earned their daily bread writing for print media. Media now closed down due to shifting reading habits and revenue streams, most particularly in the USA. Content mills churning out articles do pay for words albeit very little but even they are culling the herd and may be doing this because they are finding it harder to find paying customers. So much free content is offered by people just keen to be published but that is not the big issue.

ESL, or English as a Second Language writers in India, Pakistan, Africa and the Philippines in particular live in economies where $100 a week is a good income and more likely to be a monthly salary. So they can write 150-200 word articles for SEO programs, pumping them out to SPLOGs and blogs just to drive web site rankings and search results for $1 a throw. They can write four an hour and make more than a teacher does in their country. We in the west can’t compete and neither should we. The standard of these ‘articles’ is pretty poor with bad grammar and nonsensical gibberish too often the result. Finding better paying writing work on the other hand requires specialisation and effort. Too many freelance writers fail to spend as much time looking for work as doing it. They work out their rates based on how much they need per hour if every hour of the week they were producing words. Yet they should have an hourly rate that covers the time it takes to find that work and most don’t do this. When asked why, those who even know of this concept cite the market not paying anywhere near what they would have to charge. So either play the game their way or find a new game. I found a new game.

If you can write a 100% original information product, it doesn’t have to be the most in-depth account of the topic available online. It just has to be value for money if a price is placed on it or worth the effort if used as a value added incentive to get someone to opt in to a mailing list. You can also use it as a product around which you build a web site, then ‘flip’ the site and make money on the difference between what it cost to build the site and what you sold it for. If you can write there are plenty of people who can’t and they will pay for your content. You just need to find the right people for the content you have. Remember what I said above. Spend as much time working int he business finding work as working for the business grinding it. It is valuable time but too many of us think we are wasting writing time or doing stuff nobody is paying for. They are paying for your time, somewhere along the track but not in a dollar for minute exchange. You need to think differently or else you are stuck wondering why you can’t even compete for one cent a word articles with people who can’t get their articles, definite and indefinite, in the right order.

Real Writing Job Rip Offs

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

There is a mob out there that tried to comment and get that all important link to this site. They are a rip off site that makes out they have work for writers, real writing jobs dot con is their name. I won’t write it any better than that or else they get the link they want. Ah what the heck! in the name of passing on a warning, go visit real writing jobs and see for yourself.

It’s the old ‘if it seems too good to be true…’ deal. Writing jobs paying $100 an article… never happen. $500 a story? Tell me more! $25-$40 an hour to help improve movie scripts? Spielberg needs me! $25-$50 for a blog…. you have to be kidding! And they are. On the parent site (that link is to an affiliate I think) they just have $$$ instead of the actual amounts. Read the Terms and Conditions and Earnings Disclaimer. Plenty probably don’t.

Basically you pay ‘just’ $4.95 for the trial period.  If you don’t cancel within four days, on the eighth day they take out a one time payment of $77 from your credit card. There is no mention of what work you will get. The earnings disclaimer suggests they send you some ‘materials’ that you then use to obtain the work. I’m thinking an eBook on being a freelance writer, saying you can charge up to $100 an article etc. The disclaimer says there is no guarantee you make this money even if you follow the material etc.

Bottom line, another con job. Why do people do this and why do others fall for it? Those of us who are trying to help writers make a real living from their craft are often times dumped in the same sewer with these slime balls. If you want writing work, sign up on Elance.com or Odesk.com and compete for jobs that are listed with the budget in mind etc. You will see ‘articles’ go on average for $1 a pop for 150-250 words. You would be doing well to get $25 for a 300 word blog. I write eBooks of 12,000-15,000 words,including research and started off getting $450 for each one. I do better now I have established myself and am known for a quality product, but you have to start somewhere. I would like to get $1,000 an eBook and I am worth it but so far I haven’t found a client who will pay that for them. So you take what you can get.

These scumbags seem to have the same philosophy only they take and don;t give any value back. It is all a con, slippery terms and twisted words to make you think you are getting work when all you are doing is buying someone elses’. My bet is they plagiarized the ‘materials’ too.

I have sent in a request for more information. If they are genuine, I will not only apologize but make sure everyone I know who writes for money heads their way. But somehow I don’t think I will be writing that apology. Do you?

 

Contract eBook Writing

Friday, January 14th, 2011

I recently won a contract on Elance.com for the production of ten eBooks on topics relating to credit, finance, money and investing in Australia today. Without going into private details, the bidding was set by the client at under $500 an eBook as what they were willing to pay. I was fortunate that I was actually invited to bid for the job, based on the resume and blurb I had posted on Elance and the fact the American clients wanted an Australian writer.

Despite this requirement clearly stated, many writers from the USA, India, the Philippines and other countries bid for the work, over 80 in total. I feel very honoured I won the contract against such sterling competition from my freelance eWriting peers. In a nutshell, I have to write a 50 page eBook every two weeks. I was given the brief, came up with the titles and content ideas and have been left to get on with it. The clients are terrific to work for and the money is already in ‘escrow’, meaning it is held by Elance and released by them to me at every milestone (eBook delivery). The first title in the series went out and was accepted and paid for and the second one is on schedule.

Along the way I also wrote the agreement for the contract between us and advised on several copyright issues the client was not aware of but I felt it only fair they did learn how they need to protect themselves. After all, they are paying for the work, yet I could retain copyright in various ways that would effectively allow me to be paid for the work twice or even more often, something I would never do but others might.

You need to be able to let go of the work when ‘ghostwriting’. You are not writing your magnum opus but a contracted collection of words for a paying client. We all get attached to our intellectual property but it is not ours to keep in these cases. Being able to separate emotion and ownership are vital for a freelance writer. If you can’t do this, then you need to write, publish and market your own work otherwise it won’t earn you a penny. Writing is actually the easiest part of the whole gig. Selling your writing is the challenge.

Freelancing allows for the opportunity to be paid to write but you will need to write what the client wants, yet still retain your professional pride and write as if it was yours to keep and then let it go. That’s how I do it, anyway and so far, it is working well.

The Freelance Writer’s E-Publishing Guidebook: 25+ E-Publishing Home-based Online Writing Businesses to Start for Freelancers

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Product Description
The Handbook of Writing skills for E publishing and the Digital Media. This book is about creating 25+ home-based online writing, producing, or information disseminating businesses for freelance writers, editors, and those who serve them in the information industry. The book targets the digital media and electronic publishing industries as well as details more than 25 different businesses for freelance writers who enjoy working online and at home. It’s useful also a… More >>

The Freelance Writer’s E-Publishing Guidebook: 25+ E-Publishing Home-based Online Writing Businesses to Start for Freelancers