Freelancing Online and Professional Blogging Truths: Excerpts from My Book

Want to know the truth about freelancing online and professional blogging? Check out a few excerpts from my book. Then consider pre-ordering via my Indiegogo campaign.

I've had a few people ask me questions about what's in my forthcoming book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger. Yes, there's a table of contents listed on the campaign page for my Indiegogo project. However, some of my readers/friends/family are looking for a little taste.

So I thought I'd share some short, random excerpts from the book. Enjoy! And let me know what you think in the comments. Or show your support by donating to the campaign. At the $7 level, it's like a pre-order of the ebook. You get better pricing, plus a couple freebie assets.

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Ok. Without further ado, the excerpts:

From Chapter 1

Sometimes I Don't Write What I Know

“Write what you know.”

This is the standard advice given to anyone who starts writing. Whether you write a novel, or look for the perfect beat as a journalist, the assumption is that you should start from a place of knowledge (and maybe experience).

My professional blogging career didn’t come about because I wrote what I knew when I graduated from journalism school.

I tried that. No one wanted to pay me. I knew politics, science, and religion. I applied for gigs, but was turned down. Associated Content was just starting up, so I started submitting what I knew on that site. Soon, though, I discovered that what really got the pageviews were more lifestyle articles.

I may not have known much about weddings and parenting (other than what raising my then-toddler provided me with), but submissions on those subjects not only resulted in higher up-front compensation from Associated Content, but they garnered more views, leading to higher bonus payouts.

The lesson? Writing what you know might be fun, but it probably won’t pay the bills — at least at first. In today’s blogging environment, writing what you know can eventually turn into a revenue stream, assuming you have the patience to build up your blog’s traffic and authority. But if you want to get paid right now, writing what you know won’t be nearly as useful as writing what’s in demand.

Confessions of a Professional BloggerFrom Chapter 3

Freelance Marketplaces: Race to the Bottom

One of the first things you have to realize when working as an online freelancer is that marketplaces are a race to the bottom when it comes to pay. Getting paid to write 500-word keyword articles for $5 apiece? Go to a freelance marketplace, and you can try to bid against others willing to do it for $2.50 or $3.00. A freelance marketplace is a great place to find clients who want a “bulk discount” that leaves you lucky to be earning minimum wage.

I did two projects through a freelance marketplace. Not only did I have to lowball myself, but then I also had a portion of my earnings taken by the marketplace. Bidding on jobs sucks. It’s not something I would do again unless I absolutely had to. I mean absolutely had to. And, since I keep my accounts at least open with content farms and content brokers, I probably won’t have to turn to freelance marketplaces ever again.

But, if you’re interested in trying out these marketplaces, here are four of the main bidding sites:

◆ eLance
◆ Guru
◆ oDesk

There are usually plenty of jobs to choose from, but this is really more of a deal for the person hiring you. In many cases, you might be competing against someone who doesn’t offer the same quality of work you do. This becomes frustrating after awhile. It only took me two gigs through a freelance marketplace to become frustrated enough to never want to use them again. I’ll start writing for content farms again before I bid on another freelance job through one of these web sites.

From Chapter 10

Sharing Everything Isn't Always Wise

Indiegogo Campaign ContributeMy husband hates when I post personal things on Facebook. When I mentioned the lump the doctor found in my breast a couple of years ago (it was extra-thick tissue, but it still scared the crap out of me, since I have close relatives with cancer) on Facebook, he was Not Happy.

I’ve never been one to share personal relationship problems on social media, but even sharing a private medical concern weirded my husband out — although it technically didn’t have anything to do with him.

He’s more relaxed about some things, like writing about our differences in spending style, as long as I don’t share specific numbers. And that’s fine with me, since I’m not big into post my net worth or sharing the intimate details of my past debt indiscretions.

As a professional blogger, I could share a lot — and share it about a lot of things. However, I think it’s better to think before you post. Whether you hit the “publish” button in WordPress, or whether you send out a tweet, stop and think about what you’re sharing.

Sometimes, I share my feelings and frustrations, but that is different from sharing the medical information my husband was so upset about. I try to be careful about where I share my son’s name, and who gets to see images of him (although I wasn’t as careful in the past, so he’s got a very small Internet footprint).

When sharing about others, I try to get permission if I think the story is going to be revealing or uncomfortable. And I’ve started checking with others before I post images of them on social media. It’s just common courtesy.

There are times I do tell stories about things I’ve seen in my personal life that don’t present others in a flattering light. In those cases, I do my best to obscure personal details — including how I know the person. Those who know me really well can usually guess who I’m writing about, but most people (in some cases the very people I’ve written about, even after they read the piece) have no clue.

Bloggers find that stories from their personal lives are interesting and compelling. Adding that personal touch can create a connection with your readers, and help you develop your authentic voice. But you do need to be careful.

It comes down to what you’re comfortable sharing — and whether your loved ones are comfortable as well. In some cases, it might even come down to legal issues. So make sure you are accurate and take appropriate steps to avoid maliciousness when you share, because you don’t want to find yourself faced with a libel suit because you ruined your sister-in-law’s reputation with something you shared in a blog post.

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