editing

How to Write a Blog Post: Inside My 17-Step Process

How to write a blog in 17 steps. Makealivingwriting.com

Do you think you know how to write a blog post? If your blog doesn’t earn much money, I’ll bet that you don’t — at least, you don’t know all the elements that go into writing a successful blog post today.

Writing a popular blog post is a lot more sophisticated than it used to be. If you want to attract a decent-sized audience, there are a ton of technical steps to take to make sure readers can find it — and then, that they read it, like it, and want to subscribe.

Here’s a look at the process my blog editor Evan Jensen and I have cooked up at this point to make sure our posts reach the largest possible audience (and yes, I’m using affiliate links for some of the tools I recommend):

How to write a blog post? First, have a plan

My top tip for having a successful blog is to create a system and checklist for each blog post. That way, you get a consistent result. It’s not that some posts come out spiffy and others look like something you slapped together in a semi-daze when you couldn’t sleep for 30 minutes last night. With a system, you can give readers a pro experience, every time, and leave them clamoring for more.

Here are the blog post writing rules I’ve developed:

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Guest Post Tips: 9 Top Online Editors Vent About Writers

Guest Post Tips from Top Online Editors. Makealivingwriting.com

Are your guest post pitches getting ignored?

If so, there may be some concrete things you can do to fix that. And it’s worth taking the time to figure out how to make your guest post ideas better.

Why?

Plenty of writers I know get all their freelance clients from the exposure they get guest posting on popular blogs. You can slog away posting on your own little blog named “blog” that’s living under a tab on your writer website, but few prospects ever see that.

Start guest posting for some high-traffic sites about the topics you’d like to get hired for, and all of a sudden, the calls start coming. These clients are usually impressed as heck that you’ve appeared on that big blog, and dying to hire you, in my experience.

To improve your guest-post pitches and get more posts approved, you’ve got to know how to please editors. So I asked a bunch of editors at popular sites what writers are getting wrong in their pitches.

Listen in as nine editors tell us their pet peeves. Here’s what writers are getting wrong:

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6 Ways to Find the Right Editor for Your Book

Find the Right Book Editor. Makealivingwriting.com

But once you’ve got your book written, there’s at least one more step in the process…editing. And it’s something a lot of writers dread. Sound familiar?

So what do you do when you’ve written a book and want to make sure you’ve done your best work? You could try and self-edit, or pass off your prose to a family member or friend for free feedback. But either way fails to give you the kind of objective view you need to make the biggest impact. Both editing options are frequently plagued by bouts of frustration and procrastination, and conjure up horror stories about the editing process.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Find an editor who is competent and affordable, and you’ll sound smarter, reduce roadblocks that could prevent you from publishing, and give your readers greater value.

Want to know how to find the right editor? Here are six ways to find the right editor for your book:

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Freelance Writing Lessons From a Rude Editor: 7 Takeaways

Freelance writing lessons from a rude editor. Makealivingwriting.com

For a while, I had a large client that hired many writers. My contact was an editor who managed the freelance staff. He was an abrupt man who spared no feelings.

At the time, I had only worked directly with clients. I could meet their goals, but my writing lacked force. I over-wrote, dismissed structure, and indulged my narcissism with unnecessary wit. I wasn’t bad, but I had that collegiate write-everything-you-can-think-of mentality.

My first experience working with a professional editor was heart-wrenching. It was a trial by fire: get better to get paid. But those lessons stuck with me and made me a better writer.

Want to improve your writing?

Avoid making the same mistakes as I did, and check out the seven hardest lessons this editor taught me:

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5 Ninja Self-Editing Tips to Get You From Rejection to Sale

5 Ninja Editing Tips for Writers. Makealivingwriting.com

Tired of these responses from editors?

Sorry, but this doesn’t meet a current need.

Not a great fit for us, but we wish you luck elsewhere.

Put your big kid pants on, because you need to face a hard fact: Editors aren’t paid to tell you the truth, tell you what’s wrong with your writing, or help you improve. Their job is to buy and publish good stuff.

Believe me, I know. I’ve edited four national magazines, run a major book publishing company, and written nearly 190 books that have sold over 70 million copies.

I say that not to brag, but to assure you I know what I’m talking about. And I’m telling you that your writing is not coming back because it “just missed” meeting some “current need” or was “almost a great fit.”

You have to submit better work, and that means becoming a ferocious self-editor.

Here are five powerful revision tips to apply to your manuscript before you submit your next piece. Imagine attacking your work like a self-editing ninja.

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How I Got My First $10,000 Freelance Writing Gig

Happy woman with laptopLike most new freelancers, one of my first questions after deciding to take the plunge into freelance writing was, “How am I going to find gigs?”

I knew I wanted to write for businesses rather than publications, but which businesses should I target? I looked at my experience and selected an industry where I had work experience and that tended to have healthy cash flow. Education — particularly ESL — was my strongest potential market.

As I began marketing to companies in this niche, I narrowed my strategy to four simple steps that brought me something I’d never imagined in my first year in business: a $10,000 freelance writing gig.

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