Savvy Writing Careers Has Moved to Better Serve Creative, Freelance and Ghost Writers

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Savvy Writing Careers has moved to its own self-hosted website.

I felt the move was necessary because I wanted to do more with this blog. I wanted to provide more resources for creative, freelance and ghost writers than I could provide in the past. Now that Savvy Writing Careers is on its own server, I can better help aspiring and experienced creative, freelance and ghost writers reach their goals.

I’m in the process of updating the website. I look forward to seeing everyone at Savvy Writing Careers.com! Stay tuned…

Amandah

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How Best Selling Authors Use Facebook to Sell Their Books in 4 Easy Steps

Last week, I received my publicity email from Steve Harrison at Reporter Connection. He included an article that was mind blowing. A best-selling author wrote his new novel on Facebook. He posted daily installments of his book on Facebook and realized people were paying attention. The conversation took off, and he even named characters after some of the participants. He self-published his book after one year; it didn’t fit in with his current genre. Is it crazy that a best-selling author would write his book directly onto Facebook? Some would say, yes.

BTW: I thought Facebook ‘owned’ your content. Does or should Facebook receive royalties for the book? It truly is mind amazing and confusing at the same time.

Posting excerpts of your writing on Facebook is an online marketing technique that could make you a best-selling author. Facebook has over 800 million users and you could gain a lot of web traffic by connecting and engaging in conversations with people. The question is: Is it right for you and your book? Only you know the answer to that question.

How Best Selling Authors Use Facebook to Sell Their Books in 4 Easy Steps

1. Use Facebook’s tools to add friends who’ll be supportive of you and your writing. Check out the events and groups that are suggested to you. Fill out your profile page with pertinent information about your book such as the title and website.

2. Don’t add people or join Facebook groups impulsively. This could backfire and before you know it, your story could wind up on another’s author’s page or website. Quality is better than quantity. I see people with 500 or 800 friends and wonder, “Do they interact with all of them on a daily basis? How close are they? Are they only interested in receiving more page views?” Listen to your intuition aka your gut instinct when it comes to adding people to your network. As Steve mentioned in his article, “There are a few trolls out there.”

3. Join relevant Facebook groups that match your subject material. This is a great way to introduce you and your book. Join the conversation as much as you can and post helpful responses.

4. Don’t make every status update about you and your book. How many times have you received invites to ‘like’ a FB page or purchase a product? Where’s the value in that? Relationships have to be nurtured and developed. If you constantly ask your contacts to ‘like’ a Facebook page, you risk losing them. It’s not all about you! Post relevant links and videos that your audience wants to see.

Good luck!

Amandah

If you’re developing/writing a book, would you publish daily installments (excerpts) on Facebook? Share.

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Four Simple Things You Can Do Today to Get In Front of More People & Claim That Expertise!

“Presence is more than just being there.” ~ Malcolm S. Forbes

Here’s another guest post from Katy Tafoya is teacher and a coach who finds joy in helping women claim their passion and expertise. She guides solopreneurs to make their lives and their businesses juicier, more fulfilling and more successful. She also leads the Val Gal quarterly networking dinners which are always open to the public and in the greater San Fernando Valley. If you’re ready to identify, claim and leverage your expertise and live your passion you can sign up for a a F.R.E.E. subscription to her weekly ezine at SuccessForSolpreneurs.com.

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE? See Katy’s blog at SuccessforSolopreneurs.com/blog.

When was the last time someone contacted you completely out of the blue? When did someone you’ve never personally met before tell you that they’d love to work with you, or interview you, or even create a JV (joint venture) relationship with you?

Better yet, when was the last time you Googled yourself?

I ask about Googling yourself because if you don’t like what you see when you look at the information attached to your name, how will others like it? And why would they bother to reach out to you?

Whether you like it or not, we all develop relationships with those we know, like and trust.  And all the information that is out there on the Internet attached to you and your business builds up that knowable, likeable, trustable factor (yes, I know that trustable isn’t a real word).

In fact, when you have control over what is being said about you and your business, your message, it opens the doors to so many new opportunities (like people coming out of the seeming woodwork who want to work with you).

Here are four simple things you can do today to get started taking control of your online presence…

  • Join those social networks. You don’t need to be active (except on the ones where your clients and colleagues spend their time), but you do need to have an account. The more the merrier.
  • Fill out those profiles. When you join the various social networks, make sure you fill out your profile completely…add a photo, link to your site, import your blog. It’s all great fodder for the search engines and that’s what you want.
  • Spread the word.  When you read something you like, share it, “like” it; give it a +1 or a retweet. Tell your friends. Tell your community. Do what you have to do to spread the word…in doing so, others will also spread YOUR word. And the more you share, the more it shows your shares (especially with Google +) in Google search results.
  • Leave Comments. The more comments you leave (make sure you provide website URL when doing so, but only where it’s asked for) the more links you have that point back to your website. Which again, means the more search results that come up for your website or your name.

And of course…the great and positive side effect from having that strong online presence is that it really helps to demonstrate that you are the expert and the authority. And as an expert in your field, your community looks to you for advice and for resources.

That’s a pretty powerful place to be. So get out there and get busy!

ACTION PLAN: Google yourself today. Devise a strategy to get more relevant search results using any or all of the ideas mentioned above.

I hope you enjoyed this guest post. I find Katy’s articles to be useful to creative, freelance and ghost writers. After all, we are solopreneurs!

Amandah

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SEO Made Easy: Freelance Writers I like Yoast and You Will Too

English: seo block

Image via Wikipedia

I recently discovered Yoast while working on my creative and humorous website, Daily Family Antics. I thought I knew SEO and considered myself informed about the subject. However, I was wrong. I should have known that there’s always room for improvement. After working with Yoast, I quickly realized I needed to refine my SEO skills. Thank goodness Yoast is a great teacher.

What I Learned about SEO

As I was working with Yoast, I discovered that ‘permalink’ is the same thing as slug. I always allowed WordPress to choose my permalink; however, by working with Yoast, I discovered that it’s a good idea to change it to something shorter. Of course, it’s important to have your ‘main’ keyword or keywords in the slug.

As I continued working with Yoast, I discovered stopwords. I had no idea what these were and didn’t realize that search engines take them away anyway. If you use WordPress.org, you may want to download the SEO Slugs Plugin or some other slug plugin.

SEO Made Easy: Freelance Writers I like Yoast and You Will Too

1. Download Yoast, upload it to your plugins folder, and activate the plugin. It’s easy to do.

2. Freelance writers, Yoast gives you ‘thumbs up,’ warning, and okay symbols for various aspects of your post.

3. Yoast will force you to learn and strengthen your SEO skills. If your title is ‘lacking’ one or more of your keywords, the program alerts you. Furthermore, the program alerts you if you don’t have your keyword(s) in the first paragraph. It’s up to you to write a better title and introduction.

4. Freelance writers; your writing skills will improve. It’s important to provide quality ‘optimized’ content. Don’t stuff your posts or articles with keywords because search engines frown upon this.

5. You’ll develop a better understand of SEO copywriting. Freelance writers interested in gaining new ‘web content writing’ projects will be benefit from working with Yoast. New freelance writers will develop their SEO copywriting skills and attract clients.

6. If you verified your website with Google, Bing or Alexa, you can enter the ‘meta’ code in the Webmaster Tools area. Note: this is a good reminder if you haven’t already verified your website.

7. Yoast offers an introduction tour to teach you about the program. Take a few minutes and take the tour.

It’s important to write for people first but SEO can’t be ignored. Google keeps making changes to how it will scan data and connect its users. Provide quality content but incorporate SEO within blog posts, articles and web pages. Stay away from Black Hat SEO because you can optimize your writing without resorting to ‘dirty’ tactics.

Amandah

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How to Write Your Writer’s Personal Statement in 3 Easy Steps

I read Writer’s Digest article 6 SIMPLE WAYS TO REBOOT YOUR WRITING ROUTINE and step #1 was to create an artist statement. I never thought about this before. I Googled ‘personal artist statement’ and was surprised by the amount of links that came up. Some articles specifically stated that artists are not writers. I disagree. I consider writing a form of art.

What is an artist’s personal statement?  It’s basically a short paragraph about the artist to accompany a painting, sculpture, groups of paintings or sculptures, or other works-of-art. Obviously, a writer’s personal statement would be a short paragraph about you, the writer, and your writings.

If a writer solely focuses on how much money they’ll earn or how much fame they’ll receive from publishing a book, they’ll probably become unfulfilled.

How to Write Your Writer’s Personal Statement in 3 Easy Steps

1. Keep your writer’s personal statement around 100 words.

2. Your writer’s personal statement could describe the genre(s) you write along with your style and tone. Consider naming authors/writers that you admire or have inspired your creative, freelance and ghost writing career. You can mention your education and other credentials too.

3. Think about the journalistic questions what, how, and why and answer the following questions:

  • Why do you write?
  • Why do you write what you write?
  • Why does it matter that you write?
  • Why do you put the time and effort into writing?
  • What are you trying to convey to readers through your writing?
  • What do you want your writing legacy to be?
  • How did you become a writer?

Use the above steps as a guideline to create your writer’s personal statement. If you wrote a writer’s personal statement last year, find and read it. Does your statement still apply? Have you grown as a writer? Are you still writing in the same genre(s)? Are you still freelance writing? If your writer’s personal statement no longer applies, write a new one and hang it up in your home office.

Amandah

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Freelance Writers: How Do You Use Facebook?

Freelance writers, there are more than 500 million active Facebook users. Of course, with the 2010 release of The Social Network the number of users has steadily increased. The one drawback to Facebook is that you must choose either a personal or business profile — they are not the same. A personal profile has more options than a business profile which is why most professionals opt for a personal profile page. This may not be a good idea if your family and friends want to “friend” you.

Freelance Writers: How Do You Use Facebook?

What do you do if you have a personal profile page and your family and friends want to friend you? How do you handle it? Do you really need to know everything that’s going on in their lives? Do your potential customers and clients need to know? How about your business and industry associates? What about your co-workers? Using Facebook can be a sticky situation for some professionals. You may not want your family and friends on your Facebook page. If they post offensive material it could scare off potential customers and business partners.

The selling point of Facebook is that professionals and businesses can use it as marketing tool. You can create fan pages which people can “like” and you can advertise on Facebook. Using these tools can help you increase sales and the bottom line. It’s also a great way to network and build a database of potential clients, collaborators, and partners.

If you opt for a personal page, your family, friends, and childhood schoolmates from 20 years ago can find you, and they may want to be your friend. Is this a good idea if you’re trying to build a business? Maybe, maybe not. 

Freelance writers, before you join Facebook, ask yourself why are you joining? Is it to keep in touch with family and friends and to find your long lost high school love or is it to build your business? If it’s the latter, you may opt for a business profile page. If you want all the options that come with the personal profile page, gently tell family and friends you’re on Facebook for business reasons. And whatever you do, use Facebook responsibly!

Amandah

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Freelance Writers Follow These 7 Steps to Write Catchy Headlines

I was supposed to attend Copyblogger’s Headline Clinic on Thursday, December 15, but I had a meeting regarding Event and Party Planning. Anyway … As a freelance writer, it’s important to write appealing headlines for your clients as well as personal projects such as blogs, newsletters, articles, teleseminars, webinars and so forth. Below you’ll find 7 steps to writing catchy headlines.

Freelance Writers Follow These 7Steps to Write Catchy Headlines

1. Know your target audience and write for them.

2. Write headlines that contain 40-80 characters.

3. Identify the problem and offer a solution in the form of a question. Example: How to Write a Newsletter in 5 Easy Steps.

4. Pay attention to headlines in the newspaper and online. See how they create a call to action or make you want to stop and read the post.

5. Use the headline formulas of Question + Problem = Solution or Question + Problem + Solution = Specific Answer.

6. Make a statement without making a statement. Translation: statement headlines can appear weak — use them in moderation.

7. Read gossip magazines (I know) to see how they write jaw dropping headlines.

Amandah

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Steal Like Oscar Wilde: Improve Your Writing and Online Presence

Are the best writers’ thieves? According to history, the answer is yes. Oscar Wilde stole from everyone. It’s speculated (some believe) that William Shakespeare didn’t write his plays, but rather Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe or Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford did. Some historians believe that Thomas Jefferson plagiarized the Declaration of Independence by stealing from John Locke. That’s John Locke, aka The Father of Liberalism, not John Locke from Lost. Good show, by the way. Anyway … I digress.

It’s illegal to violate copyright laws or claim a work of fiction or non-fiction as your own. But it’s not illegal to observe and learn from other writers and adapt whatever it is they do for your own work. After all, you’ll want to put your own ‘spin’ on anything you publish. Otherwise, it will be bogus and inauthentic.

Fiction

1. Vampires, werewolves, hybrids, witches, warlocks, outcast/loner, headhunters, magical lands, fairies, far-away lands, etc. can be found in many books. Change the names, time, setting, and tweak the plot, and you basically have the same book.

2. Mysteries are no different. Whether it’s a retired cop or rookie detective, a mystery’s a mystery. The case will be solved and it will be closed … or will it? Trilogies happen.

3. Horror is no different. Slashing, thrashing and bashing can occur throughout the pages of a book or graphic novel. Whether it’s a guy with a chainsaw or some out-of-this-world creature, the horror of it all will continue.

Tip: The best horror books don’t contain a lot of blood and guts. They build suspense and ‘suck’ you into the story. They keep you on your toes and make you want to turn the page to find out how it ends.

4. Historical novels contain the same basis of the story … history. You can’t go back and change the War of 1812 to the War of 1814. However, you can change the character names, plot, scenes, dialogue, etc.

Non-fiction

1. Have you ever been down the self-help aisle of a bookstore? Pick up a couple of books and compare them. They probably contain the same information but are packaged and written differently because people are different. An author who resonates with your friends may not resonate with you.

2. Do you know how many baby name books can be purchased online or in a bookstore? A lot. Pick up any book and you’ll find the meaning for the most popular baby names. Again, the packaging and verbiage are different but the origin of Emma is still Old French and Old German.The meaning is still entire or universal.

Let’s face it; you may think your idea is original, but the reality is another writer probably already wrote a book or screenplay using ‘your’ idea or is in the process of writing something along the same line as you. It’s the same situation with blogs and articles. It’s not a big deal because readers know what they like and will choose to ‘follow’ authors and writers who appeal to them. The key is to observe and learn from the ‘best writers’ and take what they’re doing and apply it to your own writing career. History has shown us that this happens time and time again.

Amandah

 

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Freelance Writers and SEO: Are You Writing Content for Humans or Spiders?

Recently, I signed up for HubSpot‘s webinar “The Science of SEO.”  As freelance writers, we’re often requested to create clever titles to entice people to ‘click-on’ a blog post or article. However, if content isn’t what users are looking for, they’ll move onto the next website. Clients need to understand that titles do matter; however, content trumps titles.

Here are some key points from The Science of SEO

1. Most use Google to search online.

2. Most trust a ‘description’ rather than a title. People look for the description to determine if search results are relevant to what it is they’re looking for.

3. Those over 30 trust a higher page rank as indicating a trustworthy website. Those under 30 didn’t believe a higher page rank indicated a website was trustworthy. This is why it’s important to know the target market.

4. Most trust organic searches rather than PPC ads; however, most will not admit to clicking on a PPC advertisement.

5. Clients’ websites are listed next to ‘spam’ and must be distinguishable from ‘spammy’ websites.

Take away: if you’re a freelance writer with a web design background, make sure clients know and understand the importance of ‘standing out’ from ‘spammy’ websites. Colors, fonts, images, etc. do matter. Spiders work 24/7; they never take a break.

6. Use media such as images and videos to make ‘content’ stand out and enhance articles and blog posts.

Freelance writers: make sure you have the ‘right’ to use images and photos. Better yet, have your clients provide them.

7. Comments on blog posts won’t necessarily help ranking. Posting more frequently could increase ranking.

FYI: It’s up to freelance writers to make sure clients understand the necessity of having updated material on their websites.

8. Watch the words you link to. You know that saying, “Out with the old and in with the new,” well it applies to the words you link to. Linking to words such as recent, insights, soon, answers, and others could increase clients’ page rank.

Take away: searchers online are looking for timeliness versus buzz words. Freelance writers; provide links in blog posts and articles that are relevant to your clients’ customers.

9. How many characters are you working with? It’s best to keep titles between 40 and 80 characters. You can easily find out how many characters are in a title by using Word or some other program. Of course, you could always use Twitter. They only allow 140 characters.

10. Analysis goes a long way. If your freelance writing clients aren’t using some type of analytical program such as Google Analytics, suggest they start analyzing pertinent data today and tomorrow, the web traffic will flow.

Amandah

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What Advice Do You Wish You Received before Becoming a Freelance Writer?

Like many freelance writers, I jumped in the deep end of professional writing with my eyes wide open. I didn’t have anyone to coach or guide me through the sometimes murky waters of freelance writing. I admit that it would have been nice to have had some ‘solid’ advice about freelance writing before I embarked on this journey. It would have been nice if a ‘seasoned’ freelance writer would have given me solid information about the business of writing. Oh well! Sometimes, it helps to learn as you go and learn from your mistakes.

Here’s the advice I wished I would have received before becoming a freelance writer:

1. Freelance writing is a business. It’s up to you, the freelance writer, to run your business. No one else will do it for you. Unless, of course, you hire outside help so you can work in your business not on it.

It’s important to know who your target market is. Also, it may be easier to write for a ‘niche’ market than trying to be everything to all businesses. It’s important to be comfortable with sales and marketing. If you can’t sell you and your writing services, who will?

A freelance writer needs to know how to create quotes, proposals, and invoices. Lucky for me, I have an accounting background and creating these types of forms wasn’t difficult for me. But what do if you don’t know how to do this? You could do a Google search or find forms on the internet and ‘tweak’ them.

2. Learn about web design and HTML coding. Tweaking your WordPress theme may or may not be easy. If you can’t afford to hire a professional web designer, learn about web design and coding or barter with a web designer. For example, in exchange for a clean and professional website, you could write blog posts and articles for the web designer.

3. Choose your domain name wisely. Is it better to use your name or a business name? What are the pros and cons? It’s possible that you could choose a domain name only to outgrow it. Before you setup your freelance writing website, conduct a ‘domain name’ brainstorming session and choose the name that’s right for you. Bounce names off of close, supportive family and friends. It’s better to do this then purchase a domain name that you really don’t like.

4. Learn how to write and submit query letters the first time. Let’s face it; there’s a lot of advice online about writing and submitting query letters. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Is there a right or wrong answer about writing and submitting query letters? It would have been nice to have been mentored by an experienced freelance writer who wrote and sent   query letters throughout the years. Fumbling in the dark doesn’t help.

5. How do you set freelance writing rates? This is another area where it’s completely gray. When you’re a new freelance writer, how do you know what to charge? What’s the ‘magic’ formula? Is there a magic formula? Most ‘seasoned’ freelance writers say there isn’t a ‘standard’ when it comes to setting rates. Personally, I think they forget what it’s like to be a newbie. New freelance writers could use guidance and solid answers when it comes to setting rates. It would cut down on the frustration of it all.

6. Where to find the right clients? This would have been extremely helpful. How did ‘seasoned’ freelance writers find their clients when they started out? How do they find their clients? Did they go through the yellow pages? Would a newbie go through Yelp? Did a ‘seasoned’ freelance writer drive through their local business park and write down the business names? What’s the 411 on this?

7. How to stick with freelance writing when you’re not earning what you expected to earn or don’t have a solid support system? What happens when you quit your job because you thought you could immediately earn the same amount of income or even more each month from freelance writing? What happens when you ‘jump into’ freelance writing without having a backup income? Are the ‘gurus’ who say, “You can earn a living doing what you love” wrong? Are they selling ‘pipe dreams? Are they doing a disservice to people? Ugh!

What happens when you don’t have the support of family and friends? How do you persevere and press forward? Connect with local writers through Meetup.com, the library or local bookstores. Sometimes, it helps to meet face-to-face with others who are experiencing the same situation as you. Of course, you can connect with other writers through forums along with Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media websites. Just remember — you’re not alone. There are other writers who probably feel the same as you do. All you have to do is meet them. Before you know it, you’ll have cultivated a network of writers and friends.

Amandah

What advice do you wish you were given before you became a freelance writer? Share

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