Welcome to THE WELL-FED E-PUB!

The companion monthly ezine to the quadruple-award-winning how-to
guide, “The Well-Fed Writer.” Serving up food for thought and tasty tips
for the prospering FLCW*. Come on in, sit anywhere and bring your appetite!

*FLCW, peppered throughout the ezine, stands for “Freelance Commercial
Writer”—anyone who freelances for businesses (vs. writing magazine
articles, short stories, poetry, etc.), typically earns $50-125+ an
hour, and is the sole focus of this e-newsletter.  

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VOLUME 13, ISSUE 5 – MAY 2014
Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002  
Read it online HERE.

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2014 EDITION OF “THE WELL-FED SELF-PUBLISHER” IS AN AWARD-WINNER!
Gold-medal Winner—Axiom Business Book Awards! Check out various book
AND ebook (multiple formats!) products/bundles HERE!

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PARTNER WITH DESIGNERS FOR A LOW-EFFORT FLOW OF WRITING JOBS!
Do this right, and it's the "gift that keeps on giving." Details HERE.

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NEW 1-ON-1 COACHING PROGRAMS: SAMPLE/SITE REVIEW & “SIDECAR”!
Low-cost peace of mind and guidance. Details HERE.
 
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Check out The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG! Weigh in on “Do You Manage Your
‘To-Do’ List, or Does It Manage You?”; “Living This Crucial
Sales/Marketing Principle Will Make You a Better Copywriter”; “From
What Background Did You Come to Commercial Freelancing?” & More!

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

I. APPETIZER: HAD YOUR “AHA” MOMENT TO BUILD/RETOOL YOUR BUSINESS?
UK FLCW Has Epiphany, Stops Endless Learning, and Starts Building a Business

II. “FIELD” GREENS: MAKING “STICK FIGURES” SELL FOR YOU…
How One MS FLCW Uses Unique Strategy to Attract Writing Projects and Referrals

III.
MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: PLANNING TO FREELANCE, BUT NO NETWORK?
IL FLCW/Author Explains Why (and Why It’s Not the End of the World…)

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
New FLCW Gets Laid Off, Lands Sweet First Gig, and with More to Come!
TIP: MS FLCW Talks Up What She Does, Lands Promising Lead

  V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS
- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  
- GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? Email ME.
- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!
- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin’!
- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get Bonus CD!
- How Can My Mentoring Service Serve You?

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I. APPETIZER: HAD YOUR “AHA” MOMENT TO BUILD/RETOOL YOUR BUSINESS?
UK FLCW Has Epiphany, Stops Endless Learning, and Starts Building a Business

Every FLCW has their moment of truth—the point at which they decide to
finally, really-like-no-kidding-I-mean-it-this-time, take the plunge
and start their writing business. For me, it was as I sat in some
dead-end sales job in the late fall of 1993 (selling dating-club
memberships, remember?), and I said to myself, “You’re better than this.”

For several years (seriously), I’d been overthinking—one of my strong
suits—the idea of starting my own commercial writing practice. After
the above epiphany, I got into motion, made my first cold call a few
months later (January 1994) and was paying all my bills by that June.
It was as if all roads had led to this field, and only this field.    

Recently heard from UK-based FLCW Paul Parry, with a poignant story
about his “A-ha!” moment, and his subsequent circuitous path, complete
with some powerful ideas about believing in yourself, and knowing when
you’ve bought enough training and “products.” He wrote:  

One of the personal moments that helped get me to this point was when
I was listening to yet another educational mp3 around 2008/9 and the
speaker said to the interviewer, with a chuckle, “Yeah, losers make
great buyers!”

I instantly stopped listening to the interview, saying to myself that
I was not—and never had been—a loser. I unsubscribed from many of the
lists I was on and started to read more content aimed at professionals
rather than those who simply buy everything and take no action.

I decided there and then to move up a notch, mentally. I had to move
away from amateur, wannabe and trier to someone who was going to do
this (however long it took).

But having re-read TWFW over the past few weeks and bought “Cold
Calling for Women”
on your recommendation, I’ve now spring for your

Deluxe Toolbox and Time Line.  

And that’s it. I have enough training material to last a lifetime! As
Theodore Roosevelt said: “Do what you can, with what you have, right
where you are.” And I intend to. It’s now about having the belief, the
confidence and the determination to make it work.


He recently sent me this update:

What a few months I’ve had! Took voluntary redundancy last year.
Landed one great client from the industry I just left (broadcast), and
a few more in other industries who’ve taken my consulting/FLCW
services on a monthly basis. I’ve even managed to secure work this
coming August at an international sporting event in China.

What I’m pursuing now, with partners, is TwoTriangles—a product
bundle that teaches people how to build and maintain a WordPress
site. For those who want a site but don’t want to do it themselves, I'll
offer them three packages and build it for them.


Regardless of where Paul ultimately ends up, the important thing is
this: he’s no longer on the sidelines, and probably never will be
again. If you haven’t yet pulled the trigger (OR taken your business
in the direction you really want to go), when will you have your
“moment”? On that pondering note, let’s eat!

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: MAKING “STICK FIGURES” SELL FOR YOU…
How One MS FLCW Uses Unique Strategy to Attract Writing Projects and Referrals

Got this cool piece on an intriguing tool for brainstorming and
visualizing your ideal client, and how you can help them, from
Madison, MS FLCW Amanda Brandon. And I'm double dipping
with Amanda this month: check out her tip/success
story later—good advice always worth repeating. Enjoy!

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Early on, one of my big hang-ups was “How do I tell people what I do
in 30 seconds or less, and turn the conversation back to them?” So, I
put on my thinking cap on and put my own spin on a common marketing
practice known as “developing buyer personas.”

In working on these narratives for a past client, I discovered that
it’s very effective to use stick figures and “conversation balloons”
to brainstorm. Some call it white boarding or storyboarding. I call it
“stick-figure marketing.”

So, here’s how you create a solid, 30-second statement with stick figures.

1) Brainstorm a list of prospects: marketing manager, casual
acquaintance, VP’s secretary, etc. I give them a name and a hairdo.

2) Brainstorm what you do and what specifically you can do to help
them; I draw in whitepapers, blogs, emails, etc. to get a good visual.

3) Brainstorm common problems your conversant may have: not enough
time to create content; lack of a team to conduct content marketing
campaigns; poor writing skills; lots of knowledge but the inability to
get it out of their head; etc. I use conversation bubbles to think of
keywords for the final step.

4) Come up with some statements based on this formula: “I help
people that need/want X (and fill in a general statement about their
industry or product.)

I tailor the statement based on whom I’m talking to or emailing. My
next step is to ask them a question about their company or what they
do. Even if there’s no direct connection, I usually get a referral or
down-the-road email.

Here’s one I used recently that netted a potential gig:

“I help entrepreneurs and coaches with content for their blogs.
Sometimes I’ll interview them, take apart a webinar or help them
explain a complicated industry report in terms that their readers
understand. They use this content to build a list for their ebooks,
webinars and paid coaching.”


If you’re interested in learning more about how to make marketing your
business stick figure simple, please visit my blog.

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: PLANNING TO FREELANCE, BUT NO NETWORK?
IL FLCW/Author Explains Why (and Why It’s Not the End of the World…)

Got this wonderful complement to this month’s Appetizer course (and
also geared primarily to those getting ready to launch a business)
from Bolingbrook, IL FLCW, Diana Schneidman, who shares some great
ideas for current employees/future freelancers.

Diana is the author of Real Skills, Real Income: A Proven Marketing
System to Land Well-Paid Freelance and Consulting Work in 30 Days or
Less
, available on Amazon. She coaches and blogs for freelancers and
consultants and is a freelance writer specializing in insurance, asset
management, and business.

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When launching a commercial writing practice following corporate
employment (or even when looking for another full-time job), it’s easy
to beat yourself up for not adequately networking in advance. Evoking
Scarlett O’Hara’s declaration, “As God is my witness, I'll never be
hungry again,” I’ve heard many people vow that if they ever solve
their current employment problem, they will be consistent in their
live networking ever after.

But despite good intentions, many corporate employees are unable to
develop a strong network of personal relationships, even if they
expect to quit their job (or be terminated) in favor of freelancing.

I was unable to meet future clients when employed as a full-time
financial writer for two mutual-fund companies. I expected to
freelance in the future (and I continued to freelance on the side) so
I looked for networking opportunities extending beyond the walls of my
current employers. I couldn’t find many. Why?

1) The financial communications field is structured intentionally to
block networking by writers and other non-managerial personnel so as
to prevent turnover. One of my directors had an organizational
directory from the Investment Company Institute she kept in her office
away from casual perusal by staff; at the time, the print directory
stated that it was not to be used for employment networking.

2) The time and schedule commitments of corporate employment make it
difficult to commit to attendance at association meetings. I worked in a
distant suburb, and I’d have needed to leave work around 3:30 to make
it through rush-hour traffic in time for pre-dinner networking in Chicago.

3) Specialized careers don’t have dedicated associations at the local
level; you have to be available for expensive, time-consuming travel.

4) Since my employment, LinkedIn and other social media have come
online, but assume your boss and coworkers have access to everything
you post. Discretion advised!

My solution upon returning to freelancing was phoning for assignments,
which worked quite well. While my previous employment gave me few
leads, it taught me the work titles of those most likely to use
freelance services and helped me understand the industry’s structure.
Although I had few opportunities to connect with professional contacts
while employed, I had access to trade publications that had names,
titles and other information I would use later.

I’d photocopy that information, take it home and file it every evening
(I also forwarded Internet links and company emails to my personal
email account.) I took home printed portfolio samples the very day
they were delivered by the printer and saved electronic samples on my
home computer. It’s too late to act on this when the job falls apart!

I predict that this networking challenge will continue—and even
worsen—in the future. While live business meetings in the upper
corporate ranks are picking up again as the economy revives,
networking opportunities will continue to evaporate for lower ranking
employees. Teleseminars and webinars save time and money for companies
while conveniently isolating employees from beneficial connections.

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
New FLCW Gets Laid Off, Lands Sweet First Gig, and with More to Come!
TIP: MS FLCW Talks Up What She Does, Lands Promising Lead

Got this “first-gig” success story from a budding FLCW (who prefers to
remain anonymous) who bought my stuff some months back, and who wrote,
at the time, “I was laid off last month and am devising a strategy for
paying the bills while I job hunt. Who knows where your advice in TWFW
might lead?” I especially like her real-world attitude in this piece,
understanding that this was just one job. I recently got this update:

I just finished the last of a three-part writing/editing assignment
from a major aeronautical university. Four days after your last email,
I had lunch with a friend who has known about my writing skills since
college. She’d been hired to do the design for the reports, and the
product manager (PM) asked her to write and edit—both tasks way out of
her comfort zone, so she passed it on to me.

The PM was pleased with the results, my friend was thrilled, and I
might be on my way. My friend has already outlined three more projects
from the same client. Don’t worry—I’m at work on updating my
portfolio, creating a new web site, and plotting my strategy for
drumming up more business. One meal does not a well-fed writer make!

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Got this great reminder tip from Madison, MS FLCW Amanda Brandon (see
her cool marketing strategy outlined in this issue’s Greens course).
I’ve proven this to myself many times over the years: When the
situation arises to do so (i.e., not incessantly or obnoxiously), tell
people what you do for a living.  

Fact is, virtually every business has writing tasks that need doing;
the only question is whether they’ll use an agency, do it themselves,
or hire a freelancer. So chances are better than you might imagine
that such conversations will go somewhere.

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Here’s one thing I recommend to anyone struggling to find work: Get
clear about what you do and how you help people. And then talk about
it. It really works.

For instance, I recently attended a retreat. My roommate and I chatted
about what we do and I told her that I work at home helping companies
with their marketing—stuff like reports, blogs and articles.

All she heard was “report” and this led to me helping a blind college
student narrow down her research for a final paper. Next, it led to
the conversation with a lady who ran my youth group 20 years ago. She
asked, “Do you do commercial writing? I’m the bookkeeper at X agency.
We always need good writers. Send me a business card.”

If I hadn’t chatted up what I do for companies, I might not have that lead.

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS
- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  
- GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? Email ME.
- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!
- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin’!
- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get Bonus CD!
- How Can My Mentoring Service Serve You?

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MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!
That’s not hype. It’s how my business has worked for the better part
of 18 years, thanks to some juicy partnerships with graphic designers.
The result? 1-2 jobs virtually every month with little or no effort on
my part. And I put all the how-to details down on paper. Check it out HERE.

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GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
While my call for submissions netted a TON of stuff a few months back,
I’m still a bit lean on success stories. Whether starting out or
experienced, if you recently had a noteworthy success (i.e., landed a
new client—perhaps in an unusual way—a new gig, new work from an old
client, or anything else that has a good lesson for your fellow FLCW’s),
send it on to ME.
100-300 words is great.     

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I’M SERIOUSLY LOW ON ALL WELL-FED E-PUB COURSES!
Got a great strategy, approach or specific expertise you’re willing to
share? Turn it into a Feature (MAIN COURSE) for the EPUB (500-600
words; query first). ALSO, send your “GREENS” (200-400 words), TIPS
(100-200) and SUCCESS STORIES (150-300) to me HERE.
Archived issues HERE.  

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The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin’!

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AWAI COPYWRITING (& OTHER) COURSES: Register HERE, Get Your Choice of
Bonus CD Program! Six-Figure Copywriting, Graphic Design, Internet Writing,
Fundraising, Health Market and more!

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HOW CAN MY MULTIPLE MENTORING PROGRAMS SERVE YOU?
For details and testimonials, visit HERE.

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