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Archives for July 2011

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part VIII

In the last post in this ebook writing series, I told you about how I’d published 13 titles on Amazon. Well now, I’m up to 16 – and I plan to add at least two more this week. FYI, sprinkled throughout this post are some photos (click to see larger views)……

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A Freelance Writer Has Her First $400 Day within a Month of Doing This: How She Did It – And You Can Too!

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you may remember “SEO Mary.” She was the SEO writer who allowed us to follow her journey as she went about building a freelance writing career as an SEO writer. To keep her anonymous – so she could share her ups, downs and in-betweens with us as honestly as she wanted to, I gave her that name for the series….

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Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part VII

This week I was a writing machine – and I still don’t feel like I accomplished everything that I wanted. But, following is what I did do. Note: See links to all entries in this ebook writing series at the end of this post….

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How to Create Ebook Covers for Less than $5: They’re Professional-Looking, Quick & Easy to Do and Help You Sell More Ebooks

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, it’s particularly true when marketing online; and especially if you’re marketing a self-published ebook. When I first started ebook covers by self-published authors were horrible for the most part. Nowadays, it can be difficult to tell them from the professional ones….

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Marketing for Freelance Writing Jobs This Summer? Here’s a Two-Pronged Attack That’s Working for One Freelancer

As you’ve read here on this blog ad nauseam probably, summer is one of the slowest times of the year for freelance editorial workers, eg, writers, copy editors (does anybody hire them anymore), graphic designers, etc.

And, that’s because nobody’s focused on advertising, marketing, communications, journalism, etc. – at least not like they are in the fall. All the big whigs who make the budget decisions (that determine whether freelancers get hired or not) at the ad agencies, publishing houses and other are at their summer homes in the Hamptons, or jetting off to Paris for some conference, or spending extended time in the Caribbean with family and friends.

You get the picture.

funinthesunHas This Summer Seemed Slower than Usual for Freelance Writing (and Other) Freelance Work?

For me it has – and I don’t even market for work. Across the board – ebook sales, inquiries about possible jobs, and site advertising all just seems a bit slower this year than the last couple of years.

Don’t freak out. If you clicked out to the link above, you know that freelancing is cyclical. Things will pick up in the fall.

As you know if you’re a regular reader, I’ve been freelancing for almost 20 years (since 1993) and so it’s just a general feeling I have. I was reading the blog of a popular ebook writer a few weeks ago and he said that his sales were down across the board (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) by 15-20%.

Why Freelance Writing Jobs May Seem Harder to Come by This Summer

I just think that – as far as the American economy goes – we’ve come through a storm. And, although experts say the recession is over, many Americans still feel it and are holding onto their wallets a little tighter – even as things do slowly get better job wise.

Many of us learned the value of overspending and not having a cushion in the bank, so more of us are saving more, paying down debt and examining every purchase closely. Recent news reports bear this sentiment out.

The February 2011 Fox News article, Americans Saving More and Paying Off Debt Faster Than Expected, states:

Americans are putting money into their savings accounts and paying down their debts faster than analysts expected. Three years since the Great Recession started, consumer debt, which peaked at $12.5 trillion in 2008, dropped to $11.4 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2010.  . . . Although American’s newfound habit of opening savings accounts instead of shopping has slowed the growth of the economy in recent months, economists say it’s generally good news that Americans are getting their finances in order.

All of this affects how many freelance writing jobs are available, when and how much they pay.

One Freelance Writer Inspires Another to Take Action to Get Work Flowing In

But, one freelance writer has taken the bull by the horns (both sides of it) and is finding work. This is the same freelancer who wrote in and told me about her initial success with cold calling – garnering a 66% response rate.

She inspired another freelancer to take this route, also.

Following are my exchanges with both of them, which will hopefully show you that there is work out there, but when times get a little tough, you have to get creative in how you get the work to flow in, as these two ladies have.

Second Freelancer Who Was Inspired by the “Cold Calling” Freelancer

She wrote:

Hi, Yuwanda! Things going slow, but I’m about to get on the phone and dial for dollars! 🙂 30 calls is my goal. Hold my feet to the fire! . . . Things slow because spent most of June in CA with my folks. . . . Well, off to the phone!

My Response to This Freelancer

Just got an email from another freelancer about cold calling (the one who’s been writing in recently). Following is some of our exchange, which you’ll read in tomorrow’s newsletter. I’m sure you’ll find it insightful.

Be sure to take care of yourself during these difficult emotional times. Yeah, work is important, but not nearly as important as spending time with your loved ones (especially now) and watching out for your own health. My prayers are with you and your family.

Note: As an aside, I happen to know this freelancer has parents who are ill. One of the benefits of freelancing is that you can take much-needed time off to attend to the most important things in life (family) when you need to. Is freelancing tough? Yeah, it can be. Is it worth it? I think this highlights how much it can be – especially when things like this happen.

She Wrote Back, Saying . . .

Yuwanda, you are SO wonderful! You really made my day!

As for the cold calling, yes it’s a necessary evil, I think. Although I’ve enjoyed it so far (haven’t called nearly as many people as I should, though….)

Now, for the updates from the first freelancer who tried the cold calling route.

Cold-Calling Freelance Writer Updates Us on Her Progress

 She wrote:

Hi Yuwanda,

. . . due to the Holiday [July 4th, Independence Day in America] my cold calling was put to a halt, but I will start back up again next week.  However, I wanted to let you know what happened thus far, maybe it will be beneficial to your readers. 

Out of all the firms I called, I have one SEO Consultant that I bid a $450-$500 project on, he’s getting all the other details of the site together. However, from this 1 consultant, after seeing my samples, he passed my website on to “surgeon advisors/consultants and I just sent them an invoice for $800 to   look over their content, it’s a very simple job, that will probably take me no more than 8-10 hour tops.   

It’s basically just making sure their images match the content, basic grammar, spelling, etc. They work with plastic surgeons so they said if I do a good job, they have a lot more projects like that for me in the work and it doesn’t require writing.   However, I am sure some of this type of work will lead to writing work anyway.

I never heard back from that one guy who paid me for an article, and I don’t see that he put it up on the site yet. But, I will follow up again. I guess the point that I am trying to make is that cold calling is a necessary evil, but it works. (emphasis added) If I didn’t make those calls, who knows, I probably would have been still looking for work in all the wrong places.

Also, I sent an email marketing campaign out a long time ago, and even though I didn’t hear back directly from the website firms I contacted, leads have called me as a result of my email marketing efforts.  The website firms saved my information and had it on file.  So, when your readers think email marketing isn’t working either, it is.  I guess now all I have to do is do more and be consistent with it.  

My 30th birthday is coming soon, and there’s is nothing more I want to do than take a trip to Hawaii.  

Anyhoo, I rambled on enough, I hope you are doing well and enjoying the summer and the beach, and the beauty in Jamaica.   🙂

MY RESPONSE TO HER

Keep plugging away — the combo you’ve got going (calling/emailing) seems to be working. And it’s the slow season now; it’s been much slower this summer than the last few that I can remember. So a little more in the way of marketing is required. But that’s what being in business is all about.

Many think it’s going to be smooth most of the time. It’s not! You’re lucky if it is half the time. The other half, you spend figuring out how to get the business coming in — and that’s why so many fail at business (or are afraid to even start). They’re afraid of the tough times.
 
But, they make you stronger.
 
One day when you look back, you’re going to remember these lessons and they will serve you well — because you’ll have a well of knowledge/experience to draw on that will make you freak out less — especially when things are tough.
 
So keep on my sista — you’re on the right track.
###

That ended my response, but I wanted to add one more thing. I’ve written about this before, ie, clients saving your information and contacting you months – even a few years later – when you contact them (especially via email).

How Consistent Marketing for Freelance Writing Jobs Leads to Work Down the Road

I can’t tell you the number of times in my freelance career I’ve gotten calls “out of the blue” from prospects that I sent emails out to months — and even a few years — ago. They’ll say something to the effect of, “We received that email you sent about SEO writing, well, we have a project blah, blah, blah . . .”

So as this freelancer wisely points out, “So, when your readers think email marketing isn’t working either, it is.” That’s why consistency is key. Keep sending stuff out, even when no one is hiring (at least not right now).

When it does come time for them to need a freelancer, many will go right to the save file of freelancers they have on hand – and if you’ve been the consistent one, you have a much better chance of them “remembering” to contact you first.

Hope you’re having a swell week.

FYI, I’ll be doing a post in the Living in Jamaica series this weekend. I know it’s been a while, but a sista has been busy!

inkwelleditoriallogoP.S.: Find freelance writing work seamlessly?  Get the guide that shows you the 7 methods I’ve used for years to find freealance writing work in “How to Find Unpublished Freelance Writing Jobs.”

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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Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part VI

My ebook writing quest has inspired others to jump on the bandwagon. As we discussed in last week’s post in this ebook writing series, one writer has told me that she’s shooting to publish an ebook a week thru the end of the year….

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How I Ditched Cubicle Life & Became a Globe-Trotting Freelance Writer

Today, a guest post I wrote for JohnChow.com was published. Entitled, How I Ditched Cubicle Life & Became a Globe-Trotting Freelancer, it outline 6 specific things you can do to “take your career on the road and live the freelance lifestyle” if that is your heart’s desire.

Following is an excerpt.
yuwanda-black-guest-post-on-john-chowdotcom6 Steps to Creating a Mobile Freelance Writing Career

Following are six things I did (that you can too!) to help me realize my dream of travelling while earning a living as a freelance writer.

1. Believe in Yourself: I start with this because, when you do something as “outrageous” as travelling and working, many who may be close to you might be skeptical. This is because most are raised to take the easy, safe road (ie, get or stick with a job – even a hated one).

The fact that you want to become a freelance writer may already have some looking at you sideways. The fact that you want to pick up and visit foreign lands while doing it will make many question your sanity.

Proof?

The article, Why Americans Don’t Travel Overseas, underscores this point, citing that only 21% of Americans even have a passport. Until recently it was just 15% (now Americans are required to show a passport when going to Mexico and Canada, so many have gotten them). This article also lays out some interesting reasons why more Americans don’t pick up and get going.

So the first step is to actually ingrain in your brain that, “Yes, I can do this. I’m not crazy and it’s a good thing.”

2. Cut Spending: I moved to Jamaica almost a year before I’d planned to. I did so because an apartment in a building I wanted to be in that rarely has vacancies became available. Even though my budget was tight . . .

Read the entire post on creating a mobile freelance life.

Free Ebook That Details How I Created My Mobile Freelance Lifestyle — And How You Can Do the Same!

Don’t forget, when you subscribe, you get the free ebook, Living the Freelance Life! How I Live Live Internationally and Have Earned My Living Completely Online (Since 2007) & You Can Too.

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P.S.: Quickly Become a Published Author: Learn how to FINALLY get that ebook out of your head and onto a page. Just think, you could be done and making sales this time next week!

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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Can You Really Earn Money Taking Surveys Online

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Can You REALLY Make a Living Taking Surveys Online?

Make money taking online surveys is one of the most marketed work-from-home business opportunities. Following are just some of the headlines that I ran across when I typed “make money taking surveys” into my browser.

survey-ebook-coverMake Money Taking Paid Online Surveys

Get paid cash doing online surveys

Make Money by Taking Online Surveys

Earn Money taking Free Paid Surveys Online

Make Money Taking Surveys

Take Paid Surveys Online and Get Paid

Get Paid to Take Free Paid Surveys Online

Questions This E-Pamphlet Answers

Is it a legitimate home business opportunity?

Should you pay money to learn how to do this?

How much can you expect to earn?

How does it work?

How can I tell if an opportunity is legitimate or not?

Where can I find a list of legitimate survey companies?

I decided to write this pamphlet to answer these questions, and relay my experiences with this “make money online” opportunity. That way, you’ll know exactly what it’s all about, and can decide for yourself if it’s something you want to do.

Following is a complete Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Can You REALLY Make a Living Taking Surveys Online?

Questions This E-Pamphlet Answers

My Personal Story: $150 Cash – for 2 Hours of “Work”

Types of Questions You May Be Asked by a Survey Company

Two Types of Focus Groups: Onsite vs. Offsite Surveys

Should You Pay to Get Info about Making Money Online Taking Surveys

How Much Money Can You Make Taking Surveys (Online and/or Off)?

What Qualifications Do You Need to Make Money Online Taking Surveys (Online or Off)

Conclusion: Should You Pay Money to Learn How to Make Money Taking Surveys (Online or Off)

How to Tell if a “Make Money Online Taking Surveys” Opportunity Is Legitimate

List of Legitimate Survey Sites

About the Author

Endmatter

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cover

P.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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How I Got Almost 700 New Twitter Followers in Just 2 Weeks

Want more Twitter followers? All you have to do is follow the advice of John Paul Aguiar. I told you about him a couple of weeks ago, because I did a guest post for his site. …

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Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part V

I travelled this week (back in Jamaica), so didn’t start a new title. But, I’ll still publish an ebook on Amazon this week. How?…

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