Archives for October 2012

Freelance Writers: 7 Ways to Make Ends Meet during Lean Money Months

As Tropical Storm Sandy continues to wreak havoc across the northeastern portion of the United States – wreaking havoc with my ebook sales and affiliate marketing income – I started thinking about how a hit to income can cause many freelancers to panic (especially newbies). …

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Self-Publishing: The Most Important Thing You Need to Know about Writing Ebooks That Sell

Editor Note: I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve become a regular Guest Author for e-Junkie. I’ve been a satisified customer for years now, so when this writing opportunity came my way, it was a natural fit — one I couldn’t turn down.

My posts for them will cover everything from self-publishing, to internet marketing, to freelance writing. For now, I’ll be appearing on their blog about once a month, but feel free to check out the site all the time. They have some wonderfully talented guest authors who dispense a lot of incredibly helfpul information on a wide range of topics — especially about growing an online business.

Now, to today’s post.

Writing Ebooks . . . Ebooks That Sell!

In my first post for e-Junkie, I tackle one of my favorite subjects — how to write ebooks that sell.

Self-publishing is growing by leaps and bounds. Proof?

The HeraldOnline.com article, Self-Publishing Sees Triple-Digit Growth in Just Five Years, Says Bowker®, states:

The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287 percent since 2006, and now tallies more than 235,000 print and “e” titles . . . The research explores the dramatic U.S. growth of an area once relegated to the fringes of publishing. It finds that while production increases are occurring in both print and e-book formats, the latter is driving the greatest percentage gains. (emphasis added)

My Self-Publishing Income: 3 Payments per Month from Amazon Alone

I’ve been writing and selling ebooks online since 2004. I recently started to receive three payouts per month from Amazon for my ebooks, which are published worldwide. This is up from one payment per month when I first started selling on the site in December 2011. As an aside, some other sites I make money selling ebooks on are Barnes & Noble, Clickbank and Lulu.

But back to Amazon, the site I receive the most income from (besides my own site) . . . why do I receive three monthly payouts from them?

As sales come from all over the world, Amazon pays out by country. I’m not sure of the actual breakdown, but I know that one payout is for U.S. sales and another for European sales. Amazon recently added India as a country, so perhaps that third payment is from that part of the world.

To be honest, I haven’t had time to look at all the data and parse it. All I know is that at the end of the month — sometime around the 20th — I start to receive notices like the one below from Amazon alerting me that I have a deposit for $X coming and to “please allow up to 5 business days for the funds to appear in my bank account.”

Amazon "You Have Money Coming" Notice


Self-Publishing Ebooks for a Living = Income Stability

Since 2010, over half my annual income has come from ebooks I write, self-publish and sell online. While it’s nowhere near a get-rich-quick scheme (it’s a lot of work — and don’t let anyone tell you differently!), it’s something I enjoy primiarly because it puts my income totally in my control.

The more ebooks I write, the more money I make. And the beautiful thing about it is, it’s a career I never have to retire from. So if writing and selling ebooks online interests you, then click on over and read my post about what it takes to write ebooks that sell — then get out that laptop and start your own self-publishing journey!

And, if you have questions about self-publishing, feel free to send them in to me. I usually answer in a post here (so everyone can benefit from the knowledge).

Good luck.

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P.S.: Get 4 Ebooks for One Low Price — The Ultimate Self-Publishing Package! 

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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Article Marketing: Is It Still Worth Your Time?

If you’re a regular reader of my blogs and newsletters, you probably know that I’m a big believer in article marketing. In my opinion – and experience – it’s some of the most effective online marketing you can do. Proof?

I own several spots on the first page of Google for keyword phrases related to my niches, eg, “SEO writing” and “sell ebooks online” to name two.

But, article marketing is getting harder. Just recently, one of my favorite article marketing directories, IdeaMarketers.com, made some changes that mean I won’t be using it anymore. The main reason is that all content submitted there from now on has to be original, never-before-published content. To me, this amounts to writing for free, which I discussed in a post about why I started my own article directory.

A lot of the changes in article marketing directories and write-for-pay sites like HubPages came about because of Google’s big Panda update last February. But as I discussed in the post, Freelance Writers: 10 Reasons the Google Panda Update Makes (SEO) Article Marketing Even More Effective & Means More Work for You, this still hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for article marketing – just as the changes at IdeaMarketers.com hasn’t.

I just wanted you to be aware of what’s going on with this form of online marketing – and how you can counter it. FYI, one of the best ways is to start your own article directory — which we’ll circle back to in just a bit.

Right now you might be thinking, “But if all of these article directories are making such drastic changes, then Google must hate it.” In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth.

Article Marketing: Matt Cutts Explains What Google Wants

What Google wants is high-quality content – and that could very well be in an article that is distributed via article directories. As an example, right now, for the keyword phrase “SEO writing”, an “article” I submitted to the free press release site PRLog.com is in the number one spot. Yes, my article is on the first page of Google in the first position – out of more than 100 million results (FYI, this is the article — What Is SEO Writing & Why It’s Possible to Earn $50,000 to $75,000 ).

Following is what Matt Cutts, Google’s “SEO/search guru” (for lack of a better title), says about article marketing:

“If you write a relatively low quality article, you know, just a few hundred words, then at the bottom is two or three links of, you know, specifically high keyword density anchor text, then the sort of guy who just wants some content and doesn’t really care about the quality might grab that article from an article bank or something, and he’s not really editorially choosing to give that anchor text. So, as opposed to something that’s really compelling, when he really likes something, and linking to it organically…that’s the sort of links that we really want to count more.”

How to Refine Your Article Marketing Strategy to Make It More Effective: 5 Tips

It’s really simple, just . . .

Write high-quality content. Gone are the days where you can write 250-word, keyword-stuffed articles and expect a return. Google doesn’t rank this kind of content high – and now a lot more article directories won’t even accept content of this nature.

Write longer articles. Most articles have to be at least 400 words to be accepted by an article directory. I just wrote an article yesterday for my article directory that was almost 900 words long. Now, this was a bit long – but I say make your articles 500-700 words. Usually, you can give good detail in an article this length – detail that gives end users the info they need to make purchasing decisions.

Start your own article directory. The best reason for this is so that you keep control of your content. Read the article on why I started my own article directory to learn more about the benefits of this.

Distribute, distribute, distribute. When I write an article, I distribute it via social media (eg, Twitter); and I also submit it to an article directory (used to be IdeaMarketers.com, but now I’m going to have to find another outlet); and I upload it to PRLog.com. While this site is technically a free press release site, I use it like an article directory because it gets great search engine juice.

FYI, here’s a list of 50 top-rated article directories (so you never have to worry about NOT having places to distribute your articles).

Encourage others to distribute your content. When I distribute an article via Twitter for example, one thing I started doing recently is to put “Free to Reprint/Republish” in the tweet. Many online marketers (especially affiliate marketers) are always looking for free content to use in their newsletters and on their blogs and websites.

 I help them out by letting them know, “Hey, there’s free content to be had here! Come and get it!”

So if you’re thinking about article marketing and wondering if it’s worth your time with the ever-changing rules – the answer is “Absolutely!” You just have to roll with the punches (the changes), just like with anything else in life, no?

Happy Wednesday!

Share Your Thoughts on Article Marketing? Have you tried it? Do you like it? Has it worked/not worked for you? Why/why not?

On a personal note . . .

I’m off to do some apartment hunting with my friend who’s moving to Atlanta from New York. I’m sooooo psyched!

Happy Wednesday!
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ArticleMarketingP.S.: I’ve written well over 1,000 articles and earn 4 figures per month selling information products (ebooks) online. This is one of my favorite online marketing strategies.  Why? Because it works! It drives web traffic and sales for years. And, it’s something anyone can do.

This ebook details how to market via this medium – the right way.

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Freelance Writers: Want to Earn Some Immediate Money? Do This . . .

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably read where I advise freelance writers to track their income. I track mine daily. I may miss a day (or sometimes a week or two), but I always go back and fill in the numbers so that I can see – at a glance – how I’m doing….

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Ebook Sale: Buy One, Get the Second One for Half Off

Half-Price Ebook Sale

Right now if you buy any ebook* from our store, 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).

Inkwell Editorial’s Latest Ebook: How to Find Ebook Writing and Editing Jobs

Self-publishing is growing and I foresee ebook writing and editing services becoming a big need over the next decade or so. Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

How to Find Ebook Writing and Editing JobsOVERVIEW

Like most of Inkwell Editorial’s ebooks, I wrote this one because I started receiving a lot of inquiries about how to land these types of gigs. This particular ebook was inspired by a post I wrote on InkwellEdiorial.com entitled 10 Types of Digital Freelance Writing Jobs: They’re “Hot” and They Pay Well – Here’s What They Are (full post is pasted within).

Get full details on this ebook.

Sale ends this Friday, Oct 19th, at 6 pm U.S. EST.

*Refers only to ebooks published by Inkwell Editorial; NOT affiliate products.

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How to Know When You’re Ready to Quit Your Job to Freelance Fulltime: 6 Signs It’s Time and How to Go About It

Many of my ebook ideas come from visitors to InkwellEditorial.com, my freelance writing website. This one is no different. I like to tell readers why I write a particular title, so they can gain further insight and relate better to the material. Following is how this ebook came to fruition. But first, an unsolicited testimonial …

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Should You Quit Your Day Job to Start Blogging? Read This Before You Decide

One of the reasons I write this blog is to show freelancers that there are numerous ways to make money online as a writer – over and beyond writing for clients. So when I ran across a post on a popular internet marketer’s blog entitled, 3 Reasons to Quit Your Day Job to Start Blogging, it got me to thinking, “Is it a good idea to quit your day job to start blogging?”

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How to Find Ebook Writing and Editing Jobs

Author Note: This ebook was inspired, in part, by a discussion of a $3,000+ ebook writing project. This post generated a lot of questions from many about how to find this type of freelance writing / editorial work. …

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Lessons from a $3,350 Ebook Writing / Editing Project: What to Expect When You Take on This Type of Work

In last week’s post on how to find ebook writing and editing jobs, I gave you an inside peek at a query I received from someone who contacted my SEO writing company about doing a project for them. I’ve done maybe half a dozen of these types of projects over the last couple of years, in addition to writing and publishing my own ebooks. As a fellow writer in last week’s post mentioned, these types of jobs are becoming more common – and they are a good chunk of change when they do come in.

Today, I wanted to cover some things to keep in mind if you start providing ebook writing and editing services. It’ll help you price these types of editorial jobs more accurately.

1. To Charge or Not to Charge for a Consultation: When someone first contacts you about their ebook, be prepared to spend some time – probably an hour or two overall – up front conversing with them.

Me and this last prospect went back and forth via email – there were 17 exchanges between us over 7 days. He had a lot of questions about the process, eg, deadlines, page count, devising an outline, payment, etc.

Most of the questions centered around the content — eg, how long the ebook was going to be, how in-depth it was going to be, what was going to be included/NOT included, etc.

You’ll have to decide if you want to “give away” this much time without being guaranteed the project, or charge a consultation fee. I don’t charge a fee, but I also limit the amount of time I will spend going back and forth. Once I’ve got a good handle on the project, I’ll tell the client that I’m clear on what they want and “me and my team can take it from here once the contract is signed.”

If you don’t’ do this, you’ll find yourself spending hours over a few days with no project materializing. So just be aware of this – and know when to ask the client to sign on the dotted line.

2. Contract: My firm’s ebook writing service contract runs to four pages. It’s very detailed because it outlines not only all of the regular legal mumbo jumbo (eg, who owns rights to the work, etc.), but it also includes the editorial calendar for the project, ie, what’s due from the client – and when (editorial changes, etc.); what’s due from us – and when (correcting revisions, etc.).ebook-writing-services-for-self-publishers

A detailed contract is a must, must, must for this type of project. There’s nothing like writing or editing someone’s ebook, then getting stiffed because you and the client weren’t on the same page about what was expected of them and what was expected from you – and when.

3. Payment: At New Media Words, we require a 50% deposit before we begin on any project. The reason is, it’s a lot of work and if worst comes to worst and we do get stiffed, at least we’ve gotten half the payment up front.

Note: I’ve never been stiffed on an ebook project.

This client asked if we could divide payment into three payments. He wrote:

One more question, is it possible to divide the payment into 3 payments.

40% – initial deposit
30% – after first draft
30% – end of the project

I declined to do this; I’m pretty firm on our 50% up front deposit simply because I’ve learned from experience that if you start straying from your payment policies, it usually works against you in the long run.

4. Giving an Estimate: Because I’ve written so many ebooks, I can give pretty accurate quotes (FYI, the best way to learn how to price these types of jobs is to write ebooks yourself). This client’s project came out to $3,350. I lowered it to $2,500 to accommodate his budget (he agreed to cut the page count almost in half (from 50-70 to 30-40).

He accepted this rate . . . 

THEN, changed his mind, writing:

As much as I would love to have your firm handle our ebook (I am 100% certain you will do a great job) the price is just to high for me.

My original plan was to get a 60-70 page ebook for as high as $2000, and your offer of less than 40 pages for $2500 is a price I can’t afford.

I appreciate the time you took to answer my questions and I hope that in the future (when my website picks up and will generate a steady stream of revenue) we would be able to work together, as I plan to create a many more ebooks.

While it’s never good to have a project slip through your fingers, I have no regrets about it for two reasons: (i) it’s business; it happens; and (ii) I know the amount of work that goes into creating an ebook. Also,  I know how me and my team work. We would have gone over and beyond anyway, so for the lowered rate, it just wouldn’t have been worth it for us to take this one on.

And, we left the door open for him to consider us for future work. The final email I sent said:

[Client Name]:
No problem; believe me, I understand tight finances.Emoji
Just know, we’re right here if/when you ever need our services.
Good luck with your site and the ebook

Always be professional by tying up loose ends by wishing the client luck and asking them to consider you for future projects.

How to Price Ebook Writing and Editing Projects: A Word of Advice

The only way to learn how to do this is with experience. You’ll get better with each one. But OVERCALCULATE on research time. This potential client wrote:

I must admit I am in touch with several other “writing companies” and none of them have mentioned they need time to research (and definitely not 15-20 hours) which puts you in my opinion as the most professional of them all. (It really isn’t easy to find quality people)

Research is probably where you’ll spend 40-50% of your time on an ebook writing and editing project. Another 25-30% will be spent on organizing the material, the final portion will be spend on the actual editing and writing.

Pre-Order New Ebook: How to Find Ebook Editing and Writing Projects

As I said in last week’s post, I’m working on an e-pamphlet that discusses some different ways to land these types of clients. Self-publishing is growing and I foresee ebook writing and editing services becoming a big need over the next decade or so. In the ebook I’m working on, I’ve come up with some different marketing methods you can use to find these types of editorial jobs. And, most of them are free and/or very low cost.

You can pre-order the ebook for just $9.95. The regular price will be $19.95 and it will be published next Monday, the 8th.

How to Pre-Order

Simply send payment to payment@InkwellEditorial.com. Put “Ebook Writing Services Ebook” in the subject line/comments box of your PayPal order. Once it’s ready, I’ll send it to you directly (again, on Monday).

Happy Tuesday!

Comments, Questions, Thoughts? Please share in the comments section below.

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P.S.: Get 4 Ebooks for One Low Price — The Ultimate Self-Publishing Package! 

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.