Freelance Writers Need Time Off!

writer's need time offIn the United States we start the year-end holidays with a celebration we call Thanksgiving. Although the nature of the festival is actually controversialit generally is a time when families gather and people here get in touch with things their grateful for.

Many  actually take the fourth Thursday of November off, and for some that becomes a long weekend. It also kicks off our annual shopping frenzy, but that’s another story.

As freelance writers we get to pick and choose our own hours and many of us end up working a 60 hour week to avoid the 40 plus commute we’d spend working for someone else.

While pushing through with no down time occasionally is probably okay, constantly putting in long days leads not only to aching shoulders and poor posture, but to brain fog and even brain freeze.

Writers need recreation or re-creation.

We need time to recharge and stare out the window, or wander through woods or down city streets in an aimless manner.

We need time when we’re not working at something, like exercise or house cleaning. Continue reading

Writers: Know Your Audience

I was sifting through a wad of emails recently when I noticed a disturbing trend. Writers who were soliciting their books, seminars, or services were resorting to sales tactics that, frankly, fell flat. That’s a shock – we’re writers. Shouldn’t we know who our audience is?

Too often I see people who are self-professed gurus of one form or another pushing a particular way to do things. While they may not state it’s the only way, they sure make you believe your writing career will be worse off if you don’t attract as much attention to yourself as possible.

Wow. Really?

The problem with that thinking is this – other writers? They aren’t your audience. Clients are.

Sure, you may have a business that does sell some coaching, training, or books to writers. In that respect, your audience is certainly made up of writers. However, I’d wager the majority of your clients aren’t writers. And the ones who are? They want to be treated with respect. So if you’re intending to market something to the writing community, try this instead:

Stop shouting. It’s annoying, isn’t it? Whenever I get an offer laced with exclamation points, I delete immediately. Too many exclamation points, in my view, show a lack of value in the message, or worse, the product being sold.

Give an outline. If I’m buying your book or signing up for your course, I want to know what to expect. Tell your audience what their money is buying by providing brief bullet points.

Appeal to their intelligence. Regurgitated messages and Woo hoos! where ho hums are more appropriate don’t go unnoticed. Your audience isn’t stupid. Show them the value of what you’re offering – don’t simply tell them endlessly with more enthusiasm than an over-caffeinated teenager.

Go for sleek design. Having seen numerous comments recently on how insulted or turned off writers were when hit with some of the more amateurishly designed sales pitches, I can appreciate what they’re saying. Good offers are made better with good design. Lose the multiple fonts, colors, and font sizes. Opt for a clean, well-presented look Pretend you’re presenting to a CEO or some high-level executive.  Appreciate your audience enough to treat them with that same respect.

Give it the Bullshit test. Look at your offer. Pretend you’re the buyer. Would you buy? Why not? Tweak until it’s something you’re willing to plunk down money for.

How have some sales attempts been lost on you?

What works?

What don’t you respond to?