Posts Tagged ‘h’

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 or 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?


A Writer’s Colony

Monday, April 18th, 2011

I just returned from four days in Dubbo with the wife and five kids. We had a great time in a rented caravan for three nights, visited the Western Plains Zoo and also did some shopping in Dubbo. I found a terrific bookshop, ‘The Book Connection’ run by Dave Pankhurst, a well read gentleman who has one of the best bookshops I have had the pleasure of browsing through.

It has a ‘Men’s Shed’ at the back with books for blokes as well as a magnificent collection of literature any library would be proud to own. His back-list must be huge! As well as a great range of new books, he also sells pre-loved editions and of course, if he doesn’t have it on the shelves or out the back right now, he will get it in for you.

I also went out to Collie (pronounced Col – lye) and had a look at a block of land the wife and I bought some years ago to establish her with a credit history and some ‘collateral’ when we were buying our home. The little hamlet there has a pub and a tennis court and a small church with about five in the congregation, a closed down school now used as a private dwelling and several houses. And a war memorial. I was taken aback that such a small community sent such a relatively large number of men (more than 30) to the Great War and nearly a quarter of them made the supreme sacrifice. Lest We Forget. These men may have joined in the ‘Cooee March’ from nearby Gilgandra to Sydney to enlist, quite a feat back in 1915.

The idea is to start a Writers Colony there. It is ideal as far as peace and quiet are concerned and the sunsets over the outback are inspiring. As well, the Collie Hotel has a swag of characters you could write reams about, just from the stories they have to tell over a cold beer or three. I envisage maybe three or four caravans or porta cabin type dwellings with airconditioning and a decent septic tank toilet system, rain water tank and solar power to augment the local grid. I had internet connection there via my trusty Optus supplied Netbook. Gilgandra is only 20 minutes away and Warren maybe 30 with Dubbo just 50 minutes drive.

Each writer (or artist) would have their own room with study and eventually ensuite bathroom. All meals provided and peace and quiet through the day and communal time after 6pm. Trips to town or furhter into the bush, swimming at the local billabong and for a change, dinner at one of the many well serviced RSL or Bowling clubs in the area. Writers could arrive by car, or I pick them up from the train station in Gilgandra or Dubbo, or they fly in or arrive by coach.

I would love to get some funding from the arts council or even the local Aboriginal bodies and support indigenous writers, maybe bring a city born Koori writer out to the bush for a week or two. Just having the different voices around the dinner table after a good day’s writing, white, black, migrant, feminist, homosexual, left handed who cares? The more diversity the better.

All writers would be able to avail of the electronic publishing opportunities here as well as being published by StreetWise Publications in paper and ink. Dave at The Book Connection has already said he would be happy to support book signings and other literary activities and the local shires and city councils in the area are always looking for ways to encourage community participation. Perhaps Collie would become well known as the place for artists, writers, sculptors and even composers. The hamlet might grow and even become a place for people to go out of their way to visit.

Making the move is a huge step. Mostly because of the kids and the wife. I sold up in 2002 and went off to live with her in the Philippines and have never regretted that major life changing decision. I am sure once she gets used to the nearest anything other than the pub being a good 20 minutes drive away she would be fine and so long as there is internet access and electricity the kids are fine. Anyway, it is a dream but one I dream with my eyes wide open, and those are the dreams that usually come true.

From E To Z

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Amanda Hocking, the 26 year old eWriter who sells 100,000 copies of her teen vampire romance eBooks as downloads on Amazon and Barnes& Noble every month has snagged a $2million deal with Macmillan. The major New York publishing house beat several other major  publishers to the deal and Hocking is of course, rapt. She says she can now write full time rather than have to spend many hours a week formatting, designing covers, managing sales, returns, enquiries and all the other things that come with selling your writing. She has gone from being an eWriter to a Z Writer (end of the alphabet, nowhere to go from here but back to ‘N’ for Nobel Prize!)… it doesn’t get much better than that, Amanda.

I bought Amanda’s ‘My Blood Approves’ and found it to be well written. Not my genre but the book itself has all the right elements and that is important. While the technology of the web and eBooks makes it simple enough that anyone can figure out how to do it, selling your books as well as writing then yourself isn’t easy. It takes a lot of effort and dedication. It is a full time job until eventually the writing becomes the relaxing, leisure component!

The good news is, everybody can do it. You write a good story in a genre that is selling and then you put the effort in to get your book in front of your market. Easy! Easier to say than achieve but if you don’t try then it will never happen, no matter how brilliant your prose maybe.



Aussie Author Challenge

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

This is the icon for the 2011 Aussie Author Challenge. I think it is a worthy initiative and one all Aussies should support, not to mention literature lovers everywhere. I got this off a web site owned by one of the participants in my ‘Eat Your Words – How To Make A Living As An Online Writer’ course that I hold at Macarthur and Nepean Community Colleges.

Making A Living… Just

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

I have just submitted (and received payment for) the fourth eBook in the ten book series for my client. I have also been asked to start work on their Canada and UK series of eBooks on this topic so that means lots to learn and lots to write but lots of work to keep me busy.

As well as the eWriting, I am also starting to get work as a tutor, mostly for high school students but I will tutor university and post graduate if the work is there. This is a good ‘gig’ but you do have to be flexible and willing to run it as your own business. I like that and plan to register a Pty Ltd company again. The additional paperwork is well offset by the tax advantages of being a company and hiring yourself.

The company can do anything it wants to. It can send you to a Writer’s Retreat in Colorado if it can afford the expense. That expense is completely tax deductible for a company but harder to justify for a sole trader. For any writer looking to make their living from their words, they should get that business education that lets them make more informed decisions about the best structure for their circumstances.

I did the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme in 2008-9 over the Xmas holidays. You end up with a viable business plan and if you do the work, a Certificate IV in Business (Small Business Management). You then get some assistance for a year to run your business, including the equivalent of the dole every fortnight and mentoring from a business advisor. My year is up next week and while the consultancy/public speaking side of the business never really took off, the writing/teaching side of it has.

I earn income from developing and teaching community college courses on writing subjects, tutoring English, geography, History and Maths to Stage 4 or Year 8 and my online writing activities. These include writing eBooks and other work for clients as well as selling my own eBooks, printed books and advertising space on web sites I provide the copy for. It is yet to make enough to worry the Tax Man but with my five kids and supportive wife to look after, we are doing very well. I also spend a few hours every week getting around the traps to introduce a terrific new cleaning system called ActiveIonator. We use it at home and swear by it. The secret is not to make $1,000 a week (or whatever amount) from one source but to make say $200 from five sources, or $100 from ten sources. If one source dries up it is not so devastating that way, and easier to replace a $200 a week job than a $1,000 one.

The secret to living your dream as an eWriter, then, is to live within your means and keep writing and be flexible. Plug away, stick at it. It is not easy but it is better than working for ‘Da Man’, swapping your hours for his dollars and hoping he doesn’t go bust, decide to downsize or simply take out his frustrations on his staff.

One other moment of joy just yesterday… I came across an old 1970s-1980s era Adler Tippa 100 portable typewriter. I was told it didn’t work as the carriage was stuck but I could have it for five bucks. I bought it and flicked the carriage lock lever across to free it up, tapped some keys and away the thing went. The young lad at the charity store had no clue how to get it to work. To be honest it is a little ripper, but did I ever write an entire book on one of those things? Yes, I did. Reports, invoices, newsletters and all my correspondence were all created on something pretty similar.

Later that day I bought a new wireless ergonomic keyboard and mouse. I am not impressed with the flash wireless unit that came with my latest 27 inch i5 iMac. The wireless mouse is neat but the batteries died within a couple of weeks. The keyboard is too small and has not got a separate number pad on the side. This Microsoft keyboard is bigger, which my fat fingers appreciate and has a decent mouse to go with it so I am happy once more. Much happier than trying to write this using the Adler!

Contract eBook Writing

Friday, January 14th, 2011

I recently won a contract on 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.

Three Ways To Make Money eWriting

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

I have listed here three ways you can make money eWriting. None guarantee the instant riches most of us seek but they have all paid me some real sponduliks in the past.

1. FreelanceWriting – I am enrolled with Odesk and Elance and have had mixed results. I have never had a single job from Odesk but I confess I haven’t bothered even visiting the site in months. I have had a couple of jobs from Elance but also had a couple fall through. You have to join up, pay a monthly subscription so you can bid on many jobs and really chase it to have a chance at getting work, or just be so ‘right’ for the job. You are competing with people in third world countries who will write for a dollar an hour or two bucks a 200 word article. It pays to target the jobs that pay fair rates an d don’t sell yourself cheap. In the long run you will recent working for so little and either do a poor job or just suffer the entire time. Why punish yourself? Bid a fair fee and then give them extra.

Working for Elance and Odesk means your payment has been deposited in trust and you have a much better chance of being paid than seeking work yourself on spec. Also, people needing eWriters will go there first before surfing the web on the off chance of finding an eWriter looking for work.

2.Blogging For Bucks- Some people are fortunate that they attract paid subscribers to their blogs. You really need to have something to say worth paying for and of course, your blog needs to be found. Having a niche topic you are an expert in (or can find enough material online and repackage it well) is the first step. Then you need to set up a blog, host it, get the domain name and drive the traffic to it.

Some people seem to make good livings doing this but I have only ever had a few people offer to pay me for my info simply because there is so much already out there for free. Most of which I wrote too! You can make  money blogging by selling advertising space on your blog with Google Adsense and similar providers. Again, the secret is to have the traffic knocking on your door 24/7. Many advertising providers won’t touch your site until you have a zillion hits a month or some such number. To make money from a blog as a business takes a lot of SEO and SERP savvy, too often the quality of the actual writing is irrelevant.

3. eBooks - Still the best in my mind. I have several titles on sale and a dozen free products I use to generate interest and credibility. I sell on my own web sites and via and as well as using affiliate marketers like Clickbank. You need a way to deliver the eBook to the buyer and take their money, as well as a place to put the eBook for people to find and desire to buy. And of course, you need to drive the traffic there so they can find and buy the eBook.

Whichever of the three (and there are more) ways you choose, or perhaps you try all three; you will need to be found. Getting found is the key and that is where SEO and SERP are vital. Social network marketing can help and so can a lot of things but don’t think it is easy. I have been selling eBooks online since 2003 and I can honestly claim to be one of the leading experts in my niche, but it is still a hard row to hoe and by no means making a living on its own.

Article Marketing – Real eWriting

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

It is one thing to have a web site, a place to base yourself on the internet. It is another thing entirely to ever entertain visitors. Getting people to your site, generating traffic as they call it, is a science, not an artform. There are people who make a fortune figuring out new ways to get the search engines to rank your site high enough you actually get some traffic and then, hopefully, some clicks on your ads or purchases of your eBooks.

One of the proven ways to generate this traffic is through backlinks. These backlinks are best if created through content, or articles, you write and other people post on their blogs and sites. While there are programs that will write articles for you, these are mostly rubbish collections of public domain text, freely available and found and collated at random by the program. They might have fooled the search bots years ago but no more. They never fooled human readers as they were too out of context from one stolen paragraph to the next.

If you write your own articles there are programs that will make multiple versions, or spin the original. These should be sufficiently unique to fool the programs looking for duplicate articles, and ranking you down accordingly. Then there are programs that will register you as a member of a thousand forums and let you post to them, all automatically. Of course sometimes they do some housekeeping and detect your profile is bogus and out you go.

You can post articles to article directories where other people can freely use your article so long as they include the ‘resource box’ with the backlink to your site. Many don’t honour the agreed format and your work is used for free with no backlink to add linkjuice to your SERP rankings.

The bottom line is you need a network of sites, all interlinked and referring to each other, filled with great content. In short, a lot of hard work. Maybe one day you can rake in the big bucks for a few hours work poolside with the laptop but to get there takes a lot of hard work, effort and investment in time and money. There are no shortcuts in life worth having or that last very long and the internet is no different to any other market place or venue. It’s just a little bigger, faster and scarier.

Originally published on 23/22/2010

Learning Curve

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I have just received the latest two books I have published, ‘Desert Creek’ version 3 and ‘The Cool Side Of The Pillow’ version 5. I am getting better as ‘Desert Creek’ 3 has a great font and spacing and I am very proud of it. “Cool Side’ though still has lines at the bottom of pages between section breaks and I can’t get rid of them. I have reset the formatting, cleared the formatting, manually tried to erase them and so on, all to no avail. Whatever was I thinking when I put them in so many years ago?

Still, it is all part of the learning curve, although mine is more like a vertical line! I am learning about book sizes, gutters, header and footer amounts and all sorts of pagination stuff. Once I get the publishing of the book sorted, then I really need to tackle the toughest part of the business… marketing. Selling the book is the hardest part of the process. Writing it is the most pleasurable and even formatting, editing, proofing and printing has its upside. Selling it, well that will be a new curve entirely.

Desert Creek

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.I have recently published ‘Desert Creek’, a post-apocalytic western novella by Jeff Lassen. Published through my imprint, StreetWise Publications and printed by and available online from, ‘Desert Creek’ is a great read and just one of many works by Jeff Lassen I have the rights to. Earlier this year I published his poetry anthology, ‘This Poor Collection’ and that was a great learning experience for me as an editor and publisher in the making.

I have to admit I find the publishing business very interesting and I am very much aware it is a business. At this stage I don’t think I will be making much money for either the author or my imprint but it is all a learning curve or journey one must take.