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Archives for May 2011

Freelance Writers: How Submitting Content for FREE to Write-for-Pay Sites Can Make You Money — for Years

As a freelance writer, I stopped submitting content “for pay” to write-for-pay sites like eHow (aka Demand Media Studios), AssociatedContent.com, Helium, et al a couple of years ago. I still submit – but for no upfront payment. And, this is something I think every freelance writer should do if they choose to use these sites – once they reach a certain point in their career.

Seems counterintuitive? It’s not.

Following is why I submit free content all the time to sites deemed content farms  — and how it has helped to keep my online earnings secure and stable over the last few years (and for many more).

This month, I received emails from two write-for-pay sites I regularly submit content to – eHow and HubPages. Both were alerting me to changes going on at their sites, which affected my content. Following is what happened at each site.

How Changes at eHow.com Caused One Freelancer to Lose Over $16,000 Per Year in Residual Income

eHow ended their Writers Compensation Program (FYI, today is the last day to accept/deny offers, so check your inbox for their email and respond). The post in the link explains what this was all about. A lot of freelance writers lost a lot of residual income. One freelancer wrote:

eHow closing down the compensation program and paying us out does have a serious effect on my residual earnings. Instead of earning $90 a day, my daily earnings have dropped to $45 a day. That’s a major drop.

That’s over $16,000 per year if you’re calculating ($16,425 to be exact ($45/day x 365 days/year)).

Ouch!
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Imagine if you’d built your whole (or a good portion of) your freelance writing income around writing for eHow; which, apparently, a lot of freelance writers did if you read the comments section of this last linked-to post.

I lost residual income too, but just a small monthly payout because I only had 20 articles there.

How Changes at HubPages.com Caused Many Freelance Writers to Lose Money and Website Rankings

HubPages has made changes too. I received the following notice from them in early May. The email stated, in part:

Dear Yuwanda Black,

Thank you for being a part of the HubPages writing community. We are trying to improve your writing and earning experience on the site, and would like to ask you to make a few changes. Please address the following issues that we have identified with your Hubs at your earliest convenience (in order to help you prioritize, we have listed Hubs with the most traffic first).

Too Many Promotional Links

The following published Hub has too many promotional links. You are allowed up to 2 links per domain, per hub. Hubs with too many promotional links may be unbpublished [sic] at any time.

Links To Prohibited Affiliate or Commerce Sites

The following published Hubs include links to affiliate or commerce sites which are prohibited under the updated HubPages rules. The most common cause of this is the use of the ClickBank affiliate program. Please review these Hubs and remove any violating links; uncorrected Hubs will begin to be unpublished starting in about 2 weeks.

Why I’m Removing Most of My Content from HubPages

Over 70 of the almost 170 hubs I had on HubPages were affected in some way. Instead of “fixing” them to comply with HubPages’ new rules, I started migrating them over to some of my other sites.

Why not just fix them and leave them there?

Because the reason I wrote all of these hubs was to drive traffic to my sites and/or to promote affiliate products – many of which come from Clickbank. So not being able to have links in the hubs does me no good. And, I don’t write to give away free content (at least not unique content).

Many of these hubs are unique content that I wrote specifically for HubPages. Hence, when I remove them from the site, it is once again unique content that I can post to my niche websites (I have several).

There are freelance writers on HubPages who have a few THOUSAND hubs with affiliate links. Can you imagine if you never developed your own website and submitted content just to HubPages — counting on the income from your affiliate links?

This is why many freelancers have seen their income drop to practically nothing overnight.

Why Many Write-for-Pay Sites are Making Changes – And Why It’s a Good Thing for Freelance Writers

In short, it’s Google. Specifically the Google Panda Update.

When the search engine giant made this algorithm change, it sunk the rankings of some sites like stones in water. So, now they’re scrambling to change their guidelines to get back in favor with the Big “G” (ie, see the post SEO Copywriting Tips: 23 Questions Google Says SEO Copywriters Should Keep in Mind When Creating Content for more clarification on what Google is looking for in content nowadays).

While it’s a pain in the butt if you’ve built your freelance writing income model around these sites, it’s a good thing overall for content providers. Following is why.

A lot of the crap content and crap sites will go away. Not all, but a lot. It’s getting harder to rank well (or at all) with crap content, so many of the schemers, scammers and content thieves will disappear. This means those of us who are in this “make money online” thing by creating insightful, unique websites with good content will have an easier time ranking well (not easy, easier) – and making money.

Why Now’s Never Been a Better Time to Give Content Away

The reason I submit content for free to many sites is just for backlinks to my own sites. I call these websites my “backlink builders.” Sites like eHow, et al get great search engine juice – so if one of my articles appear on them, in many cases, it has a better chance of getting found than if it was just on my site.

So I still post to sites like these, but not unique content. I will submit the same article to article directories, and to sites like AssociatedContent.com (my favorite backlink builder site). I very rarely have in the past two years – and will never submit unique content to any site again — unless . . .

Freelance Writers: How to Get Around the Duplicate Content Penalty When You Submit Content to Write-for-Pay Sites

If sites like AssociatedContent.com stop accepting previously published content (and I see this coming down the pike in a few years), then I already have a contingency plan in place.

I will rewrite unique content that appears on my own sites. For example, most of the original content I post to my own sites tends to be long – anywhere from 800-2,500 words or more.

I can easily craft a 400 or 500-word unique article from these longer posts to publish on my backlink builder sites. I do this from time to time already as a matter of fact.

Freelance Writers: How to Use Sites Like eHow to Make Money from Your Own Website(s)

The point I want to make is, if you’re a freelance writer and want to make your living online, stop giving your unique content away for a few pennies. Use sites like eHow, et al to advance YOUR sites. This means taking the long-range view. As in:

Start developing your own products and services to sell from your site: Write ebooks and/or create seminars and workshops. I started doing this a couple of years ago. To date, I’ve written almost 25 ebooks and have developed and teach several e-workshops and e-seminars/classes.

And, I promote all of this via article marketing, ie, submitting free content to sites like AssociatedContent.com, EzineArticles, etc. to get backlinks to my own sites.

Build an authority site: Do this by creating in-depth content that can only be found on your site. Then, monetize it with Google AdSense, or private ads, or by promoting affiliate products, etc.

This is the way to make REAL money online because you never have to worry that if a site changes its policies, your income will be affected. 

One Very Important Thing Every Freelance Writer Should Do Immediately to Start Making Money Online

Collect site visitor information. This means starting a subscriber list. The reason is, your subscribers are your bread and butter.

Think about it, if someone likes your site/content enough to part with their contact information (eg, an email address), then they’re “investing” in you, which makes them more likely to buy from you. And, once someone purchases from you once, they are much more likely to do so again.

Here’s why building a subscriber list is so important to making money online soon. FYI, I use AWeber to build my subscriber list. It’s only $1 (yes, one little buck) to get started.

How to Make Money Online as a Freelance Writer Nowadays: Diversify and Start Your Own Blog/Website

And these, my fellow freelance writing friend, are the lessons I take away from the recent happenings at eHow and HubPages. They’re ones I think every freelance writer should heed.

This brings to mind the great Billie Holiday song, “God bless the child (that has his own).” Never have truer words been spoken as it relates to freelancing writers and making money online these days.

Best,
Yuwanda

coverP.S.: Want to write and sell ebooks online for a living? You can! Get the guide that shows you how to start a successful self-publishing career — start immediately.

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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3 Ways to Start/Grow a Freelance Writing Business On Holiday Weekends

Americans have a long holiday weekend coming up; this coming Monday, May 30th, is Memorial Day. As a freelance writer/internet marketer, I have a love/hate relationship with holidays.

My love for holidays has nothing to do with the obvious reasons, eg, no work, hanging with friends and family; sleeping late, etc. I love long holiday weekends because they give me time to work on my business; time I usually don’t have.

I received the following email from a fellow tweeter highlighting just how precious time is. After reading Inkwell’s latest ebook on when it’s time to quit to freelance fulltime, she wrote me, saying:

 Hello Yuwanda!

I wanted to say Thank You again for this e-book! It has strengthened my resolve and especially in that you say- freelancing is not rocket science. Don’t over think it. I tend to be a risk taker and would have no troubles jumping right in but I am married to a non-risk taker. 🙂 Which is a good balance mostly. My problem is that my FT job leaves me little energy to do much else. (emphasis added) But, I must and will get over that. Additionally, you have given me encouragement about the articles not having to be published. I just need to write them … oh, I feel like a complainer and not a doer on too many days. Today is the best day to start.

Thanks for your encouragement. I look forward to learning so much more from you!

I responded, writing:

I’ve been where you are, so know exactly what you’re going through. That’s why I used to work a lot on the weekends. For a while (almost two years), I literally didn’t have a life, but that’s what it took for me to get where I wanted to be.

I found that having a “life plan” (eg, where you want to be in 3, 5 or 7 years) helps to really give you a kick in the pants, because you can see month by month, week by week and day by day what you need to be doing to get where you want to be. “Some day” becomes a bad word when you working with a life plan.

Most of us have to work when everyone else is playing to be successful because there will never be a “perfect” time to start and/or get to all the things you want to do. This means putting in hours at night, on the weekends, during holidays, etc. With this in mind, following are . . .

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3 Things You Can Do to Start and/or Grow Your Freelance Writing Business This Memorial Day Weekend

1) Create a Life Plan: It’s hard to get where you’re going without a map. And, just having one in your head won’t work. It just doesn’t. Trust me. Write out where you want to be in a year, 3 years, 5 years – and put it where you can see it every day.

This way, you won’t get off track and will be constantly reminded of your dreams. Accomplishing any dream in life starts with a plan. Then, you have to constantly work the plan.

So if you don’t have a life plan, this Memorial Day weekend is an excellent time to carve out a couple of hours and put one together.

2) Do Admin Work: What I mean by this is, if you’ve been meaning to sign up to PayPal; open a Twitter account; set up a blog; finally get those writing samples done and uploaded – whatever it is – this holiday weekend is an ideal time to do so.

You’ll still have time for fun. But, you owe it to your dream — to the life you want to have – to always take some of your “play time” and put in some work.

Because, believe me, the real fun in life starts when you’re living the life you really want to live.

In the Words of John Lennon, “Imagine”

Imagine the day you get to turn in your notice at your job;

Imagine waking up and going to your office – right down the hall in your fuzzy pink slippers;

Imagine being able to go on that 10-day vacation without worrying about if you have enough “vacation days; etc.

Imagine – being free to live the life you want to live.

Use “imagining” to inspire you.

But, imagining is not enough. You gotta put in the work and that means using time wisely. If you’re a regular reader of this site/blog, then you’ve read where I’ve written at least a million times, “Time is your greatest asset as a freelance writer; don’t waste it.”

3) Create a “Get to the Next Level” List: If you’re on track with all the above, create a to-do list. This is a list of things you need to do to get your business to the next level. Let me explain.

The tendency is to relax a bit when you’re a fulltime freelancer, especially if you can pay all of your bills. But, you’re not in this to just pay bills – you need to create financial security. And for most of us, this means getting out of our comfort zone and pushing ourselves to get to the next level.

This may mean creating new streams of income, adding more services, changing prices, updating your website, updating your skills, repositioning your business so you can create your own products and services, etc.

It could be one or a few of the above. But, you first need to see in black and white what your options are. So, write them down, then choose one or a couple to get started on.

I subscribe to one freelancer writer’s feed and she illustrated this point perfectly in a post recently, writing:

It’s been…a month?…since I last posted something new.  And you know – it isn’t because I didn’t want to.  . . . But you can’t do everything at once and I’ve had two projects that I’ve been working on that has put some of my other things on the back burner. . . .

I’ve been [experimenting] with residual income.  . . . the reason is because I want you to understand that most people who work online these days have more than one source of income. Most people do a few different things that work for them.  And to me, that is one of the greatest things about working online.

Read her full post, entitled, “Where the hell has she been?”

I’m not just telling you to work this holiday weekend, I will be too. Yeah, I’ll relax some, for sure. In fact, I’m getting ready to clean my house and run some errands now so I can relax more this weekend. But, you can bet your patootie that I’ll be logging some hours on the business end too. To that end . . .

What Will I Be Working on This Memorial Day Weekend?

I’m writing a new ebook to put on my site as a free giveaway to (hopefully) increase my newsletter subscriber count. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. And, while I could have chosen one of my existing ebooks as a free giveaway, I didn’t because I want to give potential subscribers what they’ve asked me for.

New FREE Ebook: How I Make All of My Money Online

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is how I make my money online. So, the new ebook will detail all of my income streams, why/how I got into them, and how they’ve allowed me to support myself 100% online since 2007. And, it’s going to be free to subscribers!

I’ll sell it on Amazon too for 99 cents (and only because you can’t post free ebooks to Amazon anymore; 99 cents is the lowest price for which you can sell something there).

I’m gonna try to finish it this weekend, but if not, I’ll get a great deal of it done and it’ll be uploaded to the site by the end of next week.

Update: 7/3/2013: FYI, the ebook I talked about here is the free one, “Living the Freelance Life!” you get when you subscribe to Inkwell Editorial’s newsletter.

Share Your Thoughts

So, what are you going to work on this holiday weekend to grow your freelance writing business? Has this post inspired any ideas? Do you think you should work on holiday weekends? I’d appreciate it if you’d share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And please, have a fun holiday weekend. But, do be safe. Drunk driving is really prevalent on long holiday weekends (especially in the warm weather). So be careful.

Best,
Yuwanda

coverP.S.: Want to write and sell ebooks online for a living? You can! Get the guide that shows you how to start a successful self-publishing career — start immediately.

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

Find this post helpful? Share it with others and follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

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Freelance Writers: Does eHow (aka Demand Studios) Owe You Money? They May and You Have Only 7 More Days to Collect

Recently, I received an email from eHow. I’d written some articles for them back in 2008, and was still receiving monthly residuals for them. It wasn’t a lot but for 20 articles that only took me on average of 20 minutes to write, I was amazed that every month, I was still receiving money from them. 

Note (Post continued below): Subscribe to the newsletter (see sign-up box to right on every page of the site) to get the special “Memorial Day Deal” on all of our products.

So, when I received the email from eHow, I opened it, but immediately trashed it because I thought they were asking ME to pay THEM for content. Let me explain.

eHow Earnings: Why eHow May Owe You Money

write-for-ehowAs of May 5, 2011, eHow is removing what they call “WCP articles” from their site. WCP stands for Writers Compensation Program. Articles submitted by freelance writers under this program paid residuals. But again, as of May 5th, no longer.

I’ll miss the payments; they were great “Margarita Wednesdays” money.

How I Almost Threw Away My eHow Freelance Writing Earnings

I received the following email from eHow:

As you may recall, we sent an email on May 5 letting you know eHow has decided to close the Writer’s Compensation Program (WCP) and remove a number of user-generated articles from the site.

Since we’re extending attractive offers to a select group of great writers (like you) to purchase the articles they’ve written for eHow, we want to ensure you are able to view your offer right away. The final deadline for accepting the offer is May 31, 2011.
 
If you are unsure as to how you access the new WCP console here is the link for your convenience (link was given). You can sign into the console using your original eHow username and password.

 
Best,

Thank you for taking time to read this important message. We look forward to helping you through this transition in any way we can. For additional information, please email us at [email address was given].

The eHow Team
###

I get a lot of email, and I skim read a lot of it just to clear my inbox. So, when I read this message the first time, I misread the part that said: “. . . we’re extending attractive offers to a select group of great writers (like you) to purchase the articles they’ve written for eHow . . .”

Then, a few days later, I ran across an article discussing the eHow payout to freelance writers. So, I dug back through my emails and found the email from eHow and re-read it. I was like, “Oh, THEY want to pay ME for content.”

Making Money Online Writing: 20 Easy eHow I Wrote in 2008 Continue to Pay Dividends Every Month

And I was shocked at how much for just 20 articles I wrote back in 2008. And don’t forget, I’d received residual payouts for these articles every month, in addition to an initial upfront payment of $15 for each one. In essence, this content that only took me a few hours to write had MORE than paid for itself over the years.

So, like the freelance writer in the linked-to article just above, did, I took the money and ran.

Writing for eHow: How to Collect Your Money if eHow (aka Demand Studios) Owes You

Bottom line: if you’ve ever written for eHow, check your inbox for the email above. Then, follow the instructions within. The subject line will be something like, “Important eHow Deadline Approaching – Have you reviewed your offer?‏”

If you can’t locate this email and/or didn’t receive one, log into your writer’s control panel with eHow (this link came in the above email: https://myarticles.ehow.com/SignIn.aspx). Once you log in from this link, you’ll have info on your offer, and can decide whether to accept the payout, or deny it, as well as other info on how to proceed, no matter which decision you make.

The deadline to respond to eHow’s offer is May 31, so don’t delay.

Wish I’d spent more time writing for eHow while this program was around. You’d be amazed just how much those articles wound up being worth. Some writers received thousands of dollars in payouts from eHow, as discussed in the comments section of this linked-to post.

Related Post Coming Real Soon

Within the next couple of weeks, I’m going to write a post detailing why I no longer write for sites like eHow (Demand Studios), and why I don’t think any freelance writer should – once they reach a certain point in their career.

Stay tuned!

Tell Us Your eHow Story: Did you see this change coming? Have your freelance writing earnings been affected as a result of eHow dismantling the WCP program? Will you continue to write for sites like eHow/Demand Studios? Let us know in the comments section below. And, don’t forget to subscribe to get the special “Memorial Day Deal.

coverP.S.: Want to write and sell ebooks online for a living? You can! Get the guide that shows you how to start a successful self-publishing career — start immediately.

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

Find this post helpful? Share it with others and follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

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Freelance Writers: The Easiest Way to Bill and Get Paid – Quickly!

The following is a guest post by freelance writer Debbie Dragon.

When I started my journey as a freelance writer about eight years ago, I didn’t have a clue about how to find clients or accept payment for the services I provided.  I figured I would just give out my mailing address and ask clients to send checks. But, after landing my first client who wanted to pay with his credit card, I realized I would need a way to accept credit cards as payment. 

Clients expected to pay for their writing services online with their credit card, so I set out to learn how I could process a credit card payment from my home office. I knew I would rarely, if ever, have the client’s credit card in my possession and for the most part, I just needed a method of sending an invoice that the client could pay online with his or her credit card.  This meant I wouldn’t need any fancy credit card processing equipment readers. 

ProPay: The First Credit Card Processing Company I Used as a Freelance Writer

freelance-writing-advice-on-accepting-payments-onlineI discovered a company called ProPay first. The ProPay Merchant Account was quick and easy to set up and designed for a small business.

I didn’t understand the tiered pricing structure that banks were quoting for their merchant accounts and credit card processing services, had no idea what they meant when they were talking about needing a “gateway” provider, and couldn’t figure out how to accept credit cards online without paying a web developer to set up a shopping cart on a website!

What I Liked about ProPay for My Freelance Writing Business

When I found the ProPay website, it was simply a matter of choosing which plan I wanted, paying the annual fee of $50 to $130 depending on the plan chosen, and using a website to process credit card payments or send invoices to clients so they could enter their own credit card details and pay for my freelance writing services online.

I chose the Premium Plan with ProPay, because it accepted all credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, Discover and American Express) – and the plan below it didn’t accept Discover or American Express. 

The fees were easy to understand; costing about 3.25% of each transaction processed, plus 35 cents. 

What I Didn’t Like about ProPay as a Freelance Writer

What I didn’t like was paying another 30 cents to move money from my ProPay account to my checking account, where I could actually use it.  I had a habit of transferring money from ProPay as soon as it was available, which meant I was paying multiple 30 cent fees to move payments. 

Perhaps, if I’d been a little more patient, I could have paid one fee per week, or even per month, by moving money from ProPay to my checking account less frequently.  But let’s face it – as a freelance writer (ie, small business owner), I was waiting on every dime to clear in the account so I could pay my bills!

As my freelance writing business grew, I started reaching the maximum limit of credit card processing transactions allowed per month.  I can’t remember exactly what that maximum was at the time, but I see on the website now it is listed as between $0 and $3,000 depending on your business. 

When the annual fee hit my account, I wondered if there were other options for processing credit cards that wouldn’t cost about $80 a year — on top of the transaction fees already being paid on each card processed.  I started looking for other options to accept credit cards from my freelance writing clients.

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Post Continued Below: Copyright Violation Notice. If you’re reading this entire post (snippets are fine) on any site other than InkwellEditorial.com, it is stolen content. Scraping content (eg, using software to illegally copy and paste copyrighted content from websites and blogs) is becoming a common practice which affects every website owner. So if you see this content someplace else, please take a quick moment to send an email to [info]at[InkwellEditorial.com] (remove brackets, of course) so that we can take the appropriate action. Thank you in advance for your help.
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PayPal: The Ideal Way for Freelance Writing Business Owners to Process Payments

About two years into operating my freelance writing business, I discovered PayPal. 

What I Liked about PayPal from the Beginning

Right away I figured it had an advantage over ProPay because it didn’t charge an annual fee.  The transaction rates would be 2.9% of each card processed, plus 30 cents.  They did not charge an additional fee to move money from the PayPal account to my checking account.  I was sold! 

I set up my account and connected it to my regular bank so I could transfer money back and forth as needed.

In addition to being less expensive than ProPay, using PayPal offered me the additional benefit of accepting other PayPal accounts for payment. 

Millions of people have PayPal, and many preferred to pay for their freelance writing services with money in their PayPal account, instead of using a credit card.  By setting up a PayPal account, I actually opened the door to getting more customers since there were quite a few people out there looking for freelance writers who needed to pay with their PayPal accounts!

It was easy to request money from my clients, whether it’s just a simple money request that is sent to their PayPal account with a “Pay Now” option; or a complete and professional looking invoice they can print and file for their records, in addition to paying online. 

A Handy Feature PayPal Offers That’s Useful for Freelance Writers

Another feature of PayPal that I didn’t know I was missing when I was using ProPay is the ability to set up recurring or subscription payments.  Many of my freelance writing clients need articles every single week – instead of having to create invoices manually each week, send to the client, and wait for them to make payment – PayPal allows me to create a recurring subscription. 

I simply enter the amount they owe me, the frequency the client should pay, and when the client accepts they will automatically be billed according to how the subscription is set up.  This eliminated a lot of time and effort spent on bookkeeping for me, and my clients loved it too. 

They could set it up and know their order was being placed week after week for writing content, and they didn’t have to take time out of their own busy schedules to review and pay for invoices.

Access Money Instantly with a PayPal Debit Card

I signed up for a PayPal debit card, which allowed me to access money in my account instantly through any ATM or swiping my card to pay for purchases.

PayPal: The Perfect Way to Bill and Get Paid Quickly If You’re a Freelance Writer

I have used my PayPal account to accept payments from my writing clients for over six years.  It’s been the perfect solution for accepting credit card and online payments for my freelance writing business.

About the Author: Debbie Dragon has been a freelance writer for more than 8 years and specializes in personal finance and credit card processing topics.

FYI, Inkwell Editorial’s Latest Ebook Is Available: It’s How to Know When You’re Ready to Quit Your Job to Freelance Fulltime: 6 Signs It’s Time and How to Go About It.

quittofreelance-cover-smP.S.: Ready to Write a Book? FINALLY get that ebook you’ve been wanting to write done in Inkwell Editorial’s How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days Market It & Start Getting Sales within a Week.” Ebook Writing & Publishing Tournament

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

Find this information informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

Read more.

What Is the Best Web Hosting Provider for Online Entrepreneurs?

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, because I get questions from freelancers all the time about the tools I use to run my freelance writing / affiliate marketing business (eg, who’s your newsletter provider, what’s your web hosting company, who does your ebook covers, etc.). …

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The Book that Could Open Doors: 5 Reasons Writing a Book Can Bring You Freelance Writing Success

The following is a guest post by Aaron Goldfarb of AaronGoldfarb.com.

I could have been lame and started this piece with a knock-knock joke. Something like:

-Knock-knock.

-Who’s there?

-A book I wrote.

-A book you wrote?

Well come on in! Write something for us!

It’s amazing how many freelance doors you can open and how easily too when you have a book.

For the bulk of the last decade I was a marginally successful freelance writer. I hustled and every so often would get pieces published, usually online, but usually for free. (Free freelancing is an oxymoron I suppose.) I rarely got my cold calls to publications answered. Projects certainly would never be offered and long-term partnerships never formed. It was disheartening.

How the Frustration of Building a Freelance Writing Career Led to Being a Published Author

Disillusioned with my unfruitful attempts at freelancing, I decided to take a stab at a book in 2008. That book would eventually become my satirical novel How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide the world’s first self-hurt guide, the opposite of a self-help guide, my comedic yet deeply personal thoughts on life, love, family, friends, work and ultimately, what it means to be a success in America.

Now everyone answers my cold calls!

And cold e-mails, cold letters, cold whatevers. People are actually excited to talk to me. To do things with me! To have Aaron Goldfarb write something for them! And, for pay no less! Often, quite a bit of pay.

It’s not like my writing got any better from those pre-book days. I’m still writing the same off-beat, slightly subversive, comedic things I’ve always written. Nor is it like How to Fail was a massive best seller. Or, an anointed critic’s darling. I doubt you’d even heard of it before today. It was an indie release from a non-ballyhooed publisher that sold very well, I suppose, considering the obstacles an indie book has to overcome. But, it certainly never burned up any bestseller lists and has never been reviewed by any famous critics.

How Writing a Book Brought Me Freelance Writing Success

So why did How to Fail open freelance doors in a way I’d never been able to do previously in my professional life?

5 Reasons Writing a Book Works!

I suppose it’s simply that I have a tangible work in my possession. Twelve ounces of 372 pages slapped between two covers, my name on the front, my picture on the back.

(i) It’s really the ultimate business card (reason #1);

(ii) The ultimate resume; (reason #2);

(iii) The ultimate writing “sample” (reason #3);

(iv) And, the ultimate personal “acolyte” sent out into the world to spread my ideas, talent, and name; (reason #4); and

(v) It offers me a certain kind of “authority” in a way I could never offer before. It makes people want to at least talk to me (reason #5).

Do You Have an Unfinished Book Somewhere (In Your Head; On Your Hard Drive)?

Everyone seems to have an unfinished manuscript in their desk drawer or on their hard-drive, but few people put in the effort to get the book finished and actually out there. This is silly. Getting your work out there is a must and so much easier than you think.

It likewise makes it so much easier for people you want to do freelance writing for to assess you and hire you. They need only thumb through these 372 pages to understand you, need only hand someone these 372 pages to recommend you.

Why Who Publishes Your Book Doesn’t Matter: You Can Still Land Freelance Writing Jobs Just by Writing One

It doesn’t even matter who publishes your book. Large or small publishing house. Respected or ill-reputed. Or even if it’s self-published. Or merely an ebook.

Even those people that truly know the publishing game don’t really care who published your book. It’s so easy to open doors by simply mentioning, “Hey, man, I have a book.”

Publishing a Book (of Any Kind, eg, an Ebook) Makes You “ Worth” Talking To

Stupidly or not, you’re immediately given a certain cache, a certain authority on the subjects you write about. (In my case: comedy, satire, novels, writing, self-help, living unconventionally, marketing, high concept ideas, drinking, sex, and so many more.)

People now want to talk to me. I’ve made myself a professional worth talking to. All because I synthesized my ideas into 372 pages you can buy on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.

I highly suggest you do likewise. It will make it so much easier for you to open those freelance doors you’ve never been able to open.

Of course, now you’ll have to figure out what doors you actually want to open.

About the Author: Aaron Goldfarb lives in New York and writes whatever people will pay him to write. How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide is his first novel. He has written freelance pieces for countless publications since his book was published. He blogs at aarongoldfarb.com/blog.

FYI, Inkwell Editorial’s Latest Ebook Is Available: It’s How to Know When You’re Ready to Quit Your Job to Freelance Fulltime: 6 Signs It’s Time and How to Go About It.

how-to-write-an-ebook-smP.S.: Ready to Write a Book? FINALLY get that ebook you’ve been wanting to write done in Inkwell Editorial’s How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days Market It & Start Getting Sales within a Week” Ebook Writing & Publishing Tournament.

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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Tips on Blogging for Freelance Writers: 33 Traffic-Generating Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Blogging in 2005 That Allow Me to Make My Living Completely Online

I started blogging on February 18, 2005. It was on blogspot, and my first post was entitled, Do You Make More Money as an Editorial Freelancer When You Specialize?

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Freelance and Creative Writing Ideas: How to Discover Fresh, Insightful Topics on Which to Write

The following is a guest post by Margaret Keely.

The simple truth is, most topics on the web are no longer original; many articles are simply rehashed versions of already published works. So as a freelance writer, you need to be innovative and creative in order to produce ideas that are timely, practical, stimulating and useful.

This requires resourcefulness. Why? Because it’s not only a question of coming up with a writing idea, but it’s also a matter of crafting topics that will be useful and interesting to readers.

You don’t have to limit yourself to rehashed topics. There are a veritable wealth of freelance and creative writing ideas – if you know where and how to look.

How an Angry Professor Taught Me to Write Anything about Anything —Literally . . . Anything

creative-writing-ideas

I had this professor in creative writing in college who left an indelible impression on me. One time he got so frustrated with what students submitted that he challenged us to write an on-the-spot essay.

The topic?

Well, he threw a piece of chalk to the farthest end of the classroom and said:

Write a kick-ass essay on that!

We were all dumbfounded.

Years later, in my future job as a freelance writer, I would realize my professor was right. A good writer can write anything about anything and can actually develop a worthwhile-reading article — even about chalk thrown across a room.

The “Chalk Thrown across the Room Lesson”

The lesson I learned from this is that as a freelance writer, you need to be observant and imaginative. Even a dry leaf lying on the pavement can be green and fresh again if you know how to apply words that will make it so.

Freelance and Creative Writing Prompts: The Benefits of Joining & Participating in Writing Forums

Some of the best writing ideas can be found through sharing with fellow writers.

Surf the net for writing sites (especially those that have forums). Read some articles and chime in; leave comments and join the threads. By exchanging views with others, you can gather a lot of fresh topics on any subject under the sun (because no idea under the sun is new, you know).

More Freelance and Creative Writing Prompts: The Benefits of Reading Daily News Feeds, Blogs & Other Sites on the Web

Reading makes a full man,” so said Francis Bacon, a famous English author.

By reading, you enrich your mind with knowledge and ideas and concepts on the events that take place everyday. It also develops your skill in forming opinions and becoming a critical thinker.

Why Opinion Matters Every Bit as Much as Fact

Opinions are good sources of writing ideas too, although (in my opinion) you need to be prudent at times so as not to be too opinionated. Articles that delve into ideas many perceive as too critical may elicit negative responses from readers.

Don’t be Afraid to Argue, Fuss and Fight!

Of course, argumentative writing is a healthy manner of expressing oneself. Remember, however, that a freelance writer — especially for certain websites — is most of the time hired to provide information, not dispute issues.

Freelance and Creative Writing Ideas: The Advantage of Generating a List of Ideas

You can’t come up with excellent writing ideas if you keep on running about. The best way to let the ideas flow is by dragging your feet to a corner and actually sitting down.

In short, “Bestill thyself.”

Then, write down topics that cross your mind. Don’t edit; let the topics flow freely. After finishing your list, sift through them until you arrive at a final list of outstanding themes.

This list can then then serve as your reference (a kind of “jumping off” point) each time you sit down to write.

About the Author: Margaret Keely handles nursing courses and is a writing guru who writes on wide ranging topics including convenient nursing education which is her foremost advocacy in life.

Have any Freelance and/or Creative Writing Tips You’d Like to Share?

Everyone has their own unique way of coming up with topics on which to write, especially if you blog a lot. How have you come up with some of your best ideas for topics? Please share them in the comments section below.

coverP.S.: Want to write and sell ebooks online for a living? You can! Get the guide that shows you how to start a successful self-publishing career – start immediately.  

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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Make Money Selling Ebooks: A Reader Asks, “Can you project the income I’d make in one year from one ebook?”

If you’re a subscriber or regular reader of InkwellEditorial.com, you know that I derive a significant portion of my income (more than half) from writing and self-publishing ebooks. As the eve of the ebook writing and publishing tournament approaches, I thought it appropriate to answer the following query from a recent subscriber, who wrote in asking about self-publishing.  

He wrote, in part:

Reader Questions about Making Money Selling Ebooks Online for a Living

On 3/27 I purchased “How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days or Less, Market It & Get Your First Sale Within 7 Days” on Amazon for the Kindle. I want to sincerely thank you. I found this book highly informative, instructive and definitely a good value. I’ve been unemployed for over a year now. I am considering writing an ebook, just for some sort of income. I realize, from your book, that it’s not possible to project the income from any one particular book, but could you give me some probability estimate?
If I could write and promote an ebook and generate a couple of thousand dollars in a year, I would consider that a success. (I have a friend who is a copywriter and thinks I could do it.) If I wrote an ebook and performed all that promotional work, and it didn’t generate anything, I’m not too sure I could psychologically deal with another failure. (You can understand my mindset after numerous interviews and rejections over the past year.)
Do you find an ongoing, royalty stream from your ebooks? Or do the books require constant promotional activity?
Do you write your promotional articles as you’re writing the book?
I realize I am asking a lot. Thank you very much for your consideration. May your kindness by returned to you many times over.
Ken 

My Initial Response to Questions about Self Publishing (Making Money Selling Ebooks Online)

how-to-write-an-ebook-medI gave a short response (just below), but as I promised him, want to go into more detail. I initially responded:

Ken,
 
Re Profitability: This depends on so many factors that I couldn’t even begin to give you an answer (eg, niche, your marketing ability, competition, author credibility, price, etc.).
 
Ebooks require constant promotion, and I do quite well with mine. BUT it’s b/c I’ve been at this a long time. I published my first ebook in 2004 and have published over 20 titles to date. FYI, writing (and promoting) my ebooks are basically my FT job.
 
As for article writing, yes, a lot of my article ideas come from my ebooks. But no, I don’t write the articles while I’m writing the ebook. Usually, I will go back and use excerpts from the ebook for articles.
 
Hope this can tide you over until next week’s newsletter.
 
Subscribe (there’s a sign-up box on every page of the site to the top right) to get it when it comes out.
 
As your unemployment situation; I sympathize, I’ve been there.
 
Just FINISHING an ebook is a grave achievement. To make even ONE sale puts you lightyears ahead of millions; all most ever do is TALK about writing a book, they never buckle down and do it. So focus on the positives of the process, not possible failure because again, even completing one book is a MAJOR achievement.

MY DETAILED RESPONSE

Following is a more detailed response. 

EBOOK WRITING /SELF-PUBLISHING QUESTION: I realize, from your book, that it’s not possible to project the income from any one particular book, but could you give me some probability estimate?

As I told this potential ebook publisher in my short answer, profitability depends on a plethora of factors, so it is literally impossible to assure him with any certainty that he would make “a couple of thousand dollars in a year” (what he wants to make to consider writing an ebook a success).

All I can tell you is this:

No one can guarantee that if you wrote a book – on any subject – how many copies you’re going to sell. Trust me, Random House, McGraw-Hill and all the other major publishers would have published “the formula” — if there was one – to state that you’ll sell “x” copies of this type of ebook.

There just are no guarantees of success in publishing (never mind self-publishing, which brings a lot of novices to the table).

BUT . . .

There are certain types of research that you can do beforehand to guarantee a modicum of success, eg, keyword and niche publishing research.

I discuss this in the ebook pullout, Make Money Selling Ebooks: How to Make Sure Your Ebook Will Sell Before You Write It.

There are a whole bunch of things surfers online want to know about. Many of them present prime opportunities for wannabe self publishers to write an ebook about. It all starts with keyword research.

Again, while no one under the sun can guarantee you a certain number of sales when you write an ebook (or any type of book), there is a way to gauge what your potential audience will be BEFORE you sit down to write.

To Make Money Selling Ebooks Online, Here’s When to Ignore “Research”

I always advise potential self publishers to write what they know about and/or have an interest in – regardless of what research says. Why?

Because when you’re passionate about a topic, no one can bring your “verve” (for lack of a better word) to the topic. And, as the success of an ebook is 90% marketing and 10% writing, you have to be passionate about the topic to do what’s necessary to get sales after the writing is done.

You see, in ebook writing and self publishing, the REAL work comes after the darn thing has been written. To promote it, you have to write articles (article marketing), answer buyer queries, do press releases, blog, etc., about it.

This leads us to the next question . . .

EBOOK WRITING /SELF-PUBLISHING QUESTION: Do you find an ongoing, royalty stream from your ebooks? Or do the books require constant promotional activity?

In 2010, for the first time, over half of my annual income came from products I created (ebooks/seminars). I expect it to be more than 75% this year. And yes, they require a helluva lot of promotion.

I blog, write and distribute two newsletters, engage in social media, write press releases, answer questions, do guest blog posts, etc., to get the word out about my products. As I told the gentlemen who wrote in asking these questions, it’s practically my full-time job.  So, I’m fortunate.

I put this out there so you, as a potential ebook author, will know that it’s not like you can just write an ebook then sit back and wait for sales to come in.

I don’t care how great your ebook is, if you don’t promote it, you’re not going to make very many (or any) sales; that is, unless you’re some guru who has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media and//or who subscribe to your newsletter. Most of us aren’t this lucky.

Consider this: did you know that Americans receive anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 marketing messages a day?

How in the world will yours get through? Constant marketing; that’s how.

It’s the same reason Nike, Burger King and McDonald’s still advertise – out of sight is out of mind, especially in today’s world of multimedia. So even the giants still have to fight to stay present in their customers’ mind.

EBOOK WRITING /SELF-PUBLISHING QUESTION: Do you write your promotional articles as you’re writing the book?  

If you do your research beforehand, your chapters will be organized so that you will answer “natural” questions that anyone who is interested in your subject matter will want answered.

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: What Makes an Ebook “Saleable?”

These are the questions that you should address in your ebook. This is what, by the way, makes a great ebook; one that answers obvious questions. This material will also serve as great content for articles. So, while I don’t write promotional articles while writing my ebooks, I do write with the idea of “reader questions” in mind.

Remember, what makes a great “promotional article” is the dispensing of helpful information. This is the EXACT material a good ebook should answer.

So if you write with your reader in mind, you will have at hand the material for a great ebook – and the material for great “promotional articles” as well. The two are not mutually exclusive; they are, in fact, simpatico.

I hope this has given you some insight into what it takes to be a successful ebook self publisher.

Imagine Receiving Royalty Payments from Worldwide Sales for Ebooks You Created – Every Month

Just this month, I received my first payment from Amazon EU (European sales); Amazon trails 60 days behind in payments received/actual payouts. This was in addition to my regular Amazon ebook sales payout (American sales only).

And, the amounts are increasing each month. I can’t begin to explain to you what it feels like to receive “royalty payments” on books I created. And, this is with only 7 titles to my name to date.

This makes me work that much harder to get those 50 titles on Amazon by year’s end.

Seeing dreams come true; dreams you set your mind to and work towards tirelessly toward – well there’s just about no greater reward. I told my sister:

I can easily see breaking 4 figures a month within a year, and 5 within a couple of years.

If self-publishing (even one title) is a dream of yours, join us in the next ebook writing and publishing tournament coming up next Monday. You won’t regret it, I promise. 

P.S.: Start Building Your Own Information Empire: The Ebook Writing Tournament is Less Than a Month Away (May 9th): Write an Ebook in 3 Days! FINALLY get that ebook you’ve been wanting to write done in Inkwell Editorial’s “How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days Market It & Start Getting Sales within a WeekEbook Writing & Publishing Tournament.

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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