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How They Did It: 25 Bloggers, Authors and Writers Share All Their Secrets About Earning a Living And How You Can Do It Too

How They Did It: 25 Bloggers, Authors and Writers Share All Their Secrets About Earning a Living And How You Can Do It Too

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How They Did It: 25 Bloggers, Authors and Writers Share All Their Secrets About Earning a Living And How You Can Do It Too

164 pagine
2 ore
Mar 6, 2012


Ever wished you could ask other writers the secret to earning a full-time income?

Some of the country's most prominent freelancers and bloggers share their best advice, covering everything from jumpstarting your career, landing well-paid assignments, expanding beyond your comfort zone and avoiding scams, and much, much more.

Get a special peek into the lives and work schedules of successful freelancers and learn:

- How they land assignments
- How many hours they work and how those hours are split (writing, marketing, etc.)
- How much money they make and where that money comes from
- How they transitioned into freelancing full-time (and tips to help you do the same)
- The importance of having a great workspace
- What qualities you need to make it as a writer
- How best-selling author Anthony Howard and self-publishing extraordinaire Peter Bowerman are changing the face of publishing
- Who's earning six figures and how
- How many of the writers interviewed are pulling more than $50,000 a year...

… and much more.

Learn it all directly from the writers, in their own words and style. No interruptions, no barriers, no secrets.

Plus, see photos of their writing spaces.

Mar 6, 2012

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How They Did It - Diana Bocco



Diana Bocco

An Imbolc Books Publication

How They Did It © 2012 Diana Bocco


Cover art by Char Adlesperger

Electronic book publication: March 2012

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher, Imbolc Books® or the author.

While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, the Publisher assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions of the subject matter herein. In practical advice books, there are no guarantees of income made or improvement of skill. Readers are cautioned to rely on their own judgment and act accordingly.


As a full-time writer myself, I‘ve often wondered how others do it. Just how do writers deal with crazy schedules and unstable income? How do they land lucrative (and interesting) assignments? This was an especially important question at the beginning of my career, when I was trying to find my way, and having a hard time figuring it all out.

This is why I loved working on this book. I‘ve been a writer my whole life, but I didn‘t really focus on the ―making money‖ side of it until 2006. I was living in Russia at the time, working as an ESL teacher and in need of some additional money to supplement my income. By 2008, I was freelancing full-time. It was easier and more fun than I‘d expected and I‘ve always wondered whether other writers had gone through the same experience when making a career switch.

There are some amazing writers here, including Peter Bowerman, author of ―The Well-Fed Writer‖ (considered by many as ‗the freelancer‘s bible‘), and self-publisher extraordinaire Anthony R. Howard, who made over $30,000 within the first year of publishing his Kindle novel. Some writers started out as journalists or English teachers, while others were actors, sold timeshare property, owned coffeehouses and yoga studios, or worked as technology experts and optometrist assistants. One of the writers was even a professional poker dealer! If you‘ve ever wondered if you need a specific background to become a writer, consider this book your final answer.

Besides the profiles, you will also find pointers on how to jumpstart your career, land well-paid assignments, expand beyond your comfort zone and avoid scams, and much, much more. Some writers, like copywriter Tom Bentley, offer more ―practical advice,‖ such as ―build a well-stocked bar.‖

The most important lesson I learned from writing this book is that successful writers diversify. Except for a few exceptions, almost everybody does several things: they keep a blog, work as freelance editors, self-publish ebooks... Successful writers

have several clients and projects going at once—If one stalls or gets postponed, they focus on something else. This not only ensures a steady flow of money, but can also help you keep your sanity.

I can‘t end this without mentioning the photos. I have office envy. Tom‘s office, set inside a 1969 airstream, is one of the best things I‘ve ever seen!

Whether you‘re a beginner writer looking to break in or a seasoned one trying to expand and diversify, I hope this book inspires you and shows you that when it comes to being a writer, there is a world of options out there.

Diana Bocco

Case 1: Tara Jefferson, blogging and social media

Official website:

Age: 26

Last year's income from writing:  Approximately $37,000 (still tallying!)

The most you've ever made from a single piece of writing: $750

How long you've been freelancing:  3 years

Your background before becoming a writer: I've always been a writer at heart, but after I graduated from college in 2007 with a degree in magazine journalism, I couldn't find any writing jobs at local magazines. So I took a job in public relations and began my career editing brochures and newsletters.

Why/How did you make the jump to freelancing? I had been writing on the side to satisfy myself. And when I got laid off in late 2010, I figured why not try to make it work as a full time freelancer?

First piece sold: I wrote a piece on social media for marriage educators in January

2011 for $750. It was for the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center.

Areas of specialization: I'm a bit of everything. I write books. I have my own blog and write for a few others. I'm managing editor of a black parenting website and I contribute to a handful of other online properties. I also provide social media services for three clients.

Describe your workspace: I work all over the house, but when I have a big project or when I'm on deadline I retreat to my home office (the former guest room). Nothing too fancy -a desk, a couple of dry erase boards and an inspirational wall poster to help me get over my writing slumps and bouts of insecurity.

Typical work day: The beauty of what I do is that there is no typical day, but for the most part, I do a lot of work between 12-2 (my son's naptime) and then from 7:30 p.m. until about midnight. It's a long day, particularly when you throw kids and graduate school into the mix.

How many hours do you work? I probably work about 7 hours a day.

How do you land assignments? Right now I'm fortunate that a lot of my clients come to me with assignments. Because I'm very active on social media, my name gets out there a lot.

Who have been some of your clients? I write for (a current events website with an African-American focus), (an iVillage property), and Black and Married with Kids (a black parenting/marriage website). I also work as a copyeditor with a self-publishing company.

Most memorable moment since you started writing? My son (who is three) had been bugging me all summer to take him to the beach. But the weather hadn't cooperated so we didn't make the hour-long drive up to the lake. But one Friday, it was perfect. He asked me at about 9:30 a.m. if we could go, just as I was sitting down to begin working. I looked at my pile of work and said, Absolutely. I took him and his sister to the beach and we had a blast. That day reminded me of how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do from the comfort of my home. It hit me that I am my own boss and I work my own hours. It's amazing.

What would you say are the most important qualities one needs to possess in order to be a successful freelance writer/author? You have to believe in yourself. Write a list of reasons why you think you'll be successful and hang them somewhere you can see them. Because a lot of times, you'll be faced with rejection and months where the checks are a bit lighter. So just embrace the fact that life as a freelancer is a rollercoaster.

What are the best and worst parts of the freelancing life? The best part is being able to stay in my house when faced with harsh winter weather! I also enjoy being able to build a career from scratch. That's very fulfilling. The worst part is that there is no time off, really. I work seven days a week (less on weekends). When my husband and kids were off for a two-week Christmas break, I still had projects to finish.

What are your long-term goals? I hope to continue to write books and articles about parenting, particularly from a young mother lens. That's a huge void I see in the marketplace and I'm doing my best to fill it.

What words of advice would you give a person entering your field? If you're a freelancer, you feel like you're supposed to be working all the time, because your income depends on your output. But you have to remember to schedule time to unwind and do something fun for your sanity's sake.

Anything further you'd like to add? There have been lots of times during this past year when I wanted to give up. Right after, I would land a big assignment. It was like a greater power was telling me to keep at it. Don't give up. If you feel like being a writer is what you truly want to do, don't ever give up on that.

Case 2: Amy Shojai, web content

Official website:

Age: 54

Last year's income from writing: Varies annually from 6 figures on good years, to

25,000 on bad years.

The most you've ever made from a single piece of writing: $160,000 for a 2-book advance.

How long you've been freelancing: I began submitting freelance articles in 1985 and quit my day job in 1992.

Your background before becoming a writer: I have a BA (double major) in music/communications/theater.

Why/How did you make the jump to freelancing? My degree is in performance, and I couldn't make a living at that, so I'd been working several different jobs while writing on the side. I worked as a TV news reporter/anchor, as an optometrist assistant, a veterinary technician, a legal secretary, and finally in a bank first in the note department and then as a compliance officer. I got the compliance officer position because it entailed interpreting and writing bank regulations, and then (trying!) to ensure the employees followed those regulations.

Meanwhile, I wrote freelance articles about my vet-tech experiences on the side—on lunch breaks from the day job and after work until midnight—and had just gotten the second book contract. My boss at the bank announced the bank examiners would arrive in two weeks. As the compliance officer I'd be in charge and have to explain

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