Become a Freelance Writer: Beginner to Intermediate Levels
- Life Time Access
- Certificate on Completion
- Access on Android and iOS App
This course will get you started on the road to becoming a freelance writer. It is aimed at the beginner and intermediary writer - especially if you've had little success so far. Market listings and exercises are included at every step to help you find your way in this demanding yet most rewarding of careers. No prior experience is necessary. The course may take up to ten to twenty hours to complete, is broken into 60 lectures over 19 entertaining and informative sections. By the end of this course you will be able to begin your freelance writing career immediately - and with confidence.
Who is the target audience?
- Students should have a basic grasp of English and be attracted to writing. No particular skill or qualifications are necessary, although enthusiasm and the ambition to become a freelance writer will be helpful
- The course may also be useful to freelance writers who have yet to experience much success - because this course will change that for you!
- Fiction authors may also benefit if they are not sure where to start with nonfiction
- Writers who lack organizational skills and perhaps struggle with self-motivation will definitely learn much in this course
- No experience or special software is necessary. Just a computer, a pen and a notebook!
- Start your first year as a freelance writer
- Submit your writing to paying markets all over the world
- Live a life of fun, independence and fulfillment
- Plan a new career outside of the nine to five
- Write in all kinds of categories for profit
If you've ever wanted to make money from being a writer, then this Easy Cash Writing course is for you. For the last twenty five years I've been a well-paid freelance writer, which makes me the ideal person to run this course for you.
For the last fifteen years I've also taught the art and craft of writing online and offline to students from all over the world.
During that time, many people have asked me how they might start earning money from their passion. The fact is, there are hundreds of ways to make money from writing. It's just that most writers get stuck in a groove where they either can't stop writing fiction that doesn't sell, or they believe they're not capable of writing nonfiction and articles that might earn them cash.
This course will show you how to change your mindset in this regard and help you realize that paying writing jobs are, in fact, all around you. You simply need to start seeing them because, really, many are already right under your nose! Join me on the voyage of discovery that is Easy Cash Writing.
This also section contains an audio version of the previous video lecture - The Easy Cash Writing Foreword - for your use.
Listen to the audio in the car or in the bath with your eyes closed.
Perhaps listen to the audio just before you fall asleep at night. It is a well attested phenomenon that information received during a semi-meditative state goes deeper into your mind than during normal waking hours. Use this time to put the Easy Cash Writing philosophy deep within your subconscious.
You need only three things to ensure you start making money from writing - and soon.
- The Easy Cash Writing program
- A pocket notebook or portable computer file
- The right mindset
Of these, the right mindset is the most important. Opportunities to make money writing are all around us though often we don't see them for what they are. This aspect is discussed at many points throughout the program. In this lecture we begin our journey with a general discussion on writing for a living. But mostly we discover the value of having a notebook...
A writer's personal notebook can be his or her most valuable asset. In it, we should record any and all ideas and inspiration we might think of. We should also record possible new markets for our work: not just the titles of new magazines or websites, but also people and companies who might benefit from our skills.
Most importantly, in this lesson, we learn how to construct a list of our interests. When writing, we need subject matter. And the best subject matter for us to write about is that which we sincerely care about. We serve our 'customers' best when we are passionate about our preferred topics. For this reason, our first job as an Easy Cash Writer is to make a list of all those areas, topics and subject matters we are most moved by.
Go find a small notebook now and commit to making it your most treasured possession.
When I released my previous course, The Easy Way to Write Short Stories That Sell, many of my students contacted me to say how much they appreciated the fact they could also download a SCRIPT for the video lectures. Some people actually downloaded the script before the video and read the words along with the video - something I hadn't expected might happen!
Also, some discussion of the Simpliv Instructor forums talked about how students also enjoyed having audio versions of the lectures they could download and listen to without the 'distraction' of the videos. I guess there's a hundred ways we can take in information - and the important part is finding some way to make the information stick!
Feel free to download the audio files and listen to them at your leisure.
Any feedback you'd like to offer me concerning the course, please do. Contact me personally through the Simpliv console.
In this practice exercise we begin small but with an activity that will become more relevant as we proceed.
When embarking on a writing career it's easy to underestimate how the simple day to day practice of recording your thoughts and ideas can help you achieve the correct freelance writer's mindset.
In the future you will need to be a kind of 'ideas machine' - and the best pay to make that happen is to get used to writing down every idea that strikes you, no matter how seemingly irrelevant or whimsical.
What you're actually doing is beginning to train your mind how to think in written words - rather than using your brain and internalizing everything. The writer doesn't think - he or she WRITES instead.
Understanding this one little concept will begin to increase your written output enormously - as well as providing you with lots of sellable ideas.
In this lecture we discuss the importance of mindset. It's important to approach the concept of Easy Cash Writing from the point of view of a professional freelancer.
There are many, many ways of making money through writing and the important thing is not to get stuck in a groove and believe that you are only capable of making money one or two ways. Plus, if you stick rigidly to only one type of writing - say, novel writing - then you're perhaps severely limiting your income-generating potential - at least in the short term.
Every writer is different and we each experience success in our own unique way. But if we don't try to stretch ourselves, especially if there's money on the table, we may never know quite what we are capable of. We need to experiment in our writing - which first means being open to ideas and new strategies. This introductory section is all about opening your mind to possibilities and moving forward from there.
You'll find that if you mentally 'shut down' when presented with new ideas, eventually you'll end up where you started. Poor and no better off. Best to keep an open mind, let your brain cogitate over suggestions for writing markets, and see where your inspiration and intuition leads you.
You can't let the idea that writing for money is somehow going to spoil your craft. Skills acquired writing anything - advertising copy, business reports, letters to bank managers, even compiling shopping lists and things to do - will help ALL of your writing.
Your eventual aim is to find all types of writing easy - to let your body and mind know that writing is as automatic to you as breathing. And the only way to do that is to keep stretching yourself as a writer.
Many great novelists past and present have used their writing skills for all kinds of purposes, so never feel you're in any way cheapening your craft by experimenting with lots of ways to make money writing.
The next section begins with low word count options and as the lectures progress, the envisaged word count increases. Use this to your advantage. Try the Easy Cash Writing techniques that may take up just an hour or two of your time first. Then you're feeling more adventurous, move into the Easy Cash Writing Strategies that may take a little more time to master.
To get you into the habit of writing short pieces, start with fifty to one hundred word anecdotes, brief pieces of description, observations from around you, even jokes. These little practice pieces will help your creativity and proficiency. Plus, they have the advantage of perhaps even being worth money to you shortly!
There is a good reason why this is the first lesson of the Easy Cash Writing course. Because it requires the shortest possible word count for the maximum potential gain.
A query letter to a paying writing market should be no longer than 200 words long. But this letter represents money in the bank if you have enough of them out at any one time.
Contrary to what your average university lecturer might believe, writing 3000 to 10000 word articles before you contact a magazine is not a good way to go if you expect instant publication. Getting articles accepted for publication is a process - .one in which you first establish contact with a magazine editor, pitch an idea for an article, then only go ahead when you've received positive encouragement.
This simple tactic will save you much wasted energy and disappointment in the short term.
When you're starting out in the freelance writing industry you simply cannot afford to write for no monetary gain for the first few months, hoping that eventually you will sell something. No, you need to behave like a professional from Day One. And the way to do that is to do what professionals do: PITCH IDEAS for future articles to editors BEFORE you write them.
Watch this modules video carefully to garner my best advice on how to use this strategy to begin your freelance writing career.
NOTE: Below you will see two more downloadable versions of this lecture - one is the PDF script, the other is the MP3 audio.
Also included is a sample query letter you may adapt for your own purposes and a listing of current PAYING magazine markets.
This lecture deals with the 'Query Letter' you're advised to send to possible article markets. A sample of a mock query letter is attached below for your use. You just need to fill in the blanks or augment to suit your personal style.
Many new writers spend a couple of years writing great articles without getting any published - basically because they're either missing the target when it comes to understanding what editors want or they're applying a scattergun approach to markets that might not even be looking for freelancers work.
When professionals are busy writing lots of articles that editors actually want they realize that most often, editors don't want to have to read their articles simply to reject it. Most magazine editors would actually prefer to know what a professional is going to write about FIRST. This marks the epiphany moment when professional writers realize they should ALWAYS have pitched their ideas for articles at editors BEFORE they wrote them!
Get it right. Do the professional thing right from the start. Pitch for writing gigs from editors using query letters before you write those articles. At the very least this practice will save you wasted writing time. And at most, you'll be lining up lots of paying work for the future.
When it comes to topics for articles you might want to write about, refer to your 'ideas' notebook. If you haven't already got a notebook or allocated a file on your computer for collecting ideas, then do so now. It's really important!
When looking through magazines for ideas it can be very tempting to essentially copy other articles. That's not a good idea. Start with your ideas and think about how you can bend them to fit the market's style. Or, study the magazine you're targeting and then really think about what the reader of that magazine is like as a person. What makes him or her tick? What kind of issues are they interested in? What would make them feel good?
When I was a buyer for a corporate company, for instance, I had a subscription to Purchasing Monthly. Many of the articles were dry and full of contract law minutiae - but I knew the target audience contained people like me: mid thirties cubicle dwellers, self-important in their jobs, needing to be flattered. I wrote and submitted an article to the magazine in their style, with the audience firmly in my mind. The article was accepted immediately. The article was about contract novation - a subject I was passionate about at the time - but, to me, the subject matter was not as important as having the reader firmly in my mind as I wrote. In other words, getting the attitude right was my main concern.
Download the attached markets for articles, study them, choose one to three markets to pitch to (per week) and write letters outlining possible articles to their editors. That's it. A morning's work each week that will result in article commissions in the long term.
Downloading and listening to this lecture offline may give you a better feel for visualizing your article writing goals.
Also reading the script for the lecture can effect you differently from watching the video - where you might get distracted by the images, the text, and my big ugly face staring at you!
Many of my students tell me that having audio and written versions of my lectures help them absorb the information better. The most important aspect is not so much learning the tips and tricks I teach, but to get the information into your subconscious, bypassing the conscious rational mind, so that you start to act and make decisions based on what you know at your core as opposed to what you've heard, seen, or read.
Beyond that, only experience will teach you more.
Good luck with your article pitching activities!
Would you like to write around 250 words and get paid around a dollar a word for your efforts?
That's how writing short fillers for publication works!
The best way to think of the filler markets is as an Easy Cash backup - a gift that keep on giving.
Once you understand a little about what magazine editors require - especially Reader's Digest editors, then you can plan to create perhaps half a dozen short filler articles a week that you can send out to magazines on a regular basis.
The best thing is that it's possible to sell fillers many times over to different markets. So once you have a few, you just need to keep sending them out, over and over again.
Watch the video carefully for clues into the cracking of this potentially lucrative Easy Cash Writing market.
Also included with this module, a PDF version of the lecture, an MP3 audio you can listen to in your car or on the way to work, plus a current PAYING market listing for short fillers from all around the world.
Many people - even writers - don't realize just how many filler articles there are in magazines. They certainly don't get that these fillers must be written, submitted, and collated by many conscientious writers and editors!
The best way to familiarize yourself with this lucrative market is to buy magazines and study them. Look for any pieces of writing that are between 50 and 250 words long. Even those pieces that look like they're attached the main articles - they're often not written by the main article authors but have been inserted from a collection of fillers - either pre-selected or specially commissioned.
Sure, many of the large magazine publishers like Murdoch use unionized staff writers to pen their short fillers - because it makes more sense for them to do that. It's quick and easy and there's no-one to pay.
However, many of the smaller magazines - as you'll see from the market listings - are actively seeking short fillers about a whole range of human interest topics.
Again, as you go through your day, be aware that you're looking for filler ideas to put in your notebook. Plus always try to submit to a filler market at least once a week. Then, within a few short weeks, you should start receiving checks - for paid work - on a regular basis.
In terms of pure word count, this lecture should perhaps technically be the first in the Easy Cash Writing markets section. Word count rarely exceeds 50 words and most slogan competitions have a maximum of 15 to 25 word limit.
It may never have occurred to you before that writing-based competitions might be a valid way of increasing your income. Okay, I'm not suggesting you dedicate the rest of your life to 'comping' - however, you should bear in mind that many corporate companies do give out cash and prizes to winners of slogan competitions, and that most people entering have little skill in stringing words together. You should therefore use your superior talent to your advantage in a valid attempt to gain an extra stream of income.
These three lectures on 'Slogans and Competitions' are also important as a way of analyzing your attitude toward making money from writing. How far will you go in your pursuit of income from your passion? It's all very well saying to yourself you want to be paid to write, but what does that actually mean to you? Plus, when you say you want easy cash, just how easy do you want it to be? These are crucial issues to weigh in your own mind as you proceed on your new, writing-based, career.
Slogans and Competitions - PART ONE
It's all too easy to believe there might be an effortless way to make money. Indeed, you may have taken this course for that very reason! I've included this little pep talk to let you know that I understand. I, too, have always dreamed of discovering a Holy Grail that would make me rich without having to do very much!
Deep down, we all understand that nothing comes from nothing - and that, conversely, success is almost invariably the result of hard work, commitment and is usually achieved by following our passion.
I really only mention this because, far too often, new writers get sucked into apparent 'opportunities' for easy money that turn out to be nothing of the sort. Especially online.
We return to this issue later but, for the moment, just be careful that, when you're looking for paid work as a writer, don't get sucked into websites that promise to pay you for your articles, your blogs, your thoughts, fiction, poems, whatever. Because, honestly, you'll no doubt be wasting your time and talent for little, if any, payment.
Thanks for listening.
Think of entering writing based competitions as a fun way to pass the time. As an Easy Cash Writer, you have a major advantage over ordinary punters who make up slogans over the kitchen table. Your word play will be superior because you already have a way with words. Plus, you can do these things quickly. A slogan might take you ten minutes to invent and mailing the entry perhaps another ten. One competition entry a week and you're bound to win something soon!
You may be dismissive of the idea - until you win cash and prizes!
This lesson contains five key tips on how to enter these competitions.
Why not have a go? The most you've wasted is half an hour a week and again, as I keep mentioning, Easy Cash Writing success is all about creating multiple streams of income over the long term: little bits of cash that add up to a healthy bank balance.
To you, the verses and jokes in greeting cards most likely fall under the category of 'someone's got to do it!'
If so, it may surprise you to learn than if that cliché applies, then so does another one, namely: 'nice work if you can get it!'
One of the reasons why the greeting card market is wide open is that many writers fail to even recognize it as a bona fide way of making a living. This is good news - and is reflected by the fact that payment for card wordage is actually quite high, around $10 a word, on average.
As with all my Easy Cash Writing suggestions, I suggest you take a look at this market, perhaps try it on for size, and see how it feels - before rejecting it out of hand.
You just never know what might be keeping your bills paid when you retire!
When people think about going into business, they will inevitably try to invent a snappy name under which to trade. This practice is completely unnecessary when you're going into business as a writer.
For a start, when you submit articles for publication, you'll be doing it under your own name. You'll find that most publishers, editors and webmasters will prefer to deal with a person rather than a corporate entity. Individuals who insist on calling themselves a company name may be seen as 'trying too hard'.
Plus, it's easier to get new clients - especially if they're family and friends at first - to pay you when it's seen to be on a more personal basis.
The best reason I can think of not to use a company name is that it's an unnecessary expense for little return and, anyway, setting up a company bank account leaves you open to excessive bank charges, and the temptation to take out business loans that will probably lead you into debt - and possibly end your writing career sooner, rather than later!
Remember, an Easy Cash Writer doesn't spend money he or she doesn't have. (And that includes credit card balances!)
Also, get used to the idea that paying tax is a good thing - because you can then claim writing-related expenses. You'll find that your income is enhanced when you claim business purchases - so you end up with more money in your pocket and actually less going to the tax office.
(A good accountant will better explain to you how this works but for now, for the first couple of years as a trading, self-employed, writer, just trust me on this!)
Setting Up Your Writing Business
In my experience, there's a curious phenomenon within the freelance writing world.
When people advertise for a writer, things rarely end well. For some bizarre reason, people who say they need writers for a project don't like paying writers for their work. This is true from the smallest of jobs - designing a logo, writing a short blog, say - to the largest - like creating a screenplay for a production company or ghost writing a 100,000 word book. It seems the kind of people who advertise for writers are sociopathically dishonest!
For this reason I nowadays always steer of ads for writing work.
The best writing jobs come about through my own efforts. Pitching for writing work seems to pay best.
In this lecture I explain how creating a writing business is all about getting paid work before you spend money on setting up a company. And the best way to get paid work is to pitch for it to local businesses, usually with the use of a simple questionnaire - a sample of which is attached to this lecture.
Another surefire way to get paid writing work is to alert your friends and family that you now write for money. Then ask what you can do for them. It's this strategy that, though it seems simple, actually puts you in the right frame of mind for the freelance writing world because, in order to progress quickly. you need to have only one question firmly in your mind. And that is: "What can I do for you?"
Use the above question as your personal mantra - and you won't go far wrong in the freelance writing business.
Good business sense dictates the wise entrepreneur shouldn't spend money he or she doesn't have,
Fact is, unless you're some kind of saint, saving money before you commit to starting a new business venture is next to impossible.
In my own case I managed to save up $10,000 while I was working so that I would have something to fall back on when I began writing full time. As fate would have it, my evil ex-partner stole all of that money as soon as she learned I had it! Consequently, when I was sacked from my day job and thereby forced to make a living as a freelance writer, I had zip: no money to invest in my future, nothing to fall back on, no safety net.
In retrospect, this taught me a lot about setting up a writing business with no money down.
In this lecture you'll learn the exact strategy I used to attract paying clients - and lots of them - without spending more than the cost of letter postage.
I would advise you to do the same because spending money without obvious quick return is a freelance writer's recipe for disaster!
Apologies if you think I'm stating the obvious but I believe sound money management is fundamentally important to the Easy Cash Writer.
On Running Your Own Writing Business
There's much down-home, perhaps cheap-skate, advice in this lecture because I know from experience that writers are not generally the richest folks around.
Some motivational gurus will tell you that - if you're poor - you have to change your attitude toward money, start borrowing from banks and venture capitalists etc., and generally do lots of things that will put you further into debt than you already were.
I don't adhere to that philosophy. I believe there's always a low to no cost option that will get you on the road to riches. Mainly because, anyone who's ever gotten rich will tell you, it's not the money that got them started or gave them an advantage. No, it's wanting the cash and needing to think of smart ways of getting it that eventually ensured their success.
The Easy Cash Writer needs to develop a particular mindset that provides cash for the work we do. Too many writers think that getting paid is some kind of a bonus, that writing is not really a job - or doesn't feel like one - so how can we possibly expect to get paid for it. This is wrong.
Writing is a business like any other. And, very basically, you have to teach people how to treat you: avoid the non-payers and follow the money!
In this lecture I use an anecdote from my early career as an example of how the Easy Cash Writer needs to be proactive and self-motivated.
Not everyone thinks of writing letters to newspaper and magazine editors, not until they feel so moved they can't think of another way of expressing their thoughts. But as Dorothea Brande once said, 'writers have to create their own sense of emergency' when it comes to writing. Fact is, nobody cares whether you write something or not.
Only the individual writer cares enough to do something about a personal compulsion.
In a very real sense, writers make their own career, they alone decide to forge a path that doesn't get pinned up as available at the Job Center, nor get a listing in the Situations Vacant column of your local newspaper.
For this reason, YOU need to think of ways of getting your writing out there. This Easy Cash Writing course is really just about giving you ideas on how you might make that happen.
Far from being difficult, I believe forging a writing career is fairly straightforward because it's all UP TO YOU.
When you decide what you want and then fully commit to it (which means also deciding you're going to get paid for it), then all you have to do is take action. Then, all the good stuff flows from that decision - as long as you have the persistence to see it through.
The best form of promotion is word of mouth - even in these days of high tech and globalisation. If you're in any doubt this is true, know that even Hollywood puts great store in 'word of mouth' publicity. They worry that, for instance, if word gets out that a movie is bad, then nobody will go and see it. This is why sometimes Hollywood will release a movie in all territories simultaneously - so there isn't enough time for bad reviews to spread!
Seriously - when it comes to creating success, your personal reputation can take you a very long way.
When you write for magazine and newspaper editors it may seem as though they're not taking any notice. But you could be wrong. Many is the time that editors watch freelancers 'from a distance' to see how they progress. This has happened to me several times during my career. When I finally get something accepted by a magazine after several tries, the editor will invariably say, "I've been watching you!"
So, never feel you're wasting your time submitting any kind of writing to people. Even if you are serially rejected. You just never know what's going on in the minds of those you're trying to impress.
As I mention in the lecture, the markets most likely to take Star Letters and True Life Confessions are the same as those listed for Fillers. Go back to the Filler Market Listing and download that, if you haven't already, to discover the markets most likely to be interested in letters and true life stories.
Also take a trip to your local newsagent. I'm sure you'll be surprised to find how many True Life story magazines there are currently available, some of which have no Internet presence at all.
I know many fledgling writers want to believe that the Internet has everything they need to succeed - hidden somewhere in cyberspace. For the Easy Cash Writer, this is simply not the case.
Many writers markets almost snobbishly avoid the Net, knowing that there are many amateur writers - and assorted weirdos - out there that they simply do not want to deal with!
That being the case, good luck in your search for offline markets.
Be assured that one of the reasons you should seek out offline markets is that they usually pay very well.
There's a lot to be said for networking and developing contacts as a freelance writer. Not in an idle way through simply meeting people or socializing randomly with industry insiders, but in a more proactive way in which you use your writing as CURRENCY.
In the writing business, your words have power and are therefore valuable. Though it may feel sometimes that you're not being taken seriously, this does not mean that you should undervalue what you produce.
Everyone involved in the writing business is in it for the same reason: they understand that certain words, in the right order, have the ability to generate a lot of money, whether by design, accident, or sheer good fortune. Therefore, the best way to put yourself in the running for possible riches is to make sure the people you meet are aware of your writing and its validity - and its relevance to the marketplace.
Don't just contact people about your writing - make sure they see it!
Writing erotic fiction might not be your idea of a 'respectable' form of making a living. But when it comes to generating income, are you willing to consider all options?
The successful and multi-published horror author, Graham Masterson, was once an erotic writer, then editor, for Penthouse magazine. This fact has never detracted from his career, nor sullied his name in literary circles. Masterton is still regarded as a talented and effective writer, and has won numerous awards for his fiction.
As I keep saying, practice in any form of writing improves ALL of your writing. And, given that erotic writing is one of the most difficult genres to master, you should not immediately dismiss any form of writing that may improve your craft - and strengthen your way with words.
After all, getting published is getting published - even if you use a pseudonym!
It may also interest you to learn that around 20% of romance writers are in fact men using women's names!
If you're curious about writing for erotica magazines, you have plenty of markets to explore. There are perhaps as many adult entertainment magazines on sale as there are ordinary lifestyle and hobby based publications. And for good reason: they sell. And, of course, all adult magazine publications need writers.
Do you think you could write for these plentiful PAYING markets?
Stephen King, for one, has no problem selling his stories and articles to Hustler, Playboy and other adult magazines. Why should you?
Writing sold is food on the table after all.
And if there's one thing the majority of writers have in common, it's the need for cash!
So, don't cut yourself off from paying markets if you don't have to...
The Easy Cash Writer is always on the look out for extra sources of income.
Of all the writing markets in the world, the visual medium is the big one that's hiding in plain sight.
It amazes me that many new writers complain they can't think of where to sell their writing and yet will watch four to six hours of TV a day (on average) without it ever occurring to them they're staring at a market with an insatiable appetite.
To be honest, having worked in both TV and movies, this writing market might not appeal to everyone. I can understand if you're feeling slightly hesitant. To me, you have to be a 'certain kind of writer' to enjoy this genre.
The main downside is that most of the people you have to deal with have little respect for writing and have scarce understanding of what being a good writer entails. They tend to think that writers enjoy sharing their ideas rather than actually writing them down. Plus, much of what you end up doing is rewriting to other people's specifications - which gets old very quickly in my view..
The upside is that, if you're extroverted by nature, you get to talk to lots of people, socialize with them if you want, and if you think writing by committee is beneficial to your art, then this could well be your ideal job.
If you're interested, I cover the mechanics of comedy scriptwriting in more detail in my book on writing for TV. See the resources at the end of this course. For the purposes of this Easy Cash Writing course, I have focussed on how to get into the business from the ground up.
The way most comedy writers actually achieve success in this industry is rather like the way actors become stars - by being there, turning up consistently, and by hawking their wares to anyone who will listen.
Many comedians become comedy scriptwriters as a result of this approach.
The dream, of course, is to write a sitcom writer. I've met a few in my time and most of them attest that it was hard work, luck and persistence that got them the coveted gigs.
In the UK, it is acceptable for one author to pen a comedy series, though from a global perspective, this is now considered unusual. The majority of situation comedy is now written by a team of writers huddled in a room all day, thrashing out plots and stories - and making sure there is a 'joke' occurring every eight seconds!
Good luck if that's the way you want to go!
Back in the day, television entertainment was considered the movies' second cousin - largely homogenous, designed not to offend, and ultimately not much in the way of an art form.
Those days are most definitely over. TV drama, in particular, is arguably on a par with the best of movies, if not superior in many regards, especially when it comes to the writing.
Again, this module concerns itself with breaking in to the industry, rather than focussing too much on the specifics of television writing. For this reason, I've identified how to get your foot in with TV production companies by pitching ideas outside of the remit for drama - which is a highly competitive market for the Easy Cash Writer.
My suggestion is rather than focus on just (time-intensive) drama, you should approach TV production companies with ideas for shows: reality, documentary, chat, human interest, even game shows first - to show that you're interested in the medium and that you're essentially a writer for hire.
You might find they'll be more receptive if you do that. Later, when you're established, can you begin to pitch ideas for drama shows.
Having a credit for a movie screenplay would be most writers' dream. Rightly so, because the kudos attached to having your name onscreen can launch a new career in a flash. But many people misunderstand how the filmmaking process works and will vainly try to submit screenplays and wonder why nobody is taking any notice of them.
You need to understand that movie-making is essentially a collaborative process that has the funding element built in to the way things get made. In other words, movie projects can start and proceed WITHOUT there being a script in place.
Often funding of a project begins right off the bat, when the idea for the movie has been established and film producers, directors and stars come onboard before anything much in the way of writing has been done. This is because big budget movies are sold on IDEAS, CONCEPTS and EXPECTED MONETARY RETURNS rather than on the screenplays themselves.
Once you fully appreciate this idea you can see that PITCHING movie ideas to production companies is a far more effective means of getting your pet film off the ground.
Don't waste your time writing screenplays that no-one wants to read. Only amateurs do that. Professionals write SHORT film idea PITCHES and hawk those around to agents, producers and directors and only write screenplays AFTER they've been commissioned (with PAYMENT) to do so.
This TV and Film lecture is designed to quickly offer a crash course in how the visual media industry works. Most times, the people who succeed in this market are self-motivated and persistent. There is no established path into the industry because the market is only open to those who wish to crack it - and it is assumed that if you want it enough, you'll find your own way in!
As an aside, I should mention that making and directing your own little film projects can be a very effective way of getting people to take notice of you. With the proliferation of cheap filmmaking equipment these days, there's little stopping you from making short YouTube videos and visual teasers of new projects. Plus, the process, though time-consuming, is nowhere near as difficult as you would imagine.
Let me know if you'd like me to construct a Simpliv course on the subject!
Over the years many writers have asked me how they might progress in the movie business - usually after years of being ignored by the industry. I always suggest that writers try making their own films - because even just starting one can alert media professionals that you're deadly serious - and also teach you more about filmmaking, quickly, than you'd learn in a lifetime of trying to make it as a screenwriter only.
It seems many new writers are drawn to poetry. I guess the usually short word count is attractive. Plus it's natural for writers to be fascinated by words. Also, there can be a satisfying sense of creating something meaningful. Trouble is, what do you do with your poems once they're written?
True, there are magazines, anthologies and websites around that will take your poems - but payment is rare. Indeed, if you ever find a site or a publisher saying they pay for poetry submissions, you can pretty much guarantee there's some sort of scam going on.
Fact is, only a tiny minority of people want to read poetry anymore. And certainly not modern poetry, which has become marginalized to the point of insignificance within popular culture.
On that note - reality intruding - study this lecture to see where you stand within the poetry genre. Yes, it is possible to sell a certain kind of poem to certain types of markets. However, a smart Easy Cash Writer should only see poetry as a minor part of his or her multiple income stream.
Experimenting with poetic verse can be a great way of flexing your literary muscles. Plus, it can help you deal with strong emotions and lend catharsis to traumatic events in your life. Many teenagers are drawn to the poetry genre for this reason, I'm sure.
In many ways, poetry is a very personal form of written communication, so personal perhaps, not all of it should ever be read by another person!
These days, I'm sure, many would-be poets are drawn to rap - where a 'singer' can reveal their innermost thoughts against the backdrop of a heavy beat - thereby helping validate both. Entertaining people too.
Some lifestyle magazines publish the occasional humorous verse - but really for its novelty value, rather than as a celebration of literary merit.
If you are a serious poet, by all means submit to poetry publishers - there are still a few - but remember these publications are sustained by their readers: more often than not, other poets, who will be their most dependable subscribers.
But remember that poetry is not a serious career choice. Just a hobby, a personal form of expression with a severely limited market.
Over the years, many new writers have contacted me because they want to write lyrics for their favorite pop artists. They probably contact me because of my connections with the music business as well as being a writing teacher these days.
But to think that music artists even need lyricists is to seriously misunderstand how the music making process works.
Being moved by an artists lyrics is great but, really, in a studio recording environment, the lyrics are of minor concern to a recording artiste. True, certain words may have significance to a songwriter but the lyrics your hear on a recording are usually the very last thing that goes onto a song.
Any decent musician will tell you that writing a song with predefined lyrics is difficult - and may hamper creativity. If you're writing musical plays with a composer perhaps you can make it work - but even then melodies can sound artificial and contrived.
The real genius of modern pop stars and music artists lies in their ability to write their own lyrics - and I've never met one of those yet who needs - nor even wants - any help in that department!
Poetry is one of the few areas in which you may have to pay to get read, if only because poetry competitions generally have entrance fees. What is your attitude towards having to pay to get your work out there?
To me, spending money depends on the perceived return.
In most cases I don't believe a writer should pay to be read, to submit, or to be published. We certainly shouldn't pay upfront to be represented. Similarly I rarely pay for advertising myself because after lots of trial and error in this regard, I've realized that most advertising doesn't work - at least not in the way it's supposed to!
Fact is, for fiction novels and short stories, articles, nonfiction books etc., there's no need to pay anyone to consider and/or publish your work. Push comes to shove you can always self-publish books and e-books with Amazon - which is almost totally free to accomplish.
But when it comes to poetry, things are different. If you want to win prizes for your writing, or increase the visibility of your work, you might need to spend money to enter competitions.
Personally I've never seen much value in winning writing competitions so I don't enter any. But you may feel different. It will be up to you to decide whether entering competitions is a good use of your hard earned cash!
While we're on the subject of spending money, what is a good use of a writer's cash? What counts as a good investment?
Writing software, good tuition, good instruction books, reference material, and the everyday tools you need like computers, printers, paper and notebooks,
The importance of good tuition cannot be underestimated. The things is, you never stop learning as a writer. You never reach a stage when you know everything. There's always something more you can learn - from other writers especially.
There is no one path to writing success. We all get there in our own way, that's one of the beauties of the vocation: we define our own success, we find our own way of living and making writing work for us.
But when it comes to money, be careful. Never spend more than you're earning!
And, as far as possible, only work on writing that you're getting paid for...
First off, let's get one thing straight: you can't make money out of Fan Fiction. Basically if you do, you're technically breaking Copyright Law. It is illegal to profit from other people characters, stories, plots and premises - even their images.
There are, in fact, many fan fiction sites online where ordinary punters make up their own versions of stories and plots for their favorite fictional characters. However, none of them pay for submissions - because if they did, the wrath of the Intellectual Property industry would rain down upon them!
Apologies for the downer. I just wanted to clarify the difference between FAN fiction and FLASH fiction, which many people confuse - probably only because they sound similar.
Flash Fiction is decidedly different: hyper short stories that you can sell to the many websites that publish them. Plus, you can also sell short romance and fantasy fiction to the numerous markets listed in the attached PDF Market Listing.
When writing flash fiction, you must utilize the same discipline and planning you would use for a 'normal' length story, as in: you need a character with an agenda and an obstacle which the main character must overcome.
As I say elsewhere, without change and growth in a plot there is no story. While it may be tempting to write a short piece of flash fiction that dwells on, say, one emotion or one issue, you're more likely to sell flash fiction that has symmetry: as in having a beginning, where you introduce your character and his or her dilemma, a middle, where you show the character confronting his or her need for change, and an ending, where a resolution is achieved - or at least hinted at.
To be fair, the above is my assessment. You might find that some flash fiction editors are not so fussy!
Sometimes a good flash fiction story can be built around a more humble piece of exposition. But when submitting flash fiction to magazines, you'll not only need a recognizable structure, but probably also a twist of some kind.
As I say, I believe the best flash fiction is just an ultra short story - but one that adheres to the 'rules' of good short story writing - see my other Simpliv courses.
As an Easy Cash Writer it's important to consider all forms of making money writing before you reject any of them out of hand. It could be you don't consider creating recipes for publication is a good use of your time - but why not?
Transcribing your favorite recipe for pancakes or a home-made pizza might take you less than half an hour - and could be worth $200 or so - every time it's published!
When I ran my own publishing company, a few years back, I was always amazed at how cookery books would sell truckloads while my poor fiction authors struggled to sell more than a few hundred books a year. My guess is that cooks and people interested in cooking manuals are not strictly 'readers' - just people who need help in the kitchen!
Clearly, the writing of cookery books, articles and fillers is a strong and voracious market - one that is unlikely to fade in the near future.
So, the next time you're stuck, wondering how to make some Easy Cash - why not seriously consider writing up a few of your favorite recipes and sending them out to magazines, websites and publishers.
You might be pleasantly surprised by the response.
Given that cookery books always sell, no matter who they're written by, this could be an ideal arena for you if you're so inclined.
If you want to approach publishers for a book idea, it's best to do your research first: ask if they're in the market for a book like yours, then ask if they want you to find the photographer - as this is often the most expensive part of creating a cookery book. Remember that the photos have to be of a high standard, created by a professional photographer.
It could be the publisher takes care of this aspect for you - but it's worth asking as a smaller publisher may not have the resources to take on a big photography job.
As always, study the guidelines before you send an inquiry to a cookery publisher. Most will want you to pitch the idea for your book to them before you present them with a finished product.
Okay, the leap between crossword compiler and freelance writer may be a tenuous one - but nevertheless, only people who care about words have the abilities that puzzle makers need.
Again, I would advise against rejecting the idea out of hand. After all, not everyone who goes into film can be a star or the director. The majority will end up as movie technicians, working behind the scenes.
Similarly, not everyone is cut out to be Dan Brown or JK Rowling - sometimes we have to find our own way to get by as best we can.
As I mention in the video, an student of mine discovered he could fulfill a long held dream when he suddenly realized he could find a home for the crossword puzzles he'd been compiling as a hobby for years!
Nowadays there are many more versions of word puzzles than just crosswords. You'll find them if you buy puzzle books from newsagents and/or grocery stores. Whatever they are, Sudoku, Wordfind, etc., you can be sure someone out there has to make them all!
Who knows, it could be you? Half an hour a day that might net you an extra $500 a week. Worth considering?
Study the resources PDF with this lecture and see if anything about the genre appeals to you.
You never know. You too may have an epiphany!
Running a blog has numerous benefits, namely:
- You get to practice writing regularly
- You're creating a valuable public presence
- You develop your authority as a writer
- You have fun interacting with others
- You can generate clients. paid work and Easy Cash.
Creating and maintaining a regular blog can do wonders for your self-confidence as a writer. Plus, you should never underestimate the impression you can make on people, readers, and the marketplace over time.
If you haven't done so already, get yourself a free blog through blogspot.com. It's easy to set up and completely free. See the EXERCISE section of this set of lectures for ideas on blog content.
Author blogs work just as well for freelance writers as they do for novelists, poets and nonfiction book writers.
It's all about presenting your personality to the world, whether people want to hear from you or not!
Remember that a blog is not a popularity contest - though it can often feel like one. It doesn't matter if your blog is less often visited than someone else's. It's hard to make yourself heard above all the chatter these days, especially when social media is so busy on a second by second basis.
No matter, the important thing is that you're in the game, adding your voice to the crowd.
As long as you invest in an email catcher for your website or blog, you'll be picking up valuable fans and subscibers that will stand you in good stead for the future.
Monetising is the buzz word these days - it's just a concept that means making the most of your online presence by attaching little moneymaking aspects to everything you do.
Financial success these days is achieved through what they call 'micro-payments'. Not the large purchases that people make offline but the little ones that the new generation of mobile technology owners don't miss. Like a dollar here and there for e-books, music tracks, and apps.
You too can cash in on micro-payments by joining affiliate programs for the corporate monsters that run the Internet - Google, Amazon and others.
You can run Google ads on your blog, for which you will be paid each time a punter clicks on a Google ad. Plus you can earn affiliate earnings each time someone clicks on a product you have featured on your blog or website.
If you think you can't get rich this way, think again. Micro-payments are the way of the future!
Earn up to $5000 a month - from blogging.
That's what Angela does. Angela is the pen name of an author friend of mine who takes blogging seriously - because it provides her with enough money to live on, without having a day job.
In this lecture you will learn how to transform your blog into a money making machine by simply talking about yourself, linking to affiliate products and by putting out posts on a regular basis.
Sure, this type of activity is not for everyone but, as an Easy Cash Writer, it would be silly not to have this passive income as well as using your blog for self-promotion and social interaction.
The crucial aspect of blogging is planning and having a strategy.
Before you begin your blog, write out a few of your aims first. For example:
- Gain a following of 1000 subscribers
- To make a passive income of $500 a month
- To get 200 visitors to my website every day.
You'll find that having a pre-defined purpose in mind will help you maximise your time and energy.
Too many authors start a blog with no particular aim or strategy in mind - which is why they fizzle, lose momentum and stop posting. You need to be aware of your targets - and work toward them.
When it comes to working online, you'll no doubt eventually find that merely wanting 'to raise people's awareness' of you and your work is often not quite as motivating as making money!
And there's nothing wrong with that.
Around five to ten years ago, Internet Marketing was an actual thing - a practice whereby writers could produce e-books and related products, promote them on sales pages and then blitz their mailing lists. Basically writers selling their own writing - for a sometimes immense profit.
I know. I used to do it.
Since then, the Internet has evolved, mainly due to the explosion of mobile devices and the centralizing and virtual monopolization of web commerce through the giants: Google, Amazon, Apple and others.
In the old days, people used to like being offered books via email. Now, it's called spamming!
These days we're better off using the giants to help us make money. All the major players in the e-commerce world now allow ordinary people - and writers - the ability to profit from the goods the giants distribute and sell.
Carefully study these four lectures to learn how the Easy Cash Writer can gain a nice side income from affiliate linking and subtle product promotion.
As far as possible, I've tried to present writing opportunities that require no money down. When it comes to the Net, this is not always practical.
To be honest I get confused sometimes. In the last fifteen years I've been in business online, I've been told by many, many writers that they have no money, and certainly not enough spare to buy writing resources or to spend a little on the development of their writing career. It appears sometimes that many writers are perennially poor - either through circumstance, bad luck, misfortune, or lack of success.
My immediate gut feeling is that this cannot be true if the person I'm dealing with has an Internet connection!
Access to the Internet is not free, never has been, never will be. Surely if you have the money and cards that enable an Internet connection - and the $200+ a year that the average connection costs, you MUST have access to a few more dollars for important things like having your own website, Paypal account, and the micropayments required for the average e-book these days.
My guess is that some people just like to SAY they're poor even when they're not - either through habit, a scarcity mentality, or because they like to guilt other people into giving them handouts.
Whatever the truth, to me, it's a question of priorities. How important is your career to you? Going to work nine to five often REQUIRES you have the right clothes and transport to get you to your place of work - things seen as a necessary expense. Writing requires very little outlay - but it does require some, perhaps a few dollars a week. And the truth is, the money you spend investing in a writing career, the better prepared you will be in the future.
Just a thought.
In this lecture you'll learn how to become an affiliate marketer. Basically this means you'll discover how to earn money behind the scenes - by having discreet ads and links in your web pages that are coded to give you cash when people click on them or buy products after visiting your site.
A few years back, affiliate marketing was all the rage and some people promoted it as the ultimate way of making money online. My feeling is that this may have been an exaggeration. It's actually very difficult to get people to buy stuff online, unless the price is very low. It's even harder to get people to buy stuff that isn't your own. Therefore promoting other people's products can be a dispiriting experience.
However, much depends on your expectations. If you understand that making just a few hundred dollars a year through affiliate marketing is just PART of your overall money making strategy, then you'll appreciate that every little helps.
My feeling is that one should invest only as much time into an activity as is justified by the return - which is why I would never promote affiliate marketing as a full time activity. There's just not enough money in it. However, there is money to be made by simply coding your website images and links to take advantage of the fact large corporate companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and others are more than happy to pay you a small percentage of their profits - for just 'showing' their products on your sites.
Most people - especially writers - think that advertising is the key to all success in the modern world. This is actually a myth. As a wise advertising executive once told me: you can't make people buy things they do not already want.
Therefore, advertising new books and new authors rarely results in sales. But before you pack up your bucket and spade and go home, remember what advertising is actually very good at - and that is: raising brand awareness.
I only ever pay for advertising for one reason: to attract new visitors and hopefully subscribers to my website. During the launch of a new book, for instance, it can be very useful to run ads. Not because you make lots of sales as a direct result of those ads. No, but because, having your new book visible at the right time helps to spread the word that you're relevant to the marketplace.
Having a mailing list, I would argue, is the single-most important tool a new writer can possess. And using ads and articles is the best way to create a list of people who care about what you're doing - and will, at least, listen when you have some writing you want to sell.
Being an Easy Cash Writer is not just a job, it is a way of looking at the world.
Given that it's extremely unlikely just one form of writing will make you rich - unless you're VERY lucky - it's best to take the approach that lots of writing jobs, all paid, will add up to a tidy annual income. Therefore, you shouldn't ignore opportunities to make small amounts of cash, as long as the work involved generating that income is not arduous.
My sincere advice would be to gauge your work consistently against how much income you're generating. Use a simple percentage ratio as a basis. One percent of your writing time, for instance, should be spent on generating one percent of your earnings. Similarly, if you get a big ghost writing job, for example, that pays you twenty percent of your expected annual income, it's okay to then spend twenty percent of your time on that ghost writing job.
This sounds obvious when you spell it out but writers can be a stubborn lot, For reasons shaky and irrational, writers may spend eighty percent of their writing time on a novel that pays them nothing in the short term. Okay for a while - until the money runs out...
Better to dedicate at least fifty percent of your time generating actual income, rather than being surprised the debts are mounting up and your partner is telling you to go get a proper job - which I know happens to many would-be career writers!
If you took a writing class in a further education college, even if you took an online course in freelance writing, chances are, you'd be studying the art of penning good magazine articles from day one - because everyone expects this is the first and proper place to start.
It's like asking the average pedestrian to take a stroll up Everest - before any training or experience of mountains.
Yes, getting articles published is great - the ultimate. But it's important you don't get hung up on this most challenging of arenas.
The fact is most new freelancers are going after this article writing holy grail - the very reason why it's such a competitive field. Seasoned professionals, however, will be seeking out the opportunities outlined in the rest of this course.
By all means aspire to write and submit serious well-penned articles for paying magazines but do yourself a favor: before you get to that point, make sure you have studied and then targeted the many other ways of making money from freelance writing before you take a stab at the hardest market of all.
At least you'll be making money while all the other wannabe freelancers are giving up and going back to their day jobs!
The best way to get an article accepted by a magazine is to write articles specifically for the magazine's editor.
Contrary to logic, this is not always achieved by having a brilliant idea or a fascinating topic.
At least fifty percent of getting the gig has to do with the VOICE you use to relate your article.
It is the voice that of the primary importance to the average magazine editor - because he or she 'knows' the reader and what the reader will accept or dislike about an article.
Studying your target magazine is therefore of paramount importance. Not just the subject matter - although you'll find that from one edition to the next, the subject matter will be fairly consistent. Better to study the phrasing the article's authors use - everything from average sentence and paragraph length, to the use of contractions (if any), to the way information unfolds and is related - easily or with urgency, or relaxed and/or informal.
Getting the magazine VOICE right will score you far more points with an editor than having a marvellous topic or profound idea to convey.
TOPICS FOR ARTICLES
Much has to do with your target magazines and what kind of articles they publish.
However, you need a good fit. It's pointless writing articles you don't have a great time putting together.
So, as much as you might want to write for particular magazines, you have to find subject areas that are a good fit for you and your editor.
You can't fake passion. You can't even fake a passing interest! You have to write what you believe in AND find an editor who likes what you do. This takes time - and much of this Easy Cash Writing course is about providing you with that learning time - as well as allowing you to function as a paid writer along the way.
In my own experience, it took around a year of constant pummeling of editors before they began to take me seriously as an article writer. I think this is about right, for three main reasons:
Editors want to know you're not just a flash in the pan.
You need to find out what you're passionate about
You simply need time to establish a rapport with an editor.
At the end of the day, it's all about persistence, having a commitment - and sticking to it, no matter what!
Well, here we are at the end of this Easy Cash Writing course.
There's actually a lot more I could add - but seeing as this is a beginner level course, I thought it best not to overwhelm you with options in the short term. Look out for Easy Cash Writing 2 - available in the near future.
Remember, anything you want to talk to me about, feel free.
Any writing you want me to look at - that's fine too.
Simply email me or contact me through the Simpliv console if you have any questions or need any guidance.
The best of luck to you - and...
Attached is a short PDF that details my other writing resources, my fiction titles, and my social media contact information.
Please note that I am available for comment and guidance on any aspect of this course at any time. You can either contact me through the Simpliv console or via firstname.lastname@example.org. I answer all queries!
A career as a freelance writing is fun, rewarding and profitable if you are serious, self-motivated and hardworking. But it can have its challenges along the way.
Always know you're not alone.
Should you need help, even just encouragement, at any stage of your brilliant career, don't hesitate to get in touch.
I'm here for you.
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