30
Dec 09

New Year Gifts

New Year is coming up. Why not get some special gifts for your loved ones and of course yourself.

New Year is a time for change. Why wait any longer when you can be better at something?

Perhaps you are looking for last minute New Year’s gifts for your family.

Why not get something nice for your kids?

Here are some recommendations:

1. P. Bear’s New Year’s Party: A Counting Book (Paperback)

2. The Night Before New Year’s (Reading Railroad) (Paperback)

book

3. New Clothes for New Year’s Day (Hardcover)

book 3

4. Aurora Verde – New Year Holiday Cards, Box of 10 cards and envelopes

card

5. Bringing in the New Year (Hardcover)

book 4


29
Dec 09

Plagiarism Detect

Plagiarism Detect is a popular plagiarism checker (online checker / MS Word plug in).

I always recommend Plagiarism Detect for checking articles especially if you are a freelance writer or a blogger to avoid plagiarism issue. This is because you will get to check which sites are using your articles (or part of the articles).

The best thing about PD is that you can choose to sign up for a free basic account or sign up for premium accounts with more services (if you are a professional).

There are five types of accounts available:

1. Free account – register

2. Advanced account for students/freelance writers – coming soon

3. Advanced account for academic staff – coming soon

4. Advanced account for publishers – coming soon

5. MS Word 2007 Plug In (you still need to register to get this plug in)

Refer to this image for comparison between the accounts:

PD

(click on the image for larger image)

This is what a free account looks like:

free

Give it a try!


29
Dec 09

Freelance Writing Jobs – Where To Find Them, How To Get Jobs That Pay (Update)

I have posted this here [freelance writing job] before. This is an update (with more info).

*****

Looking for freelance writing jobs internationally? Here are some sites available for you to try:

  1. WebProJobs
  2. SoloGig
  3. NoAgenciesPlease
  4. Programmer meet Designer
  5. Blog Posts For Sale
  6. SimplyHired
  7. WritingCareer
  8. WriterLance
  9. Guru
  10. FreelanceWriting
  11. AboutFreelanceWriting
  12. SunOasis Freelance Writing
  13. Burryman
  14. CraigsList

You can also use Indeed to help you narrow down your search for jobs. All you need to do is type in “freelance” or “freelance writing” into the search box.

If you want to bid for a job, you can try these sites:

  1. GetAFreelancer – not recommended but you can give it a try (most writers are under paid)
    * GAF has recently launched a new layout. It looks much better now.
  2. eLance
  3. iFreelance
  4. Project4Hire
  5. ScriptLance
  6. LimeExchange

If you want to earn royalty from blogging sites, try these:

  1. Triond
  2. Bukisa

When you bid for a job, make sure you don’t sell out yourself. Place a bid with a rate that is reasonable. Don’t bid as if you are dying to get the job (this will only benefit the clients and NOT you). Remember there are many other jobs and if you are being offered a low paying job, try to find others before you accept it.

Now that you know where to get the jobs you want, how do you make sure you get the job?

  • When you apply for a job, make sure you submit your resume that covers your expertise and mention your experience (if applicable). You don’t need a long resume, a short one will do as long as you have all the important facts in it.[What you should write in your resume? Your personal details, your education (if applicable) and your experience.]
  • If you are bidding for a job, mention briefly how you are going to get the job done and of course, don’t forget to put in your rate for the whole project and perhaps explain why you set such a rate.[You don’t need to lower your rate for the sake of getting a project. Downgrading your rate is like downgrading your work quality. Don’t do that.]
  • If you are being asked for a sample through the bidding sites, ask the client if your sample work will be paid. (Usually, some clients won’t pay and when you submit your work, they use it freely for their own advantage – you are at the losing end)[This is why you should have an online portfolio. Gather all your writing examples and direct your potential clients to the link that has your portfolio.]
  • Special tip: When you register at bidding sites or freelance writing job sites / forums, be sure to register a professional user name rather than using funny names. This might be a small gesture but it has a big effect on your success.

So, how do YOU get your freelance jobs?

Feel free to share with us!


26
Dec 09

2010 Freelance Writing Plan

2010 is just a few days away.

With a whole new year coming up, there must be a whole new plan for your freelance writing career.

Have you make your plan for 2010?

What I have in store for 2010?

  1. I am planning on having different blogs for different purposes.
  2. Explore new areas of writing to expand my business.
  3. Write more often on this blog (and other blogs).
  4. Read more about freelance writing / writing / editing / fiction.

What about plans that are non-related to freelance writing?

  1. I would like to save money to buy a property (it is not comfortable to live with parents after getting married).
  2. I really need to save up some emergency money.
  3. Redesign the rooms in my mum’s house so that I can have an office.

What about you? Are you going to make any big changes in 2010?


22
Dec 09

Top 10 Freelance Writing Sites Around The World

We are always in need of more resources especially for those who are new towards freelancing.

Here we have top 10 freelance writing sites for your reference.

Have fun!

1. About.com (Freelancewrite)

2. World Wide Freelance

3. Freelance Writing

4. All Freelance Writing

5. About Freelance Writing

6. The Freelance Writer

7. Writing Career

8. Write From Home

9. Writer’s Weekly

10. Poewar


21
Dec 09

Freelance Writing Industry in Malaysia

It is rather sad to see that freelance writing industry in Malaysia is rather gloomy. No one seems to recognise freelance writing as a career. Although it is “freelancing” but from “freelancing”, we can develop our own business (like me).

Since I have started my own business, I started to write full time. I take in projects that I can do and of course, life is good as I don’t have a fixed working hour (which is a very important element in my life because I hate working fixed hour).

Credit Card Application.

Recently, I have applied for Hong Leong Bank credit card (Classic card). The problems that I faced:

  1. My first application got lost somewhere between the mails. I waited for about a month, called the consultant a few times, checked at the branch itself only to find out that they didn’t receive my application.
  2. So, I sent in a second application. Second application seems to go well. The consultant informed me that I had to wait about 7 days for the application status and they will sent me a status letter. I waited for 3 weeks and I haven’t receive the letter.
  3. Finally, I called the credit card call centre and they told me my application was rejected.

I guess I will have to try other banks but certainly not Hong Leong Bank.

Tax.

I am new to business. Therefore, I am new to tax as well. I sent in an email to the IRB (Lembaga Hasil) to ask about tax. I waited for a week before I got a reply. Thankfully, the reply was very detailed.

On 9 December 2009, I sent in another email asking a new set of questions, today (21 December 2009), I still haven’t receive any reply.

Buying a Car.

2009 is a year where I have tried to buy a new car so many times, I am sick of seeing car dealers. Apparently I am not eligible to buy a car because my “business” is new (the true reason: they don’t see my business as a profitable business).

My dreams?

  1. I want to buy a house.
  2. I want to buy a car.
  3. I want to save money.
  4. I want to travel to other places.

I wonder which one that I can do real fast.

My priority is to get a house because I am married and I can’t stay with my parents for long (think about the privacy!).

Join or Back Off?

If you are a Malaysian, young adult and want to join the freelance writing industry in Malaysia, please be prepared to endure all these problems (unless if you are luckier than me). It is worth the time to explore this industry but do it at your own risks.

I am taking the risks, and I am enduring all these problems now!


13
Dec 09

Comedy Writing

In humor writing, the first person that has to think something is funny is you. If you don’t think what you’ve written is funny, probably no one else will either. Still, that’s no guarantee others will enjoy your comedy because not everyone shares your sense of humor. We’re all unique when it comes to comedy. We laugh at different forms of humor. Some like clever jokes, others visual slapstick comedy, and others dry wit. That’s the hardest thing about writing funny humor and comedy. Creating comedy that is universally funny and appeals to a large audience is challenging.

The number of times I’ve been the only person in a movie theater laughing during a particular comedy scene that I find funny is, according to my family members, ridiculous. And the loud, solo laughter at my favorite humor becomes the source of humor for everyone else. At my expense and to the embarrassment of my family. Of course, so is my solo singing, which is why I’m frequently asked to sing solo that no one can hear me. Hey…whatever lame joke it takes to get a laugh, right? So let’s take a closer look at humor.

Comedy is similar to magic. It surprises the audience. Like slight of hand, you intentionally lead the audience along a thought pattern towards a certain assumption or conclusion and then switch to the unexpected. For you, the comedy writer, it means always looking at things from a different, humorous perspective. Always asking what if? Where’s the comedy? How can I make it funny?

Tomorrow morning I have to get on a plane to Chicago…I’d prefer to ride inside the plane, but really, have you seen ticket prices lately? Work has been killing me lately because I’ve spent the last 3 weeks on the road…run over by 100 cars, 25 trucks, and picked on by 4 buzzards.

Universal humor and comedy is all around you. But you must train yourself to be observant and capture those funny moments when you encounter them. And when you see things that are funny, actively turn them over in your mind to make the comedy stand out. It’s the common problems we all face, the similar annoyances we experience, the familiar quirks of humanity we see every day. In reality, life is routine most of the time. And when you observe the comedy episodes in routine life, you’ll find humor that makes everyone laugh. Like…

The person ahead of you in the grocery store checkout line, that unlike you, is not in a hurry and uses the opportunity to share all the details of his current medical condition with the cashier. The five year old that keeps obnoxiously blurting out loud questions to his parents in the middle of an intense movie…that he shouldn’t even be at because it’s R rated.

However, it’s not just reporting these comedy moments, although sometimes, they are so naturally funny that alone is enough. What separates you as a freelance humor writer is when you add comedy, color commentary. It’s embellishing, exaggerating, and inserting the flavor of a little sarcasm. When you do, you create humor that makes us all laugh together. And it brightens up our day.

Chip Tudor is a freelance copywriter with a sense of humor who is experienced in writing for all media. He’s written for corporations like Wendy’s, LexisNexis and Iams along with faith-based organizations like John Maxwell’s Injoy, Gospel Light Publishing, and Catholic Marianists. To learn more visit: http://www.chiptudor.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Chip_Tudor


04
Dec 09

Google Wave

google wave

Google Wave has hit the internet.

Google Wave is an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. A wave can be both a conversation
and a document where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

[via Google Wave]

You have to be invited in order to use Google Wave as it is available as limited preview release.

I am lucky as a friend of mine has invited me for a preview. It looks promising to me.

How Google Wave can help freelancers to work?

I think that Google Wave is an excellent tool to collaborate on projects. If you are freelancing, you can easily work with different people using Google Wave at the same time. This way you can minimise business travel and save more time.

You can work at home easily and discuss with your clients at the same time. Basically, you should give it a try and if you are invited for the limited preview release, count yourself lucky!

Guide on Google Wave.

The truth is I am still learning about Google Wave and if you need a complete guide, Mashable has the most comprehensive guide.

Mashable Google Wave’s guide.

Learn more about Google Wave:


03
Dec 09

10 Free or Cheap Ways To Market Your Writing Business

These 10 strategies cost nothing, or close to it. They’ll save you money… and put money in your bank account, too!

1. Look in the business section of your local paper for the names of people who have been promoted, hired or rewarded by their companies. Write a short congratulatory letter (refer to the specific achievement to make it personal), and enclose two or more of your business cards (one for the person to keep, the others for him or her to give to others). By the way, your business cards DO include complete information about what you do, don’t they? If not, redesign them today! Just a title, such as “Freelance Writer,” is too vague. List what you can do (newsletters, brochures, ads, etc.) and add a blurb that highlights the main benefit you offer.

2. Scan magazines and newspapers for articles that are of interest to one or more of your current clients or “hot prospects” (people you’ve talked to but have not worked for yet). Clip the articles and send them to the prospects with an attached, handwritten note stating something like, “Hi, Alice. Thought you might be interested in this. Please keep me in mind for your future writing needs! Regards, Henry.” This strategy gives you a reason to remind your clients and prospects about you. It’s a way to keep your name in their minds. The use of snail mail and a handwritten note gives this tactic a personal touch. This is much more effective (and less obtrusive) than sending interesting tidbits via e-mail.

3. Create an alliance with graphic designers. Writers sometimes need graphic design work or have the opportunity to refer their clients to artists. And artists frequently need good copy that their clients cannot or do not want to supply themselves. Contact local graphic designers and ask them about their businesses before you talk about yours. Let them know that you may have an occasional client who could use their services. After the conversation gets going, you can mention your services. Follow up by sending a personal letter and several of your business cards. (One for the designer to keep, and the others for the designer to give to clients who may need you someday.)

4. Join an organization, such as the Chamber of Commerce or the local advertising club. Face-to-face networking is one of the best ways to get the word out about your business. Put your business cards in your pocket and always give two or three to each person (one to keep and one or two to share).

5. After you join an organization, volunteer and be active. Get noticed by taking a visible role in committees or events.

6. Call 5 to 10 people you know — friends, relatives, coworkers, folks at church, etc.–and talk to them about what you are doing as a freelance copywriter. Let them know you are available for work if they happen to hear of anyone who can use your services. Sometimes we think our “inner circle” knows what we do and can therefore refer us to others. More often, though, these people have only a limited idea of our capabilities. Change their misperceptions today!

7. Start your own newsletter or e-zine. Make sure at least 75 percent of the copy is information people can use — not marketing hype about you. For example, write articles on “Better Business Writing,” “The Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When You Write a Business Letter,” or “Advertising Copy That Sells.” Show your expertise in most of the newsletter, then highlight the benefits of your writing services. Remember to add a call to action (what you want the reader to do next, such as call you for a free consultation).

8. Contact a bookstore and offer to teach a free seminar about writing. Use a recently published book as a resource, and have lots of copies on hand for participants who are interested in purchasing the book. You’ll benefit from the free publicity and the store will benefit from the free promotion of the book.

9. Call four ad agencies and ask to speak to the creative or copy director. Be ready with a 30-second introductory pitch about your services and how you can benefit the ad agency. Ask for either a meeting to discuss the agency’s needs or permission to send a package with some of your writing samples.

10. Try to get in the newspaper or on the radio or local TV. Many media outlets actively seek guests who have something interesting to say. Develop a topic idea that will showcase your talents as a writer while also making for a good story or segment. Contact local reporters, radio hosts and TV producers with your idea.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Poole has been a Prosperous Writer since she launched her highly profitable freelance copywriting business in 1985. She is also a Writer’s Coach who empowers other writers to prosper in this opportunity-rich field. Kathy gives writers the confidence, knowledge and action plans they need to start, run and grow their own lucrative copywriting businesses – much sooner and more easily than they could by themselves. For information, resources, more articles and a complimentary Special Report, visit http://www.prosperouswriter.com

Send e-mails to kathy@prosperouswriter.com


03
Dec 09

December – Holiday Season

holiday

December is here. Christmas is around the corner. New Year is also around the corner.

So, what are you doing now?

It is time for shopping spree. Being prepared early is best especially if you are celebrating Christmas.

What would be the best gift for Christmas?

Books!

Nothing is as good as books, as books can last for a long time.

So, what books should you get for Christmas?

First of all, you might want to consider a Kindle. You use a Kindle to read e-books.

Ok now back to the book choices.

Twilight is such a popular series.

You might want to get these books:

1. Twilight

2. New Moon

3. Eclipse

4. Breaking Dawn

You can even get The Twilight Saga Collection (all four books).

Then again, you might want to consider getting the Harry Potter series. I have grown up with Harry Potter.

Love Dan Brown? Here is a list of books by Dan Brown:

1. The Lost Symbol

2. Deception Point

3. Matter

I am sure you will need books for kids as well. Picture books would be the best for kids. Kids love picture books because they are colourful.

What about teenagers? Check out books for teenagers!

December is the time for giving and receiving. Why not make someone happy with a nice gift?

Need more books? More books for everyone!

More gift ideas for Christmas and New Year.

Happy early Christmas and a Happy New Year!