Is There A Budding Non-Fiction EBook Writer In You?

It might as well be titled “How To Write EBooks That Sells Like Hotcakes And Takes Less Time To Write.”

EBooks have exploded like a clap of thunder that reverberated throughout the entire digital world. Now, readers of all ages can pick up an eBook and dive into an author’s imaginary world or seek solace in another author’s words of comfort or encouragement.

One of the more explosive types of eBooks is the non-fiction eBooks. Authors, established or otherwise are putting their knowledge, experience, memoirs and expertise into an electronic book that people can learn from, take heed from, be aware of and acquire a great amount of information. But are people buying? The answer appears to be, yes.

Many people spend lots of money on non-fiction eBooks for whatever reason they may have. For me, I like reading eBooks. If I find one, I order and click download! It’s that easy. In a few seconds, there’s this beautiful page on my screen with about a hundred pages.

Now for the real test

Did I just purchase a masterpiece with real substance and life lessons? Or did I just download a piece of already-known and been-there-done-that material?

Looking at it, I realize Maybe, I can write better than this so-called author! But could I? Do I have what it takes to write a thought-provoking cathartic eBook? Maybe all it takes are just a few writers tips on how to start with that non-fiction eBook.

  1. Set the environment and the mood

It’s easy to get distracted by just about anything these days. And unless you own a nice little log cabin up in the woods where you can be distraction-free, you have to make your own serene environment.

  1. Don’t show me the money

Cuba Gooding Jr. would love for us to show him the topics that would bring in the big bucks. But it might be one that’s already been written about every single week, like diet books or the benefits of green tea. It’s not always about the money.

Write about topics you consider yourself as a mini-expert or topics you love writing about. If you’re an animal-lover, how about an animal reincarnation topic? Remember, consider your target audience. Is there one?

  1. Do your homework and research

If you’re stumped at topics, go to your favorite blogs or E-zines. That should give you a lightbulb. Once you’ve decided on a topic, you still need to do your research. You never know the little bits of extra information and fact-checking could do.

A good research will come up with correct facts and statistics. Know which ones sound fictitious and which ones seem legit. Some authors will create impact-sounding data but were all made up.

But don’t overdo the research. You could be giving your readers an information overload that they can’t handle. Plus too much research could eat up most of your writing time.

Your research should also include eBooks with the same topics as yours. Check out the competition and scan the table of contents. You will find ideas to focus on, avoid and even add.

  1. Composition 101

We’ve all been taught back in high school: before doing your composition, create an outline. Break it down to about 10 to 15 short chapters rather that 5 lengthy ones.

  1. Still stuck

If you’re still at page one, with nothing going through your typing fingers, here’s one of the best writing tips I’ve ever learned: Write your eBook like you were speaking directly to one particular reader. It’s like emailing directly. What would you like to say to him? This person is now your entire target audience. Write as if you were giving this person a private consultation on your topic.

Writers mistakenly think they’re writing for the entire web audience. Unfortunately, it’s not for everybody.

  1. Speaking of relatable…

Another great idea is making your topic relatable to your audience. People love reading about the rags-to-riches journey of a young tycoon. How did he do it? Who didn’t make a successful attempt at a business? People want to emulate how a drop-out made his first million but they also want to know how to avoid a failed one.

  1. Timing is everything

Sometimes, your topic should coincide with a major event or breaking news. You could ride on this wave and get in on the free buzz. Think like a newspaper’s features editor and come up with material that is timely. Hollywood loves doing this. Horror movies come out in October while Christmas-themed movies come before the year ends. It’s almost the holidays, you could write about thanksgiving turkey alternatives to non-cooks.

  1. Make it personal, make it funny

It’s less taxing if you make it personal. There’s less research involved. Add an embarrassing event or an emotional period in your life.

You could also make it funny. They say comedy is no laughing matter because it’s hard to be funny. If you can’t be hilarious, at least be witty. Everybody loves a few snickers.

  1. And finally

A good writer creates some sort of relationship with his readers. Make them come back for more of your writing just like a child coming back for more of grandma’s pudding.

Remember, a quality product will sell if it is well written. Your eBook’s merits will give you a satisfaction that you’ve offered honest value-for-money material. Try it out and see what eBook you can come up with. And don’t forget to cross your fingers.

5 Key Practices That Turn a Freelance Writer’s Business into an Inexhaustible Gold Mine

Most people who are thinking about turning their passion for words into the foundation of a lucrative career tend to believe that becoming a successful freelance writer is all about having a sharp pen backed by years of experience in this field, great connections, a killer portfolio and the right degree.

In reality, newcomers can get closer to achieving this goal by simply learning how to look for jobs matching their skills and expertise, how to get them, and how to work on their relationship with new and existing clients. Once they reach this level, they get hooked on writing, and think about ways in which they could tap into their lifelong hobby and turn it into a rewarding business opportunity.

5 Practices That You Should Embrace to Achieve Entrepreneurial Success as a Writer

If you have the same goal in mind, here are 5 key practices that you should focus on to take your writing business to the next level, and avoid the most common pitfalls of freelancing, such as getting stiffed, dealing with the horrifying deadline panic, or living from paycheck to paycheck.

  1. Become a Cash Flow Yoga Practitioner. Unfortunately, very few freelancers know how to manage their resources wisely, and even fewer think about saving for a rainy day. After all, why put some money aside for an unforeseen situation that may never arise, when you can spend all your money in one place and feel like you have finally reached heaven for a few hours, right? Wrong! As a matter of fact, lack of financial planning can get you in trouble in no time, especially when you are your own CFO.

The ant and the grasshopper fable shows us just how important it is to work hard and plan ahead to be able to survive in times of hardship. Follow the example set by the hardworking ant to become a skilled, cautious cash flow yoga practitioner: put away a significant percentage of your monthly earnings to maintain your comfortable lifestyle during periods when you won’t be able to get enough work.

Ideally, you should create a business savings account to deposit your economies and make sure you’ll be able to count on enough funds to cover your costs during times with little to no work. In addition, you could also opt for projects with shorter deadlines to get more cash rapidly, while expanding the timeline for paying vendors and bills-if possible. This strategy called cash flow yoga could help you manage your resources more efficiently and avoid running out of money right after getting paid.

  1. Keep Up the Good Work. Many newcomers who are testing the waters of freelancing and don’t know much about a writer’s business may find it difficult to focus on project execution and marketing at the same time. In other words, while working on writing projects they’ve already got, they no longer focus on strategies meant to recurring revenue.

This way, when they complete and submit their work, they realize that they can’t count on any new gigs and clients, simply because they have put their marketing efforts on hold to direct all their time and energy towards their clients’ assignments.

Fortunately, this crisis situation can be prevented and addressed by working with a salesperson, or staying active on multiple online platforms especially designed for freelance writers looking for work. By scheduling time for networking and pitching your work to new prospective clients, you could escape the vicious feast and famine cycle, and boost your productivity and profit margins at the same time.

  1. Stay Organized. Many freelance writers are unable to make their deadlines less stressful simply because they do not know how to schedule their assignments and prioritize their work. For this reason, several aspects of their business suffer, including the overall project execution, marketing tactics, and relationship with clients. Avoid this mistake by exploring different methods to stay organized. Become more self-disciplined by using calendars and creating to-do lists, or rely on state-of-the-art project management online software to stay on track with your freelancing goals.
  2. Work on Your Accounting Skills. Most freelance writers are deeply intimidated by the most basic accounting tasks, simply because they never actually paid too much attention to these simple processes. The fact that you’re so good with words doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re terrible with numbers. This being said, here are a few key steps that you should take when it comes to doing accounting and protecting the future of your business:
  • Create separate business and personal accounts to keep track of your monthly expenses and revenues; this will help you avoid mixing pleasure with business, and evaluate the profitability of your new venture in a more objective manner
  • Track your bills regularly to make certain that you are being paid correctly and on time by your clients. Keep in mind that you could avoid penalties and manage your cash flow with more ease by simply paying your estimated taxes quarterly.
  • Even though you could always use a wide range of free and paid accounting tools to keep your books in order, don’t hesitate to rely on the advice and professional services of an accountant who could help you manage your resources in a more effective manner, and also unlock the benefits of retirement plans especially designed for entrepreneurs.
  1. Explore New Methods to Simplify Your Work. We all know that a successful writer’s business involves several key tasks, including scheduling, accounting and marketing, which could eat up most of your time and energy. So the question is this: how could you handle all these important assignments without lowering the quality and quantity of your work? Here are a few suggestions that you may find helpful:
  • Consider outsourcing. By subcontracting the execution of some of your projects, or outsourcing marketing, you could save a significant amount of time. Handling over certain responsibilities to a third party may actually lead to considerable increases in terms of productivity.
  • Rely on technology meant to improve your workflow. Use a myriad of online tools to schedule tasks, store your work in the cloud, work remotely with partners and clients, and find inspiration for your ongoing content creation endeavors. These days, there are several tools that you could use to simplify any work-related task that may cross your mind-from research to client relationship management and everything in between; therefore, do not hesitate to use these vital aids to improve your productivity and boost your earnings.
  • Lastly, count on the services provided by lawyers and accountants to avoid rooky mistakes that could threaten the future of your freelance writing business.

Proper Planning and Consistency Are the Key to Running a Successful Writer’s Business

Creating and running a profitable freelance writing business is not as difficult as it may seem, especially when you know how to set your priorities straight, manage your resources, and make the most of accessible technology and new business opportunities to fuel your growth. What other foolproof freelance practices and writer’s business growth tips would you recommend to your fellow writers? Let us know in a comment below.

A Copywriter’s Guide to the Galaxy of Satisfied Customers

Is the power of persuasion a myth? How do we get people to actually say yes (or no) to a product, a service or an idea? Like moths to a flame, how do we attract people and be glued to our every word? Let’s begin with these writer tips and tricks to keeping your customers convinced of your product and at the same time persuading those on the fence to jump in.

Make them “feel”

A good copywriter knows how to make his readers “feel.” Have you seen videos of epic fails where a skateboarder tries a jump but fails? Or someone swinging on a rope tied to a tree then the inevitable tree branch-breaking, man-falls-to-ground scenario happens. Did you feel their pain?

If you read a description of the same video, would it have the same effect on you? The answer is – IT SHOULD! Why? Because writers have to make their readers feel something when they read about your product. The right words will send a surge of emotions in them.

Copywriters must know how to keep the customers’ emotions while glued to your every word like a spy-thriller novel. Write directly to the readers’ feelings and not cram them down their throats.

If you’re selling apple pies, you need to summon memories of grandma’s home cooked kitchen. Like that scene where Anton Ego got transported back to his childhood with mommy’s comfort food of ratatouille.

Not all savings comparisons are good

Do not “sell” the idea of saving money. Rather, give them the idea that what you are selling is “time.” Time is probably one of the scarcest of resources. Once you’ve lost it, it’s gone! This scarcity is what makes it more meaningful to customers.

Like Mastercard and their “Priceless” ads. They make you feel that time with family, friends, colleagues or time alone doing anything wacky under the sun, is indeed priceless and that a certain amount of time should be spent and spent well. This personal experience with spending time incites personal feelings and eventually more purchases.

Present the flaws rather than the “perfections”

One mistake that copywriters love to do is forgetting to be credible. They write about their products and the promises they claim. But customers nowadays are information-junkies. If you don’t provide the answers to their future questions, customers will just gloss over them and not be curious.

For example, you might want to say upfront, “If you’re worried about the safety features…” This addresses a concern and by stating it for them, you’re already putting an issue into the spotlight. So don’t go flowery with words of perfect or best opportunity. Address concerns and give your assurances with facts about your product.

Words of Power

Verbs can be more powerful than adjectives. Just ask college students writing admission letters to someone deciding their future. They recommend action words rather than the vain-inducing adjectives. Forget the “talented, hard-working and industrious.” I’d rather admit who “founded a budding start-up in less than a year” or who “heads a small volunteer group.” Describe what you actually do than stringing up a list of adjectives of what you are.

Copywriters! Use verbs, not adjectives!

While verbs may be good, you should also use power words that have more lure. Words like:

  • You or that person’s name (the most beautiful sound)
  • New words: Introducing, Unique
  • Urgency words: Now, Hurry
  • Reassuring words: Proven, Tested
  • Caring words: Love, Family
  • Money-saving words: Free, Cheap

And finally, tell a good story

Nothing can keep you up late at night better than a good story. We love the way stories transport us to another place and time – no sales pitches, no infomercials. Use metaphors and irony. Your readers will have that “Oh, now I get it!” moment. Use more details to make your writing vividly clear that your readers feel like they are actually in the moors in Wuthering Heights, or that they hear the haunting sound of Captain Corelli’s mandolin. And finally, let your readers finish your story by making them want to know the ending. This means writing to catch their attention until the very end.

These are just a few but very useful writing tips that will hopefully bring out the best copywriter in you.

A Freelance Writer’s Confessions: How I Stay Focused and Use My Time Efficiently

As a freelance writer, you probably have to manage several projects at a time, don’t you? And it can be tough when the latest YouTube fitness video catches your eye, or there are hilarious doggy memes to scroll through, can’t it?

When I have a couple of different projects on the go, I find it helps to have a checklist of steps to manage my workload. Let me share my checklist with you.

  1. Create a Schedule

This is the easiest way to keep on top of things, but when you have a few projects to work on at a time, keeping track of your deadlines is not enough. I keep a simple spreadsheet of my main deadlines, and then I set smaller deadlines for myself for each step of the project, like creating a plan and outline, doing research, putting the first draft together, and so on. This helps me avoid trying to finish everything on the day the project is due.

I go one step further here and set a schedule for work times for each part of the project. I block off, say, two or three hours for research, depending on the project, and this helps me stay focused.

If I really have a lot on my plate, I find the Google calendar app helps me stay up to date. I set aside a few minutes at the end of my working day to update my lists and calendar so the next day is accounted for and I can sit down and carry on the next morning.

  1. Getting Priorities Right

When I have multiple projects going on, I do find myself bouncing back and forth between tasks to try and get everything done on time. So, I take a deep breath and prioritize each of the steps I set out in point one. I then make sure I finish each step of each project before moving on to the next.

Most of the time, this means I have to start with the things I need from other people – usually that’s a clear brief, any required resources, and any necessary collaborations. It can take time for people to get back to you, so while I’m waiting for that I start doing my research. This way, I get all the information I need together well before the deadline and still leave time to follow up with contacts.

Then, I set to work on projects according to due date or the intensity of the piece – whichever works well with the current workload.

  1. Keep Organized

I find it’s easy to feel scattered when there’s a lot going on, especially working from home when there are chores to be done, a family to look after, and deadlines to meet. By keeping organized I don’t have to spend a second searching for notes and I greatly minimize my stress levels.

I keep all my folders on my laptop clearly labeled and even assign individual folders to each client and project. It’s as easy as that!

  1. Start As Soon As Possible

Never wait until the day before, or worse, the day of a deadline to start, especially when your schedule is full. You never know what hurdles you could come across and starting early can help minimize surprises sneaking up on you the day before a big deadline.

I like to start my projects early so I can work through my ideas while driving around, doing the housework, or cooking dinner. That way, I keep working through my plan before I even sit down to write.

  1. Batching The Work

Batching the work helps keep me productive and focused. I try to work on specific pieces of projects on the same day, instead of sitting down and trying to complete the entire thing at once. For instance, if I need to make calls, I schedule them for the afternoon so I can do them all in one go and not interrupt my writing time. It also means I get to write down all the interview questions in one preparation session.

What’s important here is to understand when your energy is at its best. For instance, I find it a breeze to conduct a couple of interviews in one day, but I certainly can’t schedule several different writing projects in a single day – that requires a high-intensity of focus and energy.

  1. Staying Focused

When I block off time for each project, I make sure that time is dedicated to the project so that I can create quality work. In other words, I only do what I have scheduled at that time. I shut down my email programs, switch off my phone, and don’t go near social media. I also don’t put a single thought into another project, remaining focused on that one item that I have scheduled.

If a genius idea does happen to pop into my head for another project, I make a quick note and come back to it later.

Final Word

Getting your priorities right and finding a good way to balance multiple projects is difficult at first, but with the above techniques and enough practice, it does get easier. In fact, you’ll find yourself finishing work on time, at a high quality, and still have time for a glass of wine and a chapter of the latest thriller!

How to Put Together a Portfolio and Attract More Clients

For any inexperienced freelance writer, the road to hell is paved with unsuccessful attempts to attract a plethora of deep-pocketed clients. We get it: you’re talented. Your pen is sharp, and you have the time, energy and talent to fill hundreds of pages, give out expert writers’ tips, and help other people promote their products and grow their businesses with ease. So why isn’t your phone ringing?

Why Are You Still Struggling to Make Ends Meet?

Why are you still contemplating the idea of doing pro bono work just to make a name for yourself and get the attention of the biggest fish in your pond? Why are you still willing to accept ridiculously low amounts of money for your work against your better judgment, defying your talent, skills and everything that you stand for as a freelance writer? Maybe you settle for less than you actually deserve because you don’t know how to use the best customer bait possible to boost your revenues and expand your client database. In this case, you should start by following the best writers’ tips on creating a killer portfolio designed to showcase your most amazing accomplishments.

How to Create a Decent Portfolio as a Novice Writer

By creating and displaying a perfectly organized, overall impressive portfolio, you can build credibility and trust, and land more customers that are more likely to pay the right price for your quality writing.

4 Tips on How to Impress Your Clients with a Great Portfolio

No experience to brag about? No worries! Here are 4 simple tips that you can follow to make an awesome first impression and stun your potential clients with an awe-inspiring collection of your written masterpieces.

  1. Play the Diversity Card. If you want to attract a larger segment of high paying clients, be ready to cater to the needs of a bigger audience. Learn how to write a number of content pieces that are in high demand in the content marketing industry today, including press releases, articles, eBooks and blog posts. This way, no new client requests will ever take you by surprise, since you will be ready to accept bigger, more complex, and better paid assignments.
  2. Create Portfolio Pieces Matching Your Skills, Expertise and Interests. You know what they say: practice makes perfect. Even when you start small and only a couple of paying clients come knocking on your door you can still put together an astonishing portfolio by working on your personal brand. Via a professional looking website and/or blog, you can support your self-branding efforts. Express your personality, personal preferences, style and work-related interests through the content pieces that will go on your website; this is a great way to reveal your determination, talent and passion for quality writing. At the end of the day, based on our writers’ insight we can tell you that these articles and blog posts can serve as first-hand portfolio pieces, and may even help you identify and pursue new business opportunities.
  3. Get Ready for Face-to-Face Meetings. Online samples are great when you can send them to clients over the Internet, or invite them to analyze them on a computer screen. Nonetheless, at some point in your life, you may have to prepare yourself for a less conventional face-to-face meeting with potential clients, taking place in a gadget-less environment without internet access. In this case, a physical portfolio would definitely come in handy. Therefore, don’t limit your options. Select samples of your best writing (less than 10 pieces), print them on quality paper, make several copies, and keep all these materials in a two-pocket portfolio. While working on your samples of choice, you may want to leave out any dispensable design elements that could distract your potential clients from the real substance of your writing.
  4. Prove the Efficiency of Your Writing. While certain types of bells and whistles can enchant the eye and prove your talent as a writer, as a content creator you need more than a few stylistic adornments to create a positive impression and land a new paying client. This happens for a very simple reason: high-paying clients want results. They want to make sure that your writing will lead to increased sales and a bigger profit. Therefore, in order to attract more clients and convince prospects that you are the best candidate for their content marketing job, attach any piece of evidence showing how your writing has helped pas clients achieve their specific marketing goals. Content audit results, client reviews and testimonials are only a few elements that could easily help you separate yourself from wannabe writers, and get one step closer to the employment opportunities and rates matching your skills and expertise.

Bottom Line: Let Your Portfolio Speak for You

Landing the job of your dreams becomes an easy task when your pitch efforts are backed by an outstanding portfolio. What kind of tricks and tips do you use to turn your portfolio pieces into a magnet for potential buyers? What kind of portfolio management and upgrade strategies do you employ to stay relevant and competitive on your niche, as a freelance writer? Please let us know your thoughts in a comment below.