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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Power Up Your Queries with Query Boot Camp

Some of my most popular posts on this blog have been on querying, including the query critiques I've offered. That's not surprising considering how important strong query skills are to successful freelancing. If your query skills aren't up to par, or you want to make your queries even more effective, I suggest Jodi Helmer's upcoming Query Boot Camp class. Here's the scoop: 

Q: Jodi, tell me a little bit about the class. 
A: Query Boot Camp is a six week virtual class. Every Monday, I send a video lesson related to querying; on Friday, participants email a query and I do an in-depth critique that helps them hone their idea and pitch to increase their chances of landing an assignment. I offer an upgraded version of the class that includes three 30-minute phone mentoring sessions. We can spend the calls doing a deep dive into a specific idea and brainstorming angles and potential markets or use the time to develop goals/business strategies for freelance success. It's a good option for writers who want extra support to launch or build their writing business.

Q: What can participants expect to get out of the class? 
A: Writers, myself included, often send ideas to editors without the benefit of a second opinion. Having an experienced freelancer review a pitch before the editor sees it can mean the difference between an acceptance and a rejection. As the saying goes, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Your query is your first introduction to an editor; you want to make sure it shines. Offering the class virtually lets writers work at their own pace (and we know how much freelancers like to set their own schedules)! 

Q: What made you decide to offer this virtual class?
A: I kept getting requests for a query intensive. Even experienced writers with a lot of clips in their portfolios wanted to have their queries critiqued before sending them off to new editors or dream publications. 

Q: You also offer one-on-one mentoring/coaching for freelancers, correct? What does that entail?
A: Yes, I work one-on-one with writers who want individual support to reach their freelancing goals. Writers can hire me for a single query critique or an hourlong phone call to work through an issue or get feedback on an idea...whatever a writer needs to sell a story or take their business to the next level. Interestingly, query critiques are the most in-demand service I offer!

Q: Can you share a couple of success stories from your students? 
A: I love bragging about my students! The nuts and bolts: I've helped writers break into Natural Health, Parents, Experience Life, Urban Farm, Gluten Free Living, Natural Home & Garden, Modern Dog, Country Woman, Today.com and cottagelife.com. While the publishing credits are exciting, there are other successes that are important, too. A writer scheduled a one-hour session for help managing her workload. She was offered three long-term projects, all due in the same timeframe, and wanted to tackle all of them but knew she didn't have the bandwidth to accept all three gigs. We talked about the pros and cons of each project, crunched some numbers and, most importantly, evaluated which project would get her one step closer to her long-term goals. At the end of the call, she made a decision and followed through. 

I also helped a former newspaper journalist (who left the business decades ago to pursue another career path) launch a successful freelance career. He recently sent me an awesome email that said, "It's all coming together. I suddenly have more work than I can handle." 

Query Boot Camp starts in January, 2015; sign up now and you can write off the expense on your 2014 taxes--and reap the benefits in 2015! 

***Looking for more advice about pitching and successful freelancing? Check out my freelance classic, Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition. If you're more interested in getting into ghostwriting and content marketing, I suggest Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs and More, Second EditionAnd if you're brand-new to freelancing, Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets walks you through the process of launching your freelance career

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Drumming Up More Work, Step 2

Last week I posted about my ongoing marketing blitz--just in time for the holidays. Step 1 is reaching out to current and past clients; step 2 is one that many freelancers overlook. It's following up on your outstanding pitches, LOIs, and other attempts to connect with new clients. 

A follow-up needn't be complicated or lengthy. Mine typically look something like: 

Dear Kathleen:

Hope your week is off to a great start. I'm writing to follow up on my pitch about how kettle bell training can help with weight loss; for your convenience, I've included it below. Would you let me know within two weeks if you're interested in the idea? If I don't hear from you by December 17, I'll assume you're not interested in it at this time, and may market it elsewhere. 

Thanks for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sincerely, 
Kelly James-Enger 

Typically a follow-up provokes a response, but if I don't hear anything within the deadline, I go ahead and pitch it to another market with no regrets. And if the editor says, "no thanks," I resub it in the same manner, and come up with a new idea that she may be able to use. 

Last week one of my follow-ups resulted in an assignment; three "we'll-be-in-touch" responses, and an "no thanks." That's not a bad track record from taking the time to follow up on outstanding queries. 

*** Want more advice about drumming up work as a freelancer? Check out my freelance classic, Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition. If you're more interested in getting into ghostwriting and content marketing, I suggest Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs and More, Second EditionAnd if you're brand-new to freelancing, Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets walks you through the process of launching your freelance career

Monday, December 1, 2014

Drumming up More Work, Step 1

Don't forget about my free teleseminar with Nita Amir this Thursday about making more money from   your freelance career. (And have a question you want me to answer? Comment below and I'll be sure to address it.)

With Thanksgiving just behind us and Christmas, New Year's, and countless parties and chores (shopping, wrapping, holiday cards, you name it) descending, it's sometimes tempting to let the marketing part of your freelance business slide right now. Trust me--this isn't the time to do it. That's why I'm engaged in a big marketing push for the next three weeks--my goal is to line up enough work for early 2015 that I can take the week between Christmas and New Year's off (I do this every year) without worrying about a lack of assignments when I return.

Step 1? Touching base with my regular clients--and those who used to be regular clients, but who I haven't worked for in the last few months. A quick email or note can result in new assignments, and at the least, it gets my name in front of them again. That's my first priority for this marketing push. 

***Want more advice about marketing? Check out my freelance classic, Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition. If you're more interested in getting into ghostwriting and content marketing, I suggest Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs and More, Second Edition. And if you're brand-new to freelancing, Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets walks you through the process of launching your freelance career


Friday, November 28, 2014

Free Teleseminar Thursday, December 4

Want to make more money as a freelance writer? That's what this blog is all about. This Thursday I'll be participating in one with Nina Amir. It starts at 2:00 pm central time and it's free; sign up here.  I'll address topics including: 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tips from ASJA ConCon 2014



First off, thanks to my readers who participated in the one-day only $0.99 sale last Wednesday, November 19! I sold 177 copes of Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets, Second Edition and 40 copies of other ebooks. 

Here's what happened on Amazon:  
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Writing Skills
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Business & Money > Entrepreneurship & Small Business > Small Business
#6 in Books > Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Writing > Writing Skills

So that was very cool, and I hope I've gained a few more readers! Thanks again! 

***
Were you at ASJA's Con Con earlier this month in Chicago? If not, you missed out on a great conference that was loaded with smart, insightful speakers geared toward writers who produce content for clients. 

Here's a roundup of some of the take-aways from keynoter Jay Heinrichs, author of Thank You for Arguing (who was a great speaker--engaging, funny, and prepared) made the point that in 1865, writer Henry James was getting paid $1/word. Today that's the standard for many publications, today too, but the cost of living has increased by a factor of 21since then. Yikes! 

You only want to write? Change your thinking. "In the past, publishers would have audiences for us...today we're all expected to be marketers," said Heinrich. 

Content is king, and going to continue to be. "Eighty-one percent of companies plan to shift their budges to spend more on content and new member experiences," he said. [And if you're not pursuing this kind of work, why not?]

Heinrich talked about the "decision journey" of engagement customers take--ideally, they travel from awareness to consideration to preference to purchase to loyalty. As a content writer, you want to help move them along that journey and help them become loyal to the brand you're representing. 

KPIs, or "key performance indicators" or metrics, are how the success of content is measured. Knowing what KPIs your client is tracking--and what their goals are--will help you succeed as a content writer. 

Heinrichs had 15 specific ideas that freelancers could try to succeed in today's market:  

1. Become an influencer. An influencer brings something--market reach, expertise, persuasiveness--that a client values. And companies pay $200 to $200,000 to have an influencer write about or represent a product or service. 
2. Find a "tiny niche," which Heinrichs describes as including 100,000 to 400,000 people. 
3. Gain legitimacy with a book. 
4. Collaborate. 
5. Start a publishing company
6. Network. 
7. Become a remora. (In other words, hook on to someone successful and go along for the ride.) 
8. Pursue an issue. 
9. Become a speaker. 
10. Pursue your passion--and work a real job in the meantime. 
11. Teach. 
12. Gather a video audience. And writers who can write for and edit video are going to be so in demand, in fact, that Heinrichs suggested writers that every writer learn FinalCut, a video editing program. (It's on my to-do list.) 
13. Diversify. 
14. Work for karma. 
15. Find your own great story. 

I gleaned some other tips from ConCon which I'll share in another post. In the meantime, if you're thinking about doing ghostwriting or content marketing, check out Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs, and More, Second Edition.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's HERE! The One-Day-Only $0.99 Sale!

The one-day-only $0.99 sale is here. For 24 hours (and 24 hours only), you'll be able to buy 12 different freelance books (including one of mine) that will help you make MORE MONEY as a freelance writer. You'll find books by authors including Carol Tice, Linda Formichelli, Diana Burrell, and Jennifer Lawler--and you'll save 1000% (or more) when you buy these books today.

This special offer ends at midnight, November 20, so what are you waiting for? Spend some money and reap the rewards of your (frugal) investment!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Coming This Wednesday--Great Deal on Freelancing Books!

I'm participating in a one-day only special promotion with several other successful freelancing authors...it will launch and run on Wednesday, November 19, ONLY...stay tuned for details!