Don’t we all? There is always room for improvement in personal finance, after all. And, even if you have it all together personally, you might meet clients in the personal finance and stock investing space.
Ideas make a writer’s world go round.
Without them, we don’t have anything to present to potential clients; we won’t even have the chance to close a deal. Without ideas, we won’t be able to create content for existing clients who require pitches instead of giving us topics to write about. Without ideas, we won’t have anything to publish on our blog.
However, we all know how slippery ideas can be. Inspiration doesn’t come as often as we want.
What are we to do? How do we make sure we always have ideas – great ones – that we can convert to effective strategies, which we can then successfully execute.
Here’s how: look to your competitors. [Read more…]
Jumping off that cliff – otherwise known as a day job – to go freelance and be accountable to no one but yourself is a scary but exhilarating thought, isn’t it?
I think I am not wrong in saying that those of us who’ve done it felt those emotions (and everything in between), but that we wouldn’t have it any other way. [Read more…]
From the FWJ family to you – a free eBook titled “100 Websites that Pay Writers”.
As a way of showing our appreciation for your continued support and participation in the community, we created this eBook.
We’re all freelancers who need to find clients and gigs constantly, and we know just how difficult that can be at times. With this eBook, we hope to add to the holiday spirit – and help increase your income.
Creating an EBook is becoming more and more popular amongst small businesses—and for good reason. According to researchers, EBook sales grew 177 percent last year. This number is only expected to rise and our technology continues to improve, and even some of the old hardcopy book-lovers are realizing that’s it incredibly easy to have an electronic library where you can store and even checkout new reads from a library.
Many of you have been working online for quite some time, but I am sure that we also have a good number of readers who are only starting to wade in the freelance waters. Whichever group you belong to, I think that you will benefit a lot from reading Kathleen Krueger’s recently released e-book, “The Fast Track to Freelance Success Online”.
Kathleen is one of our readers, and I was made aware of her book when she left a comment a week or so ago, and guess what? She has generously agreed to give away two copies!
The title gives you a pretty good idea what the book has to offer, but let me tell you this: it is a pretty good handbook for anyone who wants to launch a freelance career and be successful without waiting ages.
The book is divided into seven chapters, starting with identifying your goals, moving on to how to begin, and ending with an update on Kathleen’s professional status.
What I really like about the book is that it does not give you a generic formula to success. While the title is very upbeat and might give you an impression that you are about to have a “guaranteed success” read, it really is not all about that. (Aside: I don’t know about you, but in general, I am wary when I am given such guarantees in an uncertain world.)
What Kathleen does, instead, is to share the lessons and nuggets of wisdom she has learned in her own journey to freelancing success. And, I have to say that this book should be mandatory reading for anyone who wants to succeed in this field.
Here is some more information about Kathleen that you might want to know.
Kathleen is a full time freelance writer from Minnesota with a creative, casual style. Currently she contributes articles to several local and national lifestyle magazines; is a writer of informational online articles regarding a wide range of topics; ghost writer for several company blogs and website content in a wide range of industries.
Now, would you like to read the ebook that can help you with your freelancing career?
As I said earlier, we’re giving away TWO copies. Here’s what you need to do to get a chance to win.
Step 1: Copy & paste the following, and then tweet it:
I want a copy of The Fast Track to Freelance Success Online from @FreelanceWJ and @kacky222! Enter here: http://spla.us/RIwpJO #contests
Step 2: Leave us a comment on this page to let us know you tweeted, and paste the link to your tweet in your comment. (Note that our comments are moderated, so your comment may not show up immediately after you click the “Post Comment” button.)
The winners will be selected at random from the commenters on or around 11:00 pm EST on Wednesday, September 26. The winners will be notified via Twitter, after which we’ll get your details. Don’t forget to thank @kacky222 if you win!
Important: You can enter the contest once per day between now and the 26th.
In case you don’t win, you can still get The Fast Track to Freelance Success Online for only $4.50. In the meantime, remember to tweet and leave your comments till Wednesday!
Here’s an infographic writers will want to take a look at: The Trend of E-Reading, an infographic design by Infographic Labs, illustrates just how e-reading has taken America by storm. Did you know that people who use e-readers read more than those that stick to traditional books? And that they’re more likely to spend money on books?
Since ebooks went mainstream (thank you, Kindle), book authors are now finding themselves in the same awkward spot that musicians have been in for over a decade. Readers can bypass bookstores, Kindle, and everything else, and own your book without paying a dime to you or anyone else. You’re being ripped off! What do you do? How are you supposed to react when that huge project you labored over and poured your soul into and sacrificed other parts of your life for, is made available to the whole world for free?
The standard reaction of most writers is outrage and frustration. Even litigation if they can afford it (most of us can’t).
I was pretty surprised the first time one of my books started appearing on illegal “file sharing” websites. It happened very suddenly, a few months ago. I got a Google Alert (an invaluable tool — you can register so that any time a search term of your choice is indexed by Google from a new webpage, you get sent an email with a link to that page; I have an alert set for my name) in my inbox pointing to one of the many, many file sharing websites where my last novel, Nightmare, was available as a free ebook download. [Read more…]
I’ve had five novels published professionally, through an internationally-distributed publishing house. I’m contracted for one more, which will be hitting stores next Summer. And like all good authors, knowing that there’s an end in sight to my current contract, I’m on the hunt for a new one.
After my first three books, getting a second contract for three more was easy. My books weren’t bestsellers, but they sold enough to turn a profit for my publisher, so getting a new contract was a no-brainer. Yet now, suddenly, after almost six published books under my belt, landing a new contract is proving far more difficult.
Why is it so much harder to get a contract after six published books, when it was so easy to get one after just three? Shouldn’t cumulative publishing experience count for something?
My fan base is growing slowly but surely, so my sales numbers are small but respectable. So why is this happening now? What’s the difference?
We all know the answer to this question by now, and it’s a problem that a surprising number of established writers are dealing with. I just heard from my agent today, and she confirmed the ugly truth we all know. And I quote: “publishers are continuing to publish fewer titles a year.”
The problem, it turns out, isn’t so much on my end. Sure, my sales history could be stronger. Who’s couldn’t? And I always seek to better myself as a writer. But these things actually have surprisingly little to do with getting a contract.
The issue is rooted in the industry itself. The tanking economy and the advent of ebooks have led to a floundering publishing industry. The firm foundation that this industry has been standing on for its entire existence has turned to shifting sand. And thus, everyone is in survival mode. Everyone’s looking for ways to cut costs, so employees like editors and marketing staff are being laid off. Publishers aren’t taking as many risks on new talent, and they’re scaling back their production numbers with existing writers.
So what’s a writer to do? Published or unpublished — unless you’re among the elite few with huge sales and name recognition, your current status just doesn’t matter all that much. It’s an even playing field in some respects, and I’ve used a lot of words in this column describing the options available to writers, from self-publishing to e-publishing and everything in between.
But there’s no substitute for a contract with a publisher. Even if we’re talking about web publishing or ebook publishing or book apps or some other form of new media… writers need publishers. And if you don’t believe me — if you genuinely think that self-published writers can do just as well as published writers, thanks to “a little hard work and some ingenuity” — here’s a brilliant and sobering article from one publisher who explains just exactly why the writer/publisher relationship is crucial to bookselling success. An excerpt:
It takes a long time to build… trust with a large reader base and that’s the real strength of the publishing company and what an author really gives up by going alone. Publishing companies are businesses designed to make connections with readers both directly and with intermediaries (book reviewers, bookstores, etc) for the purpose of selling stories. Publishers keep the connection open with the reader even when the writer is on a break from writing. By going alone you only maintain that connection with your readers for as long as you are producing content.
More importantly, publishers pull resources that individuals do not have access to on their own.
…no one can reach a large enough audience alone. Cross promotion is an obvious and necessary next step that will benefit everyone, but it can’t be done without capital (read: $$) and that can’t be done without agreements that make it clear who’s putting up the capital and what they’re getting in return, that requires publishing houses.
That says it all. You can come up with the coolest new publishing ideas ever, the most “wow” concept of a story, and write some of the best prose this world has ever seen. But if you don’t have the infrastructure in place that a publishing house provides — to publish and promote it to the mass audience of readers — you’re never going to have anything more than just another self-published title with a small, niche readership.
Self-publishing is great, and I’m not knocking it. I’ve expounded on its virtues before. But if you hope to make at least a portion of your living from book writing — even in this wildly changing landscape — a publishing house is all but required.
So here’s the rub: how do you land a publisher in this increasingly uncertain publishing climate? On the one hand, there are lots of different types of publishers, and the digital publishing realm is bringing about even more of them. Even ebooks and web-books are seeing publishers or special arms of established publishing houses dedicated just to that form of publishing. But that doesn’t solve the core issue.
It’s hard enough to merely define the new landscape of publishing, much less navigate it. In the future, I’ll talk more about attracting the attention of publishers of all kinds.
In the meantime, let’s open a dialogue between authors, editors, publishers, marketers, and everyone else in the industry. How have things changed for you, what does the future hold for us, and how can we all get there successfully?
Google Editions is coming, and you best be ready for it.
Google is about to go head-to-head against Amazon over the ebook marketplace. This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky speculation. It’s fact. Originally planned to launch this summer, Google Editions has been met with endless delays. But the Wall Street Journal seems to think it’s almost here, so it’s time for a primer.
Until now, ebooks have been a closed system. The ebook marketplace is heavily dominated by Amazon and its Kindle device, which boasts about two-thirds of all ebook sales. Everyone else — Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iBooks, Borders’ Kobo, etc. — is left to pick up the crumbs from Amazon’s dinner table. But the one thing all of these ebooksellers have in common is that they all want you to use their software and hardware to read your ebooks. Amazon sells the Kindle device, but also has free downloadable Kindle software for every mobile platform imaginable. Most of the other ebook retailers offer the same, but the model remains the same: “Come to our ebook store, download or buy our reading system, and read your ebooks here and nowhere else.”
Google Editions offers a whole new model that’s not tied to any one device or software. Think of Google Editions as the “open source” option, because it can be read on any hardware and software. Google supplies the books, you supply the means of reading it. This is because unlike all other ebooksellers, Google is going to sell its ebooks via “the cloud.” That’s a term used by the tech industry to describe media that’s stored on an Internet server instead of on a user’s personal hard drive.
A lot of modern computing is moving to cloud-based models, because it gives users the benefit of not having to store their content locally on a piece of hardware that could crash and be lost forever. Cloud-based media also allows you to access your content anywhere, from any device. (See where this is going?)
With Google Editions, you’ll buy ebooks the same as always, but you won’t download them. Instead, they’ll be stored on a Google server, where your purchase allows you to access them anytime you want, from anywhere with a web browser and an Internet connection. Some are speculating that Google Editions could spell the end of ereader devices like Kindle and Nook. If Google wins the ebook war, tablets used exclusively for reading ebooks could become obsolete in favor of laptops and multimedia/Internet tablets like the iPad.
Independent booksellers are reportedly signing on with Google Editions in droves, because it gives them the chance to get in on ebook sales, which until now has been the exclusive playground of chain stores like B&N and Borders. Anyone can become an affiliate of Google Editions — not just indie stores — so authors like myself could sign up with GE and sell my ebooks directly from my own website, instead of referring ebook consumers elsewhere. And I’ll get a larger piece of the profits as well.
Google hasn’t yet revealed any details about self-publishing options, but you can bet it’s something they’re hard at work on. Amazon and Barnes & Noble both offer ebook self-publishing for writers, via upload-and-sell models where they keep a portion of the revenue in exchange for listing and selling your wares. Google would be idiotic not to offer a similar self-publishing solution, and they know it.
Google Editions is now expected to launch before the end of the year (which is not far away — seriously, where did 2010 go?). I’ll have more details for you about it once the service goes live.