Contena Can Help You Build Your Freelance Writing Business

It is possible to earn a decent living as an independent writer. But only if you approach it more like a freelance writing business than a sideline gig.

It’s not enough to simply enjoy writing. You also need to know what type of writing is currently in demand and have expertise in topics other than writing.

Then, of course, you need connections to clients who will pay good money for above-average content from writers who don’t need much training to get started.

Without a business-like approach to finding a few good, steady clients, you can quickly find yourself doing nothing but low-paying jobs for difficult clients. Or, you could spend more time seeking work than working for pay.

 

illustration of freelance writer at keyboard
Copyright: greyjj / 123RF Stock Photo

One company that can help you get up to speed on the business of freelance writing  is Contena. This subscription-based platform offers online training and coaching plus a steady stream of inks to job openings for independent writers.

Contena Academy

The six modules in Contena’s online academy explain strategies for building a steady income, creating writing samples, building a portfolio, crafting article pitches, and landing  the best clients. Many freelance writers spend months learning these skills the hard way — through a lot of painful trial and error.

Contena Scout

The Scout service helps you find the best available writing jobs by category, pay, and other criteria. Listings include part-time, full-time, and temporary writing assignments in fields such as education, real estate, business, health, and marketing.  Recent job postings included health news writers, web copywriters, science content editors, social studies curriculum writers, and tech and gadget reviewers.

Contena Scout screen grab

Contena Submissions

If you prefer coming up with your own ideas for articles, you can pitch story ideas to publishers listed on Contena’s Submissions section. This section lists companies that pay for submitted articles.

Contena Alerts

Contena Alerts will notify you about jobs that arise in your area of expertise. If you apply quickly and provide writing samples that reflect your knowledge, you can increased your odds of winning that job.

Contena Coaching

One challenge of working independently is that you don’t have supervisors encouraging you to continuously update and improve your skills. If a freelance client is unhappy with the quality of your work, they simply hire someone else. If you subscribe to the Platinum level service, your Contena coach will review your pitches and writing samples and provide constructive feedback for refinement. Your coach can also work with you on effective marketing materials.

Like Online Dating: You’re Seeking Good Matches

Freelance writers build successful businesses by developing lasting relationships with a few wonderful clients who pay them well for a defined amount of work each month. So, subscribing to Contena can be like joining an online dating service.

Contena can help you identify good matches for your specific writing skills. But it’s up to you to build the long-term professional relationships that can help your writing business grow. If you connect with clients that will pay you thousands of dollars each year (and provide word-of-mouth referrals), you won’t need to subscribe to Contena for long.

And once you build a steady, predictable income from a few good clients, you will feel more comfortable devoting a few hours a week on personal writing projects that might never pay off. If you are just starting out as an independent writer, you will soon learn that time is your most precious resource.

If you squander too much time chasing low-paying jobs, the amount of income you can earn each year will be limited. So be smart. Consider getting some training and coaching before you start pursuing the best prospects for your business.

For more information about Contena, click here.

Indie Author Conference Helps Guide New Professional Authors

Digital Book World LogoAre you one of the “new professional authors?” If so, you are driving your own career just as if you were in business for yourself.

You direct your own output. You determine your own branding. You coordinate the production of your book. You execute on your own market strategy. And whether you choose to pursue traditional publishing or not, you must be an agent for your own success.

If you accept this description of new professional authors, check out the first  DBW Indie Author Conference for independent and hybrid authors. It will be held Thursday, January 19 in conjunction with the eighth annual Digital Book World (DBW) conference January 17-19, 2017 at the New York Hilton Midtown.  (DBW is an event where publishing professionals and their technology partners will come together to learn about the latest tools and techniques for smarter book publishing in a digital world.)

Indie Author Conference

At the DBW Indie Author Conference, you will get a high-level view of current challenges and opportunities for indie authors plus practical information that can help you become a better professional publisher of your own work.

“The landscape for independent and hybrid authors is ever-shifting. That creates a lot of questions and confusion among people who are very new to the industry, and frankly for those who are experienced as well,” said Indie Author Conference Captain Jane Friedman. “There’s a proliferation of businesses out there that serve the indie author market, especially when it comes to book distribution and marketing. But there’s not much information or instruction on how to make the best decision for your career, your book, or your goals. The DBW Indie Author Conference will address all of these important topics.”

The DBW Indie Author event speaks directly to entrepreneurial authors with actionable sessions such as:

  • The Sophisticated Ways of Today’ s Indies
  • What Independent Can Mean in Today’s Industry
  • The Rise of the Platforms
  • Face-to-Face Conversations with Enablers of Your Career
  • The Indie Universe Quantified + The Author’s Career
  • Success Stories;
  • The New Professional Author Is in Control

Workshops for intermediate and advanced authors include:

  • The Indispensable Elements of an Author’s Marketing
  • Readership Development: They Can’t Read You If They Can’t Find You
  • Branding Your Future: When to Hire Help
  • Reaching out to Readers Through SEO.

At the DBW Indie Author Conference, you can talk with leading service providers who can help you decide how to move forward with your publishing goals.

The networking opportunities at the Indie Author Conference can help you catch a new direction, spot a new trend, and access marketing know-how.

Conference Speakers

“Our speakers know that indie authors are at a turning point,” said Porter Anderson, co-founder of The Hot Sheet, “After years of development, the independent movement is coming into its own.”

Speakers include:

Jane Friedman, editor and publisher of The Hot Sheet, columnist with Publishers Weekly, a professor with The Great Courses, an award-winning blogger at JaneFriedman.com and a DBW 2017 program captain

Judith Curr, president and executive vice president, Atria Books Division of Simon &
Schuster

Mary Rasenberger, executive director, The Authors Guild

Orna Ross, author and the founding director of Alliance of Independent Authors

Jon Fine, publishing consultant and strategist for digital and traditional media organizations, content creators and the creative community, and former Amazon director of author and publisher relations

Margaret Harrison, director, product metadata, Ingram Content Group

Porter Anderson , co-founder of The Hot Sheet, editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives, principal of Porter Anderson Media and a DBW 2017 program captain

Richard Nash, digital media consultant , start-up adviser and serial entrepreneur

Dana Kaye, owner and publicist, Kaye Publicity, and author of Your Book, Your Brand: A Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Sales

Data Guy, the tech and data wizard behind the Author Earnings website who oversees Author Earnings’ data scraping and analysis

Registration

For more information about registration, visit www.digitalbookworldconference.com. The early registration discount ends December 2.

Digital Book World is sponsored by F+W, a content and e-commerce company that connects passionate, like-minded groups of people to share an ongoing exchange of information, idea and inspiration. Many writers know F+W as the long-time publisher of Writer’s Digest magazine and writing-related books and online resources, including Writer’s Market.

 

 

Authors on Wattpad Writing Platform Can Earn Cash with In-Story Ads

Wattpad is an online writing platform for the creation and discovery of original stories. The Wattpad community connects more than 45 million people around the world who want to write, read, or comment on serialized stories about the things they love.

Wattpad writers comes from all walks of life. Some are best-selling novelists who want to build their audience. Others are casual writers who share stories for fun.

Every month, more than 2.3 million writers on Wattpad devote countless hours to writing, editing, and engaging with readers around the globe.

You can read Wattpad stories anywhere you go without downloading a PDF. You can also share comments on the story as you read it.
You can read Wattpad stories anywhere you go without downloading a PDF. You can also comment on stories as read.

The founders of Wattpad understand how much effort writers put into their stories every day: “We also recognize that making money from writing can be difficult – especially for online writers.”

So, Wattpad has created another way for writers to increase their earning potential. When ads are strategically placed between chapters of some of the most popular stories on Wattpad, the writer earns money every time a reader views the ad.

“The dynamic Wattpad community is unlike any other social platform. It’s the interconnected community of storytellers and audiences that makes the Wattpad Futures program a viable income source for writers,” said Wattpad’s co-founder and CEO Allen Lau. “Readers have always encouraged their favorite storytellers with messages, comments and votes. Now they can support Wattpad writers in a way that increases the writer’s income without having to pay out of pocket.”

White writers earn money doing what they love, advertisers have the opportunity to connect with millions of engaged, mobile-first Millennials and Generation Z readers.

Wattpad Stars

Writers who succeed in building an audience of readers with stories that go viral can apply for the Wattpad Stars program. Wattpad Stars receive career-building opportunities to see their writing come to life in feature films, publish books, or brand stories.

Wattpad has published tips for writers who want to publish their stories on the platform.

 

What Authors Should Know About Changes in Book Publishing

WRITERS. When leaders in the book publishing business gather at the DIgital Book World Conference + Expo (DBW) March 6-7, many of the topics they discuss will affect how publishers work with authors.

For a preview of trends that are re-shaping the book publishing industry, download the free white paper “Viewpoints on Publishing’s Digital Transformation.”  Contributors to the white paper include speakers from Digital Book World.

Digital Book World white paper

The white paper covers topics such as:

  • how Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are affecting the publishing business:
  • what publishers need to know about copyright;
  • changes to global copyright law;
  • the state and future of audiobooks;
  • the elasticity of e-book pricing;
  • personalized content and other new revenue streams.

The Destructive Impact of Digital Monopoly Platforms

In the opening chapter of the white paper “Sleeping Through the Revolution,” Jonathan Taplin, of the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Southern California, says scientists who helped create the Internet in the 1960s had a utopian vision of decentralizing power and harmonizing people: “For creative artists, the prospects of a democratized distribution network indeed seemed to generate endless possibilities.”

But the reality of the Internet shifted as Google, Amazon, and Facebook began using deep customer surveillance to sell advertising and products.

Taplin writes that “For artists, the dreams of digital democracy have turned into nightmares: the music, movie, book, and journalism businesses have been decimated by the rise of digital monopoly platforms. A massive reallocation of revenue, on the order of $50 billion a year, has taken place, with economic value moving from creators and owners of content to monopoly platforms.”

Taplin notes that, “In Amazon’s view, as long as the customer gets lower prices, society should not care that writers cannot make a living, that independent book stores go out of business, and publishers die.”

About The Digital Book World Conference

The Digital Book World Conference is dedicated to the business of digital publishing. DBW focuses on digital content and digital book strategies, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing publishers and content providers of all sizes and business models.

The event is organized by the F+W Content + eCommerce Company in partnership with Publishers Launch Conference.

Although e-book sales seem to be at a plateau for big books and big publishers, the event organizers emphasize “That doesn’t mean that digital change has stopped.”

For example, publishers and authors must become more skilled at online marketing because consumers typically use online channels to learn about what books they want to read next.

The relationship between publishers and authors is also changing.

“On the one hand, authors are a more important component of a book’s marketing than they ever were before,” explains Mike Shatzkin, chair of the Digital Book World Conference. “At the same time, authors have more choices of ways to reach readers than they had in the past.”

 

Analytics Help Authors See How Readers Engage with Their Books

Tablo Scholar is a new analytics platform that may redefine how authors edit and market their work. The data allow authors to understand how readers are engaging with their books.

For example, authors can gain insights such as which chapters readers find the most gripping or where readers typically stop reading their books. Authors can harness these insights to edit and refine their writing. Authors can also learn about the demographics that show the highest levels of engagement for their books so they can optimize their marketing strategies.

TabloScholarScreenshot

Tablo Scholar is part of the Tablo social writing platform where authors can publish books and connect with a large audience of readers. Each day more than one million words are published on Tablo. Authors published on the site come from 130 countries and the site attracts hundreds of thousands of readers.

Tablo CEO Ash Davies believes Tablo Scholar is a huge development for independent writers and for professional authors who are serious about their work: “Tablo Scholar helps any passionate writer, whether they’re an aspiring independent or a signed professional, learn more about their books and become an even better writer. Tablo Scholar offers all authors a dimension of understanding that’s never really been seen. We can’t wait to see how people use it.”

TabloFounderAshDavies
Tablo Founder Ash Davies

“The first thing that strikes people about Tablo Scholar is its simplicity,” Davies explains. “You can tell that the experience has been designed by authors. You can learn how many readers get through the opening pages of your book, where your most engaged readers are from, and even connect directly with the people who have shown the most love for your work. We’ve worked hard to create a meaningful set of insights that can help even the most non-technical author learn about and improve their work.”

“Our goal at Tablo has always been to help writers improve their work and have a better chance at success. Authors know us as a platform that promotes great talent and we have a few of bestselling authors who are already making a name for themselves on Tablo. We’re changing the very fabric of the publishing industry, and Tablo Scholar is going to give our writers an even better chance of success” says Davies.

Plans to access the Tablo Scholar analytics platform start at $9 a month.

LINKS

Tablo

Tablo Scholar

 

PubSense Summit Enables Entrepreneurial Authors to Meet Publishing Pros

PubSense_logoThe 2015 PubSense Summit, March 23-25 in Charleston, South Carolina, helped aspiring and emerging authors understand the three major ways to publish their work: traditional publishing, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing. Authors who pursue hybrid publishing use self-publishing to start building an audience, then seek traditional publishers to help them expand their reach and audience.

The stellar line-up of PubSense speakers and panelists included:

Other PubSense panelists included authors, literary agents, independent booksellers, and executives with small publishing firms and companies that offer author-support services.

Exhibits showcased services can help emerging authors with website development, video book trailers, legal issues and liability coverage, marketing, editing, cover design, publicity, trade-show representation, and global distribution.

Here are a few key points made during the sessions I attended.

As an author, you are an entrepreneur. You are the business manager of the content you create. You can choose the goals you want to achieve with your writing, then build a team that can help you meet those goals. Ideally, your primary goal will be something you are passionate about – not just the number of books you think you can sell.

Traditional publishers still are the best (and only way) to get your printed book into traditional bookstores beyond your local market. Because shelf space is limited, bookstores seek certain genres/sub-genres of books they are confident they can sell. The big publishers have well-established sales relationships with the bookstores.

Small, independent presses can be a good option for debut and mid-list authors. Amidst all of the turbulence in the publishing business, debut and midlist authors often get very little personalized attention from the big, consolidated publishing companies.

If you choose to self-publish, your local bookstore may opt to sell printed copies of your book. But you can increase your chances of getting your book in the store by becoming a regular customer, getting to know the store employees, and promoting events that will help bring other people into the bookstore.

Self-publishing is the best path if you want to write about whatever topic you choose (regardless of “trends” in the market, or whether the manuscript has commercial potential). The global market for books that can be read on mobile devices is so vast that you can be confident that your self-published books will appeal to some people.

To find readers for your self-published books, you need to plan how you will produce, distribute, price, protect, and promote your books. Start with a clear vision of how you define success.

The avenues for bringing your work to market are multiplying. Amazon is still the dominant online seller of books, but new platforms are emerging to promote curated collections of self-published books. Organizations such as NetGalley, Chanticleer, and Foreword Reviews can help you connect with people who will review your books.

Author events are still great places to meet face-to-face with readers and other audiences. But if you want to expand your reach, you must use social media and online marketing to reach the biggest audiences with the least amount of effort.

Don’t overlook legal issues such a copyright, libel, privacy rights, permissions, and partnership agreements. Consider buying media liability insurance, because even if you do everything right, you can still get sued. If copies of your book are sold overseas, you can get sued in a country with libel laws different from those in the U.S.

Keynote: Taking Your Author Business to the Next Level

In her keynote PubSense Summit presentation on authors as entrepreneurs, Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn blog, emphasized the publishing revolution has greatly empowered authors. She suggests that writers think about the many different ways they can turn a single manuscript into multiple products that can be sold on multiple platforms to generate multiple revenue streams. Unlike traditionally published books that may only get a short burst of publicity after publication, self published authors can create a book once and keep selling it forever.

You can start with a Kindle e-book, said Penn, then make it available as a hard-copy, print-on-demand book, and convert it into an audio book using Amazon’s new www.acx.com service. Plus, you can sell your book through platforms such as Nook and reach a global audience through Kobo.

Here are some other takeaways from Joanna Penn’s presentation:

Don’t be afraid to try new platforms or to start small. At first, your income streams will be trickles. But they will grow over time if you keep promoting your book and distributing your work in new forms. Eventually, many small streams of revenue can turn into a larger cash flow.

When you produce and distribute e-books, hard-copy books, and audio books, you are creating assets that can put money in your pockets for years to come. Because the copyrights won’t expire until 70 years after your death, these assets can provide income for your children as well. By exploiting different formats, you can expand your customer base and reach different groups of readers.

Be consistent in identifying yourself as an author on social media. All of your social profiles should start with the same first few words.

Think global, mobile, and digital. Having a website is still important because social media platforms keep changing how they operate. You can control the look and content of your website, and use it to build an email list for direct marketing to your fans. Make sure your website can be viewed on mobile devices.

Pay attention to technology trends and cultural shifts that will change how and where we read and buy books. For example, people who start reading e-books on their tablets and smartphones will soon be able to pick up where they left off when they listen to audio version of the book in their cars. The trend toward living in smaller spaces and owning fewer things will accelerate the migration to e-books. The transformation in brick-and-mortar retailing may lead to easy-to-browse virtual bookstores. .

The importance of design can’t be overstated. As readers spend more time viewing content online, we expect everything we read to meet certain basic standards of quality and design.

Develop a fan base. Collect e-mail addresses of your biggest fans and send them a newsletter to keep them informed about the progress of your next book.

Be a Great Writer!

Although the number of books published each year is rising, one of the literary agents at PubSense panel reassured attendees that it is indeed possible to build a thriving career as an author. The agent emphasized that the best way to get noticed is to be a great writer: “If you’re a strong author, you’ll be fine.”

Additional details about the PubSense Summit speakers and their  can be found in blog posts on the 2015 PubSense Summit website. Dates for the 2016 PubSense Summit have not yet been announced.

LINKS

The PubSense Summit

Facebook Page: The PubSense Summit

The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn: Author Entrepreneur-Increase Your Revenue

 

Gear Up for National Novel Writing Month with Free BookBaby Guide

Logo for National Novel Writing Month
Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Are you finally ready to tackle that novel you’ve always dreamed of writing? November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a program established in 1999 to encourage aspiring authors to stop procrastinating and finish a 50,000 word rough-draft manuscript between November 1 and 30. Having a 30-day “deadline” can inspire you to write a certain amount of words each day (or week) and add “novelist” to your list of personal accomplishments.

In 2013, National Novel Writing Month attracted 310,095 participants, 89,500 students and educators, and 650 libraries. You can work independently or with inspiration and support through programs organized by the non-profit National Novel Writing Month organization.

According to the program’s organizers, ““NaNoWriMo is a powerful antidote to that horrible foe of creativity: self-doubt. NaNoWriMo is a rollicking conversation about all aspects of writing, and an invitation to dare to do what seems inpossible. What many NaNoWriMo writers have discovered, the best way to learn to write a novel is by simply plunging in to write a novel.”

Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published, including Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants,” Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus,” Hugh Howey’s “Wool,” Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl,” Jason Hough’s “The Darwin Elevator,” and Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder.” Countless more novels written during NaNoWriMo have been self-published.

BookBaby Is Offering a Free Writer’s Guide

Cover of Bookbaby guide Once you have celebrated the accomplishment of writing a 50,000-word draft, BookBaby can help you take your manucript to market. They are offering a free, informational e-book entitled, “The End: Now What? Take Your Manuscript to Market in 6 Weeks.”

The e-book explains how to take you manuscript through the editing, design, conversion, and book-distribution process. The guide includes:

  • Manuscript tips from a best-selling author
  • Advice on how to find an editor any budget (even $0)
  • Guidance on how to choose the book publishing pathway that’s best for you
  • Valuable insights on cover design and book merchandising

The book was written by BookBaby president Steven Spatz, who notes that: “NaNoWriMo gives authors a thrilling, inspiring, crazy challenge. BookBaby is always proud to support the event.”

The book is available to NaNoWriMo participants as a free PDF, mobi, or ePub download.

Bookbaby also publishes an excellent blog and offers a collection of other free guides for aspiring authors.

LINKS

E-book: “The End: Now What?!”

About BookBaby

About National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

FAQs about NaNoWriMo