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5 Reasons Why Every Freelance Writer Needs a Book

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If you’re hanging around this site, there is a pretty good chance you make a living writing or aspire to do so. You’ve probably written all kinds of projects for clients — projects to help them market their services, earn more income, and build their brands.

But have you thought of doing the same for your own writing business?

If you’re like a lot of creative service providers, you might be pretty good at doing the work based on your talent and skill but you’re not as good at marketing what you do.

That’s where a book comes in.

It’s time for you to write  a book.

A book helps build authority and credibility like nothing else. Even in this cluttered marketplace where more than 3,500 books are published a day, being an author still means something. So make it mean something for you.

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7 Reasons You’re Not Succeeding as a Writer

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Maybe you’ve quit your job to write. Or maybe you’ve been trying to write on the side, in the off hours from your day job. Maybe you’ve been going to networking events kinda hoping for that big break.

Whatever the case, your writing life isn’t exactly going great. In fact, it’s not going at all. You may get the occasional project, but nothing consistent and certainly nothing that even hints at the kind of money you dreamed of when you left your job. If this is you, then the only way to fix your writing career is to find out what’s wrong. Here is a clue to what might be ailing your freelance writing business.

Don’t make these freelance writing mistakes

1. You want to be a writer for “everybody.”

Wanting to appeal to everyone is death for your freelance writing business. You simply can’t settle on wanting to appeal to everyone. This is a tough lesson for many new freelance writers to learn. It’s tempting to want to serve everyone, but it won’t work. Pick an audience. If you try to appeal to everyone, then you’ll give conflicting messages in your marketing materials. Or you may dull or dilute your message to such an extent that those who check out your website or marketing materials go away because they don’t see that you are speaking to them.

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How to Grow Your Writing Business While Working for Someone Else

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In most instances, you don’t want to just up and quit your day job and hope for the best with your freelance writing business. Instead, when possible, it’s a better idea to launch the freelance business on the side — while you still have money coming in from the day job. Then you can ditch the day job and run your freelance business when it grows to the level where it can support itself (which means paying you and any other bills it needs to pay).

So how do you run a real freelance writing business, while working for someone else? After all, there are only so many hours in the day, right? Well, this is true, but you can be smart about how you spend your hours so you are able to work both jobs — your new writing business that may not pay much in the beginning and the day job that at least takes care of the bills, even if it’s less than exciting work.

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5 Ways to Get Better Freelance Writing Clients

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You don’t have to be the best writer to make a living writing, but you do have to get paid for what you do write. Even a great writer can starve, if she doesn’t know how to land paying work. Earning more money can be as simple as changing how you go about getting work.

Why Taking Control of Your Writing Career Earns You More Money

There are two ways to make a living writing: You can do a lot of work for a low rate. Or you can do less work but for a better rate. The first way often involves working on projects where you accept whatever pay the client sets. This is often the route of writers who let others do their marketing for them. They prefer to go to job boards and sites like elance.com and guru.com, and cull through tons of listings. They are happy to do that because the job listings are all right there, on a platter, as it were. Getting work this way means they don’t have to market themselves. They just show up on the boards and pick out the jobs they want to bid on and bid away, often bidding themselves right out of decent pay.They can take on a lot of projects this way, as long as they are willing to accept poor pay.

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How to Raise Your Rate as a Freelance Magazine or Newspaper Writer

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Sometimes, hard work is no indication of how much money you’ll earn or how successful you will be. I’ve seen, unfortunately, writer friends who work very hard to churn out articles for content mills and low-paying publications. Yet other writer friends may not work quite as hard but earn way more.

This can certainly be the case when writing for newspapers and magazines. I used to do some magazine and newspaper freelance work, but moved away from it when I realized I could find my own business clients and write for them for a much better rate that I set myself. And the payment terms would be better. But I know many writers love the idea of a byline and crave newspaper and magazine work. And that’s OK. To each, right?

Well, if you’re a freelance magazine or newspaper writer, you don’t have to be stuck with no and low-paying work. Here is how to raise your rate and make more money when you freelance for magazines and newspapers:

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How to Produce Freelance Story Ideas That Make Editors Love You

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If you are a freelance newspaper or magazine writer, you are constantly in need of story ideas. As editorial budgets get squeezed and editors are making do with fewer staffers, the opportunities for freelancers are growing. After all, it’s a lot cheaper to buy a good story from a freelancer than it is to pay an already-stretched staff writer overtime to go and write one extra piece, in many instances.

So how do you find the good stories to pitch to a publication?

1. Read the publication. This seems obvious, but many freelancers pitch publications without having taken the time to read them. Just because two publications publish articles on the same subject doesn’t mean they approach them in the same way. Read up on the publication so you can reflect its style and tone. See what stories it loves and think about a new angle or take on a favorite topic.

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7 Remedies for ‘Oh, No! I’m on Deadline and Need a Source’

deadline-751Every freelance writer has felt the thump thump of the heart as the deadline approached. Writing feverishly to get that piece finished and turned in on time is fine, but what if you can’t even get to the writing because you don’t have the source you need? That’s cause for palpitations.

I responded to a forum question on LinkedIn the other day where the writer wanted to know how to find sources for articles. As a former journalist and the author of the forthcoming Connect and Conquer: Grow Your Business, Organization, and Career Through Online and Offline Relationships, I have lots of insight in this area. Finding sources for articles, blog posts, shows, and other types of content where you often rely on the expertise and information of others can be a daunting task. You don’t want to get stuck going to the same people over and over again, but you can get overwhelmed looking for new voices.

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7 Secrets to Getting More Writing Assignments and Clients

Finding writing assignments can be tough.

Many writers go through periods where they have one or several projects, but then look up and have none. They’d love to string those periods together a bit more.

And they can.

I’ve been a professional writer all of my career. I worked at newspapers for several years before leaving to pursue my own writing business — self-publishing my own books, landing a book deal, taking on writing projects from clients. I found myself going from the fast-paced newspaper world where assignments were dumped in my lap, to a work life where I had to find the assignments and projects.

I often found myself casting about in frustration wondering just how I was supposed to land work. I realized nobody was going to knock on my door and offer me money. So I had to go out and look for it. Now, I am never without a writing project. That doesn’t mean it’s all easy for me. I still have to manage workflow and cash flow, as well as the projects themselves. Not to mention, keep the projects coming in.

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How to Use Craigslist to Get Writing Projects — Without Getting Stuck With A Low Rate

Craigslist is almost the last place you want to look for writing gigs. That is, unless you do it right.

Most writers who try to use Craigslist to get business do so by scouring and responding to posts from people looking to hire freelancers. That’s most often an exercise in futility. You’d get more value for your time by watching that reality show you’re embarrassed to admit you actually like.

That’s because most people who are placing ads for writers on Craigslist are interested in only one thing: How cheaply can you do it? And since they will likely get hundreds of responses to their ads, they sift through and find that low rate. They find the writer willing to do the work for something like a burger and a Coke. So when you are responding to a writing ad on Craigslist, it forces you to lower your rate just to compete. But not just lower your rate, you’d likely have to offer to do the work for such a low rate you’d feel like it was slave labor if you actually landed the project. And that’s certainly not why you started freelancing.

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The No. 1 Reason You’re Not Making Money Writing

The top piece of advice I give to writing workshop attendees and others who want to know the secret to making money writing: Put your butt in the seat and write.

Simple, right? Not at all.

The top reason most writers don’t produce is that they simply don’t write. Or more specifically, they don’t finish anything. They tinker over their writing to the point where they are inefficient and don’t get anything done. They have manuscripts they’ve been working on for years. Years.

That’s a terrible way to run your writing career.

In fact, if you do run it that way, you won’t have a writing career.

So the first thing to do is to simply sit down and write. Stop talking about it and do it. The second is to finish something and send it off — a query letter to an editor, a proposal to a potential client, whatever it is you are doing. Many of us grew up with the idea that perfection is a wonderful thing. We were told to strive for it. And if what we did wasn’t perfect, we shouldn’t do it at all. So when it comes to our writing, we strive for that perfection. Which means we write and rewrite. Write and delete. Write and edit. Write and trash. Write and … well, write and never finish a single piece.

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