4 Easy-to-Avoid Freelance-Writing Mistakes Every Rookie Makes

Congratulations! You landed your first client.

Getting a positive response to a pitch or application can give you a writing high that lasts all week…that is, until you start working with the client and things start going wrong.

As a new freelancer, getting any job may be so exciting we’re willing to accept jobs that aren’t always the best fit. I certainly made some mistakes (and continue to make new ones) that ate up a lot of my time and energy at the beginning of my freelancing career.

The good news is I kept track of my rookie freelancing mistakes when landing a new gig, so you don’t make the same mistakes!

1. Not clarifying if you get a byline

The job ad said “writer”, not “ghostwriter”, so I assumed I would have a byline…wrong.

When landing a new client or gig, this is one of the most important things you can ask, especially if you’re working to build your portfolio. Having a byline helps build your brand and can even draw inbound leads — a dream for all new freelancers!

Clarify up front if you’ll be able to have a byline. If the answer is no, ask if you’ll be able to link to the writing in pitches, or if you can get a testimonial. If the answer is still no, think carefully about if the time is worth it. You may want to raise your rates if you’re not getting any exposure.

There’s nothing as disappointing as spending a lot of time writing a perfect article, only to not get the recognition for it you thought you would.

2. Writing about a topic you don’t believe in

You’ve responded to an ad or cold pitched, and they’ve responded. You’ve talked about average word count, if you’ll have a byline and how to submit. You’ve even agreed on cost per word and how you’ll get paid.

It’s finally time to write.

Then they send you the topic and your heart drops. Not only is it something you’re completely uninterested in, it’s also something you don’t believe in or agree with.

There are certain niches where this happens more than others, but it can happen to anyone. In my case (health niche), I was being asked to write about a specific supplement. I don’t really believe in supplements and diet pills, and I hadn’t used this one myself, so I felt really uncomfortable with the post.

I wrote it anyway, but I wish I hadn’t. Not only did it take forever (since I wasn’t familiar with it), but I hated every second of it. Freelance writing isn’t all fun and games, but the writing part is still supposed to be enjoyable!

Plus, my name was now attached to a piece I didn’t believe in.

When the client asked me to do another piece reviewing and recommending a very specific diet pill, I declined. I wish I had declined the first offer, too. Not only did I spend a lot of time on the writing, it actually made me dread writing. And even though it was bylined, I don’t like to use it in my portfolio. I did make some money, but I wish I’d spent my time on more positive work.

3. Not adjusting rates for word count/research

You may have a standard rate per word or per project you charge, and if the client is willing to pay, you’ll accept.

Especially starting out, the rates you’ll accept are probably pretty low. You’re just trying to build your portfolio, connections and skill set.

But just because the rate is the same as other work you do, doesn’t mean you should accept it without knowing other parameters. Writing a 3,000 word article might take more than three times longer than a 1,000 word article, depending on the research or interviews involved. My cost per word was the same, but my effective hourly rate sank dramatically at this word count.

The same thing can happen if the article is research-intensive. I had another client that wanted an average of 25 sources for a 1,000 word article. While I’m happy to accomodate, I can’t accept the low end of my rates for that work.

If your time is your most valuable asset, you need to take on work that has a good effective hourly rate.

4. Not reading any legal documents or disclaimers

While this happens infrequently, sometimes clients will have you sign a non-disclosure or some other legal document. Make sure you read these documents before signing.

I once had a client put a 10-year non-compete in my non-disclosure agreement. Luckily, with a lawyer for a father, I always read any contracts before signing. As a freelancer, a non-compete is simply unacceptable. I recommend asking if they’ll remove that language.

If they won’t, don’t sign it.

Above all, always value yourself, your work, and your time.

Don’t take work just because you’re excited about finally getting a gig and making some money. Ask the right questions, read requirements carefully, and price accordingly.

And don’t be afraid to walk away if the opportunity just isn’t right.

The post 4 Easy-to-Avoid Freelance-Writing Mistakes Every Rookie Makes appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-05-04T10:54:32+00:00 May 4th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

5 Crucial Tips if You Want to Write for Local Publications

If you’ve pitched stories to national outlets before, you know to expect a rejection within two weeks or so. That’s because these media organizations typically have larger staffs, and might call on another editor to look at your pitch.

However, local publications are often much smaller and might not have as quick of a response time. That’s why the first pitch is so important.

After freelancing for almost a year, I finally broke into an independent regional magazine.

Now, I regularly contribute to city-specific publications, including an alternative weekly and hyperlocal, neighborhood-specific news blog.

In addition to discussing my experiences, I reached out to a few editors and writers about breaking into local publications for the first time.

1. Find a local angle

You may be tempted to pitch a national story to a local newspaper or magazine, but think again.

Although national issues affect the smallest of towns, you need to find a hook to make them locally relevant.

Do look for local angles on national stories,” explains Ken Schlager, editor of New Jersey Monthly. “Don’t pitch the obvious, like a review of a new restaurant. Do pitch local trend pieces that might not be obvious to the average observer.”

For instance, in February, some local punk bands hosted a benefit show for a 24-hour LGBTQ suicide hotline. Although the story began as timely coverage of an event, the story was an opportunity to localize transgender rights and discuss bathroom bills in different states.

“Get a good sense of what’s been done already and try to find uncharted territory, or perhaps a different angle on a story that’s already been told,” says Lindsay Lennon, who regularly contributes to her local Patch site and other regional publications. “If there’s a seemingly great story that hasn’t been covered yet, try to get the scoop on why.”

2. Always look for stories

If you’re truly committed to telling your community’s stories, try adopting a new mindset. For every event you attend, remind yourself that you are the storyteller in the room and rock it.

“Walk your beat,” Lennon stresses. “Talk to people. Go to local government meetings. Pick up the phone. Do not just send out emails. Sit down and have a chat with the mayor or the town supervisor or anyone who is considered a local magnate.”

While many journalists and writers search for sources on social media, especially those in the millennial generation, Lennon prefers to stay within her own network. When you’re working with strangers, including those you’ll never meet face-to-face, credibility could be taken for granted. That’s why she prefers to only interview those she knows.

Personally, I have used the internet to get connected, but I usually try to contact sources to verify their interest in going on the record before pitching a story.

3. Pitch far in advance

Especially for print publications, you want to give editors a lot of leeway when it comes to timeliness.

For example, in February, I pitched a local print magazine editor June, July and August stories.

A lot of times, local magazines have annual themed issues — top doctors, best & worst surveys, best new restaurants — and you can easily find out what month those issues come out, so you can time your pitches,” explains freelance writer Kate Andrews, who has been reporting on local issues her whole career and currently contributes to several publications specific to Richmond, Virginia.

Andrews recommends pitching magazines three months ahead of time, as well as looking over the submission guidelines. “Of course, read the publication thoroughly before pitching so you know what they cover and know what they have written about recently, so you can avoid pitching the same story,” she adds.

4. Know your competition

If your community has multiple publications dedicated to local stories, it’s best to familiarize yourself with all of them. Likely, they’re all competing with each other.

As a freelance writer, you might not have to commit yourself to one, but reading different publications helps you understand the tone and style of each one.

“If there’s a competing publication, pay attention to what they are writing about, so you don’t pitch that story to the first publication,” Andrews mentions. “I guarantee the editors for both are paying attention to the other one. That’s not to say you can’t write for both, but it’s probably smarter to pick different subject areas so one publication doesn’t feel ‘robbed’ if you write a story for the other one.”

The writing world is a small one, especially when it comes to local publications.

“Be aware that if you’re in a smaller or midsize city/region, most of the editors/staff at local and regional publications know each other,” Andrews adds. “So, if you burn bridges in some dramatic way at one place, word will travel and you may not get any work. On the other hand, if you have a good reputation at one publication, you may get work at a second place.”

5. Emphasize your familiarity with the area

Show the publication you’re an expert, and make a personal connection.

Shoshi Parks, a contributor to Hoodline who lives in San Francisco, contacted the publication first with her qualifications. In her introduction email, she explained her familiarity with the neighborhood —in addition to having lived there for a decade, she owns a small business in the city and is active in a few local nonprofit organizations. She also included a writing sample.

“Your perspective on your city is valid and unique,” Parks elaborated. “Think about what’s in your world and use it to convince editors that you have a valuable point of view. Having a writing sample or two is also helpful, even if it’s self-published, so that editors can see your skills for themselves.”

When reaching out to local publications, you should take pride in where you live. Promote yourself as a local authority who is qualified not only as a writer, but an expert, to report on regional issues that matter the most to the surrounding community.

“I find writing for local publications to be so fulfilling as both a storyteller and a consumer of information and lore,” Lennon adds. “Having a sense of place is one of the warmest and most oddly comforting phenomenons I’ve experienced in my life, and I think writing about a place and its inhabitants only enhances this sense.”

Challenge yourself as a writer to find interesting stories through events, people you know, and of course, everyday life. Ask yourself what your community needs to know through local journalism, using your insight as a community member.

Chances are, you probably have a lead under your nose to break into local publications.

The post 5 Crucial Tips if You Want to Write for Local Publications appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-05-04T10:54:32+00:00 May 3rd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

This Crucial Skill Will Help You Get on Your Book Editor’s Good Side

So far, this “Editorially Speaking” column has covered “How to Find a Book Editor You Can Trust,” “How Much You Should Expect to Pay an Editor,” and “How to Format a Book.”

What more could an editor ask for than to be trusted, paid, and handed a well-formatted manuscript?

Timeliness.

And sometimes, well, writers aren’t the timeliest of people. No offense.

I’ve been one of those writers, and I’m sure I will be again, but I try not to make a habit of it. As soon as you begin breaking deadlines on a routine basis, the urgency of any deadline loses its power.

Don’t fall prey to Douglas Adams’ oft-quoted line: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

Editors don’t want to hear your whoosh! Why?

Because missing your contracted deadline creates ripple effects in their work you’ll never know about, and it leaves a hint of disrespect in your editor’s mind. That’s a surefire way not to get on your editor’s good side.

I’m not advocating you become fast friends with your editor or that you strive to ingratiate yourself with them.

Rather, I’m pulling back the curtain to reveal five simple ways that being timely can endear you to any editor.

1. Meet your deadline(s)

When you contract for editing work, that contract better have at least one deadline. (Otherwise, you’re either working with an amateur editor or they’re the most flexible editor on earth.)

Some contracts may hold multiple deadlines, e.g., “The editor will receive the client’s first 20,000 words by May 1, 2017.”

Whatever your contract says, adhere to it.

Know your deadlines as closely as you know your protagonist. Emblazon your deadlines wherever you’ll see them every day. Make yourself weary of thinking about your deadline so that it becomes your personal antagonist, only stoppable by meeting your deadline.

As I wrote in my book Don’t Fear the Reaper,

A client who fails to appreciate an editor’s schedule will likely not be that editor’s client for long. Editors often work on multiple projects at the same time, whether that’s editing other books, writing their own books, or freelancing in other ways. Consequently, they may have more deadlines than you as an author might have. And while it would be nice to believe that your book is always their top priority, that’s simply not the case. Busy editors (who tend to be the good editors) juggle projects, shifting their prioritized work day-by-day. Some days, your book will be their top priority. Other days, someone’s book with a closer deadline will replace it. Regardless, an editor can’t do their job unless the author holds up their end of the contract as well.

2. Respond within a predetermined timeframe

Who determines this timeframe? You and your editor, in the contract.

A useful rule of thumb is that two to three business days is an acceptable response timeframe.

In other words, if you and I were working together and I asked you a question about your manuscript on a Monday, I’d expect to hear back from you by Thursday at the latest. However, I’d argue that this suggestion should only apply to those who are so busy with work, family or other commitments in life that they can’t respond more quickly. If you’re an author who’s writing in the margins of your life, let your editor know that upfront so that your predetermined response timeframe can be correctly calibrated.

I assume most editors prefer same-day responses, or at least within twenty-four hours. I do.

This ensures work on your manuscript can keep flowing. Often, these questions are short, and their replies can be quickly sent. If a discussion is necessary, a call may be scheduled. With that, at least your editor knows exactly when you’ll get back to them.

3. Be available

Editors sometimes work strange hours.

While some may hold fast to typical working hours, some may only be able to work on your manuscript on nights or weekends (especially if they’re starting out and still holding a day job.) Even full-time editors may work odd hours depending on their workloads (especially if some other client—not you, of course—failed to meet a deadline, causing a cascade of frustrated expectations for when that editor can complete their work.)

Being timely also means being available.

You don’t have to make yourself constantly available to your editor, but place yourself in their shoes. If you had to work with you, how soon would you want to hear from you? Try not to reschedule calls. Answer emails as soon as you’re able. If an in-person meeting is in order, make it a priority. Of course, an editor should reciprocate such availability.

4. Pay on time

This goes back to my first point: to meet your deadlines, you have to know your deadlines, and one of your deadlines will read “Payment due.”

Many editors ask for half of your full payment up front, before any work has commenced (but after the contract has been signed). Once the work has been completed, you’ll then be asked for the final half-payment, and then you’ll receive your edited manuscript.

This kind of financial arrangement ensures that the editor will be paid for their time while simultaneously forcing you to put your money where your manuscript is. With significant skin in the game — see “How Much You Should Expect to Pay an Editor?” if you need a reminder –you’re now invested in the outcome of your book.

Editors love editing; they don’t love hounding.

We don’t want to spend our time writing emails or leaving voicemails trying to receive payment for services rendered. We understand that life sometimes happens, and, honestly, if you level with us about the reason why your payment isn’t on time, we’ll likely be gracious (the first time) so long as you make an effort to pay your invoice as soon as you can.

As in so many issues in life, just imagine yourself in their role. How would you feel if your paycheck arrived even a day late, much less weeks or months later?

Paying on time, every time, via the method the both of you have agreed upon will make your editorial relationship much easier. They may not be too nice to your manuscript, but that’s what you’re paying them for, right?

5. Communicate

The thread that runs through each of these recommendations is communication. I encourage writers to communicate about their communication.

In other words, let your editor know if you’re about to miss a deadline, or if there’s been a sickness in the family that’s drained your financial resources, etc. You’ll stay on our good sides if we hear from you, and it doesn’t take long to dash off a few sentences in an email just to let us know what’s going on in your world. We’re here to serve you and your book, but we also do this for a living.

Don’t become that frustrating client who consistently misses deadlines or conveniently forgets when payments are due.

If you treat your editor with professionalism and respect, and they do so in return, your book will reap those rewards, and you will likely have cemented a long-lasting writer-editor relationship.

The post This Crucial Skill Will Help You Get on Your Book Editor’s Good Side appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-21T05:44:19+00:00 April 21st, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

You Got This! 5 Out-Of-The-Box Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

Staring at a blank page for hours on end, willing the words to come.

Most writers have faced this dreaded writing scenario from time to time: a case of writer’s block.

Even the most successful and prolific writers can suffer from a lack of words at times.

It seems like every writer has a few tricks up their sleeve to handle writer’s block. Some like to focus on outlining and sketching out novel chapters while others prefer to use apps, calendars and spreadsheets to hit daily word goals.

But sometimes it’s good to shake up your routine a bit in order to find new creative energy.

Try these tips if you find yourself with a case of the dreaded writer’s ailment.

1. Go to clown class

If you don’t have visions of red clown noses and funny wigs, you don’t have to literally go to clown school. But trying an activity that is out of your comfort zone and normal routine is a great way to shake things up and find your creativity.

It doesn’t matter if you take a clown class, sign up for a curling league, go to comedy improv night or take a kazoo workshop. Whatever you do, you’ll end up with something new and exciting to write about afterward.

After returning from your new experience, try writing about it as soon as you get home. Use your words to describe what you experienced, how you felt and who you met. Write a character profile of someone you met, describing what they look like, how they speak and what they wear.

Be careful; there’s always a fine line between “shaking up your routine” and procrastinating.

Make sure you use your new activity as a mental refresh and inspiration to get the words flowing rather than a distraction from writing.

2. Use your hands

Writers use their hands to type or scrawl notes longhand all day long.

To shake up your routine, try using your hands in a different creative way. Sculpt clay, paint a picture, crochet a hat or make a collage to turn your brain onto a different type of creativity.

You can even apply this creative technique to your projects.

If you’re writing a novel, sketch out some of your characters visually. If you’re writing about a room, draw the room. What does the sofa look like? How is the table set? Is there a centerpiece? Are there placemats? If you’re drawing a landscape, what types of animals are hidden in the frame? Are there birds, squirrels, insects, or a friendly dog lazing about?

You don’t have to write words to make progress with your story.

3. Find natural inspiration

I’m one of many writers who loves to work outdoors, but you don’t have to bring your laptop with you to find outdoor inspiration and break out from your writer’s block.

Go for a walk or a hike, preferably out in the woods, but even a neighborhood park will do.

Consider bringing a journal and freewriting about three different experiences you have along the way. Don’t overthink it. You don’t have to experience earth-shaking personal revelations to have something to write about on the trail. You can write about an interesting tree or a rain cloud or your experience with a blue jay that watched you eat your lunch.

It doesn’t matter what you write about. The important part is spending time having experiences out in nature and putting those feelings and adventures into words.

After you get your creative mind flowing, you might find the words on your blocked project come along easier, too.

4. Find a prompt

If you Google “writing prompts” you’ll discover more than 1.8 million results. And, if you’re more visually inclined, check out Pinterest’s collection of writing prompts.

Wherever you find your prompts, don’t spend too much time trying to select the perfect one.

Just pick one and start writing. Set a timer for 10 minutes (or whatever length of time you like) and write words. If the words don’t come, write about how they’re not coming. Describe your fingers sitting on the keyboard or tapping on the table. Describe yourself. Write about your desk.

Prompts are great because your only goal is to write for a certain amount of time.

Your writing doesn’t have to meet any standards and no one ever has to read it. But it’s a great exercise to help get your brain going.

5. Read

If the words still aren’t coming, grab a good book and start reading.

But if you write about the book, it might be even more helpful. Read a chapter and then write about that chapter. Write about your favorite character or favorite scene. Describe your thoughts and what you might do differently. Hypothesize about a character’s motivations or what might happen next.

But be sure not to compare yourself to the author. Just enjoy the story and, hopefully, it will help your own story keep spinning along in your mind and on the page.

However you work to conquer writer’s block, don’t worry about it too much. It’s only a temporary ailment. These techniques should help you shake up your routine enough to get back on track with your writing.   

How do you beat writer’s block? Tell us in the comments below.

The post You Got This! 5 Out-Of-The-Box Ways to Beat Writer’s Block appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-20T05:44:38+00:00 April 20th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

How to Write Better: 7 Straightforward Techniques to Try Today

Whatever you write, you want to get your thoughts across as clearly and effectively as possible.

If you’re a novelist, you don’t want awkward word choices or repetitive sentence structures to distract your readers from the story.

If you’re a freelancer, you don’t want your work to seem sloppy or poorly edited.

If you’re a blogger, you don’t want readers to switch off because you’re far too wordy.

Want the good news? Even if your writing isn’t as strong as you’d like, there are plenty of straightforward techniques you can use to improve it.

1. Cut unnecessary words

Here are two paragraphs that say the same thing. Which one is stronger?

In my opinion, the majority of freelancers should probably avoid working for free (or for a nominal sum) unless they are at a very early stage of their career and as yet have no pieces for their portfolio at all.

Freelancers shouldn’t work for free unless they’re just starting out and don’t have any pieces for their portfolio.

The second clearly states a stronger case.

If you’re writing a blog post, most readers will assume that it gives your opinion. You can be clear, firm and direct.

2. Avoid well-worn phrases

Some phrases are so familiar that they’ve lost their impact: they’ve become clichés.

For instance:

  • At the end of the day…
  • Like stealing candy from a baby…
  • For all intents and purposes… (sometimes miswritten as “for all intensive purposes”!)
  • Let the cat out of the bag…

It can be tricky to spot these in your own writing, and you might want to take a quick look through this huge list of clichés to avoid here on the Be a Better Writer site.

When you edit, you don’t need to cut every cliché…but do check whether a rephrasing might work better.

In dialogue, or in a first-person narrative, clichés can be a helpful way of characterizing someone’s speech or thought patterns — but do make sure you’re being careful and deliberate.

3. Write directly to “you” (in nonfiction)

Although this isn’t appropriate for every form of nonfiction, bloggers and freelancers often write directly to the reader as “you”.

This is a great way to make your writing direct, conversational and stronger.

Blog posts and articles quite often use “you” or “your” very early on, in the title and/or introduction. For instance, this post on The Write Life:

Freelance or Full Time: Which Journalism Path is Right for You?,

Want to work in the media industry as a writer?

You generally have two options: You can seek employment as a staff member of a publication, or look for freelance writing opportunities.

How to Format a Book: 10 Tips Your Editor Wants You To Know

Unless you prefer your friends to be story nerds or those who lean toward obsessive-compulsive tendencies when it comes to grammar, you shouldn’t necessarily seek to befriend your editor.

(Emphasis mine.)

As in these examples, use the singular “you” and avoid phrases like “some of you may know”. Yes, you (hopefully!) have more than one reader, but each reader experiences your piece individually.

You can also use “I” where appropriate (e.g. to give an example from your own life) – though usually it’s best to keep the focus of your piece on the reader.

write better

4. Vary sentence structures

What’s wrong with this paragraph?

You should write regularly (not necessarily daily). You should aim to write at least once or twice a week (I recommend a total of 3 – 4 hours per week). You may find it difficult to keep this up at first (especially if you’ve not written much before).

The advice in it is perfectly reasonable. There’s nothing hideously wrong with the actual words used. But the three sentences are very similarly structured: each one starts with “You” then a modal verb (“should” / “may”), and each one ends with a phrase in parentheses.

When you have several sentences in a row that follow the same pattern, they stand out…in a bad way.

Sometimes, it’s appropriate to structure your sentences like this — e.g. in a bullet-pointed list — but in regular paragraphs, it’s often unintentional on the author’s part, and it seems artless and poorly edited to the reader.

For lots of help with sentence structure, check out It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences, by June Casagrande.

5. Use subheadings as signposts

If you’re writing blog posts, articles or sales copy, subheadings are crucial.

They break up long pieces and help readers stay focused; they also offer “signposts” to readers who may be skimming for specific information.

When you craft your subheadings, think about:

  • Making them clear and direct (just like titles / headings) — don’t try to get clever!
  • Keeping them short  — subheadings have a larger font than regular text, and don’t generally look good when they wrap around the end of a line.
  • Being consistent with the structure — for instance, each subheading might start with an imperative verb (as in this post).

6. Use direct, straightforward language

It’s very rare you’ll want to write something deliberately indirect! Instead, you’ll want your words to come across clearly and strongly to the reader.

This may mean avoiding the passive voice – advice that you’ve probably heard before! In case you need a recap:

Active voice: John threw the ball. — succinct and clear

Passive voice: The ball was thrown by John. — wordier and less direct

The passive voice allows the agent (the person performing the action) to be omitted from the sentence altogether:

The ball was thrown.

This can be useful; for instance, you might be writing about something where the agent is unimportant, or where you want to conceal the agent. (“Mistakes were made” is a classic example here.)

In general, though, you should write in a direct, straightforward way.

Make it as easy as possible for readers to engage with your ideas or your story.

7. Read aloud (or edit on paper)

No one’s first draft is perfect, and the above six suggestions should help you rework yours.

Often, it helps to go through your piece slowly and methodically — many writers find that reading aloud helps, as this highlights the cadence of your words.

If you prefer not to read aloud (or if your colleagues, family or cat would give you funny looks if you tried it), then print out your draft so you can edit on paper.

Using a different format makes it easier to spot typos and repetitive phrasings.

At times when printing isn’t practical, I’ve also found it helpful to convert my draft digitally: that might mean turning a Word document into a .pdf, putting a novel manuscript onto my Kindle or previewing a blog post so I can get closer to the reader’s experience.

Confident, powerful writing will help your message (or your story) have its full impact on your reader.

What will you do this week to strengthen your next piece?

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!

The post How to Write Better: 7 Straightforward Techniques to Try Today appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-19T05:44:15+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Flying Under The Radar: How to Use LinkedIn to Find Writing Jobs

With so many social media outlets available, and many of them much more popular, LinkedIn flies under the radar for freelance writers.

LinkedIn is largely thought of as the professional’s social media network, but freelancers (myself included until I learned better) generally think LinkedIn is for the professional looking for full-time work only. Wrong.

Not too long ago, I wouldn’t have thought of using LinkedIn to find freelance writing gigs. Now that I know better, I regularly use LinkedIn to connect with businesses looking for writers, and the leads just keep coming.

Here’s how to use the professional network to get more assignments.

Start with your network

Most people have at least 100 connections on LinkedIn.

Those connections are probably a mix past business colleagues, friends and family, and people you don’t actually know but are in similar professions.

Have you ever thought of asking those connections for an introduction to a publication or business you want to write for?

I have 312 connections. Of those connections, I might know 75 of them personally. But when I search for a company or a business I want to write for, most of the time one of my connections is also connected to someone at said business or publication.

This provides the perfect opportunity to leverage my network to make a new connection.

Most would agree, knowing someone who knows someone is better than a blind pitch. LinkedIn, as Carol Tice, long-term, successful freelance writer told me me in a mentoring conversation, “This is the one place where asking your network to introduce you to a new publication or business is acceptable.” In fact, she’s been hired by Fortune 500 companies through LinkedIn.

It’s the professional’s social media network for a reason!

So how do you do this?

  1. In the search bar, type in the company or publication you’re interested in writing for.
  1. Pull up the company page and see if you have any connections in common.

LinkedIn Business Page

  1. Click on the blue link that tells you how many connections you have in common, and choose one of them to reach out to.
  1. Reach out to one of them directly, and send a quick intro (not a full-fledged letter of intent or pitch) through the messaging option. You can ask if they know who you’d contact or if they’d be willing to introduce you through email to someone.

Ever looked up a marketing manager or editor and noticed you had connections in common?

Another way to use your LinkedIn network to your advantage is to ask for an introduction to the person you’re trying to connect to.

how to use linkedin

Use InMail

Did you know you can try LinkedIn Premium for 30 days for free?

Sign up for a trial and use the 30 free InMails to get your name out there to businesses you want to work for.

LinkedIn makes it really easy to find marketing managers and editors with its intuitive search features.

When sending InMail, a quick introduction rather than a detailed pitch is best. Send a little inquiry letting the prospective client know about your experience and your services.

This is what mine looked like:

LinkedIn_Message

About three weeks later, I received a response that went a little something like this:

LinkedIn_Response

I learned about using InMail thanks to a post on Carol Tice’s blog, Make A Living Writing about how to use InMail to connect with prospects.

The easiest way to use InMail in volume is to narrow down your niche. I chose higher education and health, because those are two of my favorite topics to write about. Then, I used the LinkedIn search feature to search marketing managers in those two niches. This helped me narrow my results so I could choose who to send InMail to.

Become a LinkedIn Pro with ProFinder

A relatively new feature, LinkedIn ProFinder connects freelancers with clients. It’s easy to get started, and the results can be pretty great.

Just click on the “Join as a Pro” link in the top right-hand corner of the LinkedIn Profinder page and fill out the prompts. You are able to select the services you provide and once approved, ProFinder will connect you with businesses submitting jobs that match your skills.

I signed up for ProFinder and about a week later, I found out through email I was added to the ProFinder network. Not two days after that, I received an email for my first lead.

The leads include everything you want to know about the project, and you will be invited to submit a proposal.

It will look a little something like this:

LinkedIn_ProFinder

If the job is something you are interested in, go ahead and submit away! In the proposal, you will write a brief cover letter and submit an hourly or project rate.

Since I started with ProFinder about a month ago, I’ve been notified of five projects, submitted proposals for three of them, and been contacted for two interviews. I’m still in conversation with one of the prospects and have already signed a contract with the other.

Definitely worth the time!

Even if you aren’t keen on using social media to find freelance gigs, think of LinkedIn as more of a networking tool.

It really is a goldmine if used to its full potential.

Have you used LinkedIn in your freelance business? What techniques work for you?

The post Flying Under The Radar: How to Use LinkedIn to Find Writing Jobs appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-18T05:46:32+00:00 April 18th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Freelance Writers: Join us for a Quarterly Check-In

How has your freelance business gone this year?

Are you earning what you hoped to be earning? Are you analyzing what you’re doing right and what you could do better? Do you have any goals for the next three months?

Believe it or not, we’re already in the second quarter of 2017 — which means it’s time for our first Quarterly Freelance Check-In.

I’ve put together five check-in questions and answered each of them below, and they really helped me clarify what I need to do career-wise in the next three months.

As you read about my challenges and goals, think about your own — because I’m going to ask you the same five questions.

1. How much money did I earn this quarter?

This quarter, I earned $15,070.04 in freelance income, of which $14,555.25 has currently hit my bank account.

These earnings meet my $5,000/month income goal, but just barely.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, I earned over $10K per month thanks to a big, high-paying project. Now that the project has completed, going back to $5K/month is a significant income adjustment.

It wasn’t just the project completion that halved my earnings. One of my clients no longer needed me as a freelancer — it was a budget thing, and we ended on good terms — and I stopped getting monthly Patreon income after I finished the draft of my novel. (If you haven’t yet read the story of how I used crowdfunding platform Patreon to fund the draft of my forthcoming novel, you should.)

So I had some expected income losses as well as some unexpected losses this quarter. I still hit my bottom-level income goal, but I didn’t exceed it. At all.

2. What was the best thing I did for my freelance career this quarter?

I’m deep into production, marketing and promotion for my forthcoming novel, so I’d like to think that the best thing I did for my freelance career this quarter was hold steady.

I knew going into 2017 that I’d spend the first six months hugely focused on my book, which meant that it wouldn’t be a good time to take on a brand-new anchor client.

Building a strong relationship with a new group of editors takes more time and energy than maintaining a strong relationship with your current editors, so I elected to stay focused on my current clients — and on my novel — instead of adding the work of finding and building a relationship with a new client.

3. What was my biggest mistake (or, what am I going to do differently next quarter)?

My biggest mistake was not realizing how much a $5,000/month income might set me back. I’ve lived on $5,000/month before. At one point it was an income stretch goal.

However, things have changed for me in the past few years:

  • I moved from a tiny studio apartment with no kitchen into a one-bedroom apartment, and my rent increased by $320 per month. (I currently pay $995/month in rent.)
  • I got out of credit card debt and never want to get back into it again. Putting items I can’t afford on credit cards is no longer an option.
  • I changed CPAs and now set aside 25 percent of my income for taxes, instead of 20 percent. (I always got huge tax bills at the end of the year when I saved 20 percent, so it’s not like I didn’t need that money for taxes.)
  • I want to put 15 percent of my income in savings, not the 10 percent I had been previously saving.
  • I’ve opened up a Roth IRA and want to make the maximum contribution every year.
  • The basic costs of living have gone up slightly. My health insurance premium, for example, costs $82 more than it did in 2014.

So $5,000/month doesn’t feel like “enough” for me anymore. It feels like the kind of income that is going to prevent me from investing in myself and my career.

4. What do I want to achieve as a freelancer next quarter?

I want to earn more money.

$5,000 per month meets my basic income needs, but it doesn’t allow for a lot of growth, either personal or professional.

With more income I could justify going to more writers’ conferences, for example. I could also save more money, spend more time visiting friends, and buy a new sofa to replace the saggy, uncomfortable Ikea model I currently have in my apartment.

The trick is to balance my income needs with my available work time. Last year, I had a very balanced work schedule and I’d like to maintain that. During the first quarter of 2017, I had a little more space in my workday; the goal for the second quarter of 2017 is to fill just that space — and no more — with the highest-earning projects possible.

I’d like to increase my income by $1,000-$1,500 each month, and I’d like to do it by taking on just two more projects each month. That would give me both the income — and the balance — to live comfortably.

5. What steps am I taking to get there?

I’ve started reaching out to some of my highest-paying clients to either pitch additional articles or express interest in taking on more work. Ideally, these clients will have a few extra pieces I can take on and this problem will be solved.

Right now I’m focusing on clients with whom I’ve already established a relationship, rather than cold-pitching new clients.

If those clients don’t have additional work for me, I’ll reach out to a few clients who have expressed interest in the past, but whom I’ve had to turn down because of time constraints. If those clients don’t have work, then it’s time to reach out to my network and start figuring out who’s hiring.

Now it’s your turn! Are you ready to tackle the check-in questions?

Take the time to think about your own answers — and if you feel comfortable, share them in the comments.

The more specific we get about what we want and how we’re going to go after it, the more likely we are to achieve our freelancing goals.

The post Freelance Writers: Join us for a Quarterly Check-In appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:22+00:00 April 17th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

27 Amazing Writing Residencies You Should Apply for This Year

It’s a dream of many writers: to spend time at a quiet colony or residency where you can focus on your work. But too often the only writers’ colonies we hear about are The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, prestigious residencies that only accept a tiny percentage of applicants.

The truth is, there are lots of other wonderful writer’s residencies to choose from, many of which are less competitive, so you’re more likely to get accepted.

Our founder, Alexis Grant, enjoyed three highly productive residencies at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences, and she is convinced that a big reason we don’t hear about the non-MacDowell-level residencies is because the writers who frequent these places aren’t always digitally savvy; rather than participating in online communities or blogging, they spend their time writing.

Here are 27 high-quality writing residencies and retreats you may not know about yet. While some of these are quite selective, others are a little more open with their admission policies.

1. Willapa Bay AiR

From the philosophy and mission; to the facilities; to the administration; to the meals; all has been well thought out. When I add in the lovely locale and the interesting and supportive Oysterville community I don’t know how it can get any better. — Betsy Best-Spadaro, visual artist

This fairly new residency program is already making waves. It’s located in Southwestern Washington and offers month-long residencies to emerging and established artists of all types. Lodging, meals and work space are provided to six residents per month from March 1 through September 30. $30 application fee.

2. Millay Colony for the Arts

For many reasons, my residency stay at the Millay Colony for the Arts has been the most prolific, in terms of artistic production and concentrated work. I attribute that to not only the bucolic and remote country landscape, which accords one lonely hikes, clear blue skies and muddy roads, but also the sheer lack of human interaction for my 26 days while in residence. — Kate Hers Rhee, visual artist

This small artist’s colony in upstate New York offers two-week and month-long residencies to six artists between the months of April and November. Unlike many other residencies, they don’t emphasize social events or speakers,  instead preferring for you to focus on producing your art. There are no costs, and food is included. You can also apply for a virtual residency or a “group residency” with your collaborating partners. $35 application fee.

3. Ucross Foundation

At Ucross I learned that I am capable of focusing deeply for long periods of time. I love to write. I don’t think I would have said that before this trip. — Edan Lepucki, novelist

A favorite among writers, this colony is located on a 20,000-acre working cattle ranch in Wyoming. It serves 85 artists per year, with up to nine people in residence at any one time. Lunches are delivered to your door, while dinners are eaten together in a group. Residencies last two to six weeks and are free of charge. $40 application fee.

4. Jentel

The month’s end is a time I am not looking forward to because with the space itself being gorgeous and comfy, the food being good, the people being wonderful, and me being productive. I can see myself dreaming of this place once I leave. — Jennifer Baker, fiction writer

Sitting just eight miles away from UCross is Jentel, which hosts month-long residencies year-round; two writers and four visual artists are accepted for each session. Though food isn’t included, they do provide a $400 weekly stipend to help with the costs of your trip. Applicants must be over the age of 25. $23 application fee.

5. Virginia Center for the Creative Arts

There was something magical about being in such a supportive and beautiful environment, having a different place (studio) to go to every day with the deliberate purpose of writing, and being inspired by the serious work ethic of all the other artists. — Penny Harter, poet

This selective residency is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and accepts artists of all types. Residencies are offered year-round and last from two weeks to two months, with 25 artists in residence at one time. You’ll receive three meals per day and are asked to contribute what you can, up to their $180 per-day cost to host you. $40 application fee. (TWL Founder Alexis Grant attended this residency, and it is a lovely setting!)

6. Brush Creek Arts Foundation

This place is truly amazing and inspiring. I spent my mornings, early afternoons, and evenings working on a new orchestra piece (still pending), and my late afternoons hiking around the ranch… The other artists were fascinating. — Kari Besharse, composer

Wyoming ranches are popular places for writer’s residencies! This one offers two- and four-week residencies, complete with lodging, meals, workspaces and natural beauty — though the site specifies that priority is given to applicants who want to stay for the long haul. They provide communal lunches and dinners. Closed in December. $40 application fee.

7. Writing Between the Vines

Like wine and solitude? Then you’ll love this residency. Available at several different vineyards on the West Coast, this is different from other residencies in that there’s no community of artists. You’ll have a private cottage in which to write for up to one week, with nobody else around to distract you. No meals are offered, though your stay is free if you’re accepted. $30 application fee.

8. Omi International Arts Center

The international character of

[Omi] sharpens your perspective on what it means to be a writer outside the U.S.A. in the 21st century… As for the writing, my main reason for being here, it went sailing along, with only a few days when the anchor dragged. — Alfred Corn, writer

Writers Omi welcomes published writers of all types for residencies of one week to two months. Located on 300 acres in upstate New York, they offer full room and board and frequently host dinner guests from the New York City publishing community. There is no application fee, and no fee to attend.

9. Norton Island Residency

How did I get here? Where am I? I feel like I don’t exist, and it’s nice. — The Magic Wonder Blog

This residency is located off the coast of Maine and offers a rustic and outdoorsy experience each summer for a flat fee of $125. When we say “outdoorsy,” though, we mean it, so get ready: Wi-Fi is limited and the program reminds you to “Watch out for wildlife—most of it amazing, some of it icky, all of it harmless.” $35 application fee.

10. Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts

There was time to sleep in, time to stay up late and work, time to nap, time to eat when it was necessary. It allowed me to get wrapped up in the novel completely… The process of engagement was so much more complete at KHN. — Theodore Wheeler, fiction writer

Located in Nebraska City, Nebraska, the KHN Center offers up to 70 residencies per year, for stays of two to eight weeks. If accepted, you’ll receive free housing and a $100 stipend per week to cover food. $35 application fee.

11. Blue Mountain Center

It’s hard to describe joy. It was like I had come home, but the way home would be in heaven: yes, a community in the Adirondacks, but cleaner, fancier, peaceful and safe. More art and more cookies. — Micah Perks, novelist

Go off the grid in the heart of the Adirondacks. This artist’s community offers three different month-long sessions in the summer and early fall, including free room and board. Cell phones aren’t welcome at the center, though you’ll be able to use its phone booth and computer room with ethernet plug-ins (no Wi-Fi here!). $25 application fee.

12. Martha’s Vineyard Writer’s Residency

Perhaps the biggest advantage of doing a residency is to reminded of what I learned  in graduate school: The importance of integrating and valuing regular writing and reading every day. It is easy to get distracted, rush through life, and do only the paid work and chores during the week. — Chloe Yelena Miller, poet and freelance writer

This residency wants to give you time and space to create. They host up to 10 writers at a time in the spring and fall for residencies of two to six weeks. The cost of lodging is $400 per week in spring and fall and $800 per week in summer, and food is not included. $20 application fee.

13. Vermont Studio Center

VSC recreates the best parts of the MFA experience: living in a community of writers (artists), having time to devote to your craft, the sense that what you are working on is important, and friends to have a beer with at the end of the night. — Brendan Lynaugh, writer

Another favorite is the largest international artists’ and writers’ residency program in the United States, hosting 50 visual artists and writers each month in the heart of Northern Vermont.

While writers give it high marks, it’s not cheap; for the complete program, you’ll pay $2,050 for two weeks or $3,950 for four weeks. Some fellowships, grants and work-exchange programs are available to help reduce your cost. $25 application fee.

writing residencies

14. The Edward F. Albee Foundation

My room looked out over a rolling lawn and at night I could hear deer crossing through the streams in the surrounding woods. It was beautiful. Everything I imagined and I was lucky enough to be in residence with a great group of people who were also amazing cooks. — Nichelle Tramble, novelist

Located on a knoll on Long Island, “The Barn” is easy to get to, yet still secluded. It’s open from mid-May to mid-October and accepts artists for four- or six-week residencies. The Albee Foundation can accommodate up to five people at a time and does not provide food. But there’s no cost to apply and no fees if accepted.

15. Wildacres Retreat

If you’re looking for a short residency on the East Coast, look no further. Wildacres offers one- and two-week residencies from April through October. You’ll stay in one of three cabins on their property in the mountains of North Carolina. Meals are served in the main lodge, where you’ll interact with non-artists. There is a $20 application fee but no cost if accepted.

16. The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow

It was a game changer. I learned a great deal about me and my life as a teacher-writer. It is no small thing to come face to face with one’s work with no distractions. And while it is not something I could do on constant basis… it is something I plan to incorporate into my writing year from now on. — Stephanie Vanderslice, creative writer and teacher

Open year-round, this colony in Arkansas hosts 50 writers each year for residencies ranging from one week to three months. If accepted, you’ll receive either a subsidized general residency or a fully-funded fellowship. Actual costs of the residencies are $175 per night, and non-fellowship residents contribute a flat $75 per night. You can also expect to pay small fees for cleaning, Internet access, as well as an application fee.

17. Writers in the Heartland

I’m back from my writing residency, which I can only describe as a wonderful and strange week full of so much hard work, good company in the other writers, and warm hospitality from the spa staff and guests. — Laura Maylene Walter, fiction writer

This small program in Illinois offers no-cost residences in September and October to up to five writers at a time. They provide three meals a day and 32 acres of woods and farmland for hiking, running and meditation. $20 application fee.

18. Artcroft

My writing for these first couple of weeks has been going well. The structure I set up for myself is working as I had hoped. I am getting to know the characters and find them interesting. I’m enjoying the story that is unfolding. — Jason F. McDaniel, writer

Ever wanted to work on a cattle ranch? Here’s your shot. Artcroft offers four-week residencies on a working farm in Kentucky between May and October. They provide lodging, but you’ll be expected to contribute $50 per week toward food. You’ll also help with cooking and other chores around the ranch — but don’t worry, you’ll have a chance to indicate your work preferences in the application. $30 application fee, and a refundable $200 security deposit if you’re accepted.

19. Hedgebrook

I had no book when I was accepted to Hedgebrook in 1995. I’d published poems in a few journals but that was all… Fast forward 18 years. The stay at Hedgebrook changed my life in several important ways. — Susan Rich, poet

While this residency is pretty well-known, we wanted to include it on this list because it’s only for women, and only for writers. In their words, “We provide the time, space, and nourishment. All you do is write.” Featuring six cottages located on Whidbey Island, outside of Seattle, 40 women attend each year free residencies of two to six weeks from February through October. $30 application fee.

20. The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences

You know that saying, “I can hear myself think?” At this writer’s colony, I can. I can hear the words and phrases bouncing around in my head, begging me to put them down on paper… I can get to the heart of what I’m here to do: Create. — The Write Life founder Alexis Grant

Located on 600 acres in the mountains of north Georgia, residencies last from two to eight weeks. For food and lodging, you’ll pay $235 per week — a fraction of the total $1300 cost to the program. Limited scholarships are available primarily for first-time residents. $30 application fee.

21. Kerouac Project

This residency allows writers to spend three months typing away in the Orlando cottage where literary legend Jack Kerouac wrote his acclaimed Dharma Bums. The Kerouac Project offers four residencies a year, and residents are expected to spend their time on their project, participate in a Welcome Potluck Dinner at the start of their residency, and read from their work at the end. (Other events and workshops are available if a resident is interested.) Participants also receive a $1000 food stipend. $30 application fee.

22. New Orleans Writers’ Residency

There’s little more inspiring than jazz, strong cocktails and beignets. If you want to do some hard work in the Big Easy, consider applying for the New Orleans Writers’ Residency. Starting in mid-July, you’ll spend four weeks in a historic house with up to seven other writers, including one or two same-sex roommates. Better yet, the program offers continental breakfasts as well as a $200 weekly stipend for food and living expenses, and up to $500 for airfare. $25 application fee.

International Residencies

23. Gullkistan (Iceland)

As much as I love New York, I wanted to spend a month in a setting that couldn’t be more different — I wanted sublime natural beauty, peace and quiet, relaxation and simplicity — a reset button for myself. Gullkistan was an ideal answer. – Ben Valentine, writer

Located in Iceland’s Laugarvatn Valley, this quiet getaway has mountains, woods, creeks, and a peaceful setting. They welcome all sorts of artists and writers and have space for eight people at a time. The minimum stay is one month, but they may be able to work out a shorter stay for people who are interested. Fees vary based on accommodation preference, starting at 850 Euros. No application fee.

24. 360 Xochi Quetzal (Mexico)

This residency in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico offers four live/work spaces in a small town with horses trotting on cobblestones and cowboys riding by. Writers over the age of 23 are welcome to apply for free one-month residency programs that include accommodations and a food stipend of 1,000 pesos. You can even bring your significant other, if bed space allows, for an additional $200 charge. Apply for a summer or winter program or rent a live/work space other times of the year. $39 application fee

25. Arteles Creative Center (Finland)

Located in the Finnish countryside, these one to two-month themed residencies are held at various intervals year-round and house around 10 artists at any given time. Food is not provided, but participants enjoy a traditional Finnish wood-burning sauna and have access to a car and bicycle. Financial support is available, which reduces the cost to 970 Euros per month for one person in a single room with studio space; the full cost is 1,940 Euros per month.

26. La Napoule Art Foundation (France)

Apply for this interdisciplinary group residency and France for a five-week residency. Up to 10 artists at once live and work in Chateau de La Napoule, where they enjoy single rooms with a private baths. Breakfast and dinner are provided on weekdays. $30 application fee.

27. Red Gate Residency (China)

Live and work in Beijing, China with this program which provides one to six-month residencies. Up to 20 residents can be in the program at any one time. However, participants are expected to pay their own living expenses during the program or seek funding and grants from artist organizations in their home country. Participants stay in downtown apartments.

This post originally ran in October 2015. We updated it in April 2017.

The post 27 Amazing Writing Residencies You Should Apply for This Year appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:22+00:00 April 14th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

How to Work With a Beta Reader: 5 Tips for Success

For fiction authors, beta readers are an important part of your team.

Beta readers are non-professional readers who “test” your book before it’s ready to hit the market. They might point out plot holes, confusing character motives and issues with believability in your story.

Usually beta reading takes place after you self-edit but before a professional edit. That way you can iron out the kinks before putting the finishing touches on your book.

Preparing to work with beta readers? Consider these five tips.

1. Work in batches

One strategy to help strengthen your stories is to work with beta readers in batches.

You might send your first beta reader draft to two or three people. Then you’ll implement their feedback and send the next draft out to the following group two or three people. Do this a few times depending on how much work the book needs.

The reason I don’t recommend sending out your manuscript to all your beta readers at once is because even after the first batch of feedback comes through, there might still be kinks to catch.

Also, let’s say you rearrange scenes, add an epilogue or rewrite some parts of the book. You’ll want to get feedback on the new version, too.

2. Send your beta readers a list of questions

Since beta readers aren’t professionals, they don’t always know what to look for in your manuscript. Ask them questions to help guide their experience.

Those who have beta read before — either for you or another author — will have a good idea, but if they’re new to beta reading, asking smart questions helps to give them some guidance.

Some generic questions you might ask include:

  • Did the opening scene capture your attention? Why or why not?
  • Did you notice any inconsistencies in setting, timeline or characters? If so, where?
  • Did you ever feel confused or frustrated with the story? If so, at which parts?
  • Was the ending satisfying and believable?

If you have specific concerns about your story, be sure to ask about that, too.

I suggest keeping your list of questions short (about 15 or less). Too many questions might turn some people off.

3. Ask your beta readers to take notes

Another way to maximize the impact of feedback is to ask beta readers to take notes while reading.

It helps you pinpoint where changes need to be made and gives you a feel for how they reacted while reading.

Remember, your readers are doing this for free. I never require anyone to answer my questions or take notes, but making the suggestion helps guide them and improves the type of feedback you receive.

4. Send a thank-you gift

It’s not customary to pay your beta readers. They are non-professional volunteers, so it’s different than paying for a professional editor.

However, a thank-you gift is a nice gesture.

I’ve found that all the beta readers I’ve worked with have been more than happy to simply receive a book for free, even if that means they have to leave feedback on it. Most are surprised and excited when I tell them they’ll also be receiving a print copy of the book when it’s finalized.

I send gifts because it’s really the least I can do in exchange for them helping me out.

You don’t have to send out print books, but do make sure your beta readers feel appreciated for the time they put into helping you.

5. Work with new people

Avoid working with the same people for every book.

As beta readers become more familiar and comfortable with your writing, it can be difficult for them to see the flaws.

Try to add a few new people to your team each time, preferably one or two who have never read your work before so you get fresh eyes on your work. You can connect with new people by asking your current beta readers for suggestions. They probably know a friend or two who’s willing to help out.

For people you stop working with in the beta reader stage, consider moving them to your Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) team. They’ll still get a free copy of your book, but it will be closer to finished, and won’t need the same in-depth feedback. Instead, your ARC readers will help you gather reviews for release day.

The beta reading stage can be long and sometimes difficult if you don’t already have a team in place. That said, it’s definitely worth it, and your beta readers can do wonders for your story.

What’s your beta reader process like? Share with us in the comments!

The post How to Work With a Beta Reader: 5 Tips for Success appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:22+00:00 April 13th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Get Paid to Blog: 6 Obvious Signs Content Marketing is A Fit For You

Your writing career has you pitching articles to print magazines and online publications, self-publishing informational ebooks and even earning some cash from your fiction writing.

You’ve got all your bases covered, right?

Wrong. There’s one big writing income stream you’re missing out on: paid blogging.

Paid blogging, known in the industry as content marketing, is creating blog posts that attract a company’s ideal customer and potentially generate new leads. It’s not about selling products or services — it’s about offering value to readers to increase brand awareness and build trust.

Content marketing could offer a significant boost to your freelance writing income. This writing niche is expected to be a $300 billion industry by 2019 — and many companies are seeing the opportunity to outsource their blog work to freelance writers.

If you can write novels and magazine articles, you can probably write paid blog posts. Here are six signs you’d make a top-notch content marketer.

1. You’ve mastered conversational writing

This is one type of corporate writing where jargon isn’t welcome.

Companies are paying for posts that engage readers and make difficult information easy to understand. Writing doesn’t have to be formal to be professional!

You won’t be rewarded for your oversized vocabulary in this field. If you can simplify sentences, use contractions and slang, and maybe even add relevant GIFs to your blog posts, you’d make a great content marketer.

2. You can grab readers’ attention

Readers often find a company’s blog because they searched for an answer to a problem.

Your client’s blog is one of many they could choose to help them. Your job as a content marketer is to keep them from heading back to Google to search for answers elsewhere.

Your essay-writing skills will come in handy here. You already know the ropes of crafting an attention-grabbing hook. Why not put that talent to use as a paid blogger?

Your clients will thank you when they see their site visitors sticking around!

3. You’re a natural storyteller

You have one blog post to make a new site visitor care about your client’s company.

How do you do it? Tell a story.

Content marketing is about forging a connection between readers and a company’s brand. If you can write compelling fiction, you can craft an engaging brand story.

Good storytelling is the difference between a distant corporation and a friendly business that cares about its consumers. Who said writing fiction was a non-transferrable skill?

4. You have an area of expertise

Companies in nearly every industry work with writers to improve their blogs…and some of those industries are pretty complex.

Part of a content marketer’s job is to make confusing information simple to understand.

Companies need writers who understand complicated topics so they can explain those ideas to potential customers- — without relying on industry-specific jargon (remember that conversational writing voice we talked about?).

Having an area of expertise gives you a huge leg-up as a content marketer, especially in certain industries like the legal or medical fields.

Potential clients can glance at your past experience and feel confident in your ability to simplify their subject matter.

5. You can meet deadlines

If you’ve ever written a journalistic piece, you’ve probably bowed down before the almighty deadline.

Content marketers may not be rushing to get a piece submitted in time to make a print deadline, but making your deadlines is still crucial in the world of paid blogging.

Most corporate clients have well-thought-out editorial calendars that dictate the ideal date to publish a particular post. If you submit a piece late, you could throw off their publishing schedule.

Companies are often juggling a team of freelancers to meet their content marketing needs. If you stand out from the crowd as the one whose work is always on time, you’ll set yourself up for recurring writing assignments.

6. You’re a decent editor

You’re not submitting your blog posts to a magazine with a full-time editorial team to catch typos and hold your hand through big-picture edits.

Freelance content marketers typically work with the in-house marketing team at a company. Unlike magazines, marketing teams often don’t have the skills or the time to polish your work.

Part of the value you bring a company is the confidence that their blog will be professionally written. If you can be your own editor, you’ll win major points with your content marketing clients.

It’s well worth your time to explore freelance content marketing. It could be the next big break in your writing career!

Have you ever thought about getting into content marketing? If not, what’s holding you back?

The post Get Paid to Blog: 6 Obvious Signs Content Marketing is A Fit For You appeared first on The Write Life.

     

Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-04-17T15:25:23+00:00 March 28th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |