Tips On Becoming A Freelance Writer

So, you’ve decided that you want to become a freelance writer? There is no denying that the freelance market is booming at the moment and there are lots of opportunities for those who enjoy writing. Nevertheless, competition is also fierce, so you must do everything in your power to stand out. Read on for some key pieces of advice.

 

 

Focus on quality – The truth is that you can lower your price to the point where you feel like you’re working for free, and there will still be someone working for less. Rather than try to undercut everyone on price, focus on being an expert in your field. If companies want quality content, they will be willing to pay for it.

Supplement your income – As you are going to spend your days at home (or at the local coffee shop) working on your computer, it is a good idea to try to find ways to boost your income. Read this guide on how to make 100 dollars fast online. From taking paid surveys to doing some online trading, there are so many different options you have at your disposal.

Sign up to a number of different freelance websites – In the beginning, you will find it difficult to secure jobs because you will be competing with freelancers who are established and have been providing writing services for years. Don’t let this dishearten you, though. You simply need to make sure you sign up to a number of different freelancing websites, from PeoplePerHour to Freelancer, and make as many job applications as possible to put the odds more in your favour. You should also make sure you attach samples of your work to each application.

Be honest and communicate well – It may be tempting to promise that you will have a project due in X days, even though you know you’re cutting it. You want to secure the job after all! But you’re only going to end up letting the client down in the end if you fall behind. You also need to make sure you communicate frequently with the people you work for and that you are honest if there are any delays.

Be payment savvy – One of the biggest concerns for freelancers is that they’re going to do a job for someone and then that person is going to disappear once the payment is due. There are a number of things you can do to make sure this doesn’t happen. If you use the freelancing sites mentioned, you will have a layer of protection, as clients need to deposit funds, which are held securely until the project is complete. If you do not use such a website, make sure you have a contract drawn up and that you request a down payment from the client.

Hopefully, you now feel more prepared to make it as a freelance writer. If you follow the advice above, you’ll have a great platform for making a career for yourself in this domain.

 

The Art Of Seduction: Does Your Writing Engage And Enthrall?

With so many books and articles published every year, writers have had to up their game. It’s no longer enough to write something good; you have to seduce readers in a way that gets them intimately involved with your narrative. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing fiction or something else—seduction is the name of the game.

Think about your own experiences. There have probably been times in your life when you’ve started reading a book, only to yawn after a few pages and wonder why you ever picked it up in the first place. Long-winded introductions, poorly constructed characters, and long sentences can all take the charm out of a book.

The trick to getting people’s attention isn’t so much in what you write, or even how well you write, but whether or not you create a desire in them. There has to be a reason for them to continue reading—whether it’s to discover a secret formula for losing weight, what’s going to happen to a key character, or how to do something they’ve always wanted to do. Emotions drive reading decisions—everything else is secondary.

But creating desire and seducing readers isn’t easy. Often, it requires you to step out of your comfort zone and write in a way that sees the story from their perspective. Once you get into your audience’s shoes, though, you can start to work your magic. Here’s how:

 

Express Strong Emotions In Action

One of the problems with J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings is that he rarely took the chance to express his character’s emotions in action. It was always the job of the reader to infer why they had done what they had done (which is why the films were such masterpieces). But today’s top fiction authors recognise that merely providing a catalogue of events isn’t enough to draw in readers. There needs to be strong emotional content.

Image: Flickr and credit: thedailyenglishshow.com

 

But what does that look like? It’s not about long monologues or in-depth descriptions of emotional experience. Readers don’t usually like this. It’s more about the nuance in the way characters talk to each other, and, importantly, what they do. This is actually a much more difficult thing to do than merely to report a character’s emotional experience. It takes time to think carefully about the way characters interact in their world in a way that is convincing and authentic.

Remember, although you may be writing a work of fiction, the emotions shouldn’t appear fanciful or unrealistic. Readers want to be able to connect to the people they read about, whether they are made up or not, and so they need to be believable.

The other thing to remember is that emotions in your story should follow a narrative trajectory. Feelings should build as your novel develops and, hopefully, reach a climax as the story resolves itself. Drip feeding readers emotional content helps to keep them invested in your work, safe in the knowledge that they’re going to be rewarded at some point.

Find Out What Scares Your Audience

Fear and desire are two fundamental driving forces in all human interactions, and they form the basis of many of the great works of fiction. These two emotions are so central to the human psyche that they can’t help but have universal appeal, as they have done throughout the centuries.

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The characters in your story face these emotions all the time. Fear comes in the form of death, rejection and failure, while desire is related to love, peace and safety. It can sometimes be a little uncomfortable to explore these issues in your characters, but they’re things that everybody has to face and will strike a chord with your readership. Some writers can be downright afraid to put their creations in danger or reveal aspects of their personalities that they’d rather keep secret. But it’s these traits which can help transform a book from ho-hum into something gripping.

Think about the times when you’ve been most interested in a character. Almost always it will be times when they have been in danger or had to make a decision tempered by desire. Because your audience knows these feelings so well, they will empathize with your characters and wonder what they might do next. Characters help introduce readers to emotional danger, which can be very intoxicating.

 

Avoid Cliches

Virtual Writing Tutor says that one of the biggest problems in people’s writing is the use of cliches. Although they may be a part of the vernacular, cliches almost always reduce immersion and make your writing less seductive.

The trick to engaging writing is to come up with your own way of saying things. Not only is it more interesting for the reader, but often it’s also more appropriate for the context. Cliches, unless used ironically, should be avoided.

 

Keep Your Readers Asking Questions

 

The screenplay for the TV series Lost was, in many ways, genius. The writers knew that to get people coming back season after season, they had to introduce random, unexplained elements which would be resolved later on. Many people watched the show just to find out how the writers were going to explain all the mysteries of the show. Their strategy worked, and Lost ran for a lot longer than initially intended.

Writers need to use this tactic too. They need to present something controversial, exciting or unexplained that requires an answer, such as a weird turn of phrase by a particular character, a strange event, or an inexplicable emotional reaction. Getting your reader to ask questions automatically generates interest in your book, forcing them to think about it differently than, say, if you gave them all the answers up front.

 

Get Right Into The Action

 

While setting the scene has its place, readers aren’t usually that interested in all the minutiae of your fictitious world; they want action. Smart writers create the scene as the action unfolds, rather than describing it separately, giving readers both something rich and compelling. Launching right into the action helps set the pace and provides interest immediately, making it easier to captivate than long, meandering descriptions.

 

Rising In The Ranks As An Author

If you’re a writer, you’re probably keen to get your name out there and start to make your work known. If you’ve been writing for quite some time, you might have perfected your craft, but that is only half the battle.

The truth is that you also need to think about the business side of writing if you want to succeed. This is something a lot of perfectly talented writers completely forget about, and it can be frustrating to see. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the aspects of the business side of things to consider in order to rise in the ranks as an author.

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Build An Online Presence

These days, you can’t get very far at all without building up some kind of an online presence. This, in itself, can be very difficult to do, but is almost likely to be one of the most powerful, and is definitely worth your time. You should at least be on social media, and use it daily in interaction with people who might become your readers, as well as any existing fans you might have.

You also want to make sure that you have built a website – get a developer if you don’t know what you’re doing – and that you have thought a little about how to draw as many people in to that site as possible. You’ll find that getting an SEO specialist agency on board will help here, as will keeping the website plain and simple.

 

Networking

You can only achieve a certain amount behind the computer screen. As an author, you are probably used to spending a lot of time in seclusion and isolation, but to some degree, you need to put that aside if you want to succeed in your career.

You need to get out there and start speaking to the right people. This means other writers, editors, publishers, and pretty much anyone in the publishing or writing business who you think might help. Rising in the ranks means being aware of who is up in the ranks, and getting close to them in a way which will benefit you personally and professionally.

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Building Your Portfolio

No matter what, aim to never stop writing, as this is ultimately what you are selling. If you spend too much time on the rest and not enough on actually sitting down to write, it might mean that you end up without anything to give people to look at.

Aim to build your portfolio as well as you can, as this is one of the most vital acts of all in being a writer. Spend whatever time you can on this, and you will find that it makes an enormous difference in how successful you become. You will then have something that you can be proud of to give to potential publishers and even other writers for the sake of criticism.

Interview: Vahe Arabian @ State of Digital Publishing & Seek An Audience

Happy Monday, readers!

It’s been a while since I’ve interviewed someone in the business (publishing), and Vahe Arabian actually reached out to me first to be featured as a digital publishing expert in an interview on his site. You can read my interview by clicking HERE. And since I felt so honored, I wanted to respond in kind and feature him and his work on my blog.

It’s an exciting time, as ever, in digital publishing, and Vahe is taking advantage of the ever-changing landscape by building a network for those in the industry and interested in joining it. So, check out my interview with him below, and then go check out his site and join the growing network!

 

Tell us about your startup–State of Digital Publishing & Seek An Audience. Why did you start it and how did you start it?

 

When I was in university, I had the opportunity to intern at a startup comparison site (now Australia’s leading one that has also expanded overseas) and it excited me to see how they were building their audiences and brands.

Deep down, I knew I wasn’t as passionate in the topic(s) they were publishing, and so I continued my career in SEO & Content strategy consultancy within startup agencies. After 8 years, I’ve decided to pursue my digital media/publishing career and business through the inception of the State of Digital Publishing Network.

The State of Digital Publishing Network consists of State of Digital Publishing, an online publication which aims to provide professionals perspectives and actionable news/insights within the digital media and publishing industry, whilst Seek An Audience is the community supporting discussion, collaboration and discovery of new media and technology.

State of Digital Publishing originally started out as a blog, and I decided to start it for self-development purposes, but since switching to it full-time, I am genuinely trying to build it as a dedicated digital media/publishing editorial brand. Other brands also focus on media and advertising or just digital publishing (book publishing and design), but there are enough developments within this space worth covering it alone.

Within the first few months of State of Digital Publishing, I was surveying people for feedback and came to the conclusion that people were going to dozens of sites in order to find practical information for their day-to-day issues or skill gaps. In addition, the respondents were keen to having a network of contributors where they could ask advice 24/7. And from this, Seek An Audience was born.

 

Why do you feel it’s important to share the State of Digital Publishing and Seek An Audience?

I know how editors and digital media/publishing professionals are under-resourced and “time poor” (Going through the ropes myself currently!), so now, more than ever, it’s important to slow down and really focus on being practical in your audience development efforts.

The skill gap is widening between leading and smaller-sized digital media/publishing brands and startups, due to historically relying on paid media for growth. There are many things each side is doing that the other isn’t across, so it’s important to have an intersection where both sides can meet.

It’s not there yet, but I strive for the State of Digital Publishing Network to be this intersection.

 

You interview many people who are involved in digital publishing in some way. What are some takeaways or even common threads you’ve found so far?

 

It’s really interesting to learn about the interviewees’ background stories and how they got to where they are today.

What I found some of the common threads and takeaways to be are:

 

  • How people can similarly shape their careers based on lifestyle factors or prioritising on family first. This was especially apparent with female editors who have families.

  • The creativity and flair of responses from professionals working in larger media publishing companies and how their networks charged up engagement on State of Digital Publishing.

  • There are so many niches that people specialise in that I didn’t reaslise i.e. Gay Travel. So awesome!

  • The majority of respondents work remotely with basic tools and workflows (particularly Slack). So anyone can do it–it’s all about mastery and persistence!

  • In terms of the passionate problems professionals are trying to address, professionals who work in media publishing companies tend to focus on audience growth or team management problems, whilst remote/self-employed based editors focus on self-promotion or a passionate product or writing project they are working on.

  • The majority of respondents advised professionals starting out in the industry to get their work out there and practice writing ASAP!

 

These people are genuinely passionate in what they do and I’m fortunate to have profiled them (and you as well, Tamar!), especially considering that I have no prior history in working with any of them.

 

What would you say the state of digital publishing currently is?

 

It’s a mix of publishers trying to genuinely find the right content subscription model, with a focus on properly executing media distribution strategies (catering and publishing unique content on platforms instead of pushing it out) whilst automating basic roles and site features that can strengthen the overall content/product quality. All of this is aiming to to develop more sustainable businesses that rely less on advertising.

Last year gave publishers a shock in the system as advertisers experienced further decreasing revenue from advertising with the rise of ad blockers and fake news, but more platforms are providing publisher centric features to help build subscribers within their environments and encourage premium publishing. Snap, AMP and Facebook Instant Articles distributed media strategies have seen mixed results. There are also innovators like the Washington Post who already have AI written 800 general news stories and The New York Times creating an editorial bot to moderate user comments, removing once-required roles.

It’s an exciting time to be a publisher, and I anticipate to see proper segmentation of media brands based on their revenue models within the next few years.

 

How can readers support The State of Digital Publishing & Seek An Audience? Where can we find you?

 

Providing feedback in the type of answers and case studies you are looking at will be absolutely key, as this will allow The State of Digital Publishing network to build a long-term solution for our existing and new readers.

You can find us on the State of Digital Publishing and Seek An Audience sites, respective social media profiles and speaking with other editors and publishers all the time!

 

Is there anything else you have to share with us?  

We’re excited to be building new features and resources within the Seek An Audience community that will help existing users gain better opportunities with finding vendor solutions and network with other professionals within the space.

State of Digital Publishing will also be going down the path of covering unique stories whilst continuing our featured interviews.

So, watch this space 🙂

Vahe Arabian is the Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing and Seek An Audience. His vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, and his passion is to uncover talent and the latest trends for all to benefit.

Getting Legal When You Work With Words For A Living

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In the modern world, many of us are opting to make our living through words. At one time, the only way to do this was through traditional publishing or journalism. Now, the ways in which we can use words to make a living seem unlimited. Traditional publishing and journalism are, of course, still options. On top of that, we have blogging, self-publishing, content creation, and more.

In short, the world of freelance writing has reached epic proportions, which is fantastic news. But it doesn’t come without its issues.

Us writers are a creative bunch. We like to surround ourselves with stories. But, when we’re going it alone, we have to step into the real world occasionally. In the past, publishers took care of a significant amount of legal stuff. Now, we have to do it ourselves. And let’s be honest: writing and legality don’t exactly go hand in hand, which is why we’re going to look at a few of the legal issues you need to consider to protect your work.

 

Copyright



Copyright is high on any writer’s priorities. This is essential for protecting our work, and also ensuring we don’t get sued.

The good news is that literature is protected by copyright for at least 25 years. So, if you do fear someone’s stealing your work, you’re within your rights to take legal action. In this instance, document all evidence. It’s also worth dating and keeping accurate copies of your work so you can prove you came first.

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It’s also important to know what can’t be copyrighted, the main offenders being names and ideas. There’s nothing to stop other authors stealing titles. And, you can’t do much if they take your ideas. In this instance, it’d be better for your reputation to simply walk away.



You, As a Company?



Another legal matter every author needs to consider is how they plan to operate. This can be a confusing issue if you’ve never thought about it before, but it’s one you need to tackle. You could, of course, operate as yourself. You’d be regarded as a sole proprietor and would pay tax accordingly.

But, if you start making a decent sum, it may be worth expanding. By becoming a limited liability company, or incorporating, you can protect yourself and lower your tax. You can find out how to start an llc or incorporate online. It’s well worth doing if you plan to make writing your primary source of income.

 

Libel Liability


Libel, or slander, is also a big issue for many authors. The danger here is that a reader will recognize themselves in your work. If that happens, they could take you to court for libel which may end up costing you.

To avoid the issue, it’s best not to write characters which could be seen as the people you know. And, if you are writing about people in your life, make sure to let them read copies before publishing. It may even be worth getting them to sign an agreement, just in case.