Archive | April 2014

Maximize Fiverr! My new book on making easy money with Fiverr.

Maximize Fiverr! My new book on making easy money with Fiverr.

My new book on making easy money with Fiverr!

The method is really effective if you’re a writer, but I talk about ways to make money without skill-based services.

I make around $500 every month with only a few hours a week of actual writing. (Plus I get a variety of jobs, so it stays interesting.) If you’ve been looking for a way to monetize your writing, even at a hobby level, I definitely recommend reading this!

Once you’ve read the book, come back here with any questions and I’ll be glad to offer some “end-user support!”


Why would a content writer hire a content writer?

I’ve run into this situation more than once. An author hires me to write for him or a marketing business hires me to do some of their marketing. At first, it seemed odd to me. Why would a marketing agency outsource its marketing…and more importantly, why would a writer pay someone to write?

For some of you the answer might be apparent. I had to think about it for a while. You see, I’m one of those people that’s obsessed with doing-it-myself. I fix my own car, I tile my own bathroom, I make my own banner ads. If I had a sewing machine, I’d probably make my own clothes. My condition is a mixture of knowing that I can do anything (with the right tools and book or two), a passion for learning new skills and wanting things done exactly how I want them. Hell, this is probably why im single most of the time. It’s so much more effecient to date myself.

However…I’m not normal. One of the lessons I’ve had to learn over the years is that most people pass the work along whenever they can. In fact, I’ve heard that one of the advantages to having money is that you can pay people to do damn near anything for you, leaving your time free to do whatever people with money do (I assume shop for monocles and hunt human beings for sport, but I’ll have to get back to you on that.)

The advantages to outsourcing work:

  • You save time. If you’re already moving on to your next project, you don’t want to waste time writing ad copy for the thing you just finished.
  • You don’t have to worry about it. You’re stressed enough after finishing that novel and you just want to relax before your next manuscript is due.
  • You don’t have to learn a new set of skills. Some people don’t want to research media kits for a week just because they need to make one. If you can afford it, it’s easier to pay someone that does it for a living to make it for you.
  • It lends a different voice to the work. Sometimes it pays when your web content looks unique from your blog or fiction writing.
  • It can be hard to write something that touches close to home. One of the hardest things about writing my media kit and promotion materials was writing about myself as if I weren’t myself.

With this new information and a growing business, I’ve started outsourcing as well. I’ve hired people to do some of my graphic design work…and it was for a reason not listed above. I genuinely liked their work and didn’t want to try to duplicate it myself.

What this boils down to is:

  1. While it’s likely not going to be your target market, don’t pass up on advertising your services to industry contemporaries.
  2. Don’t be ashamed to outsource some of your work. At some point, it will become more profitable anyway, so you might as well get used to it.

For instance, I charge about $50 to write and publish press releases. You can certainly write your own and publish them yourself, but you would have to invest the hours needed to write it, create accounts with the various PR services, and you might even have to research how to write one before you even get started. If you take more four hours to do all of this, you probably would have been better off hiring a service to do it for you. Time is an investment, same as money, and they are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Think about it next time you need a marketing or graphic design task taken care of. As a writer, is your time better spent learning how to complete the task and doing it yourself…or is it better spent writing?

The first few pages…

I’ve had to slack on this blog, as I’ve been overwhelmed with commercial orders and various life issues. I’ve tried to pencil in time to keep reading before bed, though, and in starting the book “How to Read Novels Like a Professor” by Thomas C. Foster, I’ve found something worth sharing.

The first chapter (on first pages) states:
We need first pages -and so do novelists. Right from the top, a novel starts working its magic on readers. Perhaps more remarkably, readers also begin working their magic on the novel. The beginning of the novel is, variously, a social contract negotiation, an invitation to dance, a list of rules of the game, and a fairly complex seduction.

The reason why the first few pages of a novel is a seduction, Foster explains, is because the writer is asking the reader for a large time commitment without giving much of a guarantee of what’s in it for them. He goes on to say that the very first line is immensely important because it must pique the interest of the reader and deliver some promise that there is a worthwhile story to follow.

What else does the first page contain, besides the hook? Foster points out 18(!) things:

  1. Style: How the story is written in a technical sense. Short sentences, modifiers, etc.
  2. Tone: Is it ironic? Matter-of-fact?
  3. Mood: How does the voice “feel” about the story it’s telling? Guilty? Angry?
  4. Diction: What kind of words are used? Complicated? Simple? Challenging or rare?
  5. Point of View: This is obvious, but it has a huge effect. (See: how I refuse to read anything in first-person present tense.)
  6. Narrative Presence: Who is telling the story and how do they fit in?
  7. Narrative Attitude: How does the person telling the story feel about the characters and events?
  8. Time Frame: When is it happening?
  9. Time Management: How fast or slow will time progress in this story?
  10. Place: Setting (locale) plus the environmental impact of that locale on the story/characters.
  11. Motif: Things that happen again and again. Language patterns, repeated actions or consequences.
  12. Theme: “The idea content of the novel,” per Foster.
  13. Irony: Or lack thereof. Can show up in narration, dialogue, etc.
  14. Rhythm: You should know what this means!
  15. Pace: Is this going to be a sprint or a marathon? The depth of detail and words used can convey alacrity or leisure in pace.
  16. Expectations: The writer expresses what kind of reader he expects the story to reach.
  17. Character: Not always the first page, but the protagonist usually shows up pretty quickly.
  18. Instructions on how to read the novel: All of the other elements combine to quietly inform the reader how the book should be read. The reader may or may not comply.

Of course, Foster goes into much more detail about these elements and more, but you get the idea. Don’t skimp on your first pages, because they contain “the DNA” of your entire book. It looks like this book about reading is also a valuable insight for writers. I recommend giving it a read, and I’ll keep you posted on anything else useful that I dig out!

Amazon: How to Read Novels Like a Professor