Freelance Do’s and Don’t's
Of course you can. By all means write. Just don’t expect to sell anything. To sell your work you have to take the pencil out of your mouth and start talking. On the internet that’s pretty easy. In fact, put the pencil back in your mouth. To talk online you just need your hands.
Do google “writer forums,” or since I’ve already done this for you, when you’re done reading these tips go here to find them. I’ve spent time checking out these forums and while there are more than what I’ve listed here, these are the ones I’d post to (in fact I do) because they take the business of writing seriously. Many forums are not well populated, or populated by people who aren’t interested in writing but in other nameless things that we aren’t going to discuss here.
Don’t join forums just to yak about how great your novel or writing or ebook is. Join to provide willing help and information to those who ask for it.
Do make sure your signature line (for forums, email, and any other web posts) includes your website or a link to your product page in case someone wants to check you out.
Do mention books or promotion materials that you have tried and like in your attempt to help people, not just to sell them.
Don’t try and sell products or services you haven’t tried just because they are writer-related. I don’t have to tell you there’s a lot of bad writing out there because you know. You’ve read it too.
Do give away a free e-book or article on your website, or make your entire website informational with a link to the products you sell.
Don’t join forums or e-groups that do not reflect your target market. If you write cookbooks you should visit cooking forums, not auto mechanic forums.
(See our favorite writing forums here)
Do offer a newsletter that people can subscribe to. If you’re selling your writing services your newsletter should be filled with writing tips. If you write books on auto mechanics your newsletter would feature tips on changing your oil.
Don’t solicit newsletter subscribers without offering them something in return, free articles, a book, something they’ll value. Check out other sites to see what they use as enticements.
Do offer to link to a favorite writing site for a return link to your site. Incoming links are a powerful way to move up in search engine rankings.
Do write articles and submit them to other writing sites as free information they can distribute as long as they honor your copyright protection. Make sure the articles all contain a prominent link to your website or promotion.
Do offer a free contest. If you run a writing site, make it a writing contest. If you write about gardening, make the contest gardening related and give away a garden-related gift. Make the gift worthwhile. Seriously, no one wants to “win” a copy of your e-book.
Do advertise your site in other writer’s newsletters or e-zines. Many times these ads are free because the author needs to fill space. If not free, the rates are usually quite reasonable; more-so than print media.
Do update your website regularly. New content helps your search engine rankings. In fact, content is king above all else. Make it good and it will count.
Don’t limit your web advertising to online sources. Print business cards and fliers, brochures and newsletters. Make sure your web address is prominent on all of them.
Do volunteer to teach writing in your community, either to senior groups, or students. I work with local intermediate school faculty to teach their curriculum and offer free writing tutoring for kids who are either having difficulty learning writing skills, or are beyond the class in ability and need advanced direction.
Do enter writing contests. If you place, you’ll get media attention. If you don’t, you’ll have proof for the IRS that you are attempting to make a living so you can deduct your writing expenses!
Do write a press release announcing your business. Make sure you sell them a unique angle so they know why you should take up feature space.
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