Apologies for the late delivery of this month’s issue. Was dealing with some technical issues, but we’re good to go!

 

Welcome to THE WELL-FED E-PUB!

 

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 10, ISSUE 10 – OCTOBER 2011

Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read it Online at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/oct2011.html

 

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“COLD-CALLING FOR THOSE WHO HATE (EVEN THE IDEA OF) COLD-CALLING”!

F.R.E.E. Teleseminar with Wendy Weiss (“The Queen of Cold Calling”), Wed. 10/12/11. More details at http://wellfedwriter.com/seminars.shtml, and you MUST register here:  https://wendyweiss.infusionsoft.com/go/NRCC064/WFW/

 

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SOUTHERN EXPRESSIONS AUTHORS CONFERENCE COMING 10/15-17!

ATTN: Southeastern U.S. Writers; come join me at the beach! I’ll be delivering two talks at the SEAC in a few weeks and there’s still space! Details: http://gcwriters.org/se11.html

 

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WANT A “WRITING-JOB-GENERATING” MACHINE THAT KEEPS ON DELIVERING?

I’ve done it for most of my 18-year career. Get all the scoop in my new ebook. Details here: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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Check out The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG! Weigh in on “When Does Part-Time Copywriting (vs. Full-Time) Make More Sense? (Guest Post)”; “What’re Your Grammatical Pet Peeves,” and more! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog.

 

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“THE WELL-FED WRITER” (2010 EDITION) HAS WON FOUR AWARDS!

To Order (FR.EE Bonus/U.S. Shipping): http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ordertwfw.shtml.

 

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I NEED YOUR SHORT (100-200 words) SUCCESS STORIES for the E-PUB!

Landed a great client? Had a successful marketing campaign? Done something else that boosted your FLCW income? Send them to peter@wellfedwriter.com. 

 

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

 

I. APPETIZER: A TASTY FALL SAMPLER!

Fr.ee Teleseminar; Good-News Article; Book Giveaway Winners; Spell-Check Chuckle! 

 

II. “FIELD” GREENS: THE PROOFREADING SOLUTION

Houston TX Author Offers Novel Way to Catch More Errors When Proofreading 

 

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: LESSONS FROM FREELANCING’S FRONTLINES

Ft. Lauderdale, FL FLCW of 22 Years Shares Keys to Successful Solo Career

 

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

KC FLCW’s Estimate Clarifies Client Expectations, Fosters Communication & Goodwill

TIP: Company’s Video is Great (and Entertaining!) Example of Effective Marketing

 

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  

- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin’! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get Bonus CD!

- How Can My Mentoring Service Serve You?

 

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I. APPETIZER: A TASTY FALL SAMPLER!

Fr.ee Teleseminar; Good-News Article; Book Giveaway Winners; Spell-Check Chuckle! 

 

“COLD-CALLING FOR THOSE WHO HATE (EVEN THE IDEA OF) COLD-CALLING”!

F.R.E.E. Teleseminar with Wendy Weiss (“The Queen of Cold Calling”), coming up on Wednesday, 10/12 at 4 p.m. EST. Whether you hate cold calling, just want to get better at it, or both, this is for you! More details at http://wellfedwriter.com/seminars.shtml, and you MUST register here: https://wendyweiss.infusionsoft.com/go/NRCC064/WFW/.

 

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GOOD-NEWS ARTICLE ABOUT GROWING OPPORTUNITY FOR FLCW’S!

Thanks to PA FLCW Carolyn Frith (www.carolynfrith.com) for sending me the link below to an article on a growing writing need. The upshot? Increased demand for folks like us! Enjoy. http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/09/future-of-content/

 

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WINNERS OF THE “UPGRADE TO FR.EE” BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Last month, Beth Ziesenis (a.k.a. “Your Nerdy Best Friend”; http://www.askbethz.com)  graciously offered up two copies of her great new title, “Upgrade to Free: The Best Free & Low-Cost Online Tools & Apps” to two EPUB readers who told her in five worlds or less, why they should win.

 

WINNERS:

“Decrepit Oldster + Upgrade2Free = Competitive Advantage!”

David Barnes, Santa Ana, CA

 

“I’ll help others with autism.” Sharon Mitchell, Kinistino, Saskatchewan, Canada

 

RUNNERS-UP:

Nobody does FREE like me! (Lydia Diaz)

I'll read, I'll take action! (Alan Allard)

Why me? I feel free. (Jim Koscs) 

 

Even if you didn’t win, check out the book at http://amzn.to/Upgrade2Free.

 

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YOUR WORST SPELL-CHECKING NIGHTMARE!

Check out this hilarious video (warning: a bit racy in parts, but hey, we’re all grown-ups) showing what could happen if you let your spell-check run amok… Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OonDPGwAyfQ&feature=related

 

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: THE PROOFREADING SOLUTION

Houston TX Author Offers Novel Way to Catch More Errors When Proofreading 

 

An interesting piece from one of my self-publishing clients, 93-year-old (that’s not a typo) Houston author Jim Coffeen (jacoffeen@aol.com). I’ve learned the hard way how difficult it is to proof your own work (or that of others) by sight alone. Here’s a novel solution! 

 

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Our minds are good at reading, automatically correcting without our even knowing they’re doing it. We may read a misspelled word as though it were spelled correctly. If a word is missing from a common expression, we may read it as though it were there.

 

An exercise going around on the Internet demonstrates this. In a text sample, all the words long enough are misspelled, though the first and last letters of the word stay in their proper place. “Random” may be spelled “rdaonm,” “certain” as “catiern,” etc. For people who read a lot (doesn’t work as well on those who don’t), the whole text is readable. Our brains get the meaning in spite of the errors.  

 

While this auto-correcting ability of our brain is useful when reading for comprehension, it’s a liability when we’re proofreading. But, there’s a better way to proof. Cut the brain out of the reading process. How?  Have a computer read it aloud while you listen. The computer will do its best to pronounce a misspelled word, but it’ll sound strange. If punctuation is misplaced, the sentence won’t sound right.  

 

Your brain is still involved, but in listening, not reading. You might gloss over a missing word, but you’ll catch more errors than traditional proofing.

 

PB Note: A non-techy fallback solution is to simply read your text aloud, something I’ve often done with success. Not ideal for manuscript-length documents (but then neither is the computer solution), but still far better than doing it by sight.

 

I checked with my computer guy (Wheat Williams; http://www.wheatwilliams.com) about Windows’ capability to do this. His reply: “Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a Microsoft Text-to-Speech feature whose parameters can be accessed through a tab in the Speech Recognition control panel.” P.S. He’s not super-impressed with its prowess.

 

We Mac users have it better: From the Apple menu, click “System Preferences,” then “System,” then “Speech.” On the “Text to Speech” tab, check “Speak selected text when the key is pressed.” Click “Set Key,” then press a key combination you want to use to hear text read aloud (I used Command-Y), and click OK. Now, in any Office application, when you select some text, and press your chosen keyboard shortcut, you’ll hear the text read aloud. I tried it and it works pretty well! And according to Wheat: “The very first Mac in 1984 came stock with text-to-speech.” We lost a true pioneer and visionary when Steve Jobs passed away yesterday.

 

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: LESSONS FROM FREELANCING’S FRONTLINES

Ft. Lauderdale, FL FLCW of 22 Years Shares Keys to Successful Solo Career

 

Got this great piece full of sage advice from 22-year veteran, Fort Lauderdale, FL-based FLCW Jeff Zbar (http://www.gotwords.com), a self-described “freelance journalist, business columnist and corporate copywriter.” Enjoy! 

 

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More than 22 years into my freelancing gig, I’m learning more every day. But much of what I’ve learned, I've done so in fits and starts. Early on, I read no tomes on “entrepreneurship,” and sought out no “gurus” on running a small business. I bootstrapped my business, with the guidance of my accountant and peers, and the unwavering support of my wife.

 

Below are some of my observations. I…

 

… Was a serious, focused entrepreneur from the start. Just 25 at the time, I was young and naēve, but I quit a day-job to become a career freelancer, not to be a “consultant” or as some temp thing on the way back to a corporate writing job. Take your writing career seriously. It’s not about earning “six figures” (though you may). It’s about making a living that supports your life.

 

… Learned to hit (and dodge) curveballs. I’ve endured four economic downturns – and the worst recession since the Great Depression. Repeat after me: “Successful freelancing (like any entrepreneurial endeavor) is not a sprint, but a marathon.” If you can’t handle the slumps and droughts, leave the field.

 

… Stayed hungry – not starving. The distinction is important. Hungry keeps you working, prospecting and working your fields. Starving is pathetic; I know, because I’ve been there. I’ve hounded clients for assignments I’d hoped would come, and I’m sure I looked desperate. Sure, times may grow lean. But smart marketing – like reaching out to clients and prospects, tweaking your website, working LinkedIn, networking, etc. – will keep you above the mass of struggling peers.

 

… Always learned, honed and played the chameleon (within reason). As a (still) evolving writer, I’m constantly taking mental notes of copy I like: a billboard or TV commercial, dialogue from a movie or sitcom, etc. I don’t necessarily write for those media, but I’m quick to pick up new stylistic tidbits. Along those lines, my voice has changed and improved over time. I’m a stickler for grammar, syntax and wordplay. I’m not afraid to take chances in my writing – and argue their merits. I think I’m better for it.

 

… Invested in tools and technology. It’s not about having the latest version of MS Office; Office 2003 still runs like a champ. But I'm also a big fan of OpenOffice (a f.r.e.e. productivity suite), and Google Docs (I exclusively use Gmail and Google Calendar, and sync both to my smartphone). My BlackBerry allows me to be mobile and stay in touch, and higher-speed DSL at home allows for fast downloads of large files from clients or graphic designers. It's just the “cost of doing business.”

 

… Became a bean counter who tracks receivables very closely. When they go 31 days, I get squeaky. It’s my money, so I'm not timid. In 22 years, I’ve been stiffed exactly twice for $1,500 – total. Maybe it’s about being a good judge of people, and being mindful of hard times others may be encountering. A few years ago, a client went $14,000 in the hole. We negotiated terms (including $500-a-month installments and all future work 50% up front, 50% COD). Today we’re square – and he remains a client.

 

… Took pride in my chosen career. Always. When I first started freelancing, a close friend 25 years my elder said, “I’ve never met a starving writer before,” to which I replied, “I will not be your first.” To this day, puzzlement is the most common response when I say people I’m a writer. I didn’t care 22 years ago. I don’t care today. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.

 

Along the way, we’ve raised three kids from newborns to become stable and well adjusted – with no daycare, early drop-off, late stay or keys on the latch. We’ve traveled, enjoyed life, and saved for college and retirement. Sure, times can get tight. But they can get tight running a plumbing business or a floral boutique or being an employee in someone else’s shop.

 

In 22 years, I’ve never feared the pink slip. And I’ve only filled out a job application once – for a contracting gig with a creative placement firm. I ended up not taking the gig.

 

Freelancing is a great career. Be proud. Be professional. Strive for success. Most of all, enjoy the ride…

 

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

KC FLCW’s Estimate Clarifies Client Expectations, Fosters Communication & Goodwill

TIP: Company’s Video is Great (and Entertaining!) Example of Effective Marketing

 

Got this neat little story/tip from my longtime friend, KC, MO FLCW Jim Meadows (http://www.jimfreelance.com; featured in TWFW in chapter on part-time biz-building). Look for an EPUB feature from Jim soon, where he’ll share his now 10-year journey as a part-time FLCW who still holds a FT job, spends plenty of time with his family, is a part-time pastor in his church, and much more. He’s an inspiration. Stay tuned! And after that is a link to a great example of a marketing video that works on so many levels!   

 

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Build your value and time into every quote, but always be willing to clarify and adjust expectations to everyone’s benefit. We remain human; misunderstandings happen.

 

I recently had a longtime client ask for a quote on a technical writing project that had the potential for significant research and time, perhaps more so than he realized. Initially, I was tempted to throw him a midrange estimate, assuming the project simply would not pan out on the long side. But if I took that approach, I could be setting myself up for complications down the road, and possible strain in the client relationship.

 

Instead, I took a fresh look at the scope of the assignment. Upon careful analysis of what could happen, understanding my quality contribution, and knowing the rather technical nature of the work, I built these items into my estimate.

 

After receiving my estimate, my client said, “Perhaps I’ve overcomplicated this. I know you’re a meticulous, detail kind of person. But we only need a simple rewrite and review of the existing material. As such, I was thinking of something around 50% to 75% of what you quoted me.”

 

This response was marvelous to me. My client clarified expectations, underscoring that I would not being performing extensive research. Not only that, but when I responded with a revised quote in the high end of his range, he accepted it immediately.

 

We like to think we will nail the estimate perfectly every time. The reality is we are all human, and sometimes misunderstandings occur. The more we remain cognizant of that, the more effective we can be to maintain excellent client relationships with a happy revenue stream.

 

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Every now and then, you come across a marketing piece that really does a bang-up job of selling a particular product or service. Check out http://www.verticalresponse.com (then click on “Watch the video” on the left), which markets email management programs, for an exceptionally entertaining hot-dog-store owner as their spokesman. It’s detailed, fun, funny, easy to follow, exceptionally accessible to the layman, and makes the whole process seem oh-so-very easy-breezy. We can learn a lot from it!

 

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  

- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin’! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

- 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 at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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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” (200-300 words), TIPS (150-200) and SUCCESS STORIES (100-300) to peter@wellfedwriter.com. Archived issues at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine.shtml. 

 

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The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin’! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

 

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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! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/awai.shtml.

 

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HOW CAN MY MENTORING SERVICE SERVE YOU?

For details and testimonials, visit http://www.wellfedwriter.com/mentoring.shtml.

 

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