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,
Deanna

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,

Deanna



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.

Assignments

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.

Pay

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

Saturday, June 4, 2011

GhostBloggers: Writing Site Review

Hi all,

If you enjoy writing articles or blog posts and would like to be paid per article then you may want to consider writing for GhostBloggers. At GhostBloggers, you submit articles/blog posts, use the basic price or set your own price and then wait for the article to sell. Even though GhostBloggers is a very new site, it does has the potential to grow into a good opportunity for freelance writers.


About GhostBloggers

GhostBloggers was recently founded by 22-year old college student Davy Kestens. According to WooRank.com, GhostBloggers is situated in the U.S. in Culver City, California. Although it is a U.S. website, GhostBloggers does accept writers from all over the world as long as they write in perfect English. It is estimated to receive 30,000 – 100,000 visitors a month and has an Alexa rank of 237,567.

Joining GhostBloggers

Joining GhostBloggers is simple – all you need to do is fill in your name and address and set up a username and password. You are accepted immediately and can begin submitting articles. I would suggest visiting their Blog first to read their guidelines for submitting articles.

Writing for GhostBloggers

GhostBloggers wants unique articles only and does not sell reprints. All articles will be placed through the Copyscape plagiarism checker to make sure they are original and also checked for grammar, spelling, etc. The article submission page is very simple to understand. Simply paste your article in it, add a summary and you are done. You can write on almost any topic you wish or choose a topic that has been requested by a customer. You will be notified when your article has been accepted or denied.

Pricing and Payment at GhostBloggers

The pricing of articles is a bit different at GhostBloggers as compared to Constant-Content. You price the articles on a per word basis and you can choose to use their minimum of 3.5 per 100 words or set your own rate. Whatever rate you set your articles at is the price you will receive but GhostBloggers then adds their price onto the article to sell. At the 3.5 rate, a 500 word article would earn you $17.50. If you choose a 4.0 rate, you would earn $20.00. You can go as high as you wish. Once you sign up, you will see the box where you can set your own rate. If you don’t set a rate, you will automatically earn the 3.5/100 word rate.

You can request payment of money owed once your account reaches $50. There is a request tab where you enter your PayPal account so you can be paid. They may have other ways to receive payment, although I didn’t see where you can request a payment by check, money order, etc.

My Opinion of GhostBloggers

GhostBloggers seems like a good starter sight and the owner seems sincere about his wishes for it to continue and grow. There aren’t many articles listed there right now, but that should grow as the year goes on. I did check out a couple of authors there and they have sold articles. The fact that you can set your price per word is a good feature too. I joined the site in order to see all the features but I’m not sure if I will submit any articles. Personally, I like writing for Constant-Content and it has a much bigger client base so selling articles there is easier. But I am going to keep an eye on GhostBloggers and if it looks like its growing, I may submit an article or two just to try it. I do think that for people who are looking for a new site to try, GhostBloggers may be a good one.

If you already write for GhostBloggers, I’d love to hear your opinion on the site.

Happy Writing,

Deanna

Articles That Make Money!: A Business Guide On Article Writing So You Can Learn How To Write Articles That Will Help You Sell Effectively And Also Help You How To Make Money Online


More Articles of Interest:

Writer’s Guidelines for Magazines that Use Freelance Writers


Freelance Writing Opportunities for Online Magazines

Sites that Pay Up-Front for Articles and Blog Posts
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