facebookrsspinteresttwitterinfostart

Archives for August 2011

Freelance Writers: Are You Ready for the Busy Fall Season? Here are 4 Areas to Check to Help You Easily Land More Jobs

The following email from an aspiring freelance SEO writer inspired this post. She wrote:

Question from a New Freelance Writer

Hi Yuwanda,

I’ve started [contacting] SEO companies using the template you provide in one of your ebooks . . . .

My question is simple: How long should I expect it to take to hear back from someone? I’m nervously drumming my fingers over here, not sure what to expect. Also, I’ve heard summer is slow, but at what point does ‘summer’ become ‘fall’ in that regard? Late August? September?

Thanks for your help – you’re wonderful!

~AB

My Answer

Editorial is cyclical and after Labor Day (September 5th this year) is the start of the busy fall season.

busy-season-for-freelance-writersFollowing are some common questions I receive – especially from new freelance writers. Resolve these issues for your freelance writing business so you can “hit the ground running” next week.

Freelance Writers: Are You Ready for the Busy Fall Season? Here are 4 Areas to Check

I. Freelance Writing Rates: I’m not going to tell you how to set rates because there is no one size fits all. What I will tell you is this – rates can always be adjusted. So if you’re new and are unsure about your rates, do some research.

You can start by researching the blogs of other freelancers, consult industry sources, and lurk in freelance writing forums. This should give you enough info to set your rates initially. Then, if you’re not happy with what you’re making, the jobs you’re getting, or how long it’s taking you to land jobs (or the fact that you’re quickly overwhelmed), then you can adjust your rates accordingly.

More Posts on How to Set Your Freelance Writing Rates

Freelance Writing Rates: What to Charge for Proofreading, Copyediting, Writing, Etc.

Freelance Writing Rates: And the Debate Rages On . . .

Advice for Freelance SEO Writers: How to Negotiate Rates When Clients Want You to Go Lower with the Promise of More Work

SEO Writing Rates: How to Determine What to Charge as an SEO Copywriter

How to Set Freelance Writing Rates for Online Writing Jobs: A Definitive Guide for Setting (and Getting) the Rates You Deserve

II. Service Offerings: Have you decided which services you will offer? Are they clearly listed on your website? Have you defined parameters (eg, one round of edits; $X for 500 words; $X for technical content as opposed to general content; turnaround times; etc.).

Have you lined up outsourcers (other freelancers) to handle services you’re no intimately familiar with and/or just don’t want to do (eg, social media management)? Have you gotten paperwork in place for them (eg, asking them to fill out a 1099 form)?

Advice for New Freelance Writers: Start off offering services you know how to do well. It’s difficult enough when you first start out without worrying about having to “manage” a staff. You’re going to be nervous; there are going to be situations you have to figure out how to handle before you get over being a newbie.

Don’t complicate this by adding management duties onto it. Wait until you’ve ironed out some kinks in your freelance writing business (and there are always “kinks”) before taking it to this level.

So, set your service offerings and clearly outline them on your website, then go from there.

As you grow, you can always add more services.

III. Marketing Schedule: Get in the habit of marketing from Day 1. Putting together a freelance writing marketing plan will ensure that you do so. Some freelancers get busy right away; for others it takes a while.

One thing I can guarantee is that if you don’t market – consistently – for freelance writing jobs you will have more dry spells, be constantly frustrated and may even give up on a freelance writing career before you ever get started good.

And that would be a shame. There’s plenty of work out there for everyone. But, you have to be proactive in getting it.

IV. Mentally Adjust: Freelancing is a wonderful career – but  sometimes you have to have nerves of steel because there is no steady paycheck. You have to go out and kill your dinner (eg, market for work) in order to eat.

And sometimes, it may seem like you’ve fired every weapon in your arsenal, yet you can’t drag anything home. That’s when panic sets in – ie, you start to think, “I can’t make a go of this; I was a fool to start and/or quit my FT job.”

Hold up there buddy . . . I’m here to tell you, you’re wrong! Don’t throw in that towel. As I wrote in the post, How to Build a Successful Freelance Career (Part 2):

No matter how talented you are, what your background is, or how well connected you are, there will come a time when work just seems to dry up. At this point you may start to question your abilities, seriously consider a full-time job, and/or wonder if freelancing is for you.

If this is the existence you’ve decided you want, stick with it. Continue to advertise, even when it seems that no one is interested. The average consumer has to see your advertisement at least 7-28 times (depending on what article you read) before they will act on it. So be confident that if you advertise consistently, when they need a service/product that you offer, you will be at the forefront, rather than the hit-and-run advertisers.

After all, the quickest way not to succeed is to quit.

Why My Gut Tells Me the Fall Is Going to Be Busier Than Ever

If the success some freelance writers have experienced this summer has been anything to go by, this fall is going to be a busy one. The American economy (indeed, the world economy) has been in a rut for the last 3-4 years. And while it’s still not great, things are slowly turning around.

And, ad spending in internet marketing is set to explode. Proof?

According to the article, Online marketing spend to increase significantly in the next few years, a study done by Forrester research revealed that:

. . . by the year 2016 advertisers will spend $77 billion on email, social media display and mobile outreach efforts. The total will make up 35 percent of all advertising by that year, accounting for a major portion of money spent in the sector.

The study, U.S. Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2011 to 2016, also found that by 2015, the adoption rate for smartphones will increase by 150 percent and 82 percent of consumers are expected to own tablet devices.

What does this mean for freelance writers – particularly those who specialize in web copy?

More writing work – in pay per click ads; social media management; SEO articles for blogs, newsletters and websites; landing pages; SEO press releases; etc.  You name it and clients will be ordering it!

Are you set up to get your slice of this freelance writing jobs pie?

Til next time!

Yuwanda
Find this post informative? Please RT It and Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

coverP.S.: Get the ebook that pushed my freelance writing career to the next level – allowing me to travel and live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life!”

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.

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

Editor Note: We continue to have problems with our RSS Feed. It’s been disabled because we had some problems with our hosting company — too many requests for it which caused bandwidth problems. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest content.

Sell Ebooks Online: More Insights from a Self-publisher

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

Misstated How Many Books I’ve Published

In the last post in this series on self publishing ebooks on Amazon, I relayed that I had 24 ebooks on the site. I misstated that. I have 22. Just wanted to clarify that.

But, it will soon be 23 because I …

Self-Published a “Non” Freelance Writing Ebook

Yep, I created a pen name and published an ebook outside of the freelance writing/small business/internet marketing genre.

write-and-sell-ebooks-on-amazonTo be honest, even though I have so much more to say in these niches, I get tired of writing about how to become a freelance writer – and the other topics I cover. I blog about these topics, create newsletters about them, answer questions about them – in short, I cover them ad nauseam.

So, it was nice to write something that had nothing to do with these topics. And because I wrote under a pen name (it’s a relationship ebook), it was freeing. I could “let it all hang out,” so to speak.

I’m also anxious to see how this title fares as it is in a different niche. I won’t be doing any marketing for this ebook because I just don’t have the time right now. I’m just going to let it “do it’s thang.” It’s an evergreen topic, so it’ll be fun to see how it performs – especially around Valentine’s Day.

Note: As it’s published under a pen name, you won’t be able to find it by searching my name on Amazon. You’ll just have to trust that – to date – that’s my 23rd title on the site.

Make Money Selling Ebooks: How “Pullout” Sales are Going

My ebook pullouts are accounting for about 10% of my ebook sales. I’m encouraged by this because I haven’t uploaded nearly as many as I want to. At this point, it’s all I can do to write a title and upload it. I just don’t have a lot of time to go back and divvy the book up into pullouts and upload them.

But I think that having these pullouts push sales of others because they allow a reader to “sample” my writing cheaply. For example, the pullouts I have on Amazon all come from the “How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days” ebook. They sell for about a quarter of what the entire ebook retails for.

So when readers buy one and see how in-depth and well-written it is, it gives them faith that the rest of the ebook will be just as informative. Hence, doing pullouts is not only beneficial from a direct financial perspective, it helps ebook sales indirectly as well.

Selling Ebooks Online: What Sales are Looking Like This Month Compared to Last Month

My sales have more than doubled what they were last month, and we still have more days in the month. If I really pushed it, I could probably triple them – but as I talked about in the last post in this series, I just don’t have time to market like I need to.

I’ll do more of this early next year when this “quest to publish 50 ebooks” is over.

Why You Need This to Make Money Selling Ebooks Online

What is it? A lot of products. As stated, I currently have 22 ebooks on Amazon. And, I’ve sold copies of 14 different titles. There are about 5 that account for the bulk of my sales, but the others certainly add up – and I think they push sales of the main sellers.

Another benefit of writing a lot of ebooks is that it allows you to see what’s popular with your ebook buyers. Then, you can add more titles in these niches. This is like “money growing on trees” because when you see one ebook “take off,” you’re practically guaranteed sales if you produce follow-up / complementary titles.

While writing and selling ebooks online is not all that hard; it’s not easy either. So, why leave sales on the table? Give readers what they want.

Make Money Selling Ebooks: How Many Do You Need to Sell to Make a “Good” Living?

This will be different for every person, but when I looked over my sales and figured out what my average sale per ebook was, I was dumbfounded to learn that I only have to sell about 1,000 copies per month to be making some very good money (a financial milestone I’ve had in mind for a few years now).

Many fiction authors like my self-publishing guru, JA Konrath, average hundreds of ebook sales per day – and sell tens of thousands of ebooks per month.

Although it would be nice, I don’t need anywhere near these numbers to make a very good living – and I mean, very good. By 2013, I hope to be there, although at the rate I’m going, it’ll probably happen before that. Why do I think this?

Why I Expect My Ebook Sales to Continue to Grow

I don’t market my ebooks anywhere near as much as I should;

I haven’t even published on other outlets yet, eg, Barnes and Nobles, Smashwords, etc.

I’ve hired an e-publishing assistant to help me with many of the backend duties of self publishing; and

I have many more titles planned – across different genres.

So again, I’m encouraged.

One final thing I want to point out is that I still sell the majority of my ebooks from this site – which accounts for about 60-65% of my income these days. Internet marketing and freelance writing jobs from clients account for the other 35-40%. So averaging 1,000 copies per month in ebook sales on Amazon is gravy. Even if I didn’t sell another copy via Amazon, I’d still be ok.

I just want to because it’s another income stream – that’s almost passive — which is what I’m striving for.

Some Insight about Pricing Ebooks You Probably Hadn’t Thought Of

My ebooks are priced all over the map – from 99 cents to $59.95. And you know what — the higher priced items sell very well too. This pushes the average price of each sale way up. So it helps to have a mix of lower and higher-priced items in your ebook catalogue.

Ebook Writing Going at a Turtle’s Pace

I’m constantly behind schedule, but will start to pick it up this month. I’ll be publishing two ebooks this week (God give me strength – please!).

A lot of this is due to non-work-related stuff: I’ve had family and friends visit, I’ve gotten a personal life (yes!) and I’ve been enjoying the summer (a little too much). Hey, I’m currently living in Jamaica – can you blame me?!

But now that summer is almost over, my brain is starting to refocus.

I practically can’t wait for fall because I’ve had a bang up summer in ebook sales.

So, how’s your ebook writing coming along? Have questions, comments, insights? Share them in the comments section below.

Enjoy the week. I’m off for a long beach run now, so I can come back, have some lunch and settle into a long afternoon/evening of . . . what else, ebook writing!

Yuwanda
Find this post informative? Please RT It and Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

coverP.S.: Get the ebook that pushed my freelance writing career to the next level — allowing me to travel and live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life!”

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.

Freelance Writers — How I Do It All: Publish My Own Ebooks, Market for Freelance Writing Jobs, Write for Clients and Still Have a Life!

Over the last few weeks, I received questions from a couple of freelance writers that asked, in essence, how to do it all as a freelance writer. One freelancer kinda summed it up, writing:…

Read more.

How to Become a Freelance Writer: How to Market Consistently to Start Earning $100-$200 Per Day

Recently, a freelancer who took Inkwell’s freelance writing ecourse sent in the following question. She wrote:

Question from a Fellow Freelance Writer

Yuwanda:

… when sending cold emails to prospects (I’ve sent 75 to date now), do you follow up with those that don’t respond? If so, when and how frequently? I was thinking that I might follow up in one week with an offer to email them my free ebook, and if I hadn’t heard from them, two weeks from them with some  kind of a “sale” email with an exclusive discount or the like…is this worth the time, or no?

Thanks in advance,

J-

how-to-become-a-freelance-writerMy Answer

J-:
 
Definitely keep in touch. I think I say in the freelance writing ecourse to keep a calendar of your marketing efforts. That way you can track who you contacted, when, what you said, etc.
 
Some will never respond; others will after 6 months, a year or even two years. But I’m a firm believer in follow up. And it doesn’t have to be elaborate — just a quick, “Hi, remember me, keep us in mind if you ever have content needs we can help you with.”
 
Sending a special report every quarter or so can help to boost your image. Otherwise, I’d follow up every 30 days with a simple message like the one above — with a link out to your site.
 
And of course, stay in touch with those who ARE giving you work. Most freelance writers forget this (I know I’m not good about it). But, remember the Pareto Principle — 80% of your work will come from 20% of your clients. So stay in regular contact with those who are giving you work. Say thank you, offer repeat customer discounts, bundled service offerings, etc.
 
Hope this helps, and feel free to send in other questions if you have them.

I just want to expand upon this answer a bit.

Freelance Writing Advice on How to Consistently Market to Land Jobs

Your Marketing List: When you put together your marketing contact list, this is your “get business” list. So, don’t ever stop marketing to it because someone doesn’t respond. You’ll read some studies that say if after a year or two or three years a lead doesn’t respond, then you can remove them from your list.

But as email doesn’t cost a thing, I say continue to market to them unless/until they ask you not to contact them again.

I’ve had prospects contact me over two years later who’d never responded to any of my e-campaigns. Then, out of the blue, they call/email and want to get started. Or, they may start the inquiry process and it may be another few months before I hear from them again.

So in my opinion, it’s best to keep marketing to “nonresponders” say, once a month or so. This is just enough to stay top of mind without being a nuisance.

About Creating a Free Giveaway: One of the things I advise all freelance writers – especially niche freelance writers – to do is to write a client-focused, benefits-oriented ebook and offer it as a free download from your site.

It accomplishes a number of things: (i) showcases your writing talent; (ii) tells prospects specifically how you can help them; and (iii) puts you ahead of the competition because many freelance writers just don’t take the time to do stuff like this.

Stay in Touch with Regulars: Many freelance writers get so busy looking for new clients that they forget about existing clients. I know I’m guilty of this.

But as I said above, according to the Pareto Principle, 20% of your clients will give you 80% of your work (I know this to be true firsthand); hence, you literally can’t afford to ignore your existing clients.

Stay in touch – and not just to always solicit work (although that’s always the underlying goal). Offer them discounts to show your appreciation, send links to industry-related news items that can help their business, and/or just send an “I value your business, hope you’re having a great day” email.

Like in romance, it’s not the big things, but the little, simple things you do that make you stand head and shoulders above the competition.

If you market consistently using these guidelines — and you make enough contacts (10-20 per day) — you can easily earn $100-$200 per day as a freelance writer. Most freelancers don’t stick to it though. They fail to market when they get busy, or family stuff gets in the way.

You can’t! Especially during the start-up phase.

Hope this insight helps you to land more freelance writing jobs, and that you’re having a fabulous week!

Me? I have a stress-induced cold sore. I’m so swamped I can’t even see straight. And, I have family and friends coming from the states to visit this weekend. While I’m super excited to see them, it means less time for work. But . . . family first, no?

Legitimate Work from Home Job OpportunityP.S.: Easy Internet Riches? 

If you’re looking for an easy way to make money, this freelance writing ecourse is not for you. This is a REAL work-from-home opportunity. What you will learn is how to earn $100, $150, $200/day or more working from home as a freelance writer.

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 X

Editor Note: We’re having problems with our RSS Feed. It’s been disabled because we had some problems with our hosting company — too many requests for it which caused bandwidth problems. Until we can do some back-end stuff, the feed will remain disabled.
 
The best way to get our content is to subscribe to the newsletter. Ok, on to today’s post.

Make Money Selling Ebooks: Well, It Ain’t Just about the Writing

My ebook writing is going slow, slow, slow. I’m still working on the travel ebook. But the writing is 90% done. I hope to finish this one up today, at least the writing and editing. Then, I’ll do the proofing, create the cover and upload it tomorrow. At least that’s the plan.

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

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: The Backend Process

One of the reasons this whole process is going so slow is that there’s a lot to be done on the backend when you write and sell ebooks online. Namely:

write-and-sell-ebooks-on-amazonEditing/Proofing: You can hire someone to do this, but you’ll still wind up going over it yourself (trust me, you will) and making more changes. This causes it to have to be proofed and edited again; usually by you.

Creating the Cover: Although this can be done pretty easily, as outlined in this create your own ebook covers publication, it is still another step in the process after the writing and editing has been done.

Creating a Sales/Landing Page: This can take a few hours; I can do mine in about an hour because I have a system in place, but when you first start out, it can easily take you a few hours.

Coding Sales/Landing Page: You can do a sales page in plain text, but bold, ital and other text formatting is part of what makes a sales/landing page professional, so when you upload it to your digital download service  provider (eg, e-Junkie), you should have to HTML code it. This takes time.

Formatting for Amazon: When you convert your Amazon ebook from Word to Kindle, there are going to be formatting errors that you’re going to have to fix by hand. It usually takes me about 45 minutes to correctly format and upload an ebook. Some have taken me as long as 3 hours though (when I first started out).

It all depends on how long the ebook is, and how graphic-heavy it is.

Speaking of graphics . . .

Formatting/Finding Graphics: Need them for your ebook? You either have to create them, or research and purchase them, or search for suitable free ones to use, etc.

Again, more time.

Uploading to Multiple Outlets: I upload my ebooks to my site, as well as e-Junkie. Then of course, there’s Amazon, as discussed just above.

Each time you upload it, it’s a process – whether it’s filling out the correct information in e-Junkie, or getting text perfect on your website, or formatting graphics that seem to just “go haywire” for no reason at all.

There goes more time, time, time.

Researching Keywords: You should do this before you even write your ebook (this is part of how you determine if your ebook will sell before you write it). You’ll not only need keywords for your product description pages, but to promote your ebook (eg, in your article marketing campaigns).

Time!

Speaking of marketing . . .

Marketing: This is an ongoing process afterward your ebook writing is done; it never stops. But, you especially need that initial push. I’ve fallen off badly on this. Luckily, I have an in-built client base, but I could easily double or triple my sales if I did more marketing.

My plan next year is to do less writing of new products and more marketing of existing ones. I’ll probably turn out a title or two per month, instead of this crazy “writing one ebook a week” thing I’m trying to do now (and yeah, I do know it’s crazy, but I started it so I’m hell bent on finishing it!).

Writing Ebook Descriptions: This can come from your sales page. But for example, when you upload it to Amazon, there are space limitations, so you’ll likely have to edit it down to get it to fit. I’ve spent as much as two hours cutting, cutting, cutting, while trying to keep the best stuff in so my sales page / description on Amazon sells properly.

Research Pricing: This is something that should be done up front too. But, you’ll likely do a little more just before you upload so you can see if anything new has been published by a competitor that would throw off your ebook pricing.

As you can see, there’s a lot to be done beyond the just the writing of ebooks as a self-published author. I need an e-publishing assistant!

I had no idea of just how much stuff I was doing when I published just a few ebooks. Now that I’ve turned myself into an “ebook publishing machine,” boy, do I realize how I underestimated just how much work it would be.

But c’est la vie, no?

Now, a few more notes:

Ebook Sales: My sales are steadily progressing. I’ve sold exactly 50% more ebooks so far this month than I did last month, and it’s just past half the month. So even though I’m not making tons of money yet, this encourages me a lot because I know this is a marathon, no a sprint (good thing I’m a marathon runner, no?) 🙂

I imagine what my sales will look like 2, 3 and 5 years from now as I keep producing. This is what keeps me motivated.

Variety of Sales: So far, I’ve sold copies of 10 different titles this month. To date, I have 24 different ones on Amazon. Speaking of . . .

Upload Week: I spent all of last week uploading all of the pullouts from the How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days ebook to Amazon. There were four of them, ie:

How to Price Your Ebook to Start Getting Sales Quickly (Excerpt from “How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days, Market It & Start Getting Sales within a Week — Really!”)

How to Market Your Ebook to Start Getting Sales Quickly (Excerpt from “How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days, Market It & Start Getting Sales within a Week — Really!”)

Write Fast! Ebook Writing Tips from a Self-Published Author of 25+ Ebooks (Excerpt from “How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days, Market It & Start Getting Sales within a Week — Really!”)

How to Make Sure Your Ebook Will Sell Before You Write It (Excerpt from “How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days, Market It & Start Getting Sales within a Week — Really!”)

So that was four more products, which brings my total number of products on Amazon to 24, as mentioned above.

And that’s the latest on my quest to publish 50 ebooks on Amazon this year.

Special Deal on Travel Ebook

The ebook I’m working on now is tentatively titled, How to Move To, Live and Work from a Caribbean Island: Everything You Need to Know to Make the Move to an Island Paradise. It’ll definitely be uploaded by Friday (as I said, I’m shooting for tomorrow).

I cover everything from how to find an apartment; to how much to expect to spend on a daily/monthly basis; to where to where to eat/drink cheaply; to how to create a mobile working lifestyle.

I even give you a plan for as much as a year out on what to start doing to prepare to make the move. Nothing is left to chance; it’s literally a bible on how to pick up, make the move and start living/working from Jamaica.

This ebook is going to sell for $59.95 (on Amazon and on this site), but you can pre-order it for $39.95.

How to Pre-Order the Travel Ebook

Send $39.95 to payment@InkwellEditorial.com. Put “Pre-Order Travel Ebook” in comments section of PayPal payment. Once the ebook is finished, you’ll be sent a copy. This special ends at midnight this Thursday, August 18th (U.S. EST).

How’s your ebook writing coming along? Have questions? Sound off 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.

Read more.

Legal Advice for Freelance Writers (and Other Content Producers) from an Intellectual Property Attorney on How to Protect Your Work from Copyright Infringement and Other Types of On & Offline Theft

A few weeks ago, I disclosed how I discovered that I was a victim of copyright theft (this happens so often it’s crazy!). Another alleged freelance writer had not only stolen portions of one of my ebooks and was passing it off as her own, she also stole my professional credentials.

Warning — this is a monster post on copyright infringement, digital theft, plagiarism, libel and how to protect your works (and reputation) online and off. It’s over 2,200 words long . . . but worth every single one of them if you’re a content producer (ebooks, video, graphic designer, etc.).

Freelance Writer’s Copyright Rights: An Intellectual Property Attorney Speaks

I was so angry when I discovered that my content had been stolen that I spent an entire day researching the subject – and a copyright attorney to put on retainer — because the next time I discover it, I’m giving no warnings, I’m suing. One of the lawyers I contacted was kind enough to answer some questions. Her name is Tonya M. Evans; she’s an Intellectual Property lawyer, as well as a professor.

Her bio reads as follows in part:

Tonya M. Evans is Assistant Professor of Law at Widener University School of Law (Harrisburg campus) and an attorney specializing primarily in the areas of entertainment law (literary, music and film) and intellectual property (copyright and trademark).

She is a nationally recognized speaker who presents to various audiences regularly on publishing and intellectual property law issues.

I point this out to underscore how important it is to get info first-hand from a qualified professional who knows what they’re talking about. Read Ms. Evans’ full bio at http://legalwritepublications.com/about.

A shout out to @InVinceWil for pointing me to Professor Evans; I had an awesome response to my query for recommendations of copyright attorneys  from quite a few in Twitterville.

Freelance Writers: Why It’s Time to Get Serious about Protecting Your Work (Online and Off)

copyright-infringement-ebookAttorney Evans was kind enough to give some detailed answers to some very specific questions. It’s a lot of reading (which is why I never made it to law school probably; took the LSATs and applied, but never went). But, I digress.

In this digital age, it’s extremely important for freelance writers to get serious about protecting their work. And this is particularly true if you’re a self-published author – as many freelance writers are dipping over into.

Copyright theft is rampant online – and it’s only going to get worse. So, following is what Professor Evans had to say regarding a myriad of questions I fired off to her. She sent quite a few links, so I’ve boiled down her “essential answers” (in my opinion), and linked out to the full posts so you can read all the detail she provided.

Q&A with an Intellectual Property Attorney on How Freelance Writers Can Prevent Copyright Theft

Question: I want to do a post for my website within the next couple of weeks on copyright infringement and how self-published authors like myself can protect our works online. I’m not naive (worked in legal publishing for years — on the editorial side), so I know that nothing is 100% proof. Can you give some insight on this?

Answer: Copyright Law 101 — Copyright protects a literary or artistic work that’s fixed in a tangible medium (ex: when a song is recorded or a news article is written).

Once the creative work [eg, ebook] is “fixed” then, presumably it is capable of being reproduced, adapted, distributed, or performed or displayed publicly. This litany of uses make up the “bundle of rights” that a copyright owner holds. Therefore anyone who uses a copyrighted work without right, permission or defense will be liable for copyright infringement.

The cost to file a lawsuit is relatively low. And with the statutory damage awards available in copyright infringement suits (anywhere from $200 – $150,000 PER infringement), the potential gain — either with a successful suit or settlement — can be considerable. [bolded emphasis added]

In a case where the copyright owner (eg, ebook writer/publisher) sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of . . . $150,000. Source: U. S. Copyright Office: Copyright Law.

Read full article, Can you REALLY copy an ENTIRE news article online and claim fair use?

Editor Note: Bottom line writers — if you find that your stuff has been stolen, it’s worth it to sue! Copyright theft is the new white collar crime, in my opinion, and courts are going to start taking copyright infringement much more seriously – and levy heavier penalties and maybe even jail time.

Question: I’d really like to know — once you discover that your work has clearly been plagiarized/stolen, what steps can you take legally to put the other person on notice that, “Hey, this is mine. I know you stole it, and if you don’t remove it pronto buddy, I’m gonna sue you.”

I’ve filed DMCA notices and all that — and they seem to work just fine for some. But, is there a “scarier,” for lack of a better word, legal tactic that can be used to get the perpetrator to say, “Hey, she’s serious, better remove her stuff.”

Answer: An online work is no different from its physical counterpart, except for the way the information is viewed or perceived.

The same law presented in Copyright Companion for Writers and Literary Law Guide for Authors applies to works displayed and distributed on the Internet, despite the all-too-prevalent erroneous assumption that if it’s on the Internet it must be free for anyone and everyone to use.

By law ISPs have to remove the stuff. It’s impossible to police infringement on the front end – what people actually upload to the Internet – but to avoid secondary liability for infringement ISPs must follow the DMCA guidelines regarding takedowns, as you are aware. This is a method to control infringement on the back end.

It’s far easier to get an ISP or OSP to remove the content than the actual content provider. [emphasis added and I’ve discovered this first-hand] So although I can certainly understand adding additional ammunition to discourage infringing activity, other than building in technological protections like disabling the cut & paste or print functions etc. the back-end approach via ISPs and OSPs is really your best and most time and cost-efficient approach.

Speaking of, following are a list of ways to reduce [copyright] infringement of your material on the Internet and to encourage responsible uses:

  1. Include copyright notice (ex: 2011 Tonya M. Evans. All rights reserved) at the top of each post.
  2. Include clear instructions for permitted uses if you encourage copying, reposting and sharing socially. Also note whether your permission includes commercial or only non-commercial uses.
  3. Disable the copy + paste functions in your html code.

If you have a Word Press blog, you can use WP-CopyProtect plugin to disable right click in your blog.

Read the full post, Copyright Protection in the Digital Age.

Question: Libelous contentI’ve had a cyber stalker for about a year now who’s posted libelous content about me all over the web (http://inkwelleditorial.com/scam). I think it’s actually kinda helped my business, so haven’t worried about it too much. But recently, he attacked another business owner’s site that wasn’t mine (but he claimed it was), so I want to proceed with a civil suit.

I can prove everything — as I’ve saved all correspondence, screen shots, etc. I want punitive, compensatory and any other damages I’m entitled to. How do I proceed?

Answer: You’ll have to contact a lawyer who can actually represent your care. I have several referrals listed on the Resources page of my website at http://legalwritepublications.com/resources.

Note: The following did not come from Professor Evans. As she astutely alluded to, each case is different, so it’s best to consult with an attorney. Following is what I found doing some web research.

What Exactly Is Libel?

In order to be libelous, a statement must meet these conditions: Note:  Source for most content in this section is from PublishingCentral.com.

  1. There must be some negligence on the part of the writer
  2. It must be defamatory (false and injurious to the plaintiff’s reputation)
  3. It must be published (distributed to someone other than the plaintiff and defendant)
  4. It is not privileged communication*
  5. The plaintiff must be identifiable to the reader

How to Prove Libel

There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, the person first must prove that the statement was false. Second, that person must prove that the statement caused harm. And, third, they must prove that the statement was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement. These steps are for an ordinary citizen. Source: Wikipedia.

I can prove all of this in my case, so it’s a pretty easy one to win in court. That’s why it’s important to keep everything (correspondence, screen shots, etc.). Oh, and in the case of someone trying to hide their identity, a subpoena from an attorney served on the host/IP company will make them supply you with the identity of the perpetrator.

Remember, if what someone writes about you is true – even if it’s unflattering – it’s not libel. But, if they intentionally and maliciously lie about you (eg, claiming you stole money from them when you never even did business with them, or that you’re defrauding customers out of money when you’re not even privvy to this info because that’s not how you operate your business)  then that’s a clear-cut case of libel.

Penalties for Libel: Be Careful What Write About Someone on the Web – It Can Cost You – Big

First, if you’re the defendant in a libel suit, you must pay all your own legal fees, no matter whether you win or lose.

Secondly, in many states there are both civil and criminal penalties for libel, so along with monetary penalties imposed in a civil case, a defendant found guilty of libel may also face a jail term in some states.

Legal fees notwithstanding, libel is not cheap. Most of the damages awarded in libel cases are general or compensatory (compensation for humiliation, grief, etc.). Since there are no limits or standards to these sorts of damages, they often surpass the $1 million mark.

Editor Note: After talking with a couple of attorneys and doing in-depth web research for this post, I’m going to proceed with my civil suit. I was going to let it go, but when I found out how relatively easy my case would be to win — and the fact that this perpetrator continues to harrass me and my businesses online almost a year later, I thought, “Why not?”

Following are all of the links Professor Evans sent. Bookmark her site, for it is packed with info on this subject and trust me, if you write online, at some point, you’re going to find yourself needing the advice she dispenses.

Can you REALLY copy an ENTIRE news article online and claim fair use? http://tinyurl.com/3tqtyyc 

Copyright Protection in the Digital Age: http://tinyurl.com/3tcnnud 

Copyright for Writers on the Internet: http://tinyurl.com/3fn9elg 

The Difference between Fair Use and Public Domain: http://tinyurl.com/3wsleuz

And, just so my carcass isn’t in hot water with Professor / Attorney Evans, following is the disclaimer I’m posting for her so generously allowing me to reprint all of the aforementioned material:

About the Author: Tonya M. Evans is an intellectual property expert, award-winning author of a series of legal reference guides for writers and professor of law at Widener University School of Law. Visit her website and blog at http://www.legalwritepublications.com and follow her [on Twitter] @LegalWritePub.

Copyright Weapons for Freelance Writers

Check out Professor Evan’s book, Copyright Companion for Writers, and a few others she has that she’s bundled together so you can have all the legal weapons in your arsenal that you need — at your fingertips — to protect yourself from copyright theft.

Love This Idea: Affordable Legal Help for Freelance Writers

I’d thought about something similar myself – brilliant! Any baby attorneys out there willing to be takers? I know I’d regularly contribute a certain amount each month.

The following is from the post itself – and comments left on the post, A Case of Copyright Infringement (A True Story).

It would be nice if we could pay a fee into an Indie Author Defense League so if Amazon or other booksellers decide to turn their noses up on indie authors, we’d have a professional and legal organization that would hold them accountable for checking their books more thoroughly when it’s time to publish them.

. . . as authors, we could raise money for such an endeavor by making a certain of the month the day we encourage indie authors to donate their profits or a percentage of their profits to the legal defense fund. For lawyers, it would be a good place to advertise affordable representation, as those earning on their books have need for legal representation at an affordable rate.

And FYI . . . There IS an organization that fights for writers. It is called the National Writers Union. http://www.nwu.org. . . . [One writer recounts] . . . They have helped me numerous times when I have had contract and infringement issues.

Further Reading: Other Posts Where Ebook Authors Recount Copyright Theft

Drew Wagner: Free Ebooks Stolen and Sold on Amazon without His Permission

Copyright Infringement: Author Selling Ebooks on Amazon Whose Work Was Stolen and Sold Under Another Name on the Site

The Kindle Swindle: How Spammers Have Moved from Content Farms to Ebooks

I know this is a lot of info, so bookmark the page to come back to later if you can’t ingest it all in one reading. And feel free to share it, as we all have to look out for each other and the more info we’re armed with – the better.

And, happy writing!

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.

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

Since my last update, I’ve uploaded one more title to Amazon, which brings my total to 17. I’m working on my latest title, a travel ebook about how to live and work from the Caribbean (finished it; get it here). It’s kicking my butt because it’s so packed with info.

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

But I’m getting very detailed because I want it to be a valuable, step-by-step resource for anyone who wants to take the plunge (it’s easier than you think). Nothing will be left to chance; you’ll have a roadmap to follow from as long as one year out, all the way down to the day you make your move (see why it’s a monster write!).

Yeah, I’m still behind by a title or two, but will be doing some shorter ebooks in the coming weeks. Also, I still have pullouts and existing titles to upload, so I’ll make my 50 by year’s end.  

That’s the latest on me. Here’s what’s been on the mind of fellow/aspiring ebook writers.

write-and-sell-ebooks-on-amazonSome Questions from Aspiring/Fellow Ebook Writers

Question: When you submit your ebooks, have you had problems uploading graphics, certain fonts, links etc.? Is there any type of formatting that you know of that just doesn’t work?

My Answer: I follow the directions found here. FYI, I don’t bother with the coding (eg, <p width=”0″>, which is probably why I have some of the formatting problems mentioned below.
 
The formatting can get a little screwy (eg, font changes from upper to lower case and indents sometimes happens where they shouldn’t, but really, no major problems).
 
I need to do more digging around the Amazon formatting forums to learn how to fix simple stuff like this, but no readers have complained (and from what I understand most just want well-written content), so I’ve let it slide for now.

Question: How well do your ebooks do on Amazon?  I never added mine . . . not sure it’s worth the effort? Note: This question is from a self-published author who has a pretty good selling ebook on social media.

My Answer: I do ok on Amazon; I still sell the majority from my site, but for me selling on Amazon is about developing a long-term strategy for self-publishing success. I think it’d be worth it for you simply because of the traffic Amazon gets. Although to make a “bundle” I think you need more than one ebook — especially as our niche is “non-fiction business.”
 
Fiction, especially in certain genres (eg, horror, murder) does very well.
 
Hope this insight helps.

Question: I am an Inkwell Editorial subscriber so I received one of your latest e-books for free and it was truly inspirational. You are my favorite e-book writer and all-around freelance writing blogger because I feel like you bare your soul to us fellow writers and I for one appreciate it. I definitely enjoyed that e-book.
 
I couldn’t resist purchasing two more of your e-books for my Kindle on my iPhone-the FT self publisher and e-book writing and marketing e-books and I was not disappointed.

I have an almost finished e-book about to publish to boost my . . . writer platform and that is thanks to you, as is the fact that I am very confident in my goal to write on e-book a week for the rest of the year. I hope to be successful and to do the same thing in the coming year as well. Woohoo is this exciting-I am glad that I came on board for this.
 
I just wanted to let you know that your kindness and your advice has been very helpful to me and you’re helping me get to a point where I can support my family like I want  . . 
 
Oh, and before I go, I wanted to ask you what you think of the formula I have been using to project monthly sales income of my e-books:
 
Pat from smartpassiveincome.com says that in the top slot of Google you can expect 40% of the traffic, and I know as a copywriter that a 1% conversion rate is a moderate estimate, so I have been using the targeted keyword’s estimated global monthly searches * .4 *.01 to arrive at an estimated number of sales, then multiplied that by the expected royalty per sale.

My Answer: I’m not quite this organized when it comes to my ebook sales. But, I think this is an excellent strategy to use to write ebooks that will sell.

Why haven’t I taken this very good approach?

Because I have a built in audience who basically tell me what they want me to write about. So I know the ebooks I write have the potential to sell even before I write them. To be sure, some titles do much better than others, but as I talked about in the free ebook you get when you subscribe to this website, I don’t worry so much about individual ebook title sales.

I’m focused on getting my “catalog” of ebooks published (ideally 200-300 over the next four or five years). Once an ebook is written, it can be a “forever” money maker. One that doesn’t sell so well now could become your best seller in three years. As long as you have quantity, you will make sales (if you’re not writing junk).

My Ebook Sales to Date

Speaking of ebook sales, for June and July, my sales were basically the same (I sold one more in July than I did in June). But, August is off to a banging start! I’ve already sold half as many this month as I did the ENTIRE month of July, and it’s only 5 days into the month.

Individual Title Ebook Sales

Also, I’m noticing that I’m selling a lot of different titles; ie, my sales aren’t coming from just one or two ebooks. Last month, I sold copies of 11 different titles. I ended the month with 15 ebooks on Amazon (I think). So far this month, I’ve sold copies of seven different titles.

Ebook Prices Don’t Seem to be Affecting Sales

Another thing I’m noticing is that the higher-priced ebooks have been selling too. I have ebook prices on Amazon that range from 99 cents, to $59.95.  I could probably sell more by lowering some of the prices, but I’m seeing steady increases in sales, and I’m happy with my overall ebook earnings, so I’m just gonna leave them alone for now.

Amazon Sales Seem to be Driving Website Sales

I’ve also seen an uptick in ebook sales from this website. I think some of this may be because of the wider exposure I get from being on Amazon.

I literally can’t wait for the fall because summer is supposed to be a slow season (especially July and August), and I had a fantastic month last month. So October, November and December should be really good.

Self-Publishing Ebooks on Amazon: What’s Up for Me Next Week?

Even though I’m behind by a title or two, I don’t think I’m gonna start on a new ebook next week. I’m doing what I call “Upload Week.” There are some titles I want to package and sell; some others I need to do ebook pullouts on; and yet others are already created pullouts that just need to be uploaded to Amazon.

So that’s what I’m going to work on for the most part next week. This travel ebook is kicking my butt (packed – and I do mean PACKED with details), so I’ll be good and ready for an ebook writing break when this one is done this weekend.

And that’s the latest on my quest to get at least 50 ebooks on Amazon by year’s end.

How’s your ebook writing coming along? Have comments/insight? Share in the comments section below. Have questions? Send them in (see contact link on every page of this site). It just might appear in my next update in this ebook writing series.

Here’s to some productive writing time!
Yuwanda

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.

Blog Mentors: How to Find Successful Ones Online to Help You Grow Your Freelance / SEO Writing Business

The following is a guest post by Esayo Tetteh.

Two years ago when I realised how many hours I spent on the net researching, surfing, googling etc., I decided it was time I put this love to my advantage. I needed to find ways of making money either surfing, researching or writing and this was how my journey began. …

Read more.

Freelance Writers: Why You Should Self-Publish Your Own Ebooks — 12 Reasons That’ll Change Your Career … and Your Life!

x-click-but22 Only $4.95! [See all Inkwell Editorial Titles that Help You Live the Freelance Life!]

PREFACE

If you’re a freelance writer, this ebook will give you a new way of thinking about your career, whether you’ve been doing it for years, or if you’re a newbie.

If you’ve never thought concretely about it before, the info/ideas discussed here will start you thinking about things most freelancers – especially newbies – don’t take into account.

I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993, and didn’t experience real success until I started implementing some of the things discussed within. Hopefully this insight will help you do the same – and go on to create a more profitable, long-term career that you control – not outside forces.

To this end, following are 12 reasons I believe every freelance writer should write and self-publish their own ebooks.

12ReasonsCoverReason #1: This has taken my career in a whole new direction since I started writing and publishing my own ebooks: Page: 6

Reason #2: I no longer worry about this since I started building my “information empire.” Page: 8

Reason #3: This has come a long way, making it more possible than ever to be a self-published author. Page: 10

Reason #4: Want to become a successful author; this reason is why you definitely SHOULD publish an ebook (in fact, many ebooks). Page: 13

Reason #5: I started landing more clients when I become an ebook writer, partly because of this reason. Page: 14

Reason #6: Never worry about finding a job again — this reason is why. Page: 17

Reason #7: Why ebook writing will land you more clients — this reason explains in detail. Page: 19

Reason #8: Don’t want to worry / tired of worrying about when/if the next client project is going to come in? And, if it’ll be enough to pay the bills? This reason explains why ebook writing can alleviate this worry. Page: 20

Reason #9: Never lose your competitive edge again — as a freelance writer, online/internet marketer. This reason explains why. Page: 21

Reason #10: Would you rather be a rich writer or a “New York Times” best-selling author? The answer may surprise you after reading this reason. Page: 23

Reason #11: Like your sharp wit? Want to keep it into old age and stave off “mental mush”? Learn why you may be able to in this reason. Page: 25

Reason #12: Want an exciting career that can turn into other revenue streams? This reasons tells you how that’s EXACTLY what’s happened to me — and why/how it can happen to you too! Page: 26

P.S.: Ok, I want to know why I need to start self-publishing my own ebooks. 

 x-click-but22 Only $4.95! [See all Inkwell Editorial Titles that Help You Live the Freelance Life!]

Read more.