Writing for a living, in the not too distant past was somewhat of an oxymoron. Before the Internet, freelance writers did not have many options. They submitted their poetry, magazine queries, and book proposals to the major magazines and publishing houses and then played the waiting game for weeks and months just to get an answer, which, far too often consisted of a rejection slip.
Thanks to the Internet there has been a revolution in the world of publishing. Add in the chilling effects of this ‘downturn’ economy that seems to have sucked the life out of almost every industry and you have the perfect storm of opportunity for writers who are ready to blaze their own trail online. In this article we will look at four methods that writers can use to work towards making a full time income from their writing.
If your big dream as a writer is to become a published author, the exposure and name recognition you receive from having a successful online writing business will only help you when it comes time to market your book.
Freelance Article Writing
If you are just getting started as an online writer, article writing is a great place to start. There are billions of web sites on the Internet and they all need fresh, relevant content to keep their readers coming back. Article writing is a great way to generate revenue quickly.
Everyone is an expert at something, so start there. Write up a batch of sample articles on topics that you feel comfortable writing about at first. There are lots of sites online with article writing tutorials, however, Jeff Herring, ‘The Article Guy’ is my favorite. Set up a blog and post your sample articles there for your prospective clients to see. Include your rates, and as you complete work for a client be sure to ask for a testimonial that you can put on your site. Social proof is very powerful.
Doing article marketing for your own site is another way to generate traffic, back links and establish you as an expert in your niche. Set up a schedule and submit a few fresh articles per week to the article directories and watch your numbers consistently rise over time. Caroline Middlebrook has a great post on her blog that addresses article marketing in depth.
Find creative ways to maximize the value of the content that you create when you write articles. Create PLR (private label rights) packs of articles that you can sell. You can read your article and record it and sell it as an audio article. Create a short video with your article and share it on youtube.com or one of the other video sites to get traffic for your blog.
Additionally, you can begin to write and sell eBooks. An eBook is really just a compilation of several articles on the same topic. You’ll have to add in transitions and make it flow, but they are not difficult to write. Always brand them with a link back to your site and they will also provide some ongoing traffic for you.
Create a Mailing List
Set up an opt-in box above the fold on your blog and offer a free subscription to your newsletter and rss feed. Consider offering a bonus gift as an incentive for subscribers. Use your newsletter to share news and information with your subscribers, and when you begin to create your own products you can introduce them to your list.
Set up a profile on Facebook and Twitter.com, and some of the other social media sites to gain exposure for your writing. You can also gain credibility for yourself as an author by sharing tips and resources with your followers. Participating in social networking also helps to ensure a steady stream of traffic and links to your site.
Joint ventures are an effective way to grow your list, gain new customers and develop strategic relationships with other writers or Internet marketers. Find other newsletter publishers who will promote your blog or products in their newsletter for a percentage of sales. This needs to be a win-win proposal, so provide the publisher with a free copy of your product so that they can review it and recommend it to their list.
Finally, enjoy the process. You will learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t work as you go along. Keep good records and through trial and error, you will come up with a system that works for you. Align yourself with others who have already achieved what you are working towards and get advice and guidance from them. Never stop reading and researching and expanding your knowledge base. Ultimately, success comes to those who simply hang in there and don’t give up.