Learn the Success Secrets of a Professional Freelance Writer
Over twenty fascinating sections, almost one-hundred 'talking head' lectures, and many information packed downloads, including hot market listings, you will discover how to thrive in the freelance writing industry.
Learn everything you need to know about magazine article and travel writing, ghost writing, genre fiction writing, nonfiction book writing, children's book writing, to effective copy writing, and much more - like how to promote yourself effectively, how to track your burgeoning income, and how to easily self-publish for profit.
Get crucial tips and proven tactics, from your lively and infectious host, for quickly setting up your own "home business" based on a career being creative and helpful with words.
This unique course presents a step-by-step, motivational program for personal writing success, whatever your level of expertise.
All you need is your enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and you could begin a new life of independence and freedom within days of taking this fun and insightful study aid.
Here is a short text piece to answer some frequently asked questions about my courses.
Please read if you are new to Udemy - or if you've ever wondered what all the other buttons in the Udemy Console do - and where all the AUDIO, PDF resources and other useful downloadable materials are!
Hey - because you'll miss out on at least HALF of the course if you only watch the videos!
Your Success Is My Concern
Am I The Right Teacher For You?
This opening lecture will help you get to know me.
Basically, I have a very relaxed attitude towards writing. I don't believe writing is a particularly sacred craft that only the most gifted should indulge in. The internet proves that pretty much anyone can write well enough for publication and relative success.
The real issue is commitment. Are you committed to creating significant success and to using your time wisely so that you maximize your earning potential?
Thing is, I have been a freelance writer for over twenty-five years. I don't claim to be super-talented or extraordinary. The fact is, if I can do it, I believe that you can too! As long as you...
What Do You Need To Succeed?
Many myths surround the craft of writing. There's so much conflicting advice it's a wonder any new writers start.
All you need to know is that your enthusiasm and your focus on writing as a wonderful means of expression are the only qualities that matter.
In this lecture I tell you what you DON'T need: qualifications, experience, and somehow 'knowing the right people'.
The best thing about writing is that it's an autonomous occupation and the only person who matters is YOU. You are in control!
Your Attitude and Easy Cash Writing
I should point out that one of my other Udemy courses, Easy Cash Writing is the 'sister' course to this one.
It's not at all necessary for you to have taken that course to take this one. However, if you need guidance in regards to motivation to write and in thinking of ideas to write about then Easy Cash Writing may be a good fit for you.
The crucial aspect of any freelance career is the acceptance of the idea that if you don't work, you don't get paid. Writing is no different. Sometimes the most challenging issue for new freelancers is the fear factor that accompanies 'going it alone'.
Rest assured that, as long as you focus your writing energy on the right arenas, you'll do fine.
How Much Money Can You Make As A Freelance Writer?
How long is a piece of string?
Simply put, you are limited only by:
1) How hard you are willing to work and
2) Which jobs you take and which you reject.
The smart freelancer knows when to say no to work - and, really, the only work you need to say no to is that which doesn't involve cash!
As an independent contractor, everything you do - and how much you earn - is ultimately YOUR decision.
The Main Point of This Course
Dreaming is all well and good until the time comes when we need to take action toward achieving our goals.
This section deals with the realities of writing for money - right upfront - before we get into all the many ways a writer can get paid for freelance work.
The reality is that if you want to make a success of freelancing, you will need to take on every piece of paying work you can get, right from day one.
Plus you'll need to deliberately curtail writing for no money down. Too many writers write for the promise of cash later. Not you. Not from now on. If you want succeed, you need to see your writing time as financially valuable.
Your Strategy and the Need For Measurement
The best way to begin is to start small. You're not going to win any major writing gigs worth several thousands of dollars on your first day. But that doesn't matter, because lots of small jobs can create a significant income over the course of a year.
Plus, you will be building your name and your reputation as you go along.
From day one, keep a list going of how you spend your writing time. There is a PDF at the bottom of this description to help you start. This daily list of writing activities will help you hone in on what pays well - and what doesn't.
Pleasure Or Profit - What's Your Priority?
Making any new business venture work is about balancing time, effort and income.
Clearly if your dream is to write novels all day, praying for some nebulous time in the future when you might start earning royalties, then being a writing freelancer is probably not for you.
For every one success story you hear about an author who gave up everything to write only fiction, there will likely be a hundred thousand more who were knee deep in debt within six months and had to go back to work!
Freelancing success is primarily about getting paid immediately for writing work.
Once you understand this simple rule, your freelancing life will become a whole lot easier and your success assured.
Why Do You Want To Be A Freelancer?
Examining your motivation to work from home and escape the yoke of corporate oppression will, in no small way. determine your capacity for success.
Entrepreneurs are rarely motivated by money alone. Usually there are other, more important, factors:
1. The need for independence
2. The freedom to be creative
3. The desire to give
4. The pride associated with autonomy
In this section, I present a snappy definition of two types of people in the world to help get your head around these issues.
Do You Have A Heart Of Gold?
The best motivation for a writing career is that you want to help people.
You want your writing to improve your clients' lives, their sales, and the quality of their products.
Even if you're concentrating on fiction, it should be your goal to add value to the lives of your readers, either through entertainment, information or even drama.
In this lecture I explain that all commercial activity is in fact as an act of benevolence, an act which you too should aspire to mimic in your own freelancer business dealings.
The Best Attitude to Engender for Freelancing
The best motivator is passion. You need to write because you want to do that anyway - without any prompting.
Passion for your work will take you further than any business plan or personal investment or venture capital.
You have to want to be a writer first, with all your heart.
When you want that, nothing can stop you!
Drawing Up An Activity to Income Schedule
See below for a download of your Activity to Income Schedule.
If you're going to succeed as a freelancer you need to make sure that you're profitable.
This requires that you spend your working hours on high paying gigs - and limit the amount of time to spend on low to no income writing work.
The best way to achieve this is to properly schedule your time. From day one, list your writing activities and how much you are earning from them. Then check on a weekly basis that you are maximizing your earnings.
This is a simple yet effective tool to ensuring your success.
The Reality of Freelancing for a Living
Sticking to just one form of writing is not to be encouraged if you're to be successful soon.
Many would be authors are tempted to leap right into writing novels from day one of their new careers. While this may seem like a great option, I've known many authors who fail to make sufficient money in the short term to allow them to continue without having to go back to the nine to five.
Don't let this happen to you.
Your first priority is making money in your new vocation.
Once you understand this, you'll be a great position to start - and maintain your dream.
Tracking Your Income
See below this description to download an "Income Tracking Sheet."
If you want to become a professional writer, you need to keep good records. There's no better time to start this valuable habit than right from Day One.
It's your job to make money - and to know where your money is coming from. It's too easy to make excuses and think you'll 'get to' the money side of things when it becomes more relevant. However, you'll succeed more quickly if you're not afraid to face up to the realities of gaining wealth from your words as soon as is humanly possible!
See below for your Freelancer Spreadsheet Template
You should use spreadsheets regularly to track your success but mostly to identify high paying areas so you can target your writing time to the work you're actually getting paid to do!
This may seem like an obvious way to work but you'd be surprised how many writer are too afraid to face the truth - that is, their favorite writing activities are not those that pay money!
Don't get me wrong, if you ONLY enjoy writing that doesn't pay, then you'll be a happy amateur - and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you want to be a professional writer, you will need to be smarter about your work choices.
Writing Magazine Articles
Please see the base of this article for access to my Query Template and Market Listings.
This lecture provides you with an easy step by step guide to securing article writing gigs for mainstream magazines.
Note that it is far more productive to query magazines before you write articles for them. This fact has been proved to me too many times to mention - and has been confirmed by other freelance writers to me on several occasions.
So - don't write more than you have to!
Only write articles that editors have asked to see!
Topics For Magazine Articles
The best way to come up with topics for magazine articles is to forget about your own ideas.
First think about your editor. What would appeal to him or her? What does he or she seem to publish most often?
The thing is, salable writing is NOT about YOU. It's about the eventual reader. Once your reader is in your mind, imagine what you could say, do, and write about that would pique a reader's interest.
This is the CORRECT head space from which to invent article topics.
Why Write Non Fiction Books?
The simple answer to this question is that the demand for nonfiction outstrips fiction by about a hundred to one.
Fiction authors are all engaged in trying to capture the imagination of the 1% of readers that like to devour fiction.
Nonfiction authors have the advantage that many more consumers need and purchase books on their interests. Plus, many people buy 'how to' books in the course of their lives, just so they have the information should they need it.
Consequently there are many more opportunities for the freelancer to pitch and sell manuscripts to publishers.
Getting Non Fiction Published
People often say that fiction outsells nonfiction. This is is only true of the top one hundred bestsellers in the fiction market. 99.99% of fiction outside of the A list titles sells pretty averagely.
However, non fiction titles sell well across the board, which means you're much more likely, as a freelance writer, to make good money writing non fiction, either as a self-publisher, or by using traditional publishers.
Writing what people want to read is the key. But who knows what non fiction people want better than publishers? This is why you can save time by pitching IDEAS and PROPOSALS to publishers instead of actually writing untested books first..
Pitching Non Fiction to Publishers
See below for a Market Listing for Non Fiction Publishers.
This lecture provides a simple strategy for getting non fiction books accepted and/or commissioned by publishers without you having to write them first.
Professional writers always pitch book topics and proposals at agents and publishers before they begin working on them. This saves time and effort.
Sometimes it's possible to get an advance of money before you start writing using this very same strategy, so it's definitely worth trying!
Topics of the Non Fiction Books
The best way to come up with ideas for non fiction books is to study the marketplace.
Contrary to what you might think, most readers don't want unique or different or NEW. They want MORE of what they're already reading.
Look on Amazon or in your local book stores to see what actually sells and see if you can't think of something that would sit on the shelf nicely IN BETWEEN other books already on sale.
That's the kind of book you should aim to write!
Choosing Topics for Non Fiction Books
Remember the golden rule: if it's a subject that is already popular, there is more demand for that topic.
You often hear that publishers, agents, even readers, want originality. This is a myth. Originality is extraordinarily difficult to sell. Most people read because they want their own theories and observations about the world to be confirmed.
Only rarely do readers want to be challenged, alarmed and taken out of their comfort zones. So, there's nothing wrong with writing about familiar subjects in a new and entertaining way.Indeed, this is the approach I recommend.
Choosing Topics For Non Fiction - 2
Sex and Celebrity sells - but so does social commentary and even the lively retelling of history.
When it comes to choosing non fiction topics to write about, the best way forward is to identify your own interests and then "bend" them into pitches you can submit to publishers. Selling books is about coming up with intriguing angles on well-established areas of interest.
Whenever you have an idea for a book, do research to find out if the subject has been developed before. If it has, chances are you're on to a winner. If it hasn't, there could be good reason for that: perhaps nobody's interested!
Final Advice for Choosing Non Fiction Topics
Always remember that you don't have to write books before you pitch them to publishers. However, I'm sure many publishers would rather that you did! Of course they would - it's much easier to reject finished products!
Use traditional publishers as a sounding board. Constructing pitches is a lot quicker than writing books. You can pitch half a dozen, perhaps a dozen, ideas for books in the time it might take you to write a whole book. At least pitching enable you to get publishers interested - and will help you gauge your potential impact on the marketplace.
Plus of course, if you have a pitch that truly excites a publisher, it might be a good idea to self-publish that book!
Genre Writing - Introduction
Many creative writers are drawn to fiction writing solely - and say they're not much interested in anything else.
That's fine. To a certain extent, the kind of discipline necessary to write fiction can be all engrossing. Sometimes when I'm in the middle of writing a novel, it's hard to think seriously about any other writing jobs.
The main consideration is to do with money: is your fiction writing going to pay the bills?
It may well in the long term. But how are you going to support yourself until then?
This section will give you a run down of the most commercial genres - with PDF downloads attached to the Lectures. Study these downloads - they're VERY detailed!
Genre Writing Requirements
These days it's unlikely you'll get the right tone for genre fiction unless you're also a voracious reader of the genre you wish to write in.
Indeed, if you're ever in any doubt as to which genre you should gravitate towards, simply identify the kind of stories you like to read.
If you like aimless stories with downbeat endings, you probably prefer literary fiction. Great, just remember this places you in a minority - and you may have a long wait for book sales to escalate to the point whereby you can live off them!
Best to choose to write genre fiction...
See the attached book, The Easy Way to Write a Romance, at the bottom of this description.
Successful romance stories adhere to fairly rigid genre conventions. It is a brave writer indeed who chooses to ignore what readers want from a good romance.
There are many romance publishers - but almost all of them will want you to stick to their guidelines BEFORE you start writing. I recommend reading as much as you can about writing romance before you plow into a story that no romance publisher will touch!
See the attached book, The Easy Way to Write Thrillers, at the bottom of this description.
If you're a smart, no nonsense, kind of writer, then thrillers will probably appeal to you. Thriller writing requires discipline, pre-planning, and a fascination for mystery, human psychology, logic, and very often nowadays, new technology.
The good news is that thrillers are probably more popular than any other genre form. So there's plenty of scope for easy success if you choose this lucrative writing route.
See the attached book, The Easy Way to Write Fantasy, at the bottom of this description.
It's worth bearing in mind that Fantasy is a growth area -especially if you're not sure where to go, fiction writing-wise. There is much demand for authors who can create entire worlds with their imagination - in books, film and TV.
Everything from Star Wars, Harry Potter to Games of Thrones may be considered Fantasy.
Again, be careful of your definitions. Superhero stories are in fact Science Fiction because the stories would often not work without the super powers that the heroes possess.
Science Fiction Writing
SF had its heyday in the 1950s to 1970s when the advance of new technologies made us wary of the future that might await us. The cold war too, I suspect, influenced a creeping sense we might all be on the edge of self-destruction.
Modern Sci Fi can be traced back to Jules Verne and H G Wells: The Time Machine, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, etc.,
These days SF is often more Fantasy tinged - with a greater emphasis on character development. This lecture deals mainly with the difference between Fantasy and hard Science Fiction.
Writing Horror Fiction
See the downloads at the bottom of this description for a copy of my book: The Easy Way to Write Horror.
Horror is a fun genre if you're that way inclined. Plus, it's perennially popular.
Also, many stories these days in other genres - crime, thrillers, mystery, fantasy etc., - use horror conventions in their telling. Getting to grips with suspense, writing about feelings of dread and impending doom will help you enormously in all genres.
And that goes especially for TV and movie writing as well as book based fiction.
Cross Genre Fiction
Independent authors are in a great position to invent their own genres these days.
Traditional publishers, for years, have maintained that they can't sell cross genre books easily - simply because they don't know where to put them in a book store!
Of course now that book buying is increasingly digital, this problem has begun to evaporate.
Besides which, I've always believed that readers don't generally follow genres - they devour authors. And will follow the authors they like into any place the writer wants to go. You only have to look at the success of Stephen King to know this truth is self-evident.
Writing for Children: Introduction
This is a deliberately long and involved section because many new writers are unaware of the many issues that surround children's writing. Basically, it's not as easy as it looks.
However, my wife, Robyn Opie Parnell, has had over eighty five titles for children published worldwide and so I feel I am in a unique position to let you in on many insider secrets that may not be readily available out there.
At the very least this section will give you a good overview as to what you may be letting yourself in for - if you are determined to achieve success in this highly competitive genre.
The Children's Writing Marketplace
See below for a Listing of Children's Book Publishers.
In this lecture we examine the motivation to write children's fiction and ask: is writing for children as easy as it seems?
According to children's publishers, it's not easy at all - and most new writers get it wrong!
The lectures in this series act as a checklist: when you've written a children-focused text, check it against the dos and don'ts in this section, to see if you're on the right track, before you send in your submissions to publishers.
Writing For Children: Do and Don't
Despite what you might intuitively believe, most children's publishers absolutely loathe rhyming couplets!
Partly because rhymes are almost impossible to translate when a book is published in another language. And partly because using rhyme tends to distort the meaning of a text story. Authors will often sacrifice sense or good word choice just because a line rhymes or 'fits'.
Words for children need to be much more precise than poetry.
Writing For Children - Show Don't Tell
It's possible to read and write entire books about the concept of showing instead of telling - much confusion and misinformation exists about the topic.
Basically , showing a story is about seeing the story from the hero's point of view in real time. Telling is like stepping back from the action and describing it from a distance.
In children's writing especially, the concept of 'showing', that is, keeping the reader totally involved in the unfolding of the story, is far more important than in say, adult fiction.
Try not to 'tell' stories to children, make a child feel he or she is actually 'in' the story.
Writing For Children - Themes
Many new writers think that children's writing should be about teaching kids useful lessons about life, relationships and growing up.
However, 'themed' books are probably the hardest to get published, mainly because 'preachy' fiction is not very popular with children - or even their parents (who, after all, are the ones actually buying their children's books.)
Far more popular are tales that deal with one big emotion that a child can relate to, like love, loss, friendship and/or adventure.
Remember that simplicity is the key - that, and total focus on just the element you wish to explore.
Writing for Children - Conclusion
I hope this section has filled you with confidence over the children's writing market.
Now, it could be that with the onslaught of digital publishing, many of the rules and dos and don'ts may not apply.
The traditional publishing industry, as I've said often, is very conservative - in the children's writing arena perhaps more so.
However, if you're sure you have a children's book that will sell, by all means break all the rules and go it alone - especially if you're self publishing!
You can't know what will work until you try.
Rob Parnell has been teaching online since 2002. He has published over thirty number one bestselling books on genre writing, motivation, productivity and getting rich and healthy.
You'll enjoy his down to earth style and the sense Rob somehow knows you like a friend!
He has been writing since he was five years old. He writes every day without fail - it's like a compulsion - and he still hasn't run out of things to say... His preferred genre is the thriller - sometimes with a supernatural edge - in which he writes short stories, graphic novels, screenplays, and adult thrillers.
In between fiction projects, Rob has written over 40 nonfiction self-help titles and has been published all over the world for the last fifteen years. Also a musician and composer, singer, media producer and budding movie maker, Rob is ecstatically happy to be married to Robyn Opie Parnell, his savior and the popular bestselling children's author.