How To Be A Successful Writer

If you’re reading this you’re probably hankering after becoming a writer. You probably fancy earning your living from writing. You probably dream about seeing your work in print and, of course, making money from it.

But is it really practical? Could you actually make it as a writer? Well, here are a few tips that I hope will help you along:

Start part time. It could take a year, maybe two or three to build up a reasonable income from writing so starting part time, perhaps alongside another job, is a great idea. Oddly, when you don’t need the money from writing it’s easier to write and be inspired.

Get known for something. Specialise in a particular type of writing, a particular subject/genre or a particular style. There are thousands of writers out there and doing this will help you stand out above the crowd.

Promote yourself. Big name writers have publicists or PR agencies who help keep their name in the news. You can do this yourself, in a smaller way. Set up a blog and post to it regularly. Use Twitter and Facebook. Offer yourself for interviews on whatever you want to write about in the media.

Here’s another reason why this is a good idea: You might actually get offered writing assignments, rather than having to ask for them.

Do more writing. Obvious perhaps, but often overlooked by new writers. But the more pieces of writing, synopses or ideas you send to publishers the better your chances of success.

Consider self publishing. This is a great way of showcasing yourself and your writing. It will help your name get known and also, once you’ve been published once, it’s much easier to get published again and again. Even if you don’t make a lot of money from it (and you might!) it should at least cover costs.

Here’s an article about self publishing which you might find useful: Four Different Ways To Self Publish

Keep at it …. and don’t be put off! It takes a lot longer to get yourself known as a writer than you might think …. which is why it’s a good idea to start part time. Don’t get disheartened by rejections along the way – the more rejections you suffer the closer you are getting to getting published.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful. If you have, please take a look round my site and find out more about how I can help you start and succeed as a writer.

Happy writing!

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Some Tips for Aspiring Travel Writers

By Guest Blogger Roy Stevenson of PitchTravelWrite.com

I’ve been a full time professional freelance writer for nine years. My early successes were modest, although I’ve never had any problems finding print outlets for my stories. As my bylines increased and as I’ve moved up the writing pyramid, my income has increased significantly, now even bordering on the respectable.

I started out by writing for print outlets like magazines, newspapers, and trade journals, with the occasional in-flight and on-board publication thrown in. And I still write for some of my better-paying print outlets because I enjoy writing in this field (and get some cool press trips out of it). I’ve also dabbled in copywriting and have even written a couple of booklets for businesses.

But, most important to me, I’ve finally managed to create a writing business that is portable. In other words, I can work from anywhere in the world that has good Internet access. It’s just as well that I can work remotely, because a large portion of my income is from travel writing. I’m on the road a lot—in some years, I travel as many as 150 days. With this fun profession, I’ve been on some marvelous press trips to many exotic destinations around the world.

Here are some of my observations about, and some advice for, aspiring travel writers who are considering entering this competitive arena and who want to set up their own travel website or blogsite business. However, before the rest of you freelance writers turn away, this advice is just as applicable to general freelance writing.

Sell Your Own Products and Services

When I launched my PitchTravelWrite.com travel writer’s website, I only had one eBook for sale. However, over the past year I’ve added 6 more, with plans for at least another half dozen “how to” eBooks. As my product offerings have increased, so has my income. I just wish I had more eBooks available when I first started my website.

I have also added writing coaching services and some travel writing marketing workshops to my repertoire, which are showing great promise and contributing significantly to my income.

What I’ve Learned: Make sure you have some solid products and services to sell when you first start your blog or website—the more products and services, the better.

Deliver High Quality Copy on Your Website or Blog site

The owners of many websites and blog sites slap anything they can get their hands on, up on their websites and blog sites. These sites are easy to distinguish because they’re agonizing to read and you lose your interest within the first few paragraphs. And, worse, you never return to these sites again.

Considering that half the battle to getting good traffic to your website or blog site is keeping readers coming back time after time, it’s critical that your content is top notch, versus reading like it was written for a content mill.

What I’ve Learned: Create good, actionable content that people will want to read in your specialty field. Don’t be tempted to post mediocre content because your readers will vote with their feet, and won’t return.

Stay Up With Ever-Changing and Fluid Online Writing Developments

A few years ago the travel writers and bloggers who were earning a good income were doing so through click-throughs and ads. Then along came Google’s new algorithms, which decimated these writer’s incomes. In their heyday, most of these blog sites and websites were doing so well that they never bothered adding a newsletter and building a subscriber base. And now they’re starting from scratch along with those of us who have entered the fray more recently.

What I’ve Learned: Making a living online now requires multiple streams of income and is in a constant state of flux. Consider offering some kind of coaching, putting on workshops, selling eBooks and white papers, and other products and services to bring in a steady income.

In Travel Writing Print is still the King for Those Sweet Press Trips!

Most travel bloggers gravitate towards blogging because there is no editor to screen their queries, and no editor to make them rewrite their stories. So it’s dead easy to publish your own stories online. But the downside of writing solely for the Internet is that you don’t get paid directly. Print still pays!

What I’ve Learned: Even though much of my income is derived from the Internet, I still write for print outlets to earn a solid income.

Make Money Writing welcomes interesting and useful guest posts from writers and would-be writers. If you have an idea for a guest post get in touch using the Contact page. If you’re interested in making money from travel writing, why not take a closer look at our Travel Writing Course?

 

Posted in Travel writing, Uncategorized
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Writing Competitions: Why Enter, And How To Maximise Your Chances Of Winning A Writing Competition

As a writer, or would be writer, you’ve probably seen writing competitions advertised, and you may even have thought about entering a writing competition. In this report I’ll look at entering writing competitions and how you can boost your chances of winning more competitions.

First, what are the benefits of entering writing competitions?

You get your work published.

If you win a writing competition you almost always get your work published. Sometimes, you get your work published as a runner-up too, or sometimes just for entering.

And that means you’re entitled to call yourself a published author. I can’t stress enough how much easier it is to get published again once you’ve been published once.

You expose your work to a wide audience.

Your work will come to the attention of many more people due to the fact many more people read work that is published as a result of being entered in a competition. And that audience could include useful and influential people, such as well known writers, editors, publishers and reviewers.

Most useful of all, you could even find a publisher as a result of entering a competition!

The money …. and other benefits!

Many writing competitions offer review, criticism and advice from experts which could be priceless. Also don’t forget the prize money. Even winning a few small, lesser known competitions which might only have small prize money could easily cover your  pocket expenses for the whole year.

So how can you maximise your chances of winning that writing competition?

* Focus on entering the right types of writing competitions. That is those which are looking for the types of writing you feel you are best at. Don’t waste time entering contents for types of writing you don’t feel that confident about.

* Know the difference between a writing competition and a literature competition. Writing competitions are usually for popular fiction and the emphasis must be on the plot. Literature competitions, on the other hand, are looking for creativity, clever use of language and a real depth to your writing.

*Try and be different. Even if the subject for the competition is closely stipulated. Avoid clichés at all costs.

* Know your judges. If the judges are established writers, which they often are, look at what they themselves have written and write accordingly. It’s inevitable that entries which chime most closely with their type of writing will receive a more favourable reception.

* Follow the rules exactly. Not just those on type of work and length but on presentation and submission too. In the event of a tie-breaker these can be used to disqualify entries.

* Proofread, proofread and proofread again. Typos make an entry stand out for all the wrong reasons and, again, could just tip the balance in a tie-breaker.

One last very good reason for entering as many writing competitions …. you stand a very good chance of winning. Many writing competitions, especially lesser known ones, don’t attract as many entries as you might think. If only a few hundred people enter the odds of winning are pretty good …. far, far superior to winning the lottery for example!

Posted in authors, novel writing
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How To Find A Publisher For Your Book

Finding a publisher isn’t the same as actually getting a publisher! Before you can get a publisher you need to actually find them in the first place! In this bulletin, I’ll look at the various methods you can use to draw up a long list of publishers who might be interested in publishing your book.

Using an agent. If you have an agent (or plan on getting one) then they should have a good idea of who might publish your book. And, even better, they might have an existing relationship with a publisher who would be interested in your book. Most will be happy to have an informal chat about whether they’re in touch with possible publishers or, if not, who might be suitable for you.

Don’t rely entirely on an agent, however. As they don’t know you or your work at this stage they can’t possibly know all the publishers who might want to publish it. Do your own research as well.

Who publishes your favourite author? This is a very good place to start. There’s a chance they could be interested in publishing your book too …. assuming you’re planning on writing the same kind of book and/or on the same genre of course.

Who publishes similar books? Approaching publishers who publish books that are similar to yours is, I think, the very best way of finding a publisher for it.

The secret to making this work is to do painstaking research: Go to the largest bookshop you can find and look for books on the same subject. Make a note of the publishers. Search using a library catalogue. Also ask the bookshop/library staff if they can point you in the direction of publishers who publish, say, period drama or IT books or whatever it is you plan to write on.

Remember that nowadays many bookshops only have a very restricted selection of books actually on the shelves. It’s also highly advisable to check online sellers as well. Searching for similar books using the Amazon catalogue is one method to try.

Who’s new in the business/in that genre? Try to find out about any new publishers who’ve recently started publishing in that field, new or existing. These publishers are likely to be looking to expand their list quickly and be more amenable to new books from new writers.

Don’t forget overseas publishers. Today publishing is a global business. The perfect publisher for your book could well be in another country. Publishers are normally very happy to publish a book from an author abroad, assuming it is right for their list. In fact, it can be a positive advantage when approaching them.

But what if you’ve tried all these methods …. and still can’t find publishers who might be interested in your book? Then, if you really want to get published, it’s time to be a little devious! Change your book or book idea so that it fits in with what the publishers you’ve researched are likely to be interested in!

Posted in publishing, writing
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Six Ideas For Your First Romantic Fiction Novel

Romantic fiction is such a large genre within the fiction writing world that is it split into several individual sub-genres.

Here are six ideas for your first (or next) romantic fiction novel:

* Period romance. These are set in a distinct period of history – for example, the American Civil War, World War II, Georgian or Victorian (all of which are incredibly popular).

Bone up on your history before you plot your plot!

* Suspense. With these your story is played out amidst a tense background, perhaps involving crime or a thriller, or even supernatural or science-fiction.

* Young adult, firmly pitched at the 13-16 age group with an appropriate storyline.

* Erotic fiction. These are sexually explicit to a lesser or greater extent (usually greater). There’s a huge following for this type of romantic fiction. But study your intended market carefully to pitch the level just right.

* Workplace romance. Romantic fiction set in the workplace – girl meets boy at the water cooler type stories. Very popular and often incorporate big city lifestyles and glamorous dream jobs.

* Fantasy fiction. Girl meets boy in a humdrum situation and sets off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Shirley Valentine anyone?

By and large your romantic novel or short story should stay clearly within the sub-genre of your choice.

Also, not all romantic publishers publish every type of romantic fiction. Most romantic fiction publishers specialise in just one or at most a few limited types of romantic fiction, not anything and everything. So before you get started check out which and how many publishers might be interested in your story.

If you’re interested in writing romantic fiction then short stories offer a fairly quick and easy way to get started. My short story writing course could be a good starting point. More details here: Short story writing course.

Posted in authors, fiction writing, romantic fiction
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Copyright for Writers: 7 Important Things To Know About Copyright

As a writer, you need to know where you stand as regards the copyright in your work. So let’s look at some of the most important issues surrounding copyright.

First of all, what is copyright?

Quite simply, copyright is your legal right to be identified as the writer of your work (it also applies to photos and artwork etc.) and the right to benefit from the exploitation of that work, eg. publishing it.

Strictly to qualify for copyright your work should be regarded as original, and exhibit a degree of labour, skill or judgement. Note that mere ideas (even good ones!) are not copyright.

How do you establish copyright …. and how long does it last?

Copyright in a piece of writing work automatically exists and belongs to the writer the minute it is written. It lasts until 70 years after the writer’s death (not 70 years after the work was written).

One important exception: If you write something in the course of your job the copyright will normally belong to your employer, not to you.

Copyright notices

There is no requirement to mark your work with a copyright notice, although you can do so if you wish. The internationally recognised copyright symbol – © – followed by your name is perfectly adequate.

Registering your copyright

In the UK (check if elsewhere) you don’t need to register your copyright, and indeed there is no official ‘copyright registration office’ where you can do this.

Some people suggest mailing a copy of your work to yourself using registered mail and keeping the unopened envelope should you need to prove in future that you wrote the work. (Legally it is probably pointless however. What’s to say you didn’t mail yourself an empty envelope and seal it later?)

Legal deposit

If you are the publisher of your book – that is the publisher, not just the author – you are legally required to send copies of your book to the various copyright deposit libraries in the UK. The legal deposit office of the British Library can provide more information on this.

Publishers and copyrights

It’s worth noting that when a publisher publishes your work and pays you a fee or a royalty for it the copyright stays with you. Your publisher is merely paying for the right to publish your work. Publishing contracts will not normally expect you to give the publisher copyright. Although – if you wish to – you can sell or assign your copyright to a publisher or anyone else for a fee.

Copyright infringement

Should you find this has happened it’s best to take professional advice on the most appropriate course of action. In reality though, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone will copy your copyright work.

Bear in mind that ‘fair dealing’ rules allow others to copy short pieces of your work for study, teaching, criticism and review – so long as they quote their source. And, in fact, having your work used or shared in this way can be very good publicity for your services as a writer.

Posted in publishing, writing
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How To Edit Your Work …. Make It More Saleable

I know that writers are supposed to write, while editors edit. But the more print-ready you can make your writing the more likely it is to be accepted first time.

Here are a few quick-and-simple editing tips I hope you’ll find handy:

  1. The first thing is to check the length in number of words. You’ll then know whether your editing needs to be pretty heavy, or you can get away with a lighter touch.
  1. Look for points which don’t make sense. It is surprising how many arguments ‘write right’ but then don’t ‘read right’.
  1. Look for points which are not directly related to the subject matter. Have you ‘spun off’ into writing about something else?
  1. Look for points you have repeated without good reason.
  1. Proof read for mistakes in spelling and grammar. Remember that the most glaring mistakes (eg.there used instead of their) are the most difficult to detect. Your spellchecker cannot detect all spelling mistakes!
  1. Proof read once for the technical correctness of the spelling and grammar and then once again for technical correctness of the subject matter.
  1. Finally, check for anything that might have CHANGED in the days (or hours) since you first wrote the story. Make sure your story is as up to date as possible.

 

If you’d like to receive regular tips, advice and information on making money from writing – as well as lots of other writing opportunities – then why not sign up for my regular, free Make Money Writing Newsletter?  Get regular news, tips, advice direct to your inbox. No junk mail! Sign up below.

 

 

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Three Opportunities To Explore In Travel Writing – Articles, Reviews and Guides

There are broadly three main types of travel writing. These are travel articles, travel reviews and travel guides. Here are some more handy pointers if you’d like to get started in writing and selling travel pieces:

Articles

Articles are short pieces of travel writing which are intended to be published by a newspaper or magazine or similar. Traditionally they were for print but increasingly nowadays they may be published electronically. They are typically 300-3,000 words in length or thereabouts.

Reviews

Are short articles giving your opinions on a particular travel destination or facility. This is an area of travel writing that has expanded fast with the expansion of electronic publishing. When written by a professional travel writer they should be objective and informative. They may or may not be critiques. They are typically 100-2,000 words in length.

Guides and Books

Are longer pieces of travel writing giving a more comprehensive description of a country or location. They are typically 25,000 words plus – although shorter guides are found in some niches. They are still mainly print publications but the market for ebooks is growing rapidly at the moment.

You can write any or all of these types of travel writing. However, you should try to keep them distinct in each case. For example, avoid creating a piece of writing that is too long to be an article but not long enough to be a guide – it will be tricky to sell.

Tip: Learn to walk before you try to run! Try writing articles and reviews on your chosen location or type of travel first. If they prove popular consider writing a guide on the same subject.

If you’d like some more help and advice on travel writing why not take a look and see if my travel writing course could be for you?

Posted in articles, guides, reviews, Travel writing
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How To Make Money From Travel Writing

If you fancy having a go at writing then travel writing can be an enjoyable, rewarding way of doing it. As well as the opportunity to travel there’s even the possibility of getting free travel too! Here freelance writer Mark Hempshell of Make-Money-Writing.info shares some tips.

What could you write about ?

Travel readers need up to date information so it’s best to write about somewhere you’ve been recently – or maybe somewhere you’re planning to go this summer.

Bear in mind popular destinations like France and Spain are already well covered, so writing on the more off-the-beaten-track places stands a better chance of getting published. Don’t forget the UK is a big tourist destination so you could write a travel piece on somewhere quite local. Another good idea is to take a destination and then write a themed travel guide, eg. one for history or food lovers, caravanners or for older travellers.

Travel writing is either narrative or journalistic. You can write either, but don’t mix them! Narrative travel tells the story of the writer’s own travels (for example, Bill Bryson style) and is meant to be entertaining. Journalistic travel writing is intended to be a guide and so should be informative.

Writing travel articles

Articles are the easiest kind of travel writing to get started with. They’re bought by national newspapers (most have big travel sections), general interest magazines (women’s magazines are big buyers) and specialised travel magazines. You could also offer articles to airline magazines, cruise magazines, magazines for walkers, hikers and campers and (as I do) overseas living magazines. There are also lots of travel websites who may be interested.

As with all article writing study the publication you want to write for first and make sure your piece fits in with the style and length of article they publish.

Writing travel books and guides

This needs a bit more thought as it will be much longer and more detailed. Plan it out carefully to make sure you know enough about the country/place concerned before you start.

Travel books and guides are produced by both general publishers and specialised travel publishers. Remember travel publishing is global so consider approaching publishers worldwide – names like Fodor’s, Berlitz and Lonely Planet publish in many countries. A look round any large bookshop (or on Amazon) is a good way to track down publishers who might be interested.

I’d recommend you don’t write your book before you’ve found a publisher. First, ask your chosen publishers if they have contributors’ notes which explain what they’re looking for. (If your book is to be part of a series it will need to follow a house style.) Then, write an outline, chapter list and one sample chapter.

You could also consider self publishing your own travel guide on Amazon Kindle.

Travelling free as a travel writer

One of the exciting things about travel writing is that, as well as payment, you may be offered free travel! To do this, you’ll first need to have had a few things published. Then, as each new project comes in ask your publisher for a letter of introduction or accreditation. Send this to travel companies, tour operators and hotel chains and discreetly ask what help they might be able to offer. (You’ll be expected to write about them in a positive light if they provide you with free travel!)

Making money from travel photography

Nothing brings a travel article or guide to life like a photograph. Many travel publishers will pay extra – anything from a little to a lot – if you illustrate your piece. (Although if you’re not a photographer don’t worry, you don’t have to.)

As well as selling your photos to travel publishers also consider posting them to stock photography libraries like iStock (www.istockphoto.com) or Bigstock (www.bigstockphoto.com). With these anyone can buy your photos and you receive a royalty on every sale.

If you’re interested in making money from travel writing, why not take a look at our professional Travel Writing Course?

Posted in Travel writing
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Eek! Six Self Publishing Fails To Avoid

It’s no exaggeration to say that self publishing is the opportunity of the moment for writers right today. More and more authors are discovering the excitement, the fame …. and the money …. that can come from self publishing your own book. But if your self publishing project is to be a success here are six self publishing fails you’ll want to avoid:

* Self publishing just because you can. Just because modern technology makes it fairly easy to self publish a book doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. And, self publishing just because you have an idea, opinion or story you want to put out can be a very frustrating and expensive ego trip.

Always ask yourself …. why do I want to self publish my book?

* Self publishing because you can’t find a publisher. Although this can be a good reason, it can also be a very bad reason. If a publisher doesn’t want your book idea it might be because they know it won’t sell …. and so you’ll struggle to sell it too.

The best self published books are books publishers show an interest in publishing too – it’s just that you prefer to self publish them.

* Self publishing without having a reader in mind. Who do you think will not only be interested in reading your book – but be willing to BUY it too? Before you start writing, always be crystal clear about what sort of person you’re writing for (it’s never just ‘anybody’) and what you hope they’ll get from reading your book.

In particular, if you plan to follow up with more self published titles in future you’ll need to build a loyal following of readers who are eager to read your next book.

* Not having a market in mind. Writing a book and then finding it doesn’t seem to sit well in any particular marketplace. For example, there’s quite a difference between publishing a book that will sell in the bookshops – and a book that will sell on Amazon Kindle.

Think about where you are going to sell your book once it’s finished and, ideally, tailor your book to suit that marketplace.

* Underestimating the amount of publicity you’ll need to do. If your book is to sell in decent quantities you’ll need to do plenty of publicity, and you won’t have either the help of an experienced publisher nor a financial contribution from them to pay for it. So, look at how you’re going to promote your book, and where, and at what sort of budget you have to pay for it.

* Not being professional about production. Normally your publisher will produce your book but with a self published title it’s down to you! Typos, a home made cover design and poor quality paper and print will make your book look amateurish no matter how great the content. Those who sell and read your book shouldn’t be expected to make allowances just because it’s home produced.

If you can’t produce your book professionally yourself find an expert who can help you with it – and allow for the cost of this in your budget.

Here are some related articles on self publishing which you might find useful:

Seven Ebook Platforms You Can Sell Your Book On

Self Publishing On Kindle: Tips For Getting Started

When self publishing can be a good choice

 

 

Posted in authors, self publishing, Uncategorized