Guest Post: How to grow your freelance writing income


4 Simple, Actionable Steps I Took that Grew My Freelance Writing Income During My Humble Beginnings

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The above Bible verse is what I exactly clung to when I was in the darkest days of my old career path. My old job was suffocating, for it wasn’t really what I’m passionate about from the start. The idea of doing freelance writing as a full-time job enticed me at that time.

Indeed, my leap of faith paid dividends. I’m now a renowned, up-and-coming freelance writer whose name resonates on top of my clients’ head when thinking of who to hire.

But my success story wouldn’t be that sweet without my early struggles. When I was a freelance writing rookie, it was really unstable from a financial standpoint. It’s either feast or famine.

Are you struggling with your measly freelance writing income? Below are four simple tips I followed to grew mine, with a long-term vision.

#1: I searched for a community

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)

When you have zero connections, your chances of finding a client (mostly a new one) is very slim to none. The competition for both price and quality can be unforgiving in the freelance writing world.

What I did was I made a conscious effort to find a group of co-writers – people who gave me market leads and hired me for some subcontract work. The rates weren’t very generous ($5-$7 per hour on average), but it was enough to cover my basic needs, which helped restore my confidence in freelance writing.

I first searched social media platforms, particularly Facebook, using keywords “freelance writing community” and “freelance writers.” Aside from co-writer groups, I also searched for B2B writing pages that gave me marketing and financial advice.

Joining multiple freelance writing groups enabled me to have a steady source of market leads, and gave me the ability to disperse my workload to others, particularly writing newbies. Talk about giving back to society and to your finances at the same time.

#2: I started quoting on a project/engagement basis

In freelance writing, minutes are your second currency next to USD or GBP.

Quoting on an hourly basis is limiting, and it’s usually adapted by rookie freelance writers. I was stagnated by this approach for almost half a year because I was able to finish a writing assignment effectively and efficiently ahead of time.

What I did with my idle time?

It was the opportunity of my clients to ask for add-on services (e.g., free revisions, etc.). I could’ve used that time to find new clients or work on other pending engagements, but I my time was micromanaged because of the agreement.

Quote on a project basis. What I mean is to give the price that best reflects your writing skill and proficiency.

For instance, instead of accepting a $90, 3-hour work for a product review, you can say, “I can furnish an equally decent work for $100, well within your deadline.”

#3: I went for lasting client relationships, rather than casual writing encounters

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5 NIV)

When I was in the first few weeks of doing freelance work, I was very hasty. Once I received payments online, it would take just a few seconds for me to send a plain and rudimentary “Thank you” remark. There was no PR, or whatsoever.

A few months later, I changed this approach. I always made sure I made a good, lasting impression on my every client.

Instead of the empty 2-word message, I opted for this:

“Hi (insert name),

Thank you for remitting the payment on time. It was indeed a smooth and efficient transaction with you. Thank you for choosing – and trusting – my skills on this particular engagement, and I hope to serve you better in our future transactions.”

With that simple tweak, I garnered hundreds of rehire opportunities. It’s because I rendered crème de la crème writing services, without forgetting the human factor in transactions.

I also made it a habit to send them a warm message during special occasions (e.g., Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year, etc.) and genuinely hoped for the best in their businesses.

According to Upwork, one of the more renowned freelancing sites, hirers only need to click the “Rehire a Freelancer” button and select your name from the drop-down list, to be able to get back to you. Therefore, give them ample reasons to.

#4: I invested in my ultimate client – myself

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Colossians 3:23)

To tell you, I reached a point where I became extremely confident of my freelance writing income, that I almost opted not to take it to the next level.

It was when I felt tedious that the initiative to grow hit me. I found the importance of learning/adding other crafts to my writing arsenal too (e.g., SEO, graphic designing, video embedding, etc.).

Enrolling into various webinars (free and paid), and taking the time to mimic other experts’ techniques was all worthwhile. For instance, I was able to put my AdWords Certification from Google to my portfolio, which enabled me to raise my rates on certain writing natures.

I also avoided overworking, for I knew that those 2-3 hours of an extra burden would mean me not working the entire day after. In was a matter of discipline and self-improvement – things that you should embody as a freelance writer too.

 

As a wrap, your freelance writing income right now may not be indicative of your true writing skill. You can feel underpaid, the majority of the time. However, don’t let that mishap deter you from genuinely improving your craft.

Let me end this discussion with a Bible quote that every idle freelance writer direly needs to read right now:

“Rise up, take courage, and do it.” (Ezra 10:4)

 

Flora Porterfield is an Atlanta native currently living in Oregon. She loves writing proses and Shakespearean sonnets. She’s also well-versed with different blogging and writing styles. As of date, much of her insights can be found at papercheap.co.uk

MA in English

Amateur Radio, Hiking, Ice Skating, Nail Art, Origami

“A true piece of writing is a dangerous thing, it can change your life.” – Tobias Wolff

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Post: Tomas


Tomas Pueyo

The Star Wars Rings

Why I wrote a book just to learn how to market it

I remember my first story for scriptwriting class in college. I had been working on it for weeks, rewording sentences, tweaking plot points to perfection. I didn’t want to share it with anybody until it was flawless. I handed it to the teacher and started my anxious wait for the praise.

It was a debacle. Everything was redlined. Half of the story didn’t make sense. The other half was incomprehensible.

Some people are lucky enough to create a masterpiece without feedback. But not mortals. We need other sets of eyes looking at a problem with us to make it great. We need to put something out there, see how people react, incorporate their feedback to make a better version, learn from the process, and do it again, iteratively.

So why was I writing a book for months in my corner, with no feedback? Why was I betting on perfection again, instead of putting things out there, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and correcting course? Had I not learned anything?

That’s when I met for coffee with a friend who had recently left his job. I was eager to know what he was doing with his time. Did he join another company? Did he create one? No, he spent the last 6 months writing books. 35 books, to be precise. He had honed a process to get several of them written and published in a matter of days.

I looked at my beloved book, and I decided to change. I wasn’t going to just finish it and publish it, because you can’t write a book—or publish it—and hope it’s going to be successful if you’ve never done it before. I decided to write another book.

If your first book is so dear to your heart that you don’t want to see it fail, you’ll be scared of trying things, and you will fail. Instead, work with a book that you don’t fear failing, because you will try things and learn. My friend, with 35 books, knew exactly what worked and what didn’t for him. I didn’t need to publish 35 to learn, but I needed at least one.

After five months of writing and publishing, my new book, The Star Wars Rings, is going out next week, on September 19th. What I’ve learned has been eye-opening. Here are my main takeaways for future first-time authors.

  • Break your mental barrier by speed-writing your first draft in 3 hours

Since I wrote my book, I’ve talked with at least a dozen people who’ve always wanted to write a book and have been taking notes for years, but never got around writing the book. I get it. It’s daunting.

What I tell them is: You’re scared of the white page. You’re scared of the long road ahead of getting all these ideas into the page, so you don’t even start walking the road. What you need is to just fill the pages with a first version, because once you have all the ideas on paper, you will look at them and tell yourself: “Oh my God, this section is terrible! And it’s missing so much! Let me correct it!”. Now, your perfectionism is going to be the force pushing you, not the one hindering you.

How do you speed-write a book?

  • Take a dozen pieces of paper
  • On the first one, structure your content in main ideas and chapters. You should do that in 5 minutes.
  • Then, for each chapter, take another piece of paper. Write the title of the chapter at the top.
  • Now, for each chapter, outline the detailed ideas and examples. Don’t write content yet, just the ideas.
  • Now for the magic. Get in a quiet room. Open your computer. Go to Google Docs. Open a word editor. Enable voice transcription. Start talking.

In around a couple of hours of talking you should have your first draft. It’s not going to be perfect: lots of ideas will have to change, the quality of the voice transcription is not perfect… But you will have a first draft, and that changes everything.

  • Get amazing front and back covers

Your book represents you. You must feel proud of it. You need a great cover.

There are dozens of services online to get covers. On Fiverr, you can pay somebody as little as $5 to get one. It will be a stock image with your title written in a nice font. If that’s what you need, that’s fine. I prefer something a bit more original, professional and aspirational, so I went with 99designs.

With 99designs, you work with several different designers who compete to make the best cover and you only pay for the best one. For $199, I organized a competition and received 8 candidates. I passed 6 to a second round, from which I selected the winner. Then, we worked through several iterations until we got the cover just right. Here are some examples of the evolution of the cover.

 

 

  • Leave proofreading and pagination to a pro

You will have dozens of errors, and you won’t notice them. It’s impossible. If you have money, I’d hire an editor and a proofreader: the editor will work with you to make the book much better by helping you restructure it and rewrite it, but it’s expensive. Proofreading is not: for $100-$200 you can have a 100-page book completely proofread. You can find great proofreaders on Fiverr.

Pagination is structuring the manuscript in a way that it can be uploaded into a book easily. It means structuring the illustrations, making titles look like titles, putting the numbers in the right place on every page… I did it myself, and I won’t do it again. You can’t imagine the amount of detail that it takes. For example, take a book, open it in the middle, and look at the top. You’ll see that it has the book’s title on one page and the chapter title on the other page. Or the author. Or some other variant. Getting that right is a nightmare: it changes every chapter, you want different fonts for each, they shouldn’t appear in the first page or two of the chapter, nor in the introduction… Just leave it for an expert.

  • Upload to Amazon KDP

Amazon sells 70% of e-books. That’s where you want to start. If your book is successful, then you can work on optimizing the rest of distribution, but initially, you just need to upload your book on Amazon. There’s a service to make your book available on paperback too, very easily. Just do that: e-book and paperback.

The paperback version can be uploaded through KDP or CreateSpace. Both are owned by Amazon. I tried CreateSpace and it was a bit buggy, but it worked.

  • Build your email list

If you read enough blog posts about self-publishing, you’ll note a pattern: the number 1 advice authors give is to create a landing page with an email signup, so you can gather fans and communicate with them. You will need them for two reasons.

First, you can share with them your content as you write it, which as we discussed is key for iteration.

Second, they will get you early reviews in Amazon. Reviews are the single most important factor to increase your sales.

There’s plenty of tools for landing pages. WordPress is the most famous one. For mail, just go with MailChimp. They’re free up to 1,200 contacts, more than you will probably need until you’re a successful author.

  • Build a relationship with bloggers in your space

There are plenty of bloggers around the topic you’re writing about. As you write your book, build a relationship with them. Similar to your email list, you will learn from them along the way. Also, you might be able to write guest posts on their blogs, which will give you visibility.

I learned many more things along the way, but if you get these points right, you’re already 80% there. Now go and just write your book!

 

Tomas Pueyo Brochard is the self-published author of The Star Wars Rings, releasing on September 19, 2017. If you want to see what the result of his process looks like, you can get his book on Amazon. If you want to ask him questions directly, join his Facebook launch party on September 19, from 10am to 6pm PCT!

 

How I Got to Work From Home – Video 11


Contrary to the title of my video series, I am going back to work! But it’s only going to be around 1 day a week after training. The rest of the time I will continue to press on toward my bestseller dream.

Here’s my latest video, where I talk about some of the other things I’m doing for pay these days.

 

My links:
Amazon amazon.com/author/marycblowers
Createspace https://www.createspace.com/5204619 and others
Book Blog https://maryblowers.com/
Twitter https://twitter.com/MaryBlowers
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MaryCBlowers
YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/c/MaryBlowers
Mailing List for Readers http://eepurl.com/bmKaL5

New Box Set Release and Giveaway-Ultimate Guides to Indie Publishing


I’m trying something new this month. BundleRabbit will create a box set for you. They’re very helpful – I needed lots of help since I’ve never “bundled” before.

So I’ve put together The Ultimate Guides to Indie Publishing Bundle which includes 6 books on writing and publishing from 5 authors including me.

https://bundlerabbit.com/b/ultimate-guides-to-indie-publishing is the link to purchase. If you would like to WIN a copy I will be giving away 3.

Enter here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Here’s a link to another author’s blog post about it.

Check out all my links below:

Mailing List for Readers http://eepurl.com/bmKaL5
And remember, reviews are always appreciated! Books should have a review link for Amazon in the back of the book.

Kindle Unlimited Friday – Free March eBooks


Check here indiesunlimited.com

for Kindle Unlimited books which are free to you if you’re a KU member.

This list will grow throughout the day today and the links should still be active in future.


Get My FREE Audiobook NOW

Authors this is a great way to publicize your books and those of other Indie authors. This is a very helpful daily blog from Indies Unlimited if you think you might want to sign up.


And here’s my links:

New Video–How I Got to Work From Home, Video 9


 

 

 

My $10 Amazon Gift Card giveaway https://www.instafreebie.com/free/N0Fui Through March 11

Derek Murphy http://amzn.to/2nan0MC

My links:
Amazon amazon.com/author/marycblowers
Createspace https://www.createspace.com/5204619 and others
Book Blog https://maryblowers.com/
Twitter https://twitter.com/MaryBlowers
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MaryCBlowers
YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/c/MaryBlowers
Mailing List for Readers http://eepurl.com/bmKaL5