What Are You Doing to Propel Your Freelance Writing Career to the Next Level in 2015? Here’s What I’m Up To

I haven’t made any freelance writing goals for the last two years, but for 2015, I’m going to. While I like NOT having any specific goals and just working my tush off every day, I think I’m more proficient when I have them.

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My only problem with making goals is that my Type-A personality usually means that I overload my plate with too much to do. So with this flaw in mind, I’m trying to be laser-focused.

Following is my ONE freelance writing goal for 2015 …

Get My New Publishing Company Off the Ground

To this end I have to:

(i) Get InkwellEditorialPublishing.com live: This is the domain name I registered for my company, which will publish fiction; primarily romance, crime and erotica (Update: Can check this off — created and made it live the same day I finished this post — 12/26);

(ii) Set up social media accounts for it (FB and Twitter): I already have a company Twitter account; it’s at @AnInkwellPub. I just have to create a FB page (Update: Check! created it on 12/27);

(iii) Start subscriber list: All this will require is adding an AWeber subscription box to site once it’s live (Update: Another check — did it the same day I finished this post — 12/26);

(iv) Sign on 2-5 recurring ghostwriters: Although there’s some great talent out there, this is so much harder than you’d think.

I’ve bought stories from three different writers. One was not well written at all (sample was great; writing not so much). The other two romances were well-written, but one was boring — I’m still trying to spice it up, and the other just hasn’t sold well (it was a paranormal romance that I just loved, and I’m not even a fan of this genre)). So this is going to be a process for sure; and

(v) Widen my distribution network: I already publish via Amazon, Barnes & Noble aInkwell Editorial Publishing: We Publish Romance, Crime, Eroticand AllRomanceEbooks.com, but will be adding Google Play and a host of others via Draft2Digital.com in the coming weeks.

$10,000 Per Month Self-publishing Ebooks

I want to break $10,000 per month by December 2015 in JUST self-publishing income (not client projects or internet marketing). And just in case you think that’s a lofty goal; it’s not. – not by a long shot. I actually expect to exceed it. Proof?

Tackling Your 2015 Goals: The Early Bird Gets the Worm!

I’m already getting a jumpstart on what I want to accomplish next year. I started with widening Inkwell Editorial Publishing’s distribution network. To this end I’ve:

1) Removed all books from Amazon’s KU program (the free borrows were cannibalizing my actual sales GREATLY, so it was no longer worth it (more on this below)).

Related Post: Learn more about my experience with Amazon’s KU program.

FYI, you have to enroll your books in the program for 90 days, so most of my romance novellas are in until the end of January, but I unchecked that renewal box, so then I can distribute them elsewhere, which brings me to my next step …

2) I uploaded 2 books to Google Play. I’ve been wanting to get on here for a while. The reason is, Google distributes ebooks in 44 different countries, so it’s crazy IMO NOT to be there. FYI, you can sign up to self-publish with Google here.

3) I will be working to get InkwellEditorialPublishing.com live before Jan 1, and get its FB page up too. A secondary reason is, there’s a lot of stuff I want to blog/talk about that has to do with romance writing/self-publishing, but I have no official outlet to do so.

This site is a blog for/about succeeding as a freelance writer. And, while self-publishing / writing romance is one way to do this, it’s only a small part of it; hence, it’s not proper to talk too much about it here. Having a site devoted to JUST romance/fiction writing and self-publishing will allow me the space I need to do this.

BUT, the main reason I want to get InkwellEditorialPublishing.com live is I’m thinking long-term and that means building my own author community (website, social media presences, subscriber lists, etc.). This way, I can market directly to a defined reader base who are real fans.

Even if they go on to purchase my novellas from major outlets like AMZ, at least I won’t have to compete for their dollar because they’ll know, “Hey, she has a new release out and I can get it from her site, or here, here, and here” (because I’ve told them about it in a newsletter, on my website, via my publishing company’s social media accounts, etc.).

Amazon’s (AMZ) KDP Select Program: A Quick Overview

In case you’re confused about some of the stuff I’ve referred to here (ie, the Amazon KU program), don’t worry, I’ll be doing more in-depth posts on it soon (on InkwellEditorialPublishing.com – see why I need this site!). In the meantime though, you can learn all about it here. Basically, following is what it entails.

You agree to list your book with Amazon EXCLUSIVELY for 90 days. This means you can’t publish it in DIGITAL format any place else – even on your own website.

Amazon pays you in two ways. They pay you for sales – just the same as if it wasn’t in KDP/KU (I use these terms interchangeably by the way). They also pay you for “borrows.” Subscribers to AMZ’s Kindle Unlimited service can borrow books for free. So when a reader borrows your book, AMZ pays you for that borrow (if the reader reads more than 10% of the book).

Because it’s free, many readers will download it. When I enrolled all of my romance novellas and a couple of non-fiction ones, my income skyrocketed because readers were borrowing between 50 and 150 copies per day. But, the borrows were outstripping sales – dramatically! This scared me, for all of the reasons discussed in this post.

How It’s Possible to Lose Money with Amazon’s KDP Select Program

What you get for a borrow varies and you don’t know how much you’re earning until the month AFTER sales have occurred. So for all the borrows you have in November, you don’t know how much AMZ is going to pay you for each one until the middle of December (usually on the 15th they announce the numbers).

Amazon pays you from a set pool of money, and this varies too. Also, payouts for borrows have slipped significantly in recent months. See?

June: $2.20
July: $1.86
Aug: $1.54
Sept: $1.51
Oct: $1.33
Nov: $1.39

For an actual sale of one of my $2.99 books, I receive approximately $2.09 (70%, not including the 3 to 6 cents AMZ charges for delivery of the book file). For a borrow, I got $1.39 in November – a loss of 67 cents per book.

While many more borrowed the book who may not have bought it, those borrows aren’t translating into actual sales of other titles, which would have made it worthwhile (I have over 20 romance novellas for sale on AMZ – so it’s not like I don’t have a catalog of work out there).

And again, you can’t pad those losses because you can’t publish any place else while you’re in the program. And you feel it – quick! My AMZ income plummeted by over 60% from August to November, and with no romance ebook sales from other outlets, there was nothing I could do. I can’t wait until the end of January (when most of my romance novellas come out of KDP Select) and I can distribute them to other outlets.

Bottom line: there are just too many “variables” to make Amazon’s KDP Select Program worthwhile for me, and many other self-published authors – from small, small fish like me to biggies like JA Konrath and HM Ward — feel the same.

Freelance Writing for Clients on Auto Pilot

Just in case you’re wondering if I still own/operate New Media Words, my (SEO) writing company and are still taking on writing projects from clients – the answer is, “Yes, of course!” Although, I do very little writing myself for clients these days.

I mostly oversee outsourcing projects that come in, and handle some of the social media account management (a growing service) myself. Cutting expenses by moving to Jamaica has allowed me to pick and choose the clients I want to work with these days. I realize I’m lucky in this sense. This part of my business could be much bigger, but for the last couple of years I’ve been heavily focused on self-publishing, as that’s where I see my future.


I’m excited about 2015 – for professional (and personal) reasons. I look forward to it being a banner year! I hope you are too.

Your Freelance Writing Goals for 2015?

What do you plan to accomplish next year? Will you be setting specific goals? How do you plan to go about achieving them? Let’s encourage each other – and keep each other on track – by sharing in the comments section below.

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    1. I’m still working on organizing all of my goals for 2015, but the main one is to find higher-paying clients so that I can write less and earn more. No, I’m not getting lazy, but after almost two years of full-time freelancing, I want to have more balance in my life. Translation – not work so hard and enjoy life more. I also want to get involved with self-publishing (once again, Yuwanda, you have inspired me)and I just don’t have the time and energy to focus on it with my current schedule.

      I plan to set up specific steps to reach each of my big goals for the year. Those mini-goals will help me stay on track. Last year was just about earning enough money to pay my bills, but now I want to look at the long term and make sure all of my efforts are focused on where they should be.

      • Joyce:

        I hear ya RE “not getting lazy, but after almost two years of full-time freelancing, I want to have more balance in my life.” Been there; done that. That’s why I started to make the transition to self-publishing a few years ago. It’s still a lot of work – but at least I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, ya know (producing products that won’t require the day-to-day hands on that writing for clients require).

        I think every freelancer who’s in it for the long haul and never want to work for someone else again gets to this point and decides, hmmm, what’s my exit strategy (which is really what you’re talking about). There’s not a lot of discussion about this in freelancing; the majority of the talk is about how to make a go of freelancing. But as you progress in your career, you come to a “hmmm, one day I’d like to retire” moment. And many freelancers are stumped by this. So, I hear ya — loud and clear. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy; it just means you’re thinking about your future — smartly!

        My advice is to just keep chugging along; you’ll get there. The main thing is to stay focused on your LONG TERM goal(s) — and as you said, the mini-goals will help you stay on track.

        Continued success as you progress in your freelance career — right along to your “exit” goals. 🙂