facebookrsspinteresttwitterinfostart

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).

Note: See links to all entries in this ebook writing series at the end of this post.

I want to touch on two things this week: (i) a question from an aspiring ebook writer (that I hope you may be able to lend some insight to); and (ii) my ebook writing progress in this “Quest for 50” this week.

My Office View in Negril Some Days

My Office View in Negril Some Days

Questions from an Aspiring Ebook Writer

A couple of weeks ago, I received a long email from an aspiring ebook writer with a few questions. He wrote:

Hi Yuwanda,

I am so glad I came across Inkwell Editorial last week and want you to know that I have taken your wisdom to heed. There are a few items that surfaced in my mind which I’d like to ask you for help with. First, have you written anything on copywriting? I’d writing my first fiction novel (a transfer from a screenplay I wrote ages ago, which is actually taking a new life of its own) and have no copywrite as of yet. Can I simply tag it with a copywrite claim on the bottom pages, like in your ebook, or must I fill out a form and mail it to Big Brother?

Second, I’ve decided to use a pen name (he mentioned pen name) so that I can maintain some privacy should I actually achieve some level of popularity. That being the case, I am once again concerned with formalities. Does one need to file a form with the government to have a pen name? Any help with these housekeeping items will be greatly appreciated.

And lastly, I am already working on chapter three of my romance novel and have considered loading my first two chapters on Amazon and the other sites to sell for $0.99 each. However, I’m uncertain because I kinda want to have the book complete and polished before releasing anything. But at the same time, I think that releasing it chapter by chapter may very well entice readers to continue buying subsequent chapters as a sort of mini-series in print. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks in advance for your replies and for such great work you’ve done!
Cheers!

My Reply

Drinks after a Day at the BeachI answered some of his questions in a quickly fired-off email, ie:

Welcome to InkwellEditorial.com; I too am glad you found us on the web.

As for your questions, a lot of what you’re looking for can be found simply by doing Google searches.
I’ve written on copyright protection (an ebook) and pen names before.

Here’s the post on whether or not to use a pen name as a writer.

Here’s the ebook on copyright protection/copyright infringement.

I’ll address the part about publishing your book in parts in my post in the ebook writing series on Friday. FYI, I’m not a fiction writer, so do a Google search and find the blog of a fiction writer you like and follow their advice.

Again, almost anything you want to know about self publishing can be found online. All it takes is some digging.

Ebook Writing: Insights about If You Should You Sell Chapters Separately on Amazon

I never got around to answering the part about selling chapters separately, so here goes.

First, I’m a non-fiction, “how to” writer. Hence, I have no experience with publishing ebooks in separate parts (ie, chapter by chapter), other than doing pullouts (an ideal way to make more money writing fewer ebooks by the way).

I think I read somewhere that Stephen King did something like this a few years ago – to great success. But, he’s friggin’ Stephen King! He could probably publish the alphabet letter by letter and make a mint.

In my opinion, this can be an uphill battle for an unknown author, simply because you can get whole ebooks for way cheap — 99 cents to $2.99 – from very famous and very well-known authors (eg, JA Konrath).

Hence, you can’t compete on price, which leaves your “writing.” But if no one knows you, it’s that much more difficult for them to discover you (eg, give you a try) if they can buy whole books from other unknowns for so little.

But again, take my opinion with a grain of salt. I’m no fiction writer and know very little about the genre.

The one good thing about self-publishing ebooks via Amazon is that you can change your pricing as often as you like. So, it doesn’t “cost” you anything to give it a shot.

There’s a first for everything – and you just might be the first author to sell one million “ebook chapters,” instead of selling one million ebooks, like author John Locke.

Following are some links to further insight on this:

Prix Fixe vs. A la Carte Publishing: What’s the Upside for Authors?

Discussion Forum on Selling Books Chapter by Chapter

Do you have an additional insight on this? Have you published an ebook chapter by chapter? Know someone who has? Please leave comments below so everyone can benefit from your sharing.

My Ebook Writing Progress Last Week

To recap briefly, last week, I finished the ebook, How to Create Ebook Covers for Less than $5 and uploaded it. Then, I created a cover for an existing title (the SEO writing ebook) and uploaded it.

More "Office" Traffic Noise (ah, the days I have :-))This past Sunday, I finished How to Sell Ebooks Online via e-Junkie and Set Up an Ebook Affiliate Program (I get quite a few questions about this, my ebook upload service, so thought it was an appropriate title), and uploaded it.

Remember, my goal is to finish at least one new title per week and upload it by Sunday. I was tired as all get out, but I was determined not to let the day go by without uploading a title – and I didn’t.

In My Bathing Suit — In Jamaica – But My Butt Didn’t Hit “a Drap” of Water; NOT. . . ONE. . . DRAP!

Sunday is family day here in Negril, and many head to the beach. And, that was my plan too. My sister and I suited up, packed our beach bags and headed to the next little town over (Little London) to look at some pre-fabricated cottages.

A Home in Jamaica for Less Than $10,000?

As an aside, my sister is looking for a piece of land to buy here because this is where she wants to retire and you can get a pre-manufactured wood cottage for just a few thousand dollars. You have to add on and build out the kitchens and baths, but for literally less than $10,000 you can have a cute-as-a-button, paid-for home here in Negril (not including the cost of the land, of course).

But, I digress . . .

After getting back from Little London, we went to a hotel/restaurant on the beach, had some lunch and planned to work “for a few hours” before spending the rest of the day swimming, gazing at the fine brothers on the beach while yakking and drinking Red Stripe (the national beer of Jamaica).

Well, neither one of our butts hit a drap of water! Not one drap! (I’m from the south and that’s how older people tend to say “drop” of water; they say “drap” instead of “drop”).

I’m talking, I we remained dry as the Sahara Desert. Oh yeah, we could see the ocean – we were working in the restaurant overlooking it – but we didn’t even step on the sand (my sister is a writer too).

But, I had to finish – and so did she (to get her manuscript off to that Broadway producer I told you about meeting here).

Ebook Writing Goes On: My Next Title (Wanna Move to Jamaica?)

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about living in Jamaica since I started the whole Girl a Go Go series about my life here – so I’m putting together an ebook about how to move to Jamaica (Negril) for at least three months.

I’ll talk money, renting, utilities, what to expect – and a whole bunch of other pertinent stuff.

If you want to Live the Freelance Life!, Jamaica is a good place to start because it’s affordable. And, three months is enough time to really assess if this is a place you’d like to live more permanently; also, if you’re not a resident, you have to leave the country every 90 days, so that’s why I’m focusing on this time period. I’ll be VERY specific, so you won’t have any surprises if this is something you want to do.

Note: I’m gonna start updating the Girl a Go Go series again soon. I lost the USB port to my digital camera, so couldn’t transfer photos / videos to my computer. I have one again now, so am able to do this and will start updating the series again semi-regularly.

Lessons about Ebook Writing Learned This Week

Time – Use It or Lose It: A friend of mine told me this week that she finally finished a book she started writing over 20 years ago. She finished it in about two weeks. She said, “You know what Yuwanda, you just have to sit down and write and write and write.”

This is what it takes to get a book done – nothing more, nothing less. And, as more than half this year is gone already, boy do I realize it, which brings me to my second observation . . .

More Office Traffic NoiseUnplug: I didn’t log onto Twitter all day yesterday and did very little work. I had some errands to do; that was part of it, but the main reason is I needed to unplug for a minute and recharge. I’d worked for two weeks straight without a “day off” and I was mentally exhausted (writing is hard work – don’t let anyone tell you any different).

There’s only so much you can go, go, go before you burn out. So it’s important to take breaks. They’re every bit as important as getting your “ebook writing word count” in every day.

Dreams are Exhausting: Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to give up on this whole ebook writing quest? Tons. Because until the end of the year, I know what my days (and nights, and evenings and a helluva lot of weekends) are going to look like.

So I’ve tried to talk myself out of it by saying stuff like:

You’ve published more in a month than most ever will in a lifetime, so why push yourself,” or

“You can spread this goal out over two years instead of one;”

She Works Hard for the MoneyAlong with a whole bunch of other excuses.

But that’s the thing about dreams – if you want to achieve them, you have to push yourself (at least in my opinion).

I’ve never worked so hard in my life as I have these last few months – but you know what, it’s also rewarding – and makes me realize that most of us are so much more capable than we ever dare push ourselves to achieve.

What dreams are you leaving on the table, and if you’re a writer, how many words have you written today?

Happy Writing!
Yuwanda

how-to-write-an-ebook-sm

P.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.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.

Read more.

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….

Read more.

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.

My Ebook Writing Progress This Week

I created a cover and uploaded the SEO writing ebook to Amazon (and sold one). I was surprised to sell one of these so quickly because I didn’t drop the price. As for the cover, I’d never created an “official” one for it; I just used the graphic that the web designers created for me when I got my site redone in wordpress a couple of years ago.

But, covers are important in selling ebooks on Amazon. I discuss this in the new title I finished and uploaded this week — How to Create Ebook Covers for Less than $5.

So that’s two new titles I added this week, which brings my total ebook count to 13 on Amazon. I’m still behind by one ebook though, which I’m just going to have to find time to make up somehow.

Why/How I Got Behind This Week in My Ebook Writing

write-and-sell-ebooks-on-amazonI operate a few minisites, and one that had kind of just been chugging along just kind of took off – earning double, triple — and in some cases quintuple — what it had been on an average day. It’s one I operate “in secret,” because of the problems I’ve had with a “business” internet stalker.

$100/Day in Google AdSense Income?

So when this happened, I took some time and started paying more attention to it – creating content, tweaking it, etc. Funnily enough, I almost sold this site several times, but now, I think it’s going to be the one that I make my first $100/day in Google AdSense earnings with.

Karma – What You Put Out Always Comes Back to You

You know, what you put out truly does come back to you and some things truly are a blessing in disguise. When I had all that trouble last fall, I was a little taken aback. So, I went underground a little bit – doing some things that I don’t discuss openly (I can’t tell you guys EVERYTHING!) in order to ensure that I could always earn a living online.

So this little site I started BECAUSE of my internet stalker is now one of my most solid little “passive income” earners (and I put passive in quotation marks because I still have to put work into it). But, it’s not nearly as much as I do with most of my sites.

How’s that for cosmic justice!

Ebook Sales Growing – Part of It Due to “Negative” Publicity

Summer can be intensely slow  for everything “editorial.” This includes ebook sales. JA Konrath, the mainstream and self-published author who’s sold over 300,00 ebooks that I often refer to in this series, even said his ebook sales were down across all sites (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.).

So I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my ebook sales this month overall. I still sell the majority of my ebooks from my own site (this one), not Amazon, and I think a lot of it has to do with some negative stuff that’s been published about me.

July is turning out to be a very profitable month for me – one that’s looking like it’s going to rival March and April, which are two of my biggest earning months. Why do I think the negative publicity has turned into a positive?

Because when people read such wildly disparate opinions on you, they take the time to look a little closer. As an example, if you visit any of my sites and read my material, then you read some of the stuff in the articles on the “Scam” page here, wouldn’t you dig a little deeper if you really, really wanted one of Inkwell’s products?

Apparently so, as the following illustrates. Following is a snippet from an email I received from a site visitor yesterday. Today, he bought one of my ebooks (the one on how to make money placing free classified ads on backpage):

Greetings Yuwanda

I came across a sales pages of yours today in my search for creating an income online. Specifically: How to make money placing free classified ads.

I must tell you that I do not contact the creators of products in this manner, but I felt compelled to do so today because of what my research on you revealed. In a nut shell, it showed you to be a person of integrity. (emphasis added)

I read a number of your articles, perused your sites and was pleased with what I saw and read. Which is why I’m considering purchasing one of your products. And possibly more in the future. I’ve often considered freelance writing.

I responded to some questions he asked in his email and he sent a second email, stating:

Thank you for your quick response to my inquiry. Less than 24 hours is what I call excellent customer service. I will be purchasing your product right after I send you this. The LORD bless you and yours.

And he did make the purchase, as I stated above.

Jeremey Schoemaker from ShoeMoney.com (one of the most successful “online marketing/make money online” sites on the web by the way) said this would happen, stating in the post Why You Should Embrace Negative Press:

New visitors – Whenever there is a new “shoemoney sucks” or “shoemoney is a scam” post you will notice a ton of new visitors that have never visited your site before. . . . Its like you just launched a PPC campaign…. only its free traffic!  . . . As much as people like to label others as “mindless sheep” people will form their own opinions when they come to your site. And when you have a quality site with quality content… thats the win.

I really think this is what has happened to me over the last few weeks, as the above interaction with a “new visitor and customer” proves.  The last negative article was published about me on July 3rd; the last week has been a bang-up week in sales. Coincidence? Hmmmm . . .

To bring this back around to ebooks sales – the lesson I take from this is, the more you publish, the more chance you have of encountering some negative publicity. But, don’t let it stop you – just keep doing what you do and know that if you put out quality products/quality content (as Jeremy states above), you will make sales.

Ebook Theft: How Someone Stole Not Only Portions of My Ebook, but My Professional Credentials as Well — WTH!

A couple of nights ago (Wednesday), I was sitting at the computer all bleary-eyed close to midnight uploading my latest title to Amazon. I got an email notifying me that not only had someone stolen portions of my eboook that they were using to promote their products, but she had stolen my professional credentials as well – passing them off as her own.

Not only that, affiliate earnings I’d earned, she claimed that they were hers (eg, where an affiliate sold $1,200 worth of my ebooks in one day and half was mine).

Yeah, she word-for-word stole it and claimed those were “her” earnings.

And get this – she had participated in the ebook writing tournament back in October where I wrote the ebook she stole content from (How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days).

I was flabbergasted – because I’d corresponded with this person on several occasions. She stole the works of another writer as well, who alerted me to this fraud.

I fired off an email to her blasting her to Kingdom Come and told her if she didn’t remove it within 24 hours, I’d sue the friggin’ pants off her – and I meant every word.

Can you believe?!

She removed it, of course. But, this prompted me to take action.

Steal at Your Own Risk: Copyright Attorney on Permanent Retainer

I contacted three copyright attorneys yesterday – spent almost all day researching, composing queries and just reading up on the legalities of it all. Learned a lot. It convinced me more than ever that I need to put one on retainer.

I’ll be doing a post here next week about copyright infringement (one IP (Intellectual Property) Attorney – who’s also a professor — graciously consented to answer some questions for this blog’s readers).

The reason I want an attorney on retainer is two-fold: (i) I see stuff like this happening more and more, particularly for self-publishers. And, as I write nonfiction, “how to” stuff, I think people are much more tempted to steal it than a fiction novel (although, thieves will steal anything).

(ii) The second reason is, I want damages. That’s why I did so much research. I want a bulldog attorney who will make someone homeless if they have to. Every attorney I contacted, I told them that if/when I file suit, I don’t want to stop at “cease and desist.” I want punitive, compensatory and any other type of damages I’m entitled to.

And when I win a judgment, I want an attorney who will do everything they can to collect – eg, garnish wages, attach liens to homes, take cars away, get tax refunds, etc.

The Walmart Brand of Law: What Every Self-Publisher Should Practice (IMO)

This is what I call the Walmart brand of law. Why? Because Walmart will spend $200,000 in order NOT to pay out $10,000. You see, many people fake falls, etc. in order to get money. For Walmart, $10,000 is not a lot of money, but for a scammer, it can be a good pay day.

But, the retail giant thwarts this by fostering a reputation for not “settling”; not paying just to get someone to go away. Hence, many don’t even try it, and most attorneys won’t even take on cases against them – unless they’re legitimate.

This is the reputation I want to foster as an ebook seller.

You can steal my stuff, but you’d best believe I’m gonna make your life a nightmare if I catch you. I work too hard – and have done so for too long – for someone to just come along and steal 20  years of hard work with one click of the “Control C” (copy) button.

I don’t think so buddy!

Learn more about how thieves are targeting Amazon’s self-publishing platform.

What’s on Tap for Ebook Writing Next Week

Uploading two existing titles this weekend (just have to create covers). Then, starting a new title on Monday.

How’s your ebook writing going? Tell me in the comments section below, and have a great weekend!

Yuwanda

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.

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

Read more.

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….

Read more.

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.

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

Read more.

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.

Note: See links to all entries in this ebook writing series at the end of this post.

Just for the record, this just tickles me purple (cuz black people don’t turn pink – at least not the ones of my shade. 🙂 Anyhoo, I received the following email from this writer about how to price ebooks. I promised to answer in this week’s series, so here we go. She wrote:

QUESTION ABOUT PRICING EBOOKS

write-and-sell-ebooks-on-amazonHey Yuwanda,

This is going to be my first week on my quest to publish an e-book each week and I remember reading something in one of your articles about using a price point at around $2.99. Is that because of the new Kindle category of Singles? I see that it’s for 10k – 30k words and I was wondering what you thought about that.

Thanks in advance and I hope you have had a safe and wonderful holiday weekend!

Wendy

MY ANSWER

Actually, my pricing has nothing to do with Amazon and their guidelines. I read JA Konrath’s blog a lot. In case you’re wondering who he is, he’s the “self pubbing guru.” He’s been published by mainstream publishers and started self publishing in 2008. He’s sold over 300,000 ebooks – so that’s why I’m an avid reader of his blog.

Also, he tends to give VERY detailed answers; like this one on ebook pricing. It’s one of the reasons I started playing around with my pricing (my motto is listen to those who are where you want to be).

Some other reasons I’m trying the cheap pricing model on Amazon (eg, 99 cents to $2.99) is that:

Factors to Consider When Pricing Ebooks to Sell on Amazon (for Kindle)

I. It’s a new demographic for me: I know the price points that work well for my site. But the Amazon crowd reads in a new medium. And, many of them are used to to things being cheap. I’m not moving as many ebooks as I think I should be, and I think pricing has something to do with that, so I’m trying that first.

2. New technology: Because Kindle and other e-readers are a new technology that can hold thousands of books, the market is more competitive. But, if your ebook is priced right (ie, cheap), many will try it “just because”; and, if they don’t like it they’ve only lost “a couple of bucks.”

And if they do like it, they will ostensibly go on to buy more from you.

3. Different genre: Although I follow JA Konrath’s blog, his advice is geared for fiction writers. I write nonfiction, of course, and dry, business stuff at that. So, I don’t ever expect to hit his numbers. Although I do, in the words of Jessie Jackson, “Keep hope alive!”

Which Types of Ebooks Sell Better on Amazon: Fiction or Nonfiction?

In fact, I was doing some reading a couple of weeks ago about how fiction sells on Amazon vs. nonfiction because so many of the success stories you hear about are all of fiction authors.

The article states that the average price of the Top 10 best-selling nonfiction titles is $10.40. And, none of them are self-published, which was interesting to note. The average price of a fiction ebook on Amazon was 40% LESS ($6.31); again, very interesting fact.

The article goes on to state:

Self-publishing has traditionally worked best for nonfiction authors with solid information-based books. There is no disputing that a new world of bookselling is upon us, and all the old rules will be scrapped or at least reexamined in the light of new realities.

All of this was encouraging to me  because I don’t need to sell 10,000 or 100,000 (or even 1,000) copies a month to make a good living at $2.99.

I already make a decent living just selling my ebooks from my websites. But, if I can sell a few thousand copies a month on Amazon (and Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.), then, I’d make much more than I ever dreamed as a self-publisher.

All of these are things you have to consider when pricing your ebooks to sell. And if a price point isn’t working out, don’t be afraid to change it, which you can do at will on Amazon.

Hope this insight helps.

My Ebook Writing Progress This Week

Fell flat on my friggin’ face!

I travelled last week back to Jamaica, and between getting settled (cleaning house, grocery shopping, laundry, buying household goods, etc.) and socializing, which took up more time than I’d planned, I fell behind.

As an aside, met a famous Broadway producer while reading a book at the beach; went out to dinner with him. The nicest guy – and he knows Denzel, and Blair Underwood and Shemar Moore – and all the other fine brothers I’d like to meet in Hollywood!

Looked him up online – THE REAL FRIGGIN’ DEAL!

My sister said, “You should wear that bathing suit again – ain’t no telling who you’ll meet next!” Ohhhhhh, I tell ya, if I still had the acting bug, or was a fame whore, I so woulda gone out with him with a different agenda.

He’s someone though that I feel will morph into a friend for life. Just a really down to earth guy. Anyway, terrible digression. Back to my ebook publishing . . .

I published an existing title today (which counted for LAST week). And, I started a new title today (how to create really cheap (like less than $5) gorgeous ebook covers.

I started doing mine myself a couple of months ago and have been getting some great kudos on them, so I detail how I do it, cuz ebook covers can be expensive. But more and more, I’m seeing that they are necessary (especially on a worldwide stage like Amazon) to making ebook sales.

I will finish this ebook this weekend, which will keep me on track, and if I have the energy left over, will try my best to upload an additional, existing title on Sunday.

11 Titles Uploaded to Amazon: 39 More Ebooks to Go!

With the ebook I uploaded today, I have 11 titles on Amazon. By Sunday, it’ll be 12 (or 13).

How’s your ebook writing coming along? Progress? Setbacks? I’m all ears. Sound off in the comments section below, and have an excellent weekend. I’ll have some fun, but will be working too. 🙂

Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

how-to-write-an-ebook-sm

P.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.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.

Read more.

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.

Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

how-to-write-an-ebook-sm

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.

Read more.

Can You Really Earn Money Taking Surveys Online

x-click-but22 for Only $4.95!     [View all InkwellEditorial.com ebooks that help you make a living online]

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

x-click-but22 for Only $4.95!

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.

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

Read more.

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. …

Read more.

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?

Well, remember when I laid out my freelance writing goals for 2011? In my quest to publish 50 ebooks on Amazon, one of the things I said is that I already had over 20 existing titles that I needed to upload. So this weekend, I’ll be uploading a couple of those. This will keep me on track.

On Monday, I’ll be starting a new title. Not sure what it is yet, but will look over the list this weekend so I can be mentally prepared when I sit down to write on Monday.

Note: See all posts to date in this ebook writing series. Get the ebook that came out of this series: SELLING EBOOKS ONLINE: How I Published 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year – And You Can Too!

write-and-sell-ebooks-on-amazonMy Ebook Writing Goal Has Inspired Others: 25 Ebooks by the End of the Year

Just this morning I received the following email from a fellow ebook writer. She’s now on the “one ebook a week til the end of the year bandwagon,” which just made me smile from ear to ear. I love it when I inspire others to get cracking! Wendy wrote:

Hey, Yuwanda!

I have 3 of your ebooks, including the one on transitioning to being a full-time publisher. Thanks for being so candid with your readers.

You have inspired me to set a goal for a certain number of e-books for the rest of this year. I counted and there are 26 weeks remaining once this week is over. I believe that I can also do one ebook per week! So I will have 26 additional titles on Amazon.com at the end of the year!

Take care and keep writing.

Wendy Stewart

The Downside of Writing So Many Ebooks in One Year 

I’ve received a few emails from nonbelievers, eg, “An ebook a week, are you kidding me,” or “You can’t be putting out quality material writing that many ebooks.” I don’t like to focus on negativity, so tend to ignore emails like this. I only bring this up say the following . . . 

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Tips on How to Write and Self-Publish Tons of Ebooks Quickly

Following is how I’m able to pump out so many titles this year.

Write What You Know: I tend to write about what I know. I’ve been in business for myself practically all of my life in one form or another. I had my first business when I was 11 years old – mowing yards in a trailer park we lived in. I talk about it in From Startup to Success, which details my entrepreneurial journey and some lessons I’ve learned along the way.

If you write what you know, you don’t have to do as much research because the info is right there in your head.

Fast Typer: I’m a fast typer; well over 100 words a minute – which helps a lot.

Don’t Write Junk: If you’re writing what you know, you also tend not to product junk because your information is grounded in first-hand experience.

I’ve said this before, but the reason I believe I’ve had such success as a self publisher is that I do write from first-hand experience – telling the good and the bad. In essence, I’m turning my experiences into “teachable moments.” That way, readers can know what to do – and what NOT to do – which is every bit as important (maybe more so) than knowing what to do.

Systemize the Process: I also have a system in place that allows me to quickly finish a title. Outline, brain dump (write), edit/proof, create cover, upload.

Note: The outline is the most important part of the process. If you do this part right, you can quickly zip through your subject matter.

Accept Imperfection: I also don’t try to be perfect. I edit/proof some of my ebooks. Other times I outsource it. It all depends on how close I am to a deadline. So there may be a misspelling here or there sometimes. While I’d like for every one of my titles to be letter perfect, they’re not going to be. I accept that.

And, please, please, please don’t take this to mean that sloppy grammar and other editorial mistakes are acceptable. They’re not.

But don’t wait until every ebook is 100% perfect before you hit the publish button. Do your level best, then publish and move on. Otherwise, you’ll never publish anything because this tends to be more of a stalling/procrastination tactic than a desire to make everything perfect.

Let Stuff Go: As in your house may not be as clean as you normally keep it; the kids might have to eat PB&J one time more than they want; the weeds in the flower beds may have to take over a bit; the laundry may have to pile just a little higher before you get to it; etc.

If you’re committed to this process, some things are going to have to fall by the wayside to reach your goal. Get tunnel vision and accept that they’re just going to have to wait. As long as it’s not life and death, it’ll be fine.

Conclusion

I’m on semi-vacation this week because I just got back to Jamaica. I played total hooky yesterday and went to the beach. The weather could not have been more perfect – I had a blast!

Between now and next Tuesday, when I’ll be back into my regular work routine, I have tons of stuff to do around the house though. And, I will be working this weekend to get two new titles up on Amazon, which will bring my count to 12. Step by step, I’m getting there. This month, I’m going to do my level best to have at least 25 published because I’m going to start uploading existing titles.

For my American friends, enjoy the upcoming 4th of July holiday. I’m going to miss seeing all the American flags waving everywhere. But I’ll go to the beach, have a rum punch and wish America a happy birthday even though I’m abroad.

Be safe everyone, especially if you’re driving, as drunk drivers tend to be a problem on holidays.

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.

Read more.