Ghostwriting and earning money from writing under a pseudonym

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I aspire to write novels under my own name… but at the moment, the majority of my income comes from writing for other people.

Ghostwriting, or writing for other people so they can attach their name to your work as the author is more prevalent than you might think. More so in Non-Fiction genres, but it’s pretty much everywhere.

When you take a step back and view writing as a whole – and not just novel writing – there are plenty of opportunities to earn a living. For me, I’ve diversified. I get a little bit here, a little bit there, and it all adds up enough to support myself as I chase my dream. That suits me. If I focused on a certain specialization, I find I get stagnant with creative flow, as well as being pigeon-holed as only being able to produce that kind of material. I like to mix it up and keep things fresh.

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The majority of my income is derived from Manuals, Text books, Academic Support Material, and Speech Writing. It’s also easier to do because it’s more about conveying facts than embellishment and world building. Plus I love research, so I find it fun. It’s the type of work where there is a team involved – you work to a spec, fact check, submit for feedback and re-write. You get a stamp of approval and it’s off to someone else to worry about the editing, formatting, publishing, and marketing.

It’s much the same as Article Writing for media, except in media you need to include marketing terms and hot topic phrases (*cough* click bait *cough*) which is usually for an established columnist who is on a break or overworked. You will get a sample of their writing style to match before submitting. If you do a good enough job it can mean a fairly regular source of work.

I used to do a lot of Copywriting, but am scaling back on that, as the Marketing environment has grown exponentially in the last five years, and with so much new talent and a technology/social media focus, I’m not wanting to take a year or so off to update my skills in order to compete. It’s time I’d much rather spend writing my own content.

Screenwriting is something I fell into, and I’m finding the more work I do, the more offers I get. It was a case of who you know to get this score. Always a part of a writing team, deadlines that must be met no matter what, and I’ve gotten to work for some big movie productions down to a scripted YouTube piece.

71a83a70-33b2-4e9c-89be-b9a98cf8220eAll of that is fun and full of variety, but I’m also branching out into releasing work under a pseudonym. Only because in the world of publishing and marketing, everything is genre based. You can’t become established as a Mystery writer and then drop a cookbook on your dedicated fan base. So it’s recommended by your publishing team to ‘brand’ yourself. And thus alter ego’s are born. Plus the different genres/forms of publishing differ greatly for each pseudonym. They have their own marketing plans and budgets, different demographics and markets. Although I’m only small fry, it makes me feel like some big corporation at times with all this diversification with my writing.

All that I’ve mentioned is well and good for an established writer. I’ve got degrees, industry contacts, and thirty years of experience. For those of you starting out, do the research. Each of these endeavors were the result of weeks of toiling through information to form an action plan. Know your stuff. The internet has provided you with perfect tool to get the advice you need right in front of you for free. It just takes some time and perseverance to pull it all together. Plus, you need to get out there and network. Attend industry conferences in the field you are interested in writing for, publishing workshops, writers groups – the more resources you have, the better equipped you’ll be. Make sure you have samples of your writing handy at all times, whether it’s something you can email, or examples listed on a website, these will be crucial for attracting paid work. Don’t be afraid to put in a submission for work. Call places or send them an email query. It is an investment of time in trying to set up and get prepared for an income other than that from your novel… but it will mean you are a full-time writer.

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These different forms of writing income have given me freedom to follow my passion, and although I’m not getting credit for my work in the form of notoriety – because it’s being published under someone else’s name. It does provide the financial freedom I need to work from wherever I carry my laptop. Plus releasing work under a pseudonym not only gives me a chance to brand work best suited to marketing activity to reach its target demographic, but also gives you the opportunity to try out different tactics in promoting. Whether traditionally published, or self-publishing, it will always be beneficial to learn how to sell your own work.

Keep at it author friends – find a way to follow your dreams!

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© Casey Carlisle 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Building Your Book Launch For $0 Investment

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Is it possible to market your novel for free? Let’s take a closer look…

It boils down to this: The more time you put into your book launch, the more successful it will be. But does your time cost money? Not really, unless you are taking time off work.

But still, you have to get creative and put in a lot of man (or woman) hours. It’s all about building a platform, a following, making connections, and getting the word out. To do this, you are going to need a plan, each step needs a deadline, all leading up to your books release date.

It doesn’t stop there.

You will need to continue the same activities to keep the momentum and build sales after the publication date.

It’s a lot of work.

Let’s break it down, and please note this is simply about marketing your novel. Costs involved in editing, printing, and publishing your book are not included here. All of the aspects I’m discussing are things that fellow authors are currently using to market their novel. Things that work.

Building a platform.

Building Your Book Launch for $0 Investment Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThis basically boils down to having an online presence. A place that gives all the information about your published works, tells readers where to buy your book, and offers a way to engage your readership. This can be through social media sites, blogs, or building your own free website (make sure that you are not then hit with web hosting fees.) From speaking to fellow authors who’ve had success in this medium, the more interactive platforms garner the most success. Again, it boils down to how much time and effort you donate to the cause – and finding a medium that works for you. I’ve spoken to published authors who’ve had varying tracked sales from sites like facebook, WordPress, Instagram, tumblr, YouTube and twitter.

Facebook requires you to post regularly, and authors have had more sales conversions in interacting with writing groups and book clubs. Some have tried facebook adds, (which cost money) but have had little to no success in that converting to sales. I only think facebook adds work in conjunction with other types of marketing, and if you are more established so the public will recognise your book or name. Facebook was also great in contacting readers for reviews on ARC copies – which when posted on Amazon and Goodreads promote your book prior to its release.

Social media allows you to grow, and tap into communities, build hype, and pull together a street team creating buzz about your upcoming release (like a book tour.) Just about every author I’ve spoken to about this has said the minimum amount of time they spent building a following was around a year. Which, if you are planning a book release in advance is not too bad. You need to initiate marketing activity at least six months before the release date if you want to see a response in your sales.

Creating this type of buzz also turns into presales. You can get your following to buy immediately through presale options available on Amazon. The more sales you make, the higher your ranking, and the more Amazon will make your book visible in their recommendations section. So, planning is key!

Through the various aspect of your online platform you can collect email addresses to send out updates and reminders of your release date. It helps to prompt your readership to get sales. But don’t spam the heck out of them – it will have the reverse effect.

With the interaction you have with people on social media, it creates a relationship. They become invested in your novel, in you as a person, in your career. That translates into sales, support, and book reviews. They can also provide constructive criticism and help you grow into a better writer.

You can do this same type of activity in person.

Network.

Building Your Book Launch for $0 Investment Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleAt book clubs, at free seminars and workshops at your local library. You never know who that one ‘person of influence’ is that will catapult your books exposure to the next level.

 

 

Build a press kit.

Building Your Book Launch for $0 Investment Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleHave it ready and contact newspapers, magazines, television talk shows, radio stations, podcasts, review sites. You never know which one of these will run with a story. That is valuable exposure. It just takes time and research.

Generally you want to start contacting media outlets around three months before your release date to cash in on momentum – and give them enough time to publish or air an article.

Enter writing competitions.

Building Your Book Launch for $0 Investment Pic 05 by Casey CarlisleThere are a numerous competitions running annually. If your novel meets the criteria for entry, why not submit it. Many require no entry fee – but some do. I know three authors who did not win, but were placed in the top five, or got an honourable mention. This is a great thing to entice a publishing company to spend more money on a marketing campaign. It gives your writing credence and exposes your manuscript to a wider variety of publishing professionals.

Being shortlisted for a prize is something you can put on your cover, list in your books description. It substantiates you as an author. Plus all those people who entered and monitor the competition are likely to purchase a copy of your novel.

Collaborative Advertising in End Pages.

Building Your Book Launch for $0 Investment Pic 06 by Casey CarlisleThis is a bit of out-of-the-box thinking for those who go the self-publishing route, because you control the content in the blank pages at the back of the book. A group of authors who help each other out as critical partners came up with the idea of promoting each other’s novels in the end pages of their releases. You get a page to essentially place an advertisement for another author’s book, and in turn they do the same for you. And on e-book releases, you can include a link direct to your sales platform (be it Amazon, or a private e-store.)

Book Subscription Boxes.

Building Your Book Launch for $0 Investment Pic 07 by Casey CarlisleThere are a number of subscription services out there. They have different criteria for their featured novels, and a lot of the time they are themed. Do some research and see if your novel meets that criteria and contact them and see if they are interested in featuring your book. You can time it with your release date. It’s free marketing for your novel, reaching an already established and eager audience.

 Release a free companion novella.

Many authors do this, it a smart technique. Essentially you are giving away a free teaser of your novel. It’s usually in the form of an e-book and hooks the reader to order (or pre-order) your novel upon completion. Or you could use it as a free gift with purchase. ‘Buy my novel and receive this limited edition bonus material you can’t get anywhere else.’ It’s a bonus, it’s exclusive, only available from your platform for a short window of time.

Swapping banner ads, or collaborative advertising.

Building Your Book Launch for $0 Investment Pic 08 by Casey CarlisleI’ve seen this done with limited success. You have to be tapped into your demographic, and you need to choose an equitable product/market willing to do the same. You both advertise, or talk about each other’s product (or novel) on your platform. It does work, but I think it takes a lot of time to find the perfect fit and get the advertising part right.

Book reviews.

Building Your Book Launch for $0 Investment Pic 09 by Casey CarlisleWord of mouth recommendations are what drives the publishing industry. ARC copies of your novel can make or break your book release. Make sure you have your book listed for pre-sale so people can reserve a copy, and then those who read your ARC can write their reviews and it goes live instantly. Make sure the people you approach for reviews are not the victim of spamming emails or cold contact. The whole point of having a platform is to build relationships. Don’t send a free copy to a YouTube book reviewer and expect the sales to come pouring in. They don’t know you. Your book is likely to get shelved or donated and no exposure will come to fruition. Book reviewers love books, love authors. If you take the time to connect and build a relationship, their likely to reciprocate. Make sure they are in your target demographic and enjoy reading your genre before you even think of supplying a copy of your ARC.

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Regardless if you are traditionally published, indie published or self-published, you should be doing your own form of marketing. Get creative. There are no rules in how to reach a prospective audience. I’ve even spoken to an author who garnered huge sales from touring schools across the country to talk about careers in writing for English classes. She wasn’t spruiking her book, but curious minds ended up becoming fans and purchased her novels. Some authors have run competitions to help promote their novel… do a bit of research and come up your own version. Writing can be a solitary endeavour, but publishing and marketing certainly are not. If you are a shy recluse, sorry but you are going to have to find some methods of building relationships with people in some form in order to promote your novel. There are so many ways to do this. Above are a number of things that I have seen work. It all comes down to planning and investing your time. Like building a business or renovating a house – the more time you put in of your own, the less you have to pay someone else to do it.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to other authors you love and asked what marketing methods worked for them. Many have their own platforms, an amazon or Goodreads page. What’s the worst that could happen, they not answer your question? No big loss. But if they do help you out, it’s as valuable as mentorship because you are getting valuable information that works from an industry professional.

Put your thinking caps on and best of luck.

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Connecting With Professional Writers – Growing Your Network

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Writing in and of itself is a solitary journey, especially in the beginning stages. But when we embark on that publishing and marketing stage it can be extremely difficult and a somewhat insurmountable task. That’s where we need to reach out. Find resources, use editing services, tap into education… but how do you actually grow a network of like-minded professionals short of cold-calling?

I’ve managed to meet published authors and other professionals in the publishing industry through a number of means. But it all comes down to getting involved. Introducing yourself and becoming a part of a conversation. And it doesn’t have to be about writing. Just break the ice, once that is done you can get to more important and exciting matters. Share your experiences.

I’ve attended a number of workshops and seminars and ended up trading emails with people I met there. We keep in contact through social media and arrange the occasional coffee for a chat. I find this helps with staying motivated and meeting others going through the same process reminds me that I’m not alone. Not even in my own neighbourhood.

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I’ve also joined a few facebook writers groups. These are great. We swap tips, critique each other’s works, and pass on great contacts that have been vetted. Heck even if I don’t post much there, just reading everyone else’s chats is invaluable. Additional to that, I’ve garnered great contacts through LinkdIn, and registered State literature sites. Not only do they post up-to-date information on writing competitions, postings for paid work, but also regularly release news on gatherings, seminars and workshops in my area. More and more I’m finding that writing does not have to be such a solitary endeavour.

I’ve also connected with published authors through other social media platforms and emails. Whether it be over the love of their writing, a shared review, or a heads-up on something a bit hokey going on with their book. I can’t tell you how many pirated copies of books I’ve been spruiked. I always notify the author so they can take action… We don’t want our industry leeching money when it is already so hard to make a worthwhile living from.

The concept of business, technology, the Internet and the network. A young entrepreneur working on a virtual screen of the future and sees the inscription: Social media

Growing this kind of network can provide you with great Critical Partners, references for editing services, tips and tricks for marketing your novel, and even contacts to get your foot into the door with traditional publishing houses. It also helps get the word out about your novel. Once you have released your book it can mean having the difference of a ‘Street Team’ spreading the word, and having to do it all yourself (or pay big bucks for advertising.)

If you’re reading this blog post – you already have a valuable source at your fingertips. There are authors-a-plenty with blogs of their own. Post a comment or send a direct message – generally the online community is supportive and will help you on your journey.

So don’t be afraid to reach out. Go to a workshop, attend a seminar, visit a book launch, scout out a writer’s group either in your local area or online, register with writing organisations. We all have to start somewhere, and the more friends and resources you have at your back the better chance you’ll have at success.

Stay Calm and Keep Writing!

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What an Author can do – apart from writing a book.

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You’ve written your novel and want to start marketing it… here’s some things to help you on your way…

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Start honing your sales speak – when people start to ask what your book is about have a brief 30 second pitch to entice your listener. You want to excite them ad encourage them to buy your book. If they start asking questions once you’re done, you know you are on the right track.

Make some bullet points about the protagonist, the challenges she faces; your genre and target market. Think of the blurbs you see on the back of books… you want the speech to be punchy, give all the relevant information and leave your listener wanting more.

Memorise it! Say it over and over out loud so it becomes second nature to talk about without stammering. Remember to make eye contact and feel excited to talk about your book – your listeners will feed off that energy.

Keep it short. Don’t drone on afterwards. Have some business cards, or bookmarks on you at all times with links and information where to buy your book, or visit your author’s page online. And leave it there! Make your listener eager to jump on line and purchase your baby 😉

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Attend events. Be it writing or publishing seminars, author get togethers, or events that are associated with your book (i.e. spiritual expos if your book is about that topic, talks at the library, festivals…) Socialise! Make friends, talk to people. I know it’s daunting, but if you want people to buy your book you’re going to have to put yourself out there. Or in the least have some friends and family come with you and do it too. Put that elevator pitch into practice.

Usually when you meet someone and ask what they do for a living, they’ll ask you back. If you say “I’m a writer.” You are always going to get asked what you write – there’s you in. Don’t blow it!

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Get artistic. Take some pictures, of your book with people and at interesting places. Get your friends and online followers to post their own. Create promotional banners and gifs. Make a bookmark. Design a big poster. The ore material you have at your disposal, the more chance you have at placing it somewhere to direct traffic to your website or online store to make a purchase. Get creative too. There are no rules to say you have to stick to tried and true methods. It’s possible you’ll reach a wider market.

You need to spend time talking about your book. Don’t just do it once, or for the month after the book is finished… marketing and promoting your book is something you need to do from here on out. There are free and inexpensive ways to get the word out. Community television, newspapers and radio, podcasts, social media, bulletin boards, explore and search these places out. And not just in your local community, look everywhere, other towns, states or even other countries. Your only as limited as your imagination.

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Maybe look into writing with someone else, or guest post on a blog. The point of this is to tap into a different audience, reach their followers. Maybe if you have a group of writers you meet with regularly you could publish an anthology: the combined force of all of your followers/fans/readers extends your reach and sales. (Especially if the other writers have a preferred different genre and target market to yours.)

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This is the flagship of your armada! Create a website. Make sure it is interesting, attractive and has all the relevant information about you, your book, and where to buy it. Have a subscribe button and collect email addresses so you can have a database of fans to sell your next book to, and email out alerts of events and upcoming releases.

You don’t have to spend money either, or be a web genius. It can be as simple as setting up a WordPress blog, or facebook page. Explore other options, there are many free web building sites, and some with low cost hosting. Take the time to do a little research and find something that will fit into your capabilities and budget.

But if you have the funds to get someone else to do it for you, make use of it. It will free up valuable time you could be doing other marketing activities – or writing the next book!

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Don’t just rely on selling your book through Amazon.com – have an online store on your website. Or get creative… see if there are a bunch of authors in your local area and host an event at a bookstore or library. There’s nothing to say you can’t set up a stall at your local markets either. The more places you can find to place your product, the better. Contact independent bookstores, they love to support local talent and will most likely create an event and promote your book off their own bat.

Start local and then keep on expanding.

Selling and promoting is like a snowball rolling down a hill, it will keep getting bigger the more motion you give it. This is definitely a case where the more effort you put in, the more rewards you will get in return.

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If you need financial help in publishing costs if you are not signed to a publisher, don’t let that stop you. Seek out some sponsorship. You could promote a book store or local business in the front or back of your novel (and on your website). Maybe start a gofundme account and link it from your website. Post excerpts or the first few chapters as a teaser and people can donate to see the book published to finish the book.

e-publishing can be free too. You make sure you read the fine print before clicking accept. There are many pitfalls that can leech away your income.

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You are only limited by your imagination!

It was good enough to write a book, so it’s good enough to come up with some creative ideas to engage an audience into buying it.

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Becoming a writer – Expanding your world.

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There’s more to becoming an author than just putting pen to paper, you need to make personal connections too.

I recently attended a seminar at a local library on writing and publishing, and it reminded me of an important aspect to the writer’s career that I haven’t yet touched on with this blog. Getting out there!

Writing is a solo activity. It’s isolating.

Yes, there is a plethora of information out there on the internet on learning how to publish and market your novel, but nothing beats firsthand knowledge and experience from your peers. You can always garner some titbit from attending events like these.

Becoming a Writer Expanding Your World Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleAnd another activity usually shunned by writers – networking. As a species, we’re usually most comfortable at the computer in a temperature controlled room with a steady supply of snack foods (*cough* breakfast cereal *cough*), we don’t have to worry about brushing our hair and can shuffle about in trackies and old t-shirts. Networking means, having to go through the grooming process (not so bad), venturing to some unfamiliar place where there is a lot of people (somewhat inconvenient) and taking to people, usually in front of everyone (*a cloud of dust as I sprint away*).

I can’t stress enough how valuable it has been for me to sit down and have a conversation with a fellow writer or aspiring author.

They help fan the flame of your enthusiasm for writing.

They provide you with information to help you along the way.

They can offer contacts to help your career.

Networking, or making friends in your industry, is a must do activity for all writers. Even if it’s only to email back and forth with updates and support, or catch up for an occasional coffee and swap stories, maybe you can critique each other’s work, or co-write a story.

It can be like finding a kindred spirit or a mentor. I know it can sound daunting, but it makes a massive difference to your career.

I know some seminars and workshops can be boring, or you fail to glean anything relevant for your situation, but if you see it as an opportunity to meet some likeminded bibliophiles, it’s a game changer. And yes, they are usually as introverted as you are, so it will take someone to break the ice. Walk up, introduce yourself, say what type of writing you do and ask them what they specialise in. Ask what they thought of the seminar, where they want their writing career to go… the words should start flowing. Swap emails, hand out your card. Even if you don’t find that writing buddy you dreamed of, you may make a fan, so really, it’s up to you what you want to get out of these events.

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Plus it’s really good practice for when you get to the stage of talking to other professionals about publication or formatting your work, maybe trying to sell you book on a radio segment or t.v. spot. Someone’s got to do it, and if you don’t believe in your writing enough to flog it to everyone and sundry, no-one will ever hear about it.

You may even meet someone who has a foray into the side of things you don’t have a lot of confidence in, or know little about… there’s a foot in the door right there!

Well, this is sounding like a bit of a rant. So in closing – hit up a seminar. Make friends. Be awesome.

And as always, happy writing.

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.