Archives for November 2011

Get High-Paying Freelance Writing Jobs: 4 Keys to Marketing for — and Landing — High-Paying Clients

Like most of the posts here on InkwellEditorial.com, this one was inspired by readers who send me questions. Over the last month or so, I’ve received four emails from freelancers asking either directly or indirectly about how to grow their businesses – and it all starts with landing high-paying freelance writing jobs (or at least those that pay well enough to be able to pay outsourcers a decent rate)….

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Holiday Deals and Discounts on Freelance Writing Ebooks & Eclasses

I received the following e-mail from a site reader last week, which inspired me to offer deals and discounts on our freelance writing products/classes early this year compared to last – and it’ll be for a longer period of time.

The reader wrote:

Hi Yuwanda,

Love your site and information. I hope you are having a fantastic Thanksgiving. I wanted to ask if you would be doing a holiday sale buy one get one free like you did last year. I know that I will be getting your ebook in 3 days Ebook and I would like to get the ebook about Free Classifieds.

I have decided to build an ebook and affiliate marketing business.

I am inspired to be able to be able to take care of myself and my daughter and be home to continue to homeschool her.

Thank you in advance an again thanks for the information and inspiration to live my life on my own terms.

My Response

freelance-writing-ebooksFirst T, I did have a nice Thanksgiving; hope you did too. Thanks for inquiring.

Now to business — good for you for deciding to take control of your financial future. As I said in last year’s holiday deals and discount post:

I’m a huge advocate of always, always, always having something going on on the side because there is no such thing (in my opinion) as job security anymore.

I’d even argue that freelancing is the new job security in this global economy.

Recession-Proof Job? Job Stability? Should “Freelancing” be the Synonym Here?

Proof of the bolded statement just above? The Bureau of Labor statistics October 2011 report found that:

The unemployment rate has remained in a narrow range from 9.0 to 9.2 percent since April (it’s currently 9 percent);

In October, the number of long-term unemployed — those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more (that’s almost 7 months!) — makes up over 40 percent (42.4 percent to be exact) of unemployed individuals; and perhaps most disheartening of all is . . .

There were almost a million (967,000 to be exact) discouraged workers in the labor force. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. In short, these people have given up hope.

When you give up hope, what’s left?

So to “keep hope alive” for those who’ve decided to take charge like the above freelancer, here are Inkwell Editorial’s Deals and Discounts for the 2011 Holiday Season. Note: All offers are good through the end of the year (til midnight U.S. EST on 12/31/2011).

2011 Inkwell Editorial Holiday Discounts

Half-Price on All Ebooks: Right now if you buy any ebook, you get a second one of your choosing for half off. Note: The “half off” ebook must be priced equal to or LESS than your highest-priced item. For example, if you buy an ebook for $19.95, you get half off a second one priced at $19.95 or less.

How to Take Advantage of This Sale: Make your selections, figure the total, then send payments to payment@InkwellEditorial.com. DO NOT purchase via the payment buttons on the site. Tell us in the comments section of your PayPal payment which ebooks you want. All ebooks will be delivered manually within 24 hours (yes, even on the weekend).

50% Off Freelance Writing Ecourse: The general freelance writing e-course. Note: You can pay in 2 installments for this ecourse. All payments must be received by 12/31/2011. E-course will be delivered after final payment is made.

$300 Off SEO Copywriter Training ECourse: The SEO Copywriting Training e-course. Note: You can pay in 2 installments for this ecourse. All payments must be received by 12/31/2011. E-course will be delivered after final payment is made.

Here’s to finally getting your freelance writing, internet marketing and/or self-publishing career off the ground in 2012!


P.S.: Get Freelance Writing Jobs — Learn How to Create an Online Writing Portfolio That Lands Jobs — Fast!

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Get Freelance Writing Jobs: How to Create an Online Writing Portfolio That Lands Jobs Fast! Advice for Web Writers

[See all Inkwell Editorial Work-from-Home Titles Here]


One of the things that scare the bejeezus out of most new freelance writers is not having any experience; hence, no writing samples to show clients.

x-click-but22Take the fear out of hearing, “Do you have writing samples?” for only $19.95.

The Writing Samples Quandary: One Thing That Terrifies Many New Freelance Writers

If a client asks to see their “portfolio of work,” most are stumped; they’re literally terrified of being asked this question. But, there’s no need to be.

You can create an online writing portfolio in just a matter of hours – really! And, start landing freelance writing jobs – online and off — almost immediately. How do I know?

Well . . . because I’ve done it!

I created my SEO writing portfolio in a matter of hours – and went on to land 14 jobs in one week (and many more since then), which I detail in the ebook, How to Make $250+/Day Writing Simple, 500-Word Articles.

The Importance of Having an Online Writing Portfolio: How It Catapulted My Career

I have made such a good living writing SEO content since 2007 that I have been able to:

(i) Start/grow an SEO writing company;

(ii) Move into a strictly managerial role in at this firm – as of summer of 2011, I rarely write for clients anymore, I mostly outsource and oversee projects;

(iii) Focus on writing and publishing my own ebooks and e-classes , which accounted for more than half my annual income for the first time ever in 2010;

(iv) Pay off a ton of debt; and

(iv) Travel, live and work abroad, which I talk about in the free ebook, Living the Freelance Life! Learn How I Live Internationally and Have Made My Living Completely Online (Since 2007) & You Can Too! (subscribe from any page of InkwellEditorial.com to get it).

A Freelance Writing Portfolio Reference Guide: Who This Ebook Can Help

This ebook is a step-by-step guide that shows you exactly what you need to do to put together an online writing portfolio that will impress clients – and start landing you freelance writing jobs quickly.

No Experience as a Freelance Writer; No Writing Samples – No Problem!

Just because you don’t have experience does not mean that you can’t market for – and land – freelance writing jobs. After all, we all have to start somewhere, right?

Well, the info here will not only get you started – it’ll put you on the fast track to landing jobs just like experienced freelance writers.

With that being said, following is a complete Table of Contents, which details the five steps you need to take to create an impressive freelance, online writing portfolio.



The Writing Samples Quandary: One Thing That Terrifies Many New Freelance Writers, Page 2

How I Created an Online Writing Portfolio in a Matter of Hours & Landed My First Job, Page 2

The Importance of Having an Online Writing Portfolio: How It Catapulted My Career, Page 4

A Freelance Writing Portfolio Reference Guide: Who This Ebook Can Help, Page 4

No Experience as a Freelance Writer; No Writing Samples – No Problem! Page 4


To Get Freelance Writing Jobs Fast, Why It’s Important to Niche It, Page 7

How to Develop a Niche in 3 Simple Steps, Page 8

The Easiest Way to Get Writing Samples If You Have No Experience, Page 9

5 Elements Samples that Land Freelance Writing Jobs Must Have, Page 11

3 Kinds of Writers: Which Category Do You Fall In? Page 11

Why Good Samples Can Leave Some Clients Speechless – and Willing to Pay More, Page 12

Do Your Writing Samples Have These 5 Elements? Page 13

Freelance Writers: When and When Not to Use Copy You’ve Written for Clients in Your Portfolio, Page 18

3 Ways to Skirt the “Don’t Use Client Samples In Your Portfolio” Rule, Page 19

Why It’s the Norm for Freelance Writers to Give Away All Rights to Content, Page 19

Writing Sample Example, Page 21

Writing Sample Example: 5 Key Elements Highlighted, Page 23


How Many Competitor Sites Should You Research, Page 26

10 Specifics to Study When Researching Other Freelance Writer (Competitor) Sites, Page 26


How to Conduct Keyword Research: A Quick Overview, Page 38

How to Determine Which Keywords to Use in Your Writing Samples, Page 42

Keyword Research: How to Tell If an Audience is Big Enough to Write For, Page 43

Section Conclusion, Page 43


Don’t Make This Mistake When Deciding Which Keyword Phrases to Use in Your Writing Samples, Page 44

Where to Use Keywords in Your Freelance Writing Samples, Page 45

Section Conclusion, Page 45


Getting to the Point Where You Don’t Need Writing Samples, Page 46

Section Conclusion, Page 47



x-click-but22Learn how to create writing samples — fast! — and start competing with more experienced freelancers for only $19.95.

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Marketing with Press Releases: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

[See all Inkwell Editorial Work-from-Home Titles Here]

The following is an excerpt (a pullout) from the ebook, The Small Biz Owner’s Complete Marketing Kit! A Complete How-to, Shoestring Marketing Guide for Entrepreneurs.

x-click-but22 $6.95 (Instant Download)

Marketing with press releases – one of the eight marketing ideas discussed in the above-mentioned ebook – is free and easy to do! And, it doesn’t require a big time commitment. Following is a step-by-step plan of how to market via this medium – the right way.

Yuwanda Black, Publisher


PressReleaseMarketingWhat Is a Press Release? Page 4

The 6 Elements of an Effective Press Release, Page 4

How to Make Your Press Release Relevant, Page 6

The Difference between Press Releases and Articles, Page 6

The 4 Best Ways to Make a Press Release Work for You, Page 6

The 5 Sections of a Press Release, Page 7

Guide to Writing a Press Release, Page 9

How to Submit Press Releases to Free PR Sites, Page 11

Press Release Example, Page 12

SEO Press Release: What It Is and Why It’s Extremely Important to Do It, Page 21

How to Get Your Press Release in the Top Positions in Search Engine Results, Page 22

Where to Find Keywords to Use in Your Press Release, Page 23

SEO Your Press Release: A Free Tutorial, Page 29

Why You Should Learn to Write Your Own Press Releases, Page 30

Hire Professionals to Write Your Press Release: Online Sources, Page 30

How Much Does It Cost to Write and Distribute a Press Release, Page 31

x-click-but22Learn everything you need to know to market effectively via this free method for only $6.95. Instant download.

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Postcards Marketing: A Simple Guide to How to Do It Right

The following is an excerpt (a pullout) from the ebook, The Small Biz Owner’s Complete Marketing Kit! A Complete How-to, Shoestring Marketing Guide for Entrepreneurs.

x-click-but22 $6.95 (Instant Download)

Postcard marketing – one of the eight marketing ideas discussed in the above-mentioned ebook – is very low cost. It can be implemented by anyone and doesn’t require a lot of time. This ebook details how to market via this medium – the right way.

Yuwanda Black, Publisher


PostcardsMarketing-lg4 Major Benefits of Marketing with Postcards, Page 4

Overview: The 4 Elements of an Effective Postcard, Page 5

4 Features of Effective Postcards, Page 7

The 3 Best Ways to Make Postcards Work for You, Page 8

Create an Effective Postcard Campaign in Just 6 Easy Steps, Page 9

Marketing with Postcards: What Response Rate (ROI) Can I Expect? Page 10

What Types of Businesses Can Really Benefit from Marketing with Postcards, Page 10

Marketing with Postcards: Where to Find Affordable Postcards Online, Page 10

Postcard Mailing: How Much Will It Cost to Send My First Postcard Campaign, Page 11

Learn More about Marketing with Postcards, Page 11

x-click-but22Learn how to increase sales for less than the cost of a first-class letter for only $6.95. Instant download.

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How to Get a Writing Job Using Email Marketing in 5 Easy Steps

The following is a guest post from Crystal Gouldey.

When you hear “email marketing” what do you think of? Emails from chain stores? Sales pitches? How about … a solution to drum up business? Email marketing and freelancers actually go together like peanut butter and jelly.

As both a freelance writer and email marketing expert, I’ve found that an email marketing campaign can give people a taste of your writing style, get you connected with more people and help you learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. You don’t even need a website; many email service provides allow you to collect submissions from Facebook pages, or with a URL they host.

How to Get a Writing Job Using Email: 5 Steps

So how do you go about this? Follow these 5 steps.


1. Find Your Focus

I work in marketing, so I look for blogs in need of marketing advice when I’m hunting for places to write. I also have a considerable amount of knowledge in the field of environmental science, so sometimes I fuse the two and talk about green marketing.

What are your interests? What’s your expertise? Think about what you’re passionate about and use that to narrow down what you want to email about, which will attract the right leads. This will also help you figure out where you should be pitching your writing.

2. Make a Promise

Now you need to offer potential subscribers something to entice them to sign up. For example, I might offer to send them free marketing tips once a week.

Anything your audience will find helpful will work. Maybe you write up reviews about new products, or maybe you’re good at humorous stories. Whatever bait you choose, make sure you follow up on what you’re promising.

3. Create Your Emails

Here’s your chance. People are asking you to deliver material you’ve written right in their inbox. It’s your time to shine and really show them why they should outsource their writing work to you.

The Subject Line: Why It’s So Important When Learning How to Get a Writing Job Using Email

Composing emails will be different from other pieces. You’ll need to put special attention into the subject line because it’s the first thing your subscribers will see in their inbox. What tends to work the best? I’ve found that asking a question, making a promise or offering a solution to a common problem all work well.

For the body of the message, put compelling content at the top so you can convince subscribers to keep reading.

4. Ask for Feedback

Email allows you to have a two-way conversation with subscribers very easily. Invite subscribers to reply to your emails with any questions, feedback or opinions. This communication will help you nurture relationships along with giving you an idea of what your audience is interested in.

You can also try surveying your subscribers. Keep it brief, asking questions that will help you find what your strengths and weaknesses are. Sample questions can be:

Are they happy with what you provide?

What other topics would they like you to talk about?

Who else are they following?

SurveyMonkey and SurveyGizmo are both good places to check out for creating surveys.

Communicate the feedback you receive to prospective clients you’re pitching articles to; they’ll be impressed you know and listen to what people want.

5. Network

Emails can be shared very easily. Include buttons to your Facebook, Twitter and other social sites so subscribers can follow you and share your material on those platforms.

Include a link in your emails that encourage sharing with a friend; put a link to your sign up form in the email letting people know they can subscribe if the email was forwarded to them.

When your writing gets spread around, you can easily catch the eye of someone looking for a freelance writer. You can also ask your network to mention your name to anyone who is looking.

Go through these five steps, and you’re on your way to building a bigger audience, finding more clients and getting your work widespread.

The Best Part of Learning How to Get a Writing Job Using Email

It’s practically free and can be done from anywhere! If you’re a new freelance writer just starting out with no marketing budget, it’s one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to start landing gigs.

About the Author: Crystal Gouldey is an Education Marketing Associate at AWeber, the leading email service provider for small-to-medium businesses. Crystal’s spent the past three years teaching email marketers how to optimize their campaigns. She currently writes for the AWeber blog, which you can visit for more tips on marketing with email. Sign up to receive email marketing tips right in your inbox.

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Penguin’s Book Country: A Good Deal or a Rip Off for Self-Published Authors?

In my opinion, Penguin’s Book Country publishing program for self-published authors is an out-and-out rip-off. Before I tell you why though, let’s get a look at the landscape of self-publishing now and my personal stake in it so you understand better my opinion.

Self-Published Author of Almost 40 Ebooks

To date, I’ve written and self-published almost 40 ebooks; most of them are on Amazon. I’ve been in the self-publishing game since 2004, but only started to achieve measureable success in the last couple of years, eg, my ebook income made up more than 50% of my total income for the first time ever in 2010.

Why I Went the Self-Publishing Route Instead of Seeking a Deal with a Large Publisher

I never sought a contract from a Big 6 publisher; I worked in (trade) publishing in New York City for the better part of a decade, so knew a little about the industry. I’m also an entrepreneur at heart and as I write mostly in the non-fiction genre and had an in-built audience for my ebooks via this site, it just never occurred to me to go this route.

And my self-publishing efforts have worked out – beautifully! Want to know more? Read about my quest to publish 50 ebooks on Amazon this year.

Why Being a Self-Published Author Now is Great

penguin-book-country-selfpublishingI’m thrilled to be a writer at this time – for so many new changes are happening in publishing. And, many of them benefit writers. Amazon’s self-publishing program has proven wildly successful – and it’s free to publish there.

Many writers who either tried in vain for years to get traditional publishers (aka “The Big 6”) to take note of their work and/or others who never even started the process because they either lacked time, know-how or confidence are finding great success as self-published authors via sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, to name  a few. Proof?

Look no further than Amanda Hocking and John Locke. Both have sold more than one million ebooks as self publishers (John Locke was the first self-published author to do so – and he did it only 5 months!). And, they’re keeping the bulk of the money for themselves.

You see, with Amazon, you earn 70% of the profits if your ebook is priced between $2.99 and $9.99. That’s just over $2 per ebook on the low end. Compare that with a big publisher where you get less than 20% (15-17.5%) — and you have to wait MONTHS to get paid. FYI, Amazon pays monthly although their payments do lag 60 days behind. So, for example, you get paid at the end of December for all sales you made in October.

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: You Don’t Have to Sell a Lot as a Self-Publisher to Make a FT Living as a Writer

I don’t sell tens of thousands, or even thousands, of ebooks per month. But, because I self publish and own all of my rights, the few I do sell allow me to make a very comfortable living. I travel (I live and work part-time in Jamaica) and am earn my living as a full-time freelance writer and self-published author. So yeah, being self-published is beyond exciting — and profitable — now.

This brings me to why I think Penguin’s Book Country is a bad deal for self-published authors.

Book Country: Bad Deal Financially for Self-Publishers?

Note: I tried to post this comment on JA Konrath’s blog, which is where I first read about Book Country. But for some reason, it didn’t take, so in the interest of getting the word out to as many new authors as possible, I decided to write this post.

My take is, I’m willing to bet that a lot more programs like this will be coming down the pike to so-called “help” self-publishers. And sadly, I think many will fall for them because most don’t like to deal with the technical side of things (I know I don’t).

BUT, as Joe Konrath says, please, please, please don’t give up any rights/royalties. That’s like giving money away — forever. And, as Joe’s figures highlight (see comment below to see what I mean), they add up.

Would You Rather Be a FT Self-Publisher, or Give Profits to Book Country & Still Work a Job?

I’m a small-time self-publisher and if I gave away 30% of my ebook profits (on top of paying 30% or more to another distributor), it would mean the difference between staying totally self-employed as a freelance writer/self-publisher who’s able to pay her bills AND choose her own projects, or having to work on stuff I don’t enjoy (or heaven forbid, got out and get a “real” job).

And, if you happen to be the next JK Rowling (hey, it can happen!), that can mean giving away tens of millions of dollars over the years.

Ebook Profits are Not Small Change: Would You Rather Earn $2.05 or $1.47 on Every Ebook You Sell?

You see, with Book Country, they take 30% of your profits AFTER they’ve paid other distributors. So, if you sell from their site directly; no problem. But, if you sell an ebook through them on Amazon, they take 30% of what Amazon forwards to them (eg, after Amazon has taken their cut). What does this look like in hard numbers?

Directly from Book Country’s site are the following figures:

For a $2.99 eBook sale of a Book Country title on Amazon, Amazon takes $0.90 and then the author is entitled to $1.47.

Now compare this to Amazon. If you upload your ebook yourself to Amazon (which is FREE to do), you earn you earn $2.05  on an ebook priced at $2.99. This is a big difference. Note: Amazon charges a 4 cents distribution/download/delivery fee.

And get this — Book Country takes this cut of your ebook profits forever! This is on top of the $99-$549 you pay Book Country UP FRONT for the formatting of your ebook — again, something you can do for free on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other major e-book publishing outlets.

In the PaidContent.com article, Self-Published Authors Sharply Criticize Penguin’s Book Country, JA Konrath lays out just how much this can cost you over time, saying:

I’ve sold 500,000 e-books . . . If I’d published with Book Country, they would have taken $290,000 in royalties from me.

As many commenters who weighed in JA Konrath’s blog post on his own self-publishing blog said — pay someone a flat fee to do the ebook admin stuff you don’t like to do. But, don’t EVER give away a percentage of your profits for stuff like this; that’s just crazy! That initial few hundred dollars fee (which is already a ripoff) could wind up costing you big.

But,” you may be thinking, “Amazon takes a 30% cut, what’s the big deal if Book Country does the same thing?”

The difference is the distribution channel — and we won’t even get into retaining rights (which you keep with Amazon). Book Country uses terms like “Wide network,” and “distribution outlets,” ie:

Wide Network Earnings

Books sold via wide distribution are subject to fees charged by the individual distributors. Books sold this way will earn the same percentage rate as those sold on the Book Country site, but those rates will be based on the amount actually received by Book Country minus the fees charged by the individual distributor.

Bottom line: You’ll most likely be selling most of your ebooks via Book Country on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble; these are their distribution outlets. So why give away ANOTHER 30% of your profits — FOREVER — when you can just upload your book to those outlets for free?

Penguin Publishing’s Book Country Program: Get First-Hand Insight

To learn more about not just the royalties and how it affects you as a self-publisher, but where Book Country stands on ownership of rights and other publishing issues, read through the comments of JA Konrath’s blog post on Penguin Publishing’s Book Country and the links to other blogs I’ve listed below.

There’s a wealth of information out there if you’re new to the whole self-publishing game. You can cost yourself thousands (or hundreds of thousands, or millions) of dollars if you don’t get informed. So, take the time to learn the process – from those who have “been there and done that.” The self-publishing community tends to be a very helpful one. Take advantage.

Learn Even More: A Roundup of Posts from Around the Web about Penguin’s Book Country Program for Self Publishers

How Penguin/Book Country Is Running The Con Game

Self-Published Authors Sharply Criticize Penguin’s Book Country

Penguin Launches Rip-Off Self-Publishing “Service” Targeting Inexperienced Writers

Penguin Gets Their Happy Feet! (Dont’cha just love that title)

Hope this info helps, and feel free to share your experiences and thoughts about self-publishing in general, and Book Country in particular, in the comments section below.



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

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

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A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Negril, Jamaica for a Year, Part XXI

I made it back to the mineral springs in St. Thomas, Jamaica weekend before last. This was my third trip there (Nov 2011). You can view photos/video from the second Hot Mineral Springs of Jamaica trip here. …

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Are You Being Discriminated Against as a Freelance Writer (and Don’t Even Know It)?

In last week’s post, we heard from a frustrated aspiring freelance writer based outside the U.S. (Botswana). She was having problems landing gigs and didn’t know why.

Between the advice I gave her and the insight she received from a couple of readers who chimed in in the comments section, she felt confident that she could turn things around.

She wrote to thank me, and also gave me some additional info which I wanted to share. This info led to today’s topic – possible discrimination by some clients. I’m not going to copy verbatim what she told me because she wrote to me directly instead of in the comments section.

To give some additional insight, she shared that she is a U.S. citizen – based in Botswana. Hence, getting paid under a social security number and/or securing an EIN / TAX ID number would be no problem for her if she’s targeting U.S. companies.

Discriminatory Client?

This freelance writer further revealed that she’d recently heard from a potential client who said her rates were way too high. What were her rates? $30-$100 per 400-word article (more on this in a minute).

The prospect then said to her that he could get “well-written 400 word articles for $5, any day of the week; that means you’re trying to charge $60 – $200 per hour, for writing??!?!”

He also went on to inform her that he could write such an article in less than half an hour himself. And,  even went so far as to email her an article he’d written in this timeframe, and asked her how long it would take her to write such an article and how much she would charge him for it.

He went on to say that her rates were way too expensive for him, saying “you’re in Botswana; I can get cheaper writers in the U.S.” The final thing he said to her was that he thought she’d be charging a tenth of what she was charging.

She said she politely thanked him and moved on (smart move!).

How to Respond to Prospects Who May Discriminate Against You Based on Location (Race, Sex, Etc.)

Following is what my response to her was (I added some additional detail to the email I fired off to her); but, basically I said:

freelance-writing-advice-on-discriminationThat guy is a bottom feeder; the only thing you should take from what he said is maybe he was expecting to pay less BECAUSE you’re in Botswana; again, a bottom feeder.

If you want good writing, you should be willing to pay for it based on the writer’s skill — not where they live. Otherwise, to me, it’s discrimination plain and simple. Clients (and I use the term loosely for creeps like this) like him can “suck it!” as far as I’m concerned.

You have proof that you can command higher rates (eg, $150 no matter [how little] the word count). And, I know your writing from our emails, so you are totally fluent in English in writing.

How NOT to Appear to be a “Foreign Freelance Writer”

Yes, I think your problem might be that you’re telling your location. Don’t do this. Also, remove all traces of it from your site and put 5-10 of your best samples there. That should remove any stigmas. FYI, I don’t even have a phone number on my site. I just use email; so don’t feel like you must do that either.

SEO Writing Rate-Setting Advice

As for your rates, I think they may have too much of a range. $30-$50 for 400 words, yes; but $30 to $100 is too wide of a gap. Narrow that.

Clients may feel like there’d be too much back and forth to figure out how much they’d pay. In fact, I recommend setting SEO writing rates, like on my writing company’s site. This way, potential clients know EXACTLY what they’re going to be paying. Remember, most people don’t like to haggle and when you have such a wide range, this is what it can feel like they may have to do.

Is Your Name Too Ethnic? Are YOU Too Ethnic? Are You the Wrong Gender?

And FYI, just in case you hadn’t noticed my name is pretty unusual too (it couldn’t be more “ethnic”); but I don’t think that has anything to do with your problems because again, your writing is good.

Note: This freelancer had voiced a concern that maybe her name was a problem, writing:

I even wondered if I should state in my opening line that I am an American-based in Botswana because I do have an unusual name (first and last name).

From time to time, I’ve wondered if my name/race/sex lost me some jobs. It happens, as this infamous story (in freelance writing circles) detail.

I can’t tell if I’ve lost jobs and/or wasn’t considered for jobs because I am black and/or female; either way, it’s not something I worry about. I have an established reputation.

The Changing Face of Freelance Writers

As an aside, when I worked in publishing in New York City all those years ago, it was an overwhelmingly white/Caucasian (mostly male-dominated) profession. There were very few African Americans (or other races represented). From what I see online, that’s changing – at least as far as freelancing goes (hmmm, wonder if there’s a correlation).

One of the most successful freelance writers I know of is Indian (from India), Mridu Khullar. I interviewed her for the ebook, Advice from Successful Freelancers: How They Built Their Biz & How You Can Too. And heck, we have a black man as president of these United States, whose name is Barack Hussein Obama (can’t get more ethnic than that).

My point?

While your name (sex, race), etc. may take you out of the running for some jobs based on someone’s prejudices, don’t give it a second thought. If you can prove your mettle as a writer (and they can afford you), I believe that most prospects will give you a shot.

I tend to believe in the good of most human beings, so just don’t let this be a factor in whether you apply for a job, or whether you didn’t get a job. You can’t do anything about it (that is, unless you want to change your name), so why worry about it. Focus on what you can control (eg, your writing samples, your rates, how often you market, etc.).

My last piece of advice to this freelancer was — move forward, make the changes discussed here; then, send out 20-30 emails per day for 3-4 weeks based on the advice I give in the SEO writing ebook.

Then I told her to keep me posted on what happens, saying, “I’m willing to bet things turn around {if you take the advice given}.”

Hope you’re having  a swell week. I’m so lazy today it’s all I can do to string two words together. Til next time!

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coverP.S.: Get the freelance writing opportunity that allowed me to be financially secure enough to travel, 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.

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4 Lessons Freelancers Can Learn from Veterans

For me, veterans – those who serve their country – well, there are few things in life that are more noble (very few). So, in homage to one of my favorite uncles (James Rose, a Vietnam vet), I started thinking about some of the things he’s told me over the years about his time in that war.

I also started to think of the lessons freelancers can take from this because really, when you decide to freelance, you kind of “go to war” – with yourself and with those who say you should “get a real job.”

Following are some lessons that freelancers could learn from veterans that stuck out to me.

I. Patience: I have several uncles who served in Vietnam. One of them tells stories about it when we ask (it’s not exactly his favorite topic of conversation, but he will share when family members ask).

And let me tell you, some of them are horrific, eg, sitting in fox holes with leeches as big as baby snakes that attach themselves to you but you can’t move a muscle for 12 hours on end because the enemy is “out there” waiting to shoot your head off if your position is given away.

Makes waiting a few weeks to land your first writing gig kinda pale in comparison, huh?



II. Hard Work: 4:30 wake-up calls in the rain, snow, sleet or hail; running with 50-pound backpacks on for 5, 10 and 15 miles at a stretch; 12-hour MP-watch duties six and seven days a week; etc.

Spending seven hours writing articles on subjects you have no interest in in the comfort of an air-conditioned/centrally heated home with a fridge full of food mere feet away – yeah, we freelancers have it real hard.

III. Perseverance: When the military gets ya, they get you for a defined period of time right off the bat – usually at least four years. You don’t get to change your mind because you don’t like it and bail. There’s some good logic behind this.

Of course, when you first start out you might not like it – the ungodly hours, the grueling training, having to adhere to rules, guidelines and regulations – anyone in their right mind might quit early on.

But no, when you sign on the dotted line – the military owns you for a defined period of time.

What if we gave this type of self-imposed patience and perseverance to ourselves as freelancers? Eg, I will stick with this career for a year no matter how hard landing clients is; how grueling the work may be; and how disappointing my income might be.

I’m gonna stick it out.

I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993, and I hear from tons of others who want to emulate my success. But, I only started having the kind of success where I can “do what I want,” so to speak, within the last 3-4 years.

That’s well over a decade of doing projects I didn’t want to do; taking on lower-paying assignments than I would have liked; and working nights, evenings and weekends on my own projects – on the side – to get to the point where I have the options I have now.

Now, just imagine if when you decide to freelance, you “sign up” for a defined period of time and worked your tail off – like a drill sergeant who was putting you through the wringer.

What kind of success do you think you’d have as a freelancer?

IV. Team Work: When you freelance, a lot of times it is a solo operation. But, we are all part of a larger community. And sometimes, that community is not so nice (eg, the constant bickering over freelance writing rates).

The military has some of the highest “tolerance” rates around. It was one of the first government organizations to desegregate (1948) and recently, “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed. And, this was in part because of a study showed that an overwhelming majority of active military service men and women don’t care about the sexual orientation of their comrades.

I guess when your life is on the line – literally – what somebody does in their personal life really kind of takes a back seat.

As freelancers, the lesson here is glaring – live and let live. If he wants to write for $5/article and I won’t accept anything less than $45, who cares. Personal freedoms (and a healthy dose of capitalism); it’s what makes America great.


To all those who serve, you’ll never know the impact you have because it’s impossible for every American to come up to you to shake your hand, smile, and/or give  a word of thanks. But as I travel the world, I’m ever mindful of how lucky I am to be American – and of how it’s directly BECAUSE of your service to protect our freedoms that we are truly the magnificent country we are.

To my favorite vet, Uncle James, I love you!

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Freelance Writing Advice: Is It Harder for “Foreign” (eg, Non-US) Writers to Land Gigs?

About a week ago, I received the following email from an aspiring freelance writer from Botswana. She’s dejected because she’s having a hard time landing gigs—and doesn’t know why. She wrote:

Hi Yuwanda,

Wishing you the best of everything as always.

I would like to know what you think helped/helps you land writing jobs? Is it how you worded your emails or is there some other strategy you used apart from email campaigns and cold calling? Did you subscribe to the paid job banks or did you target companies randomly?

I have been trying to land online writing jobs for the last year or two to no avail. I get responses from people who seem interested (remember the emails I wrote about the potential [freelance writing] clients) and then somehow I am left hanging. There seems to be a trend that I am thinking there is something I am doing wrong?

I have followed all your tips and some that I read about but right now, I am slowly losing faith.

What do you think is giving some of your readers the edge? Location (USA), background etc. although I don’t believe all clients are that picky especially since one of your first clients was based in the UK.

(The Botswana market is too small and too unsophisticated at this time to handle freelance writers like myself or even pay them what they’re worth.)

Desperately seeking some new solutions, suggestions etc.  Thank you.

My Answer: 5 Things to Do If You’re a Foreign (Non-U.S.) Freelance Writer Having Problems Landing Gigs

advice-for-foreign-freelance-writersFirst, let me say up front that it’s impossible for me to know why this freelancer is having such a hard time landing gigs because I don’t know particulars about how she markets; how often; what her writing samples look like; what her website looks like; what her niche is; what she charges; how she interacts with clients; etc.

As you can see, there’s a whole host of factors that go into landing a client. But, she’d gotten some interest, so she must be doing something right (eg, her samples must be good).

My advice, based on my limited understanding of her situation is this:

(i) Don’t mention location when you contact clients: As this SEO writer’s story illustrates, location is NOT a factor if you can prove you can do the work. Hence, don’t put an unnecessary stumbling block there.

(ii) Follow the tips in the linked-to post above. The title of it is 5 Tips on How to Find Content Writing Jobs No Matter Where You Live; perfectly suited for this freelancer’s problem.

(iii) Ask for feedback: Since this freelancer has been trying to land gigs for a year without much success, I advise point blank asking prospects for feedback, especially those that she got “nibbles” from. While the vast majority won’t respond, a couple might. One little nugget of info to clarify where she’s going wrong might be just the key to turn things around.

(iv) Try something different: If you’ve been using the same methods for a year and no jobs have panned out, then by all means, trying something different. In the post, Freelance Writers: How to Land Jobs When You Have $0 & Your Marketing Tactics Aren’t Working — 5 Areas to Assess, I outline some critical areas to assess to see where you might be making some missteps.

When what you’re doing is not working – and if this is a career you really, really want – then you might have to start at ground zero and look at everything, eg, your pricing, your website, your writing samples, your competition, etc.

Many are hesitant to do this because, after all, who wants to start over. But, sometimes this is what you have to do – scrap the old and implement the new.

(v) Consult other freelancers in your country: I’m sure there are freelance writers in Botswana. Look them up on forums, on social media sites, via their blogs, etc. Ask them how they land gigs.

There’s More Than One Road to Freelance Writing Success

The one thing I want to address is the remark, “I have followed all your tips and some that I read about but right now I am slowly losing faith.”

My road to success may not be yours. While I can tell you what’s worked for me (and my advice has worked for countless others, as the freelance writing success stories at the bottom of this page illustrate), your circumstances may mean you have to find your own path.

I don’t know your country or your market. There may be cultural barriers that dictate that you do something different. What I do know is that if the methods that I’ve outlined aren’t working, then it’s time to do something different.

More Q&A on Landing Freelance Writing Jobs

In answer to the other questions this freelancer asked:

I would like to know what you think helped/helps you land writing jobs?

I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993; I worked in publishing in New York City for a decade, and I have a pretty solid educational background. In short, I have the experience, the contacts and the education. When I market, I don’t sell a service, I sell ME – and what my skills can do for a client.

That’s what helps me to land jobs, in my opinion.

But plenty of newbies have had success without all of this; everyone has to start someplace, so it’s not like you have to have my skill set to land jobs. You don’t.

Did you subscribe to the paid job banks or did you target companies randomly?

As you know from my SEO writing ebook, I contact companies directly. I use the exact email query in the ebook. I tried job boards once or twice — years ago. I got so frustrated with the process you had to go through to bid on jobs that I never tried them again. I reasoned that my time could be better spent contacting companies directly. That’s just me though.

Many freelancers have had success with sites like Elance, as this freelancer wrote about. Another one recently divulged how she was close to landing a $700 gig via Elance. So bidding sites can work to land freelance writing jobs; it all depends on if that’s a route you want to take.

What do you think is giving some of your readers the edge? Location (USA), background etc. although I don’t believe all clients are that picky especially since one of your first clients was based in the UK.

Actually, my first client was a firm out of Canada. I have worked with clients though from Iceland to Ireland, so location hasn’t been a factor for me. But, maybe that does have something to do with me (and others) being U.S.-based.

BUT again, I don’t tout location on my SEO writing company site (other than to say, “FYI, our hours of operation are M-F; 8am to 6pm U.S. EST.”). FYI, you can be based in Timbuktu and base your hours on a U.S. schedule.

The final suggestion I have is to read back through the link-to series below to gain an understanding of what it takes to work for American firms (if those are the types of companies you’re targeting). Then, contact an accountant in your country to see what you’d need to do to get the documentation most American firms require from freelancers (eg, a Social Security or Tax ID / EIN number) for tax purposes.

Links to Series on How to Start a Freelance Writing Career If You’re a Foreigner

SEO Copywriting: How to Start This Type of Freelance Writing Career If You’re a Foreigner

SEO Copywriting: How to Start This Type of Freelance Writing Career If You’re a Foreigner, Pt II

SEO Copywriting: How to Start This Type of Freelance Writing Career If You’re a Foreigner, Pt III

Are You a Foreign Freelancer (i.e. Non-U.S.) or a Firm that Hires Foreign Freelance Writers? Have Any Advice for This Freelancer?

If you can give more insight to this freelancer, please share in the comments section below, especially if you’re based outside the U.S.

Have a great week!

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coverP.S.: Get the freelance writing opportunity that allowed me to be financially secure enough to travel, 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.