Saturday, February 19, 2011

Can You Make a Living as a Full-Time Writer? by Robert Medak

Regular followers will remember writer, Robert Medak, from an earlier post on Writers in Business. Robert is a freelance writer, editor, book reviewer and aspiring author. He has written or ghost written over 350 articles and 80 book reviews. Today he is joining us to answer one of the biggest questions facing writers.

Can You Make a Living as a Full-Time Writer?

This is a simple yet complex question, with an answer to match.

Unless your name is Bob Bly or someone as well known, please don’t quit your day job.

It takes time, effort, marketing, quality work, and referrals to become a go to person for writing. It isn’t going to happen overnight no matter how often some people tell you. They will probably try to sell you some course, program, or get you involved with PLR articles or books that you can rebrand to call your own. Others will try to get you involved with affiliates.

I don’t do any of that since I offer 100 percent original work and test it with Copyscape for and possible plagiarism questions. I have also signed an ethics pledge.

I have gone so far as to turn down work due to ethical concerns. I realize individuals will make their own decision, but you still have to face yourself in the mirror each morning and have to live with your modus operandi of business; for writing is a business, have no fear about that.

If you choose to enter the realm of freelance writing, you will need to price your services and believe that you are an entrepreneur, because you are.

When the economy slows down so do writing jobs. With the diminishing number of magazines and newspapers, the number of places that would normally take a chance of new writers also diminishes. Along with this, many companies are looking to outsource to other countries where labor is cheaper than the United States.

It is still possible to make a living as a writer depending on how hard you are willing to work at finding jobs.

The best way to find jobs is to start out locally. Check in with your local Chamber of Commerce, Church, and Civic Groups.

Build a website, blog, guest blog, use social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) to let potential clients know you exist. If potential clients don’t know about you, they will not come to you. Build a portfolio of work that you can show to potential clients. Keep a CV/ Résumé up to date; some clients make ask for one.

Watch out for any signs of frustration that things are not happening according to the way you think they should when jobs do not come easy, you are not the only one trying for them.

Excellent ideas! Thank you Robert. You can find Robert online at the following sites.

Website, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Announcing J.M. Kelley's Digital Novel, Drew In Blue

J.M. Kelley enjoys writing love stories. Her short story, Killing Me Softly, earned a first place finish in the In Other Words Competition at the 2010 Pennwriters Conference, and her non-fiction piece, Anniversary, won a second-place prize in the Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards at the 2010 South Carolina Writer's Workshop Conference. She is here today to tell us about her new book, Drew In Blue.

Congratulations on your new book, Drew In Blue. Can you tell us about it?

Drew In Blue is the story of a thirty-six year old loner unexpectedly saddled with the task of raising a baby while trying to sort out his mess of a life. Problem is, he just keeps making things worse for himself. It’s a running theme in Drew’s life, considering he never does anything the easy way. The River’s View, Pennsylvania gossip mill is watching each misstep as Drew juggles a price-gouging babysitter, a major case of artist’s block, and a best friend with an opinion to share on every bungled choice he makes.

Drew’s love life isn’t faring much better. Despite a long history of relationships that never really get off the ground, he falls head over heels for someone new, hoping that she might be the one to end his romantic bad luck streak. After a few abysmally bad false starts, things finally start looking up for Drew. That is, until he finds out (the hard way, naturally) that this new love interest isn’t the one for him after all. Turns out, it’s actually lifelong pal, and high school girlfriend, Kristina Moser.

Drew’s feelings for Kris intensify as he witnesses her growing bond with his son, and he finally realizes where he belongs. Now all he has to do is convince Kris he’s right… and she’s just not buying it.

I noticed your book is available as an ebook. This is one avenue I am considering for my books. Has the experience been positive?

It's definitely a positive experience. Being a debut author with a digital novel, I admit there are times I am left wondering about how to brainstorm fresh ways to promote my story, but the hands-on feeling in the process is incomparable. I love the experience of leading a person to my story, and getting their positive feedback a few days later. There's an intimacy with the readership that I wonder if I could duplicate in other publishing formats.

Lazy Day Publishing produced your book. Have you found them to be a cooperative publisher? Did you have to pay any fees as part of publication?

Lazy Day Publishing has been wonderful. They are always available to answer questions, and are supportive of the various ways in which we promote ourselves. I felt my opinion was very valued in the process of bringing Drew In Blue to publication. My personal vision regarding my cover was not only heard, but incredibly well-translated. I'm thrilled with the finished product and wouldn't want any other version. In creating trailers for our books, Lazy Day went a step beyond and tapped musician Ehron VonAllen to compose original music for each story.

And no, I've never been asked to pay any fees as part of publication. If any publisher asks you to pay a fee, that's a clear sign to run the opposite direction. I'm a very lucky author to have found Lazy Day.
How can we learn more about your writing?

My official website can be found at There, you'll find an excerpt from Drew In Blue, purchase links, reviews, my new book trailer, personal (and highly amateur) photography, and my blog. The running theme of my website is randomness at its finest, and I'm always happy to welcome a new follower to the mix. I'm also on Facebook and on Twitter as @JM_Kelley.

Thank you for joining us today on Writers in Business. I have one more question for you. Where can we find your book?

Drew In Blue can be downloaded from Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, All Romance, and Omni Lit. The book can be easily downloaded through my web site.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Poet, Writer and Teacher - Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

Linda M. Rhinehart Neas is visiting us today from snowy Massachusetts. She has written extensively in various venues, publishing and performing her work throughout New England. When not writing, Linda is teaching English as a second language at the University of Massachusetts, where she received her Master’s in Education.

Linda’s first complete book of poems, Winter of the Soul, was published in February 2008. Gogo’s Dream: Discovering Swaziland, a collection of poems dedicated to those who work to aid the peoples of Swaziland was published this year. All proceeds from the sale of Gogo’s Dream go directly to Possible Dreams International.

As a published poet, journalist, blogger, freelance writer and award-winning author, you sound like a very motivated and busy woman. Can you tell us about your typical day of writing? Do you enjoy one sort of writing over another?

Good question, Brigitte. My typical day starts with a cup of tea after my walk at my desk in the corner of my kitchen looking out at my meditation garden. Usually, I begin by checking emails, writing answers to questions, responding to my queries, etc. Then, depending on what is on the calendar, I begin writing in earnest. Most days I write from around 8:30 a.m. until noon-ish, when I stop for lunch, then from around 1 p.m. until 6-6:30. Of course, there are interruptions, but for the most part, I am writing for a good six or seven hours a day.

My first love is poetry. I just relish the way words can be twisted and turned in such a short space to create amazing images. Unfortunately, as all poets know, poetry doesn’t pay the bills. Therefore, I spend most of my time now on writing for BrightHub’s Educational Channel and other freelance pursuits.

I, also, schedule time in to work on a novel I unexpectedly started from what I thought was going to be a short story, but then I fell in love with my characters, which means telling their whole story, not just a snippet.

Viewing your meditation garden in the morning sounds like a peaceful way to begin the day. I noticed you are a member of National Writers' Union, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, and National Association of Multicultural Educators. Have you found these memberships to be beneficial to your writing career?

The National Writers’ Union, I feel is beneficial in that they provide guidelines and advice when I am struggling with what to do about a contract or how I should handle a client. They have also been a great help in suggestions for marketing my work. I would recommend membership to any freelancer or writer.

The other two organizations connect to my teaching career. As an English language teacher, I do get ideas for writing from the interactions of my students. Mostly, those experiences have gone into my poetry, however.

It's good to hear about your positive experiences with the National Writers' Union. I plan to explore their web site for more information. Marketing and promotion are a big part of writing. Can you share a marketing idea that has provided positive results for you?

I have found Women on Writing (WOW) to be an excellent promotional tool. I held a blog tour through WOW for my book Gogo’s Dream: Swaziland Discovered. The tour not only allowed me to connect to other writers, and the readers of their blogs, but also helped with sales, which of course was the purpose of the promotion.

Blog tours are a great way to get your name “out there.” The team at WOW does an excellent job of setting up the tour and providing the blog writers and the guests with whatever they need.

I've heard so many great things about Women On Writing recently. I had no idea they could help with blog tours as well. I'm glad your tour was successful. Can you tell us about Gogo's Dream?

Gogo’s Dream began as a series of poems I wrote for the Poem-a-Day Challenge held by Robert Lee Brewer of Writers’ Digest. He had suggested we write the poems with a theme in mind. I was looking for a way to promote the work of Possible Dreams International, of which I am an ambassador.

Gogo is the Swazi name for grandmother. As a grandmother, myself, I took the plight of the Gogo’s personally. My relationship with them and the others in Swaziland is purely virtual. I have yet to visit Swaziland, although I hope to do so someday.

Learning about the struggles of these brave women to raise grandchildren who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, touched my heart. Many of the Gogos are raising ten or more children. They all live in small one-room huts without running water or the basics of life that we take for granted. Their stories inspired and informed my poetry.

At the end of the month, I realized I had a book, which I published using I liked this because it made it easy for me to get the book out into people’s hands, immediately, that they could purchase online for the less than the cost of a pizza.

Gogos sound like amazing women who put their heart and soul into caring for children. I understand profits from this book are being donated to Possible Dreams International. What inspired this decision?

Possible Dreams International is an organization, which was co-created by my friend, Dr. Maithri Goonetilleke and one of his fellow doctors. The work they do in Swaziland is with the poorest of the poor, those people who have been devastated by poverty and disease. Most of their work is with the Gogos, who, as I said previously, are raising their grandchildren under extreme poverty. From the first time I heard about the work that Maithri, a fellow poet, was doing, I knew I wanted to be part of his team.

Writing and publishing, Gogo’s Dream, was a way to give to PDI in a manner that I would not be able to do by simply writing a check. Gogo’s Dream, not only raises much need funds for PDI, but it also educates others through the poetry to who the Gogos are, who the people of Swaziland are and what their lives are like in their beautiful, landlocked country.

Linda, I'm so very impressed with your work and the inspiration behind Gogo's Dream. How can we learn more about your writing?

First, Brigitte, let me thank you for this interview and for sharing my love of writing with your readers. To learn more about my writing, please visit
my web site, hubfolio and my blog.

I encourage visitors to leave comments on my blog, to which I will respond, promptly. Knowing that something I have written touches another’s soul or inspires someone is what brings me great joy as a writer.