Friday, December 30, 2011

Saying Goodbye to 2011

Saying Goodbye to Write Moms
Hi all,

2011 - The good, the bad and the ugly

2011 started out great - Panda had not hit and my income was increasing at leaps and bounds across the board at sites like eHow, Suite101 and Examiner.  Then, as we all know, Google's Panda took a big bite out of earnings and things just kept going downhill from there.  So, instead I placed more focus on my own websites which were beginning to earn a monthly income.  Once again, mid-year, Google struck again.  For reasons unknown to me, Google closed my Adsense account claiming there was click fraud, and that was the end of my Google Adsense earning power.  You see, Google can call it click fraud whether you do it or someone else you don't even knows overclicks your ads.  Since I know I never touched an ad - and neither did any of my family - I have to think that someone else did and that lost my account.  Losing income from Panda was bad enough, but now I lost most of my income from the sites and that caused me to really rethink the direction I was going.

The good news is I was already writing regularly for a couple of very big sites so the income I lost earlier in the year was replaced with those.  And, quite frankly, I was earning way more than I ever had with all those revenue share sites combined.  Again, I began to rethink my strategy for freelance writing and decided that writing for other sites made more sense to me than trying to build an income through revenue share or building my own sites.  While these two ways work for many people - they just weren't working for me.

More than doubled my income

If you follow this blog, you know that my only resolution for 2011 was to double my freelance writing income and continue to find new sites to write for.  Well, despite the fact that I lost a lot of income through being hit down by Google, I still managed to end 2011 by more than doubling my income - in fact, I increased my income by 237% this year.  Amazing, considering I worked a lot less and yet earned a lot more. That is mainly due to being fortunate enough to find sites to write for that pay incredibly well.  I will be sure to stick with these sites for 2012 too - or for as long as I can!

Changing focus in 2012

As you have all seen with my last few posts, I have been changing my focus from freelance writing articles to writing books and self-publishing.  As some of you already know, I had already written two books years ago and wanted to somehow get back to novel writing - but wanted to be paid also!  I began looking into eBook publishing and found so many people who were not only living their dream of writing novels and self-publishing them - but also earning a living doing it.  Well, if they can, why can't I?  So since the end of November, I've been busily creating eBooks out of the two books I already had and am now working on the next book I hope to publish by March.  I have also been working furiously to promote these eBooks, get reviews, and, of course, sell a few.  In only one month I've accomplished a lot, had a couple of really nice reviews and even sold a few eBooks, and I hope this will snowball and continue.  All I can say is thank God for Kindles, Nooks and iPads and self-publishing because I am finally back to where I want to be and will hopefully grow from there.  In 2012, I will be working on writing a publishing more books and hope to have two more fiction novels out there by the end of the year.

What about Write Moms?

After this post, I will no longer be adding new posts to Write Moms.  I have so enjoyed writing this blog and helping other people find ways to work from home by freelance writing.  But it is time for me to move on and I've already done that at my new blog - Deanna Lynn Sletten.  There, I will be writing about self-publishing, promting and other aspects of being a self-published novel writer, so come on over and visit.  Write Moms will still be here, though, because it contains a lot of valuable information for the beginning freelancer and hopefully people will still find answers to their questions here.

Thanks to everyone who followed this blog, who commented and who visited.  I look forward to seeing you all over at my new blog and, if you want to read a good book, maybe you will read mine and leave me a comment. :)

Happy writing,

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Background on My Novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore

Buy eBook Here!
Hi all,

I just wrote a post over at my other blog that tells the background on where my ideas came from for my novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore and describes more about the story and why I chose the title.  Click here to visit the post.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Author Interview for Outlaw Heroes

Read my interview on Frantic Mommy!
Hi all,

I want to give a big Thank You to Becky Flansburg of Frantic Mommy and Lakes Area Moms Squad for the author interview and promotion of my book, Outlaw Heroes.  Click the links above to see the interviews on both of her sites. I've known Becky since I began blogging here on Write Moms in 2009 and have followed her progress through the years. She has two very successful blogs and I'm happy that she honored me with this interview. Be sure to check out both sites and place them on your list of favorite blogs to read!

Also - don't forget that through the month of December, my eBook Outlaw Heroes is available for 50% off by using Coupon Code: BN72H at Smashwords. Click here to download a copy or download a free sample copy here too.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Free Fridays eBook Giveaway!

Win a free copy
of this ebook!
Hi all,

That's right - every Friday starting on December 23, 2011 and going though January 27, 2012, I will give away 5 free ebook copies of my women's fiction novel Widow, Virgin, Whore.  Visit my blog, Deanna Lynn Sletten to learn more on how you can sign up to win a free copy of my new ebook! No strings attached!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Download My Women's Fiction eBook for Only .99 cents - Limited Time!

Hi all,

(Sorry, this promotion is over.)
I have just self-published my women's fiction novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore on Smashwords and am now able to sell it for the new low price of $3.99 a copy. In celebration of publishing my eBook - I want to offer you a copy of this eBook for only .99 cents! For a limited time - until Thursday, December 15th at midnight - you can purchase WVW for only .99 cents with the following coupon code:

Coupon code: VE27T

Go to this link to purchase my book: You will have to register for a free Smashwords account before you can purchase and download the ebook. If you love reading books - having a Smashwords account will be useful for finding great self-published books for affordable prices. All e-reader formats are available - so whether you have a Kindle, Nook or iPad - or even if you just want to read it on your computer - there is a file type for you.

You can read more about this book on the My Books pages listed in the tabs at the top of this blog page. Don't be fooled by the title - this is a heartwarming story that you will enjoy.
If you do download a copy of WVW, I hope you will take the time to write a review so others will know what you think. You can leave a review of this book at any of the following sites:
I hope you will take advantage of this sale price and read my book - I think you will really enjoy it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Important Points to Remember When Self-publishing an eBook

Hi all,

Are you considering turning your book into an ebook in the near furture? Then you should consider these three important points before choosing a self-publishing company.  Click here to read this article on my other blog.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Self-publishing eBooks on Smashwords

Hi all,

Are you looking for a place to self-publish your eBook for free?  Have you heard about the site Smashwords and wondered if you should try it?  Drop by my other blog - Deanna Lynn Sletten - and read my post about self-publishing ebooks on Smashwords.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Free eBook Copy of Outlaw Heroes for 24 Hours!

Download a
free copy
in the next
24 hours!
Hi all,

Sorry - this offer has expired. However, you can download an ebook copy of Outlaw Heroes for 50% off the price by using the coupon code BN72H.  This offer is good for the entire month of December.  Just follow the link in this paragraph. Thanks for stopping by.
In celebration of publishing my fiction adventure novel Outlaw Heroes in eBook format on Smashwords, I am offering a coupon code to download a free ebook copy for the next 24 hours.   Please visit my new site Deanna Lynn Sletten to get the code and the link to download the book.

Outlaw Heroes is a fiction adventure novel for kids ages 10 and up, although I think many adults would enjoy this fun adventure also. 

Grab the code quick and go download your copy - no strings attached - full copy of the book - not just a sample.



New eBook Version of Outlaw Heroes Now Available for Only $2.99!

Hi all,

Just wanted to let you all know that you can now download an eBook copy of my fiction adventure novel, Outlaw Heroes, at Smashwords for only $2.99. You can also download a sample of the book for free at that link too.  I am working hard to get my other novel, a woman's fiction novel, ready to send to Smashwords so the eBook price for that is also more affordable. If you've been interested in downloading Outlaw Heroes for your kids but didn't like the price, now it is affordable and available for all brands of e-readers. Also, notice the new cover for Outlaw Heroes. It was designed by me and created by my daughter, Deborah, who just happens to be a computer design major in college and has all the right programs. College is paying off - for her and for me!

The trade paperback copy is still available at the publisher - check out the My Books page at the top of this blog.

Download your copy today!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Come Visit My Author Page at Goodreads

See my books and
many others at
Hi all,

I have just set up my author page at Goodreads and invite all of you to come visit, join and become my friend there. If you love books, and are always looking for something new to read, then you will enjoy being a member of Goodreads.

What is Goodreads?

Goodreads is a site where you can find a good book, read reviews on books, share books reviews with friends and make friends with other book lovers. It is also a great site for "indie" writers, (writers who self-publish their novels) to share their books with others. If you are an author or a book lover, you should belong to Goodreads.

My History with Goodreads

Goodreads has been around for quite a while - I joined in 2008 to promote my books and then forgot all about it. Recently, when my two books were finally made into eBook format, I was looking for places to promote my books and found my profile on Goodreads. Now, I advertise there and have a free author profile there - visit my profile here. It is an excellent community for writers and readers alike and you don't have to be an author to join - you just have to be someone who loves books. It's free, it's fun, so why not?

Here is the link to my profile on Goodreads -
Stop by and visit - hope you enjoy the site.
Other Great Sites
While I am at it, here are three great sites to visit that may interest you. Not only do I like these sites, but I am also advertising on them - so yes, I am really into self-promotion today! Check them out:

The Compulsive Reader - Book Review Site

Woman Tribune - Woman's site full of great articles

Monday, November 28, 2011

Humane Society Needs Help

Please Donate Today
Please Tweet and Facebook this to all your friends. (Buttons Below)

Hi all,

I don't usually use my blog as a platform for topics other than writing but I wanted to get the word out that our local humane society will have to close its doors at the end of this year if it doesn't raise enough money to stay open.  Please visit this link to read an article on why the Beltrami County Humane Society may need to close their doors:

Like so many other organizations, the humane society has seen its donations go down significantly in this economy.  Grant money has also become scarce.  The Beltrami County Humane Society does not receive any Federal, State, County or City money to help support it.  They have been able to run the shelter on donations, adoption fees and fundraisers since they have opened their doors.  They currently have only one paid employee and depend upon volunteers to stay open.  There is no waste of money - they just can't keep up with the rising costs of everyday expenses with their donations at a all-time low.

If you love animals and would like to help this organization to stay open, please visit their website (Below) to donate.  Any amount would be appreciated. They need $40,000 to stay open, but if everyone donates something, we can reach that amount.  This blog currently receives around 5,000 visits a month.  Imagine if everyone donated $10 - that would be $50,000!  I know that won't happen, but it is a great goal to hope for.

To donate to the Beltrami County Humane Society go to:

Thank you.


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Mom Knows - New Website for Mom Writers

Hi all,

I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know about a new website that is looking for new writers.  A Mom Knows is a new site that publishes articles on all topics of interest to women and moms.  They are a revenue share site which started this year (2011) and are slowly building up a team of writers.  If you are interested in finding out more about A Mom Knows, click the link above.  I have just joined their site and plan to publish my first article there soon.  Hope to see you all there!

Happy Writing,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Books are Now Available in eBook Format

Now available in
eBook format!
Hi all,

My books that I self-published several years ago are now available in eBook format. Right now they can be purchased through the publisher and soon they should be available on and Barnes & Here are the links to purchase a copy of the eBook if you are interested:

Outlaw Heroes - Action/Adventure novel for ages 8 and up

Widow, Virgin, Whore - Women's Fiction Novel

You can read more information about these books by clicking the tab above titled My Books.

I had been searching for an eBook publisher when my original publisher sent an offer to publish both of my books in eBook format for free - how could I pass that up? I hope having them in eBook format will give more people a chance to enjoy these books. Outlaw Heroes, especially, is my favorite and I think any young boy or girl would enjoy reading it - maybe even mom and dad!



Friday, November 11, 2011

Examiner Earnings on the Rise

Photo: Laura Leavell
Hi all,

As you all know by now, I’ve been writing two topics forExaminer since October 2009.  Since then, I’ve seen my earnings rise and fall, rise and fall.  When Google’s Panda hit this past spring, my earnings at Examiner dropped drastically.  On top of that, I stopped adding to my topics on a regular basis because it didn’t make any sense to write articles for only pennies a day.  But now I’ve noticed that my Examiner earnings are on the rise.

Significant Rise in Earnings

Because my Examiner earnings had been so up and down, I didn’t pay much attention to the rise in earnings at first because increases happen occasionally.  But when I checked my daily earnings today, it hit me that the rise in earnings has continued for more than a day or two – actually, they’ve been gradually rising for the past two months.  My earnings have risen by 58% over the past two weeks and are up 76% since Panda knocked them down.  Considering I’ve only been adding 1-2 articles a month to my titles, this increase has more to do with Examiner than it does with my promoting articles there.  So does this mean that Examiner is rising in Google’s favor and will once again be a good money-maker?  I’m not sure, but it is certainly worth keeping track of. 

Continuing with Examiner

If my earnings continue to rise, I may begin to contribute to my Examiner titles more often over the next few months.  I’ve only been writing the minimum number of articles in order to keep my titles since I’ve already put so much effort into them.  But if the income is going to rise, then it would be worth it for me to continue with Examiner and write regularly.  My earnings rise even more when I add articles, so that will increase my revenue even more.   

Should You Writer for Examiner?

I started with Examiner when I was getting back into writing and it was brand new.  I had no idea how Examiner would do but at the beginning, the earnings were worth staying.  But like all the revenue share sites after Panda, Examiner earnings dropped dramatically.  Now that they seem to be doing better, I think Examiner may be a good place to start for new writers or writers new to internet writing.  You may not get rich, but you will get experience writing for the internet and writing clips that will help you move up to bigger and better writing jobs.  And if you do really well in the topic you choose, it may set you up to be an expert in that topic and lead to other writing gigs. 

Does Writing for Sites Like Examiner Matter?

There are a lot of people out there who will tell you that writing for sites like Examiner, Associated Content and Suite101 will only lower your status as a writer and you will never get better writing jobs, but that is not true.  I have written for those sites and use them on my writer’s resume, and I’ve been able to get writing jobs with larger, more professional and higher paying sites.  In fact, one large website saw one of my articles on Suite101 and contacted me to write an article for them which they paid very well for.  So don’t let the naysayers get you down.  As long as you are working to improve your writing and you continue to grow, you will land those plum assignments later on.

Have you noticed an increase in your Examiner income?  Would love to hear from you.

Happy writing,


Deluxe Hosting Go DEconomy Price from!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Whoo-hoo! Finally Made Payout at FireHow!

Hi all,

Well, after a long time waiting, I finally hit payout at FireHow.  Considering I've had articles there for over two years, it's about time I reached that $10 minimum payout.  Yes - you heard me right.

Been Waiting a Long Time

I started writing for FireHow in August 2009 when I was trying different writing sites to see where I could earn the most money.  Because I was beginning to do so well at eHow, I figured that since FireHow was similar, it might eventually get a good following and the income might grow.  For me, that ended up not being true and I moved on.  I have about 20 articles there - not many I agree, but enough that they would have probably earned about $10 a month on eHow.  I just left them there and have been checking the site off and on for two years.  Today I see that I finally broke the $10 mark and hopefully I will be paid at the end of the month.

Is FireHow Worth Writing For?

I really can't say for sure since I only have a few articles there.  I know there are people there with hundreds of articles and they may be earning a good monthly income for all I know.  I do know that the income rate isn't as big as compared to eHow at its peek, but that doesn't mean that people aren't earning money.  I would think that if some of the writers there have been there for years, and continue to add new content, then they are certainly earning enough to make them happy.  But I assume it takes adding a lot of content to the site to earn a monthly income.

Anyway - had to share this big news with all of you.  If you are a FireHow writer, I would love to hear why you write for the site and if it is worth it financially for you.

Happy Writing,

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Come Visit My New Blog

Following a new path.
Hi all,

I wanted to invite all of you to visit my new, personal, blog simply titled Deanna Lynn Sletten.  In this blog, I will be sharing my experiences as a writer - not information on where to write but more about what I'm currently working on, my writing process and new things I learn as I write for websites and clients.  I will also be sharing my most recent articles or any other writing successes I experience.  And, even though this blog is titled after me - I don't want it to be just about me.  I hope that all of you and other writers will leave comments sharing what they are working on and other fun information about their writing life. 

Why start this blog when I could be doing this at Write Moms?  I wanted a new blog that is more personal and less about having to find writing opportunities.  Write Moms has sort of taken on a life of its own and people who visit seem most interested in learning where to write and how to earn money.  That's wonderful - it's what Write Moms is supposed to be.  But now that I have found a comfortable path with my writing and am no longer searching out new venues for myself (well, I am but in a different way), I really don't have too much to share on Write Moms anymore.  So, starting this new blog is an opportunity for me to start out fresh and still share about writing - just in a different way.

Yes, I will still be adding posts to Write Moms as new things come up - I enjoy sharing new writing information with others to make their writing journey easier.  But I will also be writing a more personal perspective on writing over on my new blog

I hope you will all come over and visit and will join and subscribe.  I think that, over time, there will be some fun and interesting conversations going on over there and I want all of you to be a part of it.

Happy writing,


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Finding a Literary Agent - My How Things Have Changed!

Hi all,

Ten years ago when I completed my first fiction novel I set out trying to find a literary agent to represent and sell my book.  Back then, every business didn't have a website, Twitter and Facebook did not exist and the only way to find an agent was to buy a book that listed all the agents and go through it page by page.  E-mail submissions weren't even heard of yet, so each submission cost you the postage to the agent and the postage for them to send it back to you in the SASE.  When you consider that most submission included the first 3 chapters of a manuscript - this was very expensive.  Now, 10 years later, I'm finding a whole different world out there for submitting manuscripts.

Agents are Actually Real People

Ten years ago, literary agents were shadow figures who you never saw and only read about in a literary agent resource book.  The majority of them were men - and most did business out of New York City.  When sending out my queries and manuscripts, I pictured literary agents as older men with pinched faces who sat at gleaming oak desks that held piles of manila envelopes full of manuscripts from people - basically holding people's dreams in a slush pile.  I imagined them picking through each submission, one at a time, while looking out their high-rise office window at the cityscape, wrinkling their noses at every query letter they read and rejecting each query just because they didn't like the letterhead or the print or the name of the person submitting it - without ever reading any of the manuscript.  Then off the unread manuscript would go, stuffed into the SASE and sent back to the writer with a generic rejection letter.

Okay, so I have a vivid imagination - that's what I do!

Today, however, things have changed immensely.  Thanks to social media and websites, literary agents have become as human as the rest of us.  They tweet on Twitter, they update their status on Facebook and they publish their picture on their website.  Many today are women - young women even - which is wonderful.  They have fresh, smiling faces which make you feel they are open to receiving your book query and happy to read it.  Okay, maybe not always happy, but more so than I used to imagine.  Many take e-mail submissions - actually insist on it - and their response time is quick.  Compared to years ago, many agents actually encourage you to send out simultaneous submissions instead of one at a time.  Times have definitely changed and while it still isn't easy to land an agent in this competitive field, they are making it easier at least to try.

2012 Guide to Literary Agents

Finding an Agent

Because I am in the midst of once again trying to find an agent to represent me, I decided it would be a good time to help those of you who are starting that process.  I've added a Literary Agent page (see the top of the page) where I share some tips on how to query an agent and list agents and their websites so you can start working on submitting your new work.  As of today, the page isn't complete, but I will continue to add agents to it as time allows.  I hope this list of agents will help you find an agent to represent your book.

Happy writing,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Looking for an EBook Publisher - Any Advice?

Looking for an ebook publisher
Photo: Maggie Smith
Hi all,

I am on the lookout for a legit ebook publisher and thought I'd reach out to all of you for your experiences with publishing an ebook.  I know that many of my readers and followers have published ebooks so I'm interested in hearing what company you used, if you did it yourself and how you got the message out to others about your ebook. Some of my criteria would be:
  • I'd be able to sell it on more than one site (like not just on Amazon)
  • The format would be user-friendly for iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc.
  • An affordable selling price
I literally do not know anything about publishing an ebook - so whatever you can tell me would be useful.  I have been around the Internet looking at publishers but I really can't tell who to trust and who not to.

Looking forward to hearing from anyone with ebook experience.

Happy Writing,


Friday, October 7, 2011

Need Quotes From Moms Like You

Hi all,

I am in desperate need of help from all of you for two articles I am writing for a woman’s website that I’m a contributor for.  In return for your answers, I can place a link to your blog or website with your name in the article.  This is a great way to promote your blog/website for free! The questions I need answered are:

Funny comments your kid has said

Why your husband is a great dad

If you can help, for one of these or both – I’d really appreciate it.  I need the answers by October 10th at the latest.  In your reply, please include:

Your full name

The number of children you have (and their ages)

For husband replies, how many years you’ve been married

Your blog or website’s name and link

Please don’t leave your replies in the comment’s section.  Instead, e-mail them to me @

Thanks so much – I can’t wait to hear from all of you.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nothing Lasts Forever

Fall reminds us that seasons change and
so do we.
Photo: Deanna Lynn Sletten
Hi all,

Recently, I have been scraping off the wallpaper in our hallway so I can paint it instead.  I had papered the hallway 20 years ago, and it is long overdue for an update.  Homes are like that – they need to be updated every few years as styles and colors change.  And as I work on scraping away my wallpaper, it occurs to me that my writing blog, and my writing career, are like that too.

Change is Inevitable

If you’ve owned the same home for over 25 years, like we have, you find that you need to update the same things over and over again.  I’ve re-wallpapered the back porch three times, redecorated the bathroom 4 times and we’ve repainted all the rooms at least 6 times.  We’ve put in a new septic system, a new well and added onto the garage as we’ve outgrown it.  As a home grows older, change is inevitable.  On top of maintenance, styles go out-of-date and your tastes change.  So, as time goes by, you find yourself changing things that you may have once thought looked nice but now look worn and tired.

The same could be said for a blog.  I’ve had this blog since April of 2009.  In the time that I’ve been blogging, things have changed immensely.  Writing sites have come and gone, many have changed the way they do business and Google changed how many writing sites do business.  Because of this, many past posts on my blog have become obsolete.  Of course, that is to be expected over time.  But then the question rises – do I change my focus and continue blogging about writing or is it time for this blog to come to an end?

Switching Gears

As the internet writing world changed, my writing career has taken off.  I have switched gears from earning passive writing income to writing for clients and websites and being paid for my work.  After a few years of trying to build a passive income – then losing it this past year through the Google upheaval – I have to say that I am completely satisfied with being a hire-for-pay writer.  I am earning much more than I did before and am enjoying writing for some interesting websites.  Because of this change in the way I earn writing income, I don’t know if I still have anything of importance to contribute to Write Moms anymore.  I also want to pursue other forms of writing that will take up most of my free time – so I’m not sure how much time I will have to dedicate to my blog. Hosting Plans from $1.99 per month! Now with Unlimited Bandwidth!

At a Crossroad

I have enjoyed writing my blog and sharing it with other writers over the past 2 ½ years and I’ve met so many other writers, some of whom I consider as friends (albeit internet friends). Letting it go would be difficult, but keeping it going and not adding useful information makes no sense either.  I’m at a crossroad.  Either I continue it or decide it is time to end.  If I continue Write Moms, I want to make a few changes.  I want to change hosts as well as change the format.  Like my hallway wallpaper, my blog needs remodeling to keep up with the times.  I will also want to come up with fresh information that will help writers in their careers.  All of this takes time and energy – so I will really have to put some thought into it before I continue.

Until I decide which road I am taking, my posts on here will probably be sporadic.  I’ll let you all know for sure what I decide, when I decide it.  Nothing lasts forever, change is good and moving forward is the goal. 

Happy writing,


Friday, September 23, 2011

Blog Loading Slowly

Hi all,

I have noticed that when I try to view Write Moms that it is loading really slow and scrolling down is also slow.  I just updated to Internet Explorer 9 and every other website runs faster except my own!  Will you leave me a comment here to let me know if it is running slow for you too?  Then I will know if I need to do something about it.



Monday, September 12, 2011

Learn To Take Rejection Gracefully

Hi all,

Recently, I received a request to submit a guest post to one of my other blogs. I do not use guest posts on that blog and this particular e-mail did not display any sense of proper grammar or use of the English language. I politely wrote back that I do not use guest posts on that blog but I appreciated their offer and wished them luck with their writing. About a day later, I received another e-mail from this same person saying that they had great knowledge on the topic of the blog and I should really consider their offer and let them write for me because they were a great writer. This time I just ignored the e-mail. I had already taken the time to answer politely the first time and didn’t want to bother stating the same fact again. I then received a third e-mail saying that I was an idiot for not wanting this person to write for my worthless blog and they would find a better blog to write for. Oh, well, my loss.

I’d like to say that this was the only time I’d ever had this happen, but it isn’t. Many times, when faced with a ‘no’ answer, no matter how polite it is, some people overreact by either telling me off or begging in successive letters to give them a try and let them write for me. But honestly, if I’ve already said no thank you, then I’m not going to change my mind just because you beg or yell at me. If anything, I won’t even answer your e-mail and will probably block your e-mail address. Writers, no matter what form of writing you do, need to learn how to take rejection gracefully.

Rejection is Just Part of the Job

Every writer gets rejected at some point in their career. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad writer or that you have no talent and should quit right away. A rejection could be because the publication couldn’t use your idea at this time, your article/story is not right for the place you sent it to or they just do not accept queries/articles/manuscripts from people who are not already writers for their publication. Even rude rejections do not necessarily mean that you are a hack. Sometimes a particular editor may become frustrated because a writer hasn’t done their homework and submits an article/manuscript which does not follow along with their topic. The editor may write “Not for us!” or “We don’t accept this type of work” or a flat-out “No!”, because they are tired of writers not checking their publication out before submitting. That doesn’t mean your submission stinks – it means you need to do your homework and find a more suitable place for your work. The main point is: rejection is as much a part of the job of writing as actual writing is. If you are a writer, you will be rejected as much, if not more than your work is accepted, so don’t take it personally. It’s just part of the process.

How to Handle Rejection

If you have a submission rejected, just mark it off as being one more step toward acceptance and continue to submit your work. Don’t send a nasty reply to the editor – just leave it alone. You never know if you will get a chance to work with that editor again, so you don’t want to ruin your chances by being remembered as a disgruntled writer.

If an editor has taken the time to critique your submission before rejecting it, don’t go out of your way to write a scathing e-mail or letter to them saying that they are wrong. Instead, swallow your pride and take their critique into consideration. Editors rarely take the time to give advice on how to make your article/manuscript better, so if one has, then it means they thought you were good enough to spend some time on. (Unless they told you your submission wasn’t worth anyone’s time or that it was the worst thing they’ve ever read. Then you have a whole other set of problems.) Really consider the editor’s critique and don’t send them a note telling them what you think of them – unless you are thanking them profusely for their help.

What about the editor who says your work is junk? You may want to look over your article/manuscript again (and have someone else read it) and consider if it really is your best work. If, after careful review of your work, you still believe in it, ignore what the editor said and continue to send it out. Just don’t send that editor a nasty note – it may come back to bite you in the end.

Most of all – don’t beg. If your submission has been rejected, all the begging in the world is not going to get the editor to look at that same work again. In fact, many editors keep a blacklist of writers who write them nasty letters or bother them profusely after a rejection. You are certainly not going to win over friends either way, so just move on and try again.

Writers get rejected all the time – whether you are a freelancer or novelist, rejection is just part of the process. The best way to handle rejection is to make sure you have written your best work, carefully researched the right places to send it and continue to send it out. Hopefully, you will turn that rejection into an acceptance.

Happy Writing,

Writing Skills Success in 20 Minutes a Day (Skill Builders)Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips)Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do You Need a College Degree to be a Writer?

Photo: Mary Gober
Hi all,

One of my readers recently asked me if you need any formal training (English or Journalism degree) to become a freelance writer. The answer is a flat-out “No”. While I am a big proponent of a college education (and am currently paying for my own child to get one) and I think an English or Journalism degree would give you an edge, I also do not believe that everyone needs to have completed college to become a freelance writer – or any type of writer. Talent, grammar skills, a willingness to learn and a great dictionary and Thesaurus is probably what most beginning writers need to start a writing career.

What a College Degree Can Do for You

A college degree can give you a great basis and understanding of the English language, grammar and the skills to write perfectly formed sentences and paragraphs. In college you will read all the great writers and learn about style, structure and nuances. You will pick apart every story you read and try to figure out what “exactly” the writer is trying to tell you in every paragraph. You will learn to write in appropriate styles and learn to edit. When you graduate, a college degree will help get you into the doors of magazines, newspapers and big websites and can lead to copy writer jobs, editor jobs and even management. A college degree can help you get where you want to go much faster – however, if don’t have any actual natural writing talent, it may not get you there very fast.

What a College Degree Can’t Do for You

While a college degree can give you the tools to be a writer, it certainly cannot give you what a writer really needs – talent, imagination, the ability to sniff out a story or the ability to write sentences that flow and make people want to read more. A college degree will not guarantee you will sell your novel or any of the articles or stories you send off to magazines. A college degree will not ensure you success as a writer – it will only get you ready and you will have to do the rest by yourself.

So, How Do You Get Started?

If you do not have any formal education in writing, but you love to write and you have some natural talent, then you need to start by learning everything you can about writing. Read articles and books on writing for magazines, websites or newspapers (or on writing novels), learn how and where to sell your work and then just write. You’ll never get anywhere until you write that first article, first news story or first chapter of your novel. Don’t worry about your past education – just write.

Famous Writers Who Didn’t Go to College

For a little more inspiration, here are a few writers who did not go to college. If you don’t know who some of these people are, it is because you didn’t take that college literature class – but you can always read their work on your own. (By the way - if you are going to college - stay in college.  I don't want you to drop out and have your parents mad at me.)

Jane Austen – Novelist

James Cameron – Screenwriter Titanic and Avatar

James Fenimore Cooper – Novelist

Charles Dickens – Novelist

William Faulkner – Novelist

F. Scott Fitzgerald – Novelist (You MUST read his work!)

Jack London – Novelist

George Orwell – Novelist

J.K. Rowling – Novelist (Wrote a little series of books starring Harry Potter!) Ooops!

Now, just get out there and write!

Happy Writing,


2012 Writer's Market2012 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market (Novel and Short Story Writer's Market)

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Haven't Disappeared - I'm Just Busy Writing

Been busy as a bee!
Photo: Enrico Nunziati
Hi all,

I haven't added a new post for quite some time because I've been very busy doing that thing we all do - writing.  I've been writing for money and working on a project that I hope will eventually bring in money.  I've also been working on an old project hoping that it will be revived to a whole new existance.  Busy, busy, busy.

You Just Never Know

Earlier this year when my residual income was hit hard, I really didn't think I'd earn as much income as I had hoped for this year.  Well, you just never know.  A writing door that I had opened late last year and which had sort of closed for awhile flew wide open 3 months ago and I've been very busy writing articles for up-front pay at a very good pay rate.  This has made all the difference in the world with my writing income.  I work less time writing but am paid 3-4 times more than I was before.  Although this is more like a job - they assign articles and I write them - I am okay with that.  I am, after all, a freelance writer and this is what a freelance writer does.  And since I don't have to spend all my time writing to earn more money than I did before, it leaves me time to work on other projects - so I am happy about that.  That was one of my goals - work smarter, not harder - and I have actually been able to do that this year. 

My New Project

I'm not going to go into great detail because I am still working on it, but I have been working on a big project that I hope, at some point, will begin earning residual income.  If you follow this blog, you know that I do have a few other blogs on different topics that I've been working on for over a year now.  They are all very different but yet could compliment each other so one day I had this idea about combining the blogs so they are still different blogs with different web addresses yet you can link back and forth to each one.  It would be like one big website yet seperate at the same time.  I have made some Google money so far and I hope as I continue working on them that the income grows.  The problem is trying to find time to write all the articles for each blog and keep them all updated.  So this is also what I've been doing with my spare time.

Revivinig an Old Project

My last project has been trying to revive an old project and get it back out in the open.  Ten years ago, I wrote a fun young-adult adventure novel titled Outlaw HeroesAfter sending it off to about 50 agents and the same amount of publishers but getting a rejection each time ("not what we are looking for at this time", "our catalog is full at the moment" etc.,)  I decided to self-publish it and see what would happen.  After it was published, the book did receive several excellent reviews and it even ended up on a national school library list.  Unfortunately, 10 years ago everyone was thick into the Harry Potter phenomonon and all middle-grade books since have been about wizards, witches and now vampires.  My poor little book didn't stand a chance. (Unless I added a witch and vampire to it!)  But now that the last Harry Potter movie has hit the big screen and hopefully after the last Twilight movie we can move on from vampires, I decided it was time to shop my book around again to agents.  So I've been busy doing all that footwork again, finding trustworthy agents, typing up letters and sending packets either by e-mail or snail mail.  I'm can only try and hope for the best - never give up, that should be the motto of all writers.  (By the way, if you know a great agent - or you are one - would love to hear from you. Ha Ha)

Hope your summer is going well and you are also doing what you love.

Happy Writing,

Your Book Starts Here: Create, Craft, and Sell Your First Novel, Memoir, or Nonfiction Book

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Christian/Religious Publications Writer's Guidelines

Charisma - one of the many Christian publications that
uses freelance writers.
Hi all,

Just wanted to let you know that I have a new page set up with links to writer's guidelines for Christian/Religious online and print publications who use freelance writers.  (See page here.)  I had noticed that there were many searches for Christian publications on my Stats page and decided that it would be a good genre to add a page for.  The page is not complete - there are many more that I will add in the future - but I wanted to get this list out to you for now so you can get started.

Remember to always read the Writer's Guidelines as well as read over the publication or its website before submitting an article query or complete article.  It always helps to know the tone of the publication before writing for it - it saves both you and the editor time in the long run.

Hope this listing helps in your search for freelance writing jobs.

Happy Writing,


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Writers – What Should I Write About and Where Do I Sell My Articles?

Hi all,

I am asked by new writers all the time about what they should write about and who should they write for. Actually, deciding what to write will determine where you should sell your articles. If you are only looking for a way to earn money fast and don’t care what topics you write about – dash over to Demand Media Studios, Textbroker or Break Studios, join, then choose from available articles that pay you anywhere from $4 to $25 per title. But if you are looking to build a writing career by choosing your own topics and finding outlets for them, then you will want to skip those sites and start finding your niche.

How to Find Your Niche in Writing?

Finding topics to write about can be very easy but most people overlook the obvious. What you do on a daily basis, as a job, at home or as a hobby – or the things that really interest you like sewing, gardening, celebrity watching, movies, television shows, pets, running, walking, etc., are the topics you should be pursuing. For example: you’re a mother of three young children. Right there you have years worth of articles just waiting to be written. As you experience parenting, like your child’s first play date, illness, first day of school, troubles at school, etc., you have the first-hand knowledge to turn each event into an article. Is your child struggling with learning to read? Write a well-researched article on how children learn to read or how schools are teaching reading or what type of help children need to learn to read. Has your child been bullied in school? Write an article on why children bully and how to teach your child not to be a bully. Children alone can bring you endless opportunities for writing articles.

What about your career? Are you a financial manager, day-care provider, nurse or computer technician? Any one of those careers, as with thousands of others, would make excellent topics for writing articles. Do you religiously watch a particular television show (or shows)? Blogging or writing about each episode may be the right niche for you. Speaking about being religious, are you? Writing about your particular religion can be the basis for hundreds of articles. Finding topics for articles becomes easy when you look at what interests you and what is a part of your everyday life.

Where Do I Sell My Articles?

Once you have established a niche (or several niches) with your article writing, then you are able to pinpoint where you should sell your articles. You can do this several ways – you could:

  • Start your own blog and place advertising on it.
  • Write for revenue share sites like Yahoo/Associated Content (they also pay a small fee up-front), Examiner (get your own expert title), Suite101, Triond, or any number of sites on the web.
  • Place your articles for sale on sites like Constant-Content or Daily Article and sell them for the price you set.
  • Find online magazines or print magazines in your topic area and send them a query to try to sell your article to them.

Let’s say you do write articles about parenting and want to find a place to sell them. There are numerous print and online regional parenting publications (almost one in every state – sometimes multiple ones in a state) for which you can send your article or article idea to and, if accepted, they will pay you. (See my list of parenting publications)

Maybe you have a background in finance and want to write about that topic. Search the web for online and print media where you can sell your articles on finance. Don’t forget to expand your search – many parenting, family, women’s and men’s sites also offer information on finance – so you don’t have to limit yourself to finance publications only. Whatever your topic of interest is, you will find an outlet for it.

Beginning a writing career takes time, work and dedication. Don’t expect someone else to give you all the answers or lead you in the right direction. Take it upon yourself to search for opportunities. There is plenty of information on the web about where to sell your writing, so get out there and search for opportunities. Good luck!

Happy Writing,


2012 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition (Writer's Market Online)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Back and Ready to Get Back to Writing

Bald eagle that flew over us on the lake.
Photo: Deanna Lynn Sletten
 Hi all,

Well, I'm back early because I just couldn't stay away for a whole month.  Now I'm back and ready to get back to writing.

Why I Took Time Off

For the past three years I've been writing non-stop in order to build up an income as well as advance my writing career.  The first year I tried all types of writing sites (and shared them all with my readers) to figure out which direction I wanted to take.  The second year I worked mostly on writing for residual income sites, like eHow, Suite101, Associated Content, Triond and Examiner, believing that the more I wrote, the more money I would make in the long run.  I also started three blogs of my own and began building up articles on those.  I did fairly well that year and my residual earnings grew.  The third year, as you all know by now, Google's Panda hit and I lost 75% of my residual income to it.  That was disheartening.  However, I had by then, built up my own blogs as well as had two very good sources to earn up-front money writing articles.  So, while I did lose one source of income, my other sources were taking off so I didn't feel too much pain in the wallet.  However, after working three straight years trying to build up sources of income, I was tired.  That is what prompted me to take a month off from most of my writing.

What I Did Do On My Weeks Off

Over the past few weeks I spent time writing for sites I enjoy writing for as well as working on writing projects that I love and hope will someday earn money.  I felt that during the past few years I had lost the real reason I had started writing and began placing more emphasis on earning the most income possible instead of writing for the love of it (and earning extra income).  While earning income is the goal - enjoying what I write is also important to me.  Sure, I could spend hours researching and writing about boring topics that earn high income, but that leaves me feeling bored and drained.  When I write on the topics that I enjoy, I feel energized and my writing is 100% better.  For awhile, my love of writing was overshadowed by my urgency to create a good income.  After taking some time off, I was able to get back to my original goals as a writer - write what I love and earn money doing it.

While I didn't write too much these past few weeks, I did complete three new articles for She Knows which I am very happy with and enjoyed writing.  You can view these here, here and here.  They were pieces about interesting people and I do enjoy writing these types of articles.  I also worked a little bit on my travel blog and health blog, because I really enjoy writing those articles too.  Aside from that, I got a little work done on my most recent fiction novel, but I still have a long way to go with it.  I hope to spend a lot more time in August working on it. 

Oh, yes.  We did go out in the boat a bit but didn't catch any fish - it was just too hot for that.  We also (finally) had central air installed in our house because the heat wave was more than I could take.  Oh do I love my air conditioning!  Unfortunately, my dog and I didn't get even one walk in this entire month because it was way too hot, there were too many bugs (mosquitoes and biting flies) and our state (Minnesota) shut down for several weeks meaning our state park was shut down too.  We'll have to wait until the weather cools down a bit before we hit the hiking trails again.

My June Income

I know it is almost the end of July, but since I didn't write at all this month I just wanted to update you on my June income.  Once all was totaled, I came in only $100 short of reaching my total income for all of 2010.  My goal for 2011 is to double my writing income from 2010, and I am on my way toward that goal.  Now that I have practically made last year's income, I can work on doubling it over the next 6 months.  In June, 93% of my income was from up-front pay sources and only 7% was from residual sources from my blogs and what is left of the residual sites I still earn money from.  A year ago, these totals would have been the reversed, but you can't look back, only forward.  I increased my up-front June earnings considerably by placing several articles on Constant-Content which all sold for full-rights that same month.  In August, I plan to place several more articles on CC and will continue to use this site as one of my main sources of up-front income this year.

Well, I've taken up enough of your time.  I hope all of you have had a great July and are doing well with your earnings.  I also hope you are writing what you love - and loving what you do! 

Happy Writing,

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Taking Off the Whole Month of July

Gone fishing!
Photo: Deanna Lynn Sletten
 Hi all,

I just wanted to let you know that I am taking the month of July off from Write Moms.  I plan on working on a few other writing projects as well as building up my other blogs.  With all the changes that have occured this year, I've become overwhelmed with trying to decide what direction I want to go with my writing.  I feel it is time to work on the writing projects I feel most passionate about and step away from some of the writing that has become more like work and less enjoyable.  I haven't really had anything new to share with my Write Moms' readers of late, so I am hoping that taking some time away will help restore my energy and I will come back with some new and fresh ideas in August.  I also plan on spending a lot of time walking the trails with my dog, lounging on the lake in the boat and maybe even catching a fish or two!

I am not going to disappear completely, though. I enjoy reading what my fellow bloggers have to say so I'll be around, reading the latest from all of you.  Have a great July and I'll see you all back here in August.

Happy Writing,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mid-Year Report for 2011 – How My Year is Going

Photo: Iamwhid
Hi all,

We are half-way through June so I thought it was time to let you know how my year is going and compare it to my goal for 2011. I believe the only way a person can keep growing and achieving is by making goals and then occasionally checking in to see if you are reaching your goals, and if not, find ways to adjust your goals so you can reach them. Since I am also a numbers person, I like looking at the numbers and then determining what I need to do to reach my goals.

Reaching this Year’s Goal

This year I had only one goal – to double my earnings from 2010. It was a simple goal that would have been fairly easy to do if everything had continued on the same path as 2010. My old eHow earnings had grown to double of what 2010 had been and other earnings, like Google, Triond and even Associated Content/Yahoo! had all grown too. I was creating titles and articles at Demand Media Studios for revenue share articles that I knew would earn well – and they did. Suite101 earnings weren’t too bad – although they had been steadily dropping since November 2009, and even my Examiner earnings were better than usual. All in all, it looked pretty easy for me to double my income in 2011.

Then Google’s Panda hit. And we all know what happened after that.

All of the residual income earnings I had been building up went flat. My residual earnings dropped by the following percentages:

  • Suite101 – 86%
  • Old eHow articles: 31%
  • Triond – 80%
  • Google Earnings (from Triond & my blogs) – 50%
  • Examiner – 80%
  • DMS eHow articles – 20%
  • Associated Content – 75%

Then AC/Yahoo! decided to drop all feature contributor positions so I was no longer offered those up-front pay articles each month – something I really enjoyed doing. Then eHow announced that they were buying out the old articles and we’d no longer receive monthly revenue for our articles. On top of that, DMS stopped allowing writers to create their own titles/articles for eHow revenue share so that potential revenue growth ended also. So, in all, my residual revenue declined down to about one-third of its original amount. How in the world was I ever going to double my income with this huge decline?

Up-front Pay to the Rescue

Lucky for me, I had continued placing articles on Constant-Content to sell throughout the time I was trying to build up residual income. In May, I decided that residual income was no longer going to be my main source of income and I would be happy selling articles for up-front pay once again as my main source. I had worked two years trying different sites and building up a nice residual income but in one sweep it all dissolved. With up-front pay income, I have the money in hand after the work is done, and that is fine with me. In the past few weeks I have placed several articles on Constant-Content for sale for full-rights and each article has sold within a day or two (not typical – generally some sell fast and others sell slowly). I’m very happy with this and it helped to raise my income back up for May and now for June. I’m also writing for another website for up-front pay and that has been a nice source of income also. While I do have a couple of blogs/websites that I work on and hope will eventually bring in extra income from Google, I won’t be relying on them for my sole writing income.

So, After All That – Where am I with My 2011 Goal?

Surprisingly, even with the huge drop in income earlier this year I am still on track for doubling my writing income for 2011. By the end of June I will have almost as much income as I did for all of 2010 and if I can continue as I am, it will hopefully double by the end of December. One of the reasons I am on track is because of the nice eHow buyout amount and some of it is the quick sale of articles on Constant-Content. If I keep writing at the same steady pace, my 2011 income should be quite nice.

I hope all of you have been able to keep up with your writing goals. How are you doing so far this year?

Happy Writing,


2011 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Writing for Newspapers

Maria Rainier
Hi all,

Have you ever considered writing for a local newspaper but didn't know exactly how to begin?  Maria Rainier shares information on writing for newspapers in this guest post.

Many local newspapers cannot afford a full-time staff of journalists and rely on freelancers and wire copy to provide a majority of their content. I have been writing for newspapers as both a staff writer and a freelance writer for over 10 years, and I have seen many young writers get their start by writing for their local paper. I was one of them. Local newspapers can offer a good source of income for freelance writers, as well as the opportunity to build up a portfolio of work. Here's what you need to know about writing for local newspapers:

Getting Started

If you aren't a student, or if you don't have any writing experience, it may be hard to convince an editor to take a chance on you. The key is to start small. Approach weekly papers and local community or independent papers. Don't start with the large metro daily. Smaller papers will have more demand for writers, and they are more willing to give new writers a chance. Submit a query letter introducing yourself and include published clips of your writing (either in other publications or from online writing). Include a few story ideas.

Follow up about a week or so later to introduce yourself by phone. Editors are busy, and they get packets of clips all the time. Don't let yours just be another in the pile. Usually, a little initiative is all it takes to get noticed.


Don't expect to write big feature stories or a weekly column. If you're lucky, or you are working with a small enough paper, or you have just the experience that the paper is looking for, you could chance into a column. But it's not the norm. What you can expect to write are a bunch of stories about school dances, parades, charity events, and appearances in your community. The boring stuff. You can continue to pitch your own story ideas, and once you've established a relationship with the editor, you may have a chance to write some more interesting stories.

Writing Style

Newspaper writing has a very distinct style, which you will have to adapt to be successful. You should be prepared to interview multiple sources for each story you write and to provide direct quotes. Stories rely on a lead, which both entices the reader and provides the core information about the story. Paragraphs should be short and language simple.

Also expect your work to be edited. Depending on the deadline schedule or the editor's style, you may be edited quite heavily. Other times, your article may simply be cut off at the end. Space is at a premium in newspapers, and each story is carefully budgeted for column space.

Finally, if you are working for a very small newspaper, expect to take your own photos. You don't have to have a professional camera, but you will be responsible for setting up and taking your own photos for your articles. Professional photography experience is not needed.


Don't expect to make hundreds of dollars a week writing for local newspapers. I freelance for two newspapers, and on good months, I can expect to make about $500. Pay is by article, and payment is not made until publication. If your story is cut for space or other reasons, you should be paid a kill fee. This is usually a smaller rate to compensate you for having written the article. Make sure you discuss what the pay scale will be when you begin your contract work with the paper.

Writing for local newspapers can be erratic work, as the news cycle and staffing fluctuations both affect demand. However, maintaining relationships with two to three papers can lead to several hundred dollars of income each month -- or more if you manage to eventually land a gig with a larger metro or even a regional or national paper. Even The New York Times accepts freelancers!

About the Author:

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes on education degree programs and careers, such as a recent piece on broadcast technician jobs. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, playing piano, and working with origami.

Journalistic Writing: Building the Skills, Honing the Craft
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