How to be a successful professional writer - Copify

How to be a successful professional writer

Writing is the most fickle of professions. A vocation more than a simple career, the love of it incites in most professional writers a desire to do it day in and day out, with the ability to make a living from it simply the icing on the cake.

Yet it is not always the best-paid employment. Because most of the people who choose to write enjoy it so much, they often accept low wages as an inevitability, but they needn’t do so. Yes, success cannot be defined by a healthy income alone, but once you have trained and built up a strong portfolio, it’s fair to expect pay that reflects the talent and time devoted to producing interesting and engaging copy.

The trick is to remember this: not everyone has the aptitude nor the ability to do what you do. If you are so blessed, you deserve the success that would come with such a degree of skill were you to be employed in any other sphere.

That’s why we’ve written this article. Intended to teach you not just how to be a professional writer who earns a good wage, but also one who has the ability to drum up business and make your mark in your chosen profession, we hope you find it helpful…

1. Practice makes perfect

How to be a successful professional writer - Copify The trick to being a good writer is the same as the trick to being good at anything else: the more you do it, the better you will become. Although most professionals have a natural aptitude for the written word, there is always room for improvement, and you’ll find that the more you write, and the more you read and revise what you produce, the better your content will be.

This rule applies to all types of writing, whether it’s produced for private enjoyment or professional purposes. Every client you create copy for is helping you to gain experience, and every evening you spend writing poetry or adding to your own blog is time that you’re investing in your career development, whether or not you realise it.

Write at every opportunity, and the improvement you see in your work – and your client’s reaction to it – will be proof that you’re undoubtedly embarking on the path to success.

2. Read as much as you can as often as you can

Whether you’re set on producing website copy for a living or are an aspiring novelist with big dreams, the steps you take on your journey to turning your passion into a profession will be the same. You would surely agree, then, that one person who knows what it takes to be a successful professional writer is the master of horror himself, Stephen King, so take this advice from him: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Read often, read widely, and pick up whatever you can from those who truly are the best of the best.

3. Market yourself

So far, we’ve covered the ways you can improve your skill set to help you secure professional success, but no matter how good you are at what you do, you’re not going to make a living from your work unless people will pay you for it, and they can’t pay you for it if they don’t know that you exist. This is why marketing is key.

No matter whether you’re the next big novelist or a copywriter who wants to increase your monthly income, you need to be using social media platforms and your professional website (make sure you have one of these) to get your name out there and show exactly what you can do.

4. Network

How to be a successful professional writer - CopifyAs with marketing, networking is a prerequisite for success in any profession. As you gain clients, you will naturally gain contacts, and if they are happy with your work, there is no harm in making it known to them that you are always eager to take on new projects if they know of anyone who is looking for the services you can provide.

In the same way, professionals that you have once collaborated with can have it made known to them that you would be willing to do so again in the future; this way, both you and another could potentially bring in mutually beneficial business, to the advantage of both parties.

5. Share your insights and show what you can do

One fantastic way to show off your skills as a writer is to blog, and this is a useful means of gaining increased exposure. No matter what you write about in your professional life, use your private space as an opportunity to explore a topic that really interests you, as this is likely to significantly enhance not only the authority of the content you produce but also its quality.

In the same vein, be sure to include previous examples of work from your portfolio on your professional website, so that interested parties can see exactly what you’re capable of when they’re considering contracting you.

How to be a successful professional writer - Copify

6. Invest in yourself and your business

Writing, like any other skill, can be improved upon, and as a professional, the better you are able to write, the more success you will enjoy. That’s why we would suggest investing some of your profits in improving your abilities.

There are lots of fantastically useful writing courses around to help you with this, which can be not only educational and informative but also incredibly interesting for those with a passion for the written word. Similarly, courses to help you improve your business nous are always a good idea.

7. Broaden your skill set

We mentioned above building on your skills through improving upon your natural aptitude, and we also recommend developing new talents that complement those you already possess. If you’re a copywriter, for example, you may find that adding the ability to produce basic leaflet designs or simple HTML to your skill set increases the number of clients who are interested in the services that you offer, as many smaller businesses want all parts of their project to be managed by one individual, rather than contracting you to complete their copy and someone else to do the rest.

Give our top tips a go today to enjoy the professional success you’ve always dreamed of!

 

Main image credit: Francisco Gonzalez
Image credits: Shawn Campbellperzon seoCollegeDegrees360

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How to be a ghost writer - Copify

How to be a ghost writer

As much as we might like it to be otherwise, we all know that writing doesn’t always pay well. Although there are many who make a successful living from it, most struggle to balance the books, whether they’re a freelance copywriter or the aspiring author of a novel.

If you think that we’re going to tell you to be sensible and look for another career, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. If you love what you do but just wish that it could be that little bit more lucrative, we think we might have the perfect solution for you: ghost writing.

How to be a ghost writer - CopifyBut how does one become a ghost writer? Most professionals wrongly believe that they need one important asset which they lack, this being connections who have the money to bankroll a writing project.

In focusing on this, they forget the skills they actually can bring to the table, foremost amongst them experience, a talent for the written word, and a fantastic work ethic. These are what make you suitable to tell other people’s stories, if only you’ll put the effort into getting yourself out there.

The benefits of being a ghost writer

If you’re wondering what possible perks could make this additional effort worthwhile, then consider the following:

You’ll be paid upfront: For ghost writers, there is no wait on royalties as there is for those who write their own books.

You’ll be in the green: Ghost writing is lucrative. Provided that the right clients come your way, you’ll earn more than you could for any of the other writing services you offer.

You won’t need to market: You might be making a lot of money as a ghost writer, but you won’t need to work as hard as you imagine. It’s not your name on the book, so the marketing you would normally need to do will be taken care of by somebody else, leaving you free to move onto your next project as soon as you finish your current one.

You’ll find evaluating your work easier: Unlike those writing a novel of their own, this book will not be solely your brainchild. Many ghost writers claim that this makes it far easier for them to be objective when working on it, and better able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their work.

You’ll find it interesting: Depending upon the clients you secure, you might also find that some really interesting work comes your way. You’ll have the chance to get an insight into other people’s lives, professions, and experiences, and may well find that you enjoy learning more about these.

You’ll become a better writer: Last but not least, many claim that ghost writing helps them to improve their art, as it constantly challenges their writing skills. With a pre-paid order in place, you’ll soon become far more organised about meeting your daily word count goals, and will find that writing other people’s stories will give you a chance to test what works best before writing your own books.

How to be a ghost writer

With all of this in mind, the idea is probably starting to look exceedingly attractive, but how does one actually become a ghost writer? We suggest that you try doing the following…

1: Gain experience

As is the case with any profession, experience will stand you in good stead for finding employment. Although you may not be able to secure yourself a ghost writing gig straight off the bat, make sure that you do what you can, whether this is blogging, writing for print publications (even if this is in a voluntary capacity), or self-publishing a book. You need to show that you can do everything a good ghost writer must, so write, write, and then write some more, covering as many sectors and topics as possible, and demonstrating as many styles as you are able to.

2: Practise your art

They say that one must write for 10,000 hours before they can consider themselves to be an expert, and there may well be some truth to this. Although gaining experience that looks good on a CV is invaluable, you should also focus on getting in as much writing as you can in an attempt to improve your art. After all, it is little good ticking boxes to gain experience if you cannot actually deliver when a ghost writing gig comes your way. Write at every opportunity, read as much and as widely as you can, and always be willing to accept feedback, both positive and negative, for it is this that will help you to improve.

3: Educate yourself on your role

We’ve focused above on how you can make yourself a strong candidate for ghost writing roles, and we should also mention some more secondary skills that will be essential to the performance of such a position. Namely, getting to grips with what such a job will require of you.How to be a ghost writer - Copify

Firstly, try to educate yourself on the collaborative nature of such roles. You will be writing somebody else’s book, and although it will be your words, it’s their story, so being able to set aside your own ideas and deliver the sort of content that somebody else desires is a vital ability for any ghost writer.

Secondly, be aware that you’ll also need to possess management skills, as it will be down to you to structure and organise your materials, potentially conduct interviews and research, and ensure that the schedule set out by your client is always adhered to. If you don’t think that the reality of this will suit you, ghost writing probably isn’t the right fit.

4: Know who to contact

It’s not only celebrities who will wish to tell their stories through somebody else’s words. There are many people who lack the time or ability to write a book themselves, and they have to find ghost writers somewhere. Although some will source such individuals through publishers or book packagers, others will search online, so make sure that you keep an eye out, and get in touch whenever a potential opportunity arises. Additionally, make sure that anyone who decides to do the searching themselves can find you by creating a strong web presence that’s SEO optimised and professional in tone and appearance.

Take the first step today; follow our advice and change your career path for the better.

 

Main image credit: Jason wilson
Image credits: Free ImagesConnor Einarsen

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10 best blogs for writers - Copify

10 best blogs for writers

If you’ve found yourself on this page, the chances are that you’ve done a Google search to try and find the best blogs for writers. You’ll have already noticed how many of them there are out there, and you’re probably eager to narrow it down to the ones that will actually help you.

It’s not as simple as just clicking on the results that the search engine comes up with. Although these might rank highly, many of them will be unengaging or poorly executed, and therefore of little assistance to aspiring writers like yourself.

But there are some real gems out there for those on the hunt for something that will actually be helpful, filled with witty and informative commentary, invaluable tips and tricks, and plenty of useful content.

Whether you’re a freelance writer who wants to improve your copywriting style or an aspiring novelist looking to enhance your creative writing pursuits, our selection contains a range of writing blogs to enable you to brush up on your techniques, learn from others, keep up with the latest trends, and ensure that everything you produce captivates its audience and keeps them reading.

If you want to know where to find these elusive blogs, these are the places we suggest you look…

10 best blogs for writers - Copify

1. Grammarly

You might have seen ads for Grammarly pop up on your Facebook and dismissed them as you do most things that seem too good to be true, but this is a beautifully presented and engaging blog that delivers exactly what it promises to. As well as offering an online proofreading tool that’s utterly invaluable to aspiring writers, Grammarly’s informative blog is easy to use, nicely laid out, and provides a fantastic mix of content, from the more serious to light-hearted offerings that will have you chuckling away to yourself.

2. The Creative Penn

If you want advice, then it’s always best to approach the experts, so who better to learn from than a New York Times bestselling independent author like Joanna Penn? Creator of numerous non-fiction works, she has sold over 500,000 copies of her titles and shares her experiences and insights on her brilliant blog. Mixing standard written content with frequent podcasts, she provides a window into the world of independent publishing, one that is filled to the brim with practical tips and tricks to help you improve your own offerings.

3. Jane Friedman

It’s fair to say that another professional guaranteed to know their stuff is a publisher, and Jane Friedman has decades of experience in the industry. Formerly employed by Writer’s Digest, she really does know what she’s talking about, and she happily shares her know-how on her blog. Filled with useful, instructive content especially aimed at aspiring writers, a read through her archives is enough to outfit the uninitiated with plenty of insider knowledge to help them get ahead of the game.

10 best blogs for writers - Copify

4. Daily Writing Tips

Daily Writing Tips does exactly what it says on the tin, which is why we love it so much. Free of gimmicks or get-rich-quick schemes, it provides plenty of practical advice to writers, to assist in improving their spelling, grammar, and the overall quality of their content. For anyone who’s ever wondered whether to use a colon or a semicolon, speech marks or quotations, a daily skim read of this blog will soon ensure that this is a thing of the past, helping you to hone your talents until your punctuation is utter perfection, and your writing skills are quite simply superb.

5. The Writers’ Academy

Hosted by Penguin Random House, the Writer’s Academy is another blog that we suggest you check out. Overflowing with great articles, it offers everything from writing prompts to competitions, instructive content, and more. It makes for some pretty interesting and educational reading, so take a look and see what you think.

6. The Book Designer

This one is a little different to the blogs we’ve looked at so far. Although it still has lots of really useful articles, The Book Designer focuses less on the actual writing and publishing aspect of things and more on how to physically put a book together. With exhaustive content covering everything from book and cover design to printing, production, and more, it makes for incredibly informative reading for those who want to go down the DIY route.

7. Well-Storied

This is a blog that we really do love, because it’s fresh, fast growing, and unlike anything else that’s out there. Created by Kristen Kieffer, Well-Storied offers a superb expose on how not to write a novel, drawing from its host’s past failures to paint a picture of the many common mistakes you ought to avoid when you’re trying to get published.10 best blogs for writers - Copify

8. Goins, Writer

One of the most celebrated writing bloggers on the internet is the inimitable Jeff Goins, and if you decide to take a look at his blog, you’ll soon see why. Offering lots of fantastic resources for those who hope to turn their passion for the written word into serious long-term employment, his love of his subject is evident in every piece of content he produces. Utilising a storybook style of writing, he has some truly invaluable tips for those in need of a little inspiration.

9. Copyblogger

This is another one that deviates from the norm. Aimed specifically at teaching writers how to produce content for marketing and SEO purposes, Copyblogger is uniquely well suited to the many who make their living through writing for online publications. Even those whose focus is creative writing could still have plenty to learn from it and will find it filled with fascinating features including interviews with bestselling authors.

10. The Write Life

We round out our 10 best blogs for writers with this final entry: The Write Life. The perfect place for those in the industry to create, connect, and earn some extra profit, it is envisioned as a portal where writers can engage with each other and learn how to make their first forays into the world of professional authorship, whether through fiction or copywriting. Taking a simple and straightforward approach to achieving this, it still manages to offer visitors plenty of entertaining reading materials, whilst all the while educating them on how to make their living as a writer.10 best blogs for writers - Copify

Do you have any other blogs to recommend amongst the best blogs for writers? Drop a comment below. And if you liked this blog post, why not take a look over some of our other posts to see what useful content you can find right here on the Copify blog.

 

Main image credit: Fredrik Rubensson
Image credits: Shanna SJane FriedmanWell-StoriedThe Write Life

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