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So Why Aren’t You Writing?

My head was pounding so badly that I could barely hear what my client was saying during our telephone interview. But I didn’t think of canceling the call. I just did my best to tune out the pain, focus on my questions and the client’s answers, and type.  But once I got off the phone, the pain wouldn’t let me do anything else.  So I took a nap.

I woke up later, a little better but not great. I needed to get on with the rest of the day’s plans, which included hitting the gym. But could I really work out with my head pounding? I could hop on the computer and get some work done, or better yet, hop back into bed.  After all, who wouldn’t understand if I ditched the gym?

I decided to go anyway.

I wasn’t happy about it and certainly didn’t feel like it. As I tugged on workout clothes and shoes, I played all the reasons why I could skip. I’d just make it up the next day.

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Why Offering Too Many Choices Can Kill Your Business

As small business owners, we want to do one thing: Get customers. And in our quest to do that, some of us make a huge mistake. We try to offer too many options, too many choices.

If that’s you, cut it out. Limit your customers’ number of choices to boost sales conversion.

One famous marketing study illustrates why. Sheena Iyengar from Columbia University set up a table filled with jams. She tested responses based on the number of jam choices. In one instance, 24 jams were placed on the table. In another, only 6.

She found that more people stopped to taste samples when more jams were on display, but they didn’t buy. Three percent of people purchased when they had a ton of choices. But 30 percent purchased when their choices were limited. Yes, that’s right, she made more sales when she limited customers’ choices.

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You Can Make Money From Your Book — Without Selling a Single Copy

You don’t have to sell a million copies of your book — or even a single one — to make money from it.

You see, a book is much more than a single product to be read. A book has become the new business card. It is a tool you can use to generate leads, get people to buy from or hire you, and build your brand.

Most writers, though, don’t take advantage of the opportunities their books give them. Instead, they focus on simply selling the book to the customer, the reader, forgetting that there are others who need their information.

I was reminded of this recently when a new client signed up for us to edit and design her book and get it ready for publication. As I talked with her about some of the additional ways her book can make her money, she was silent. Then she said, “I hadn’t really thought of it that way.”

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Writer’s Living Has Become a Major Destination for Writers

Writer’s Living has shown up in some great places lately. We were recently chosen as the Writer’s Digest “Website of the Week,” which was really cool. It was nice seeing our work recognized by such a well-respected site.

And then just last week, we were selected by Alltop, an online magazine rack of the best information sources online. We are in the writing category, so if you have an Alltop account, be sure to add us to your page.

We’re not even a year old, but we’ve worked hard to build a site full of information to help writers manage the business side of their careers. It feels good to see that work celebrated on other sites.

But that’s just the beginning.

We have some other really nifty announcements coming in the weeks ahead.

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3 Mistakes That Kill Your Productivity

I’ve had one of those weird, unproductive days that makes you want to forget it all and veg out in front of some mindless reality show.

Eh.

But I won’t. I’m slogging through it, determined to make something of these hours count.

Productivity is a big deal when you run your own business and are a writer. If you’re not getting things done, you’re not making money. I know how to supercharge my productivity. And more often than not, I have great productivity. I’ve authored or ghostwritten 34 books and counting. I’ve published nearly a year’s worth of posts at this blog. I can write a book in a month or less, if I need to. So I know a thing or two about productivity. But sometimes …

Sometimes stuff just gets in the way. Which is why I’m producing this post today. Because I know you may feel me on this. You may totally get exactly what I’m talking about. Because you’ve been there. Unproductive and wondering where the day went.

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iPhone 5 Is Good News for Writers

Apple unveiled its iPhone 5 today to mixed reviews. Some said it’s a phone that looks “awfully inviting,” while others said it’s a bit “underwhelming.” Regardless of where you fall in this debate, this latest smartphone further cements the need for good writing.

If you are a freelance writer today, or considering this line of work, future opportunities are only as limited as your imagination. That is because smartphones, tablets, and e-readers make mobile reading the new must-do activity. You can’t leave home without your ability to read on the go, get informed on the go, and of course, be entertained on the go. Companies like Apple recognize and are catering to that growing need. The iPhone 5 will come with a larger screen — 4 inches, up from the 3.7 inches of previous versions — to make reading easier.

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3 Ways Your Freelance Business Can Bring in Quick Money

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A successful freelance business will have one thing that shows up from time to time: a cash emergency. Sometimes it will happen when you are just starting out. Sometimes it will happen when you are doing well but run into an unexpected or unplanned expense. Whatever it is, you’ll need some dollars to show up in your bank account in a short period of time.

Panic usually ensues. But you can harness that panic and turn it into income. That’s the beauty of being a freelance writer. You control your income. If you were stuck at someone’s dead-end job, then a cash emergency would have no answer. You’d be forced to wait until the next paycheck rolled around in a few weeks. Or sell your favorite shoes on eBay.

But when you are a freelance writer you have ways to get a quick infusion of cash. Here is how:

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3 Championship Tips for a Brilliant Writing Career

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You would love to build an amazing writing career.

You know the technical details: How to structure a quote, how to find clients, even how to use social media to get new business. But stringing together one success into two, and two into three, and a good year into two, and two into three is, well, tough. Even when you know how it all works.

That’s why I intersperse the how-to posts with a healthy dose of inspiration. Inspiration is like sugar. It supercharges you to get you to the next spot. But just like sugar, it doesn’t last long. It runs out, leaving you sagging and a little bit bleary-eyed. So fill up on inspiration, use it to get you over the next hurdle, then fill up on some more.

Today’s writing inspiration comes from tennis, actually. It makes me practically giddy when I can bring together two things I love — tennis and writing. If I could fit football and good food into this post, I’d be in heaven. But alas …

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5 Query Mistakes That Get You Ignored

I worked on a book proposal for an editing client recently and he contacted me to say he had sent it out and was getting positive responses from agents. Yay! That’s what any writer wants. A query that nails it so agents get back to you with a resounding, “Yes!”

I was thrilled for him, but I cautioned about sending out the queries before the rest of his project was done. I had completed the proposal but was still working on the manuscript edit. His thought was that he would fast-track the process by getting me to go ahead and send him the proposal and he would send that to agents who most likely would not get back to him for a few weeks, by which time he would have the edited manuscript in-hand.

Except it didn’t work that way. The query was compelling enough to induce agents to immediately reply and request his manuscript.

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20 Things Every Ambitious Writer Needs to Know

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Mastering the technical details of  a successful writing career is never as hard as mastering the mental. You can learn the technical things — how to structure a proposal, how to market, how to query, how to do thus and such — but keeping your mind in check can be a whole different matter.

A huge part of your writing success will be found in one thing: Your attitude. How optimistic you are and how willing you are to push through disappointments and get to some place better. Your mind is something you must work on constantly. You have to feed yourself with inspiration and motivation to keep making it happen. Zig Ziglar said it best: “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”

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