Audition for a Guest Post on Make a Living Writing — Live!

Carol Tice

Writers Audition!I’m ready to take this blog to the next level — that is, posting three times a week instead of two. Would you like to help me?

I don’t think there’s any way I can increase my own posts for this blog to more than twice a week right now — I’m ka-slammed with work. When I have extra energy, I’m trying to put it toward guest blogging on major writing Web sites to help draw new visitors to this part of town.

Even if I had the time, I think it would be nice to add some other voices to the blog on a regular basis. I’ve really liked some of the guest posts I had in the past. While there are aspects of freelance writing success I know tons about, there are other areas where I’m nobody’s genius.

So ideally, I’d like to find three or four more bloggers who’d be willing to each post once a month, and who could cover each other if someone is busy. That person could be you!

(Note: Due to feedback below, I have shifted this contest to focus on auditioning for a single guest post rather than an ongoing gig.)

Starting with this post, I’m holding auditions for guest posters here on Make a Living Writing. You’ll audition by posting an idea pitch in the comments below. If I approve your idea, you’ll move ahead and put your proposed blog post in the comments below, too. I’ll give feedback on the post in the comments, and we’ll refine the idea until it’s ready for publication as a post entry.

This will be a “live” audition, which will both help me find great guest bloggers, and hopefully allow readers to learn about what makes a great blog post, all at the same time. (Multitasking is an important success skill for freelancers.) If the guest posts are well-received by readers, I may make the guest slot an ongoing thing — kind of like my regular appearances Thursdays over on WM Freelance Writers Connection.

Before you forge ahead, below are some writers’ guidelines for posting on the Make a Living Writing blog. I’ve recently been approached by several people who didn’t seem to get what this blog is about, who sent me proposed guest posts that were unusable junk. So let me clarify what I’m looking for:

Make a Living Writing provides authoritative, helpful advice that doesn’t pull any punches. I’m seeking posters who can offer straightforward, practical, valuable, no-bull information that’s rooted in personal experience. Concrete examples are encouraged.

Recycling something you saw in a magazine somewhere is not going to cut it.

Some particular areas where I am always looking for guest posts include technical writing, time management, and the technical end of blogging and writers’ Web sites. These are all areas where I’m not particularly knowledgeable.

I prefer posts of about 500 words or less, though a long-list type topic might need more space.

Proof relentlessly. Write concisely. Know AP Style.

Check the popular posts sidebar at right for a sense of what readers like. Also check the comments to this post for more ideas of what readers would like to know.

Be familiar with the topics that have recently been covered on the blog. Propose something different.

Posts should be unique and previously unpublished. You will retain your copyright and may reprint/republish after 30 days.

Compose your post in your WordPress so that it formats well, then we’ll send it over to mine. Please suggest an image and provide credit link information. Once your topic has been approved in the comments below, send me two things: a .txt plain-text version for putting into my WordPress html mode, and a Word doc for easy read-through.

I offer two links in your tagline, plus one more in your byline. Make your tagline short – three lines max.

Have a passion for helping other writers make more money.

Have you got some tips for earning more from freelance writing? If so, post your idea pitch below. One idea per customer, please.

I am not yet in a position to be able to offer pay for guest posts, but if I publish your guest post on this blog, you will receive a free copy of my Make a Living Writing ebook — more than 200 pages of tips and advice on how to break in, move up and earn more in today’s new-media marketplace, and a $36 value.

Best of luck all!

(Note: now that I am closing comments on older posts, send your guest-post ideas to me on email — just click that nice little envelope up at the top of the sidebar.)

Photo via Flickr user cessemi


  1. WritingItRightForYou

    Hi Carol:

    Thanks for the opportunity! I've done guest posts before and they were very well received. I fully understand being swamped with work–my niece has been writing a lot of the posts on my site! She's 25, a very good writer, and building her own portfolio while learning from me how to be a full-time freelancer. Now, I just have to publish her latest posts…

    OK. Back to the point: I have three themes in mind–

    1) Time management–always a challenge for me, and I suspect many *creative* types who also work from home without a time clock. Something along lines of the old maxim: "Work expands to fill the time available…" F-O-C-U-S! Being the chief cook and bottle washer and IT Guy and bathroom cleaner in your business–when you do it ALL and when and how to use and manage contractors. (Please don't rate my writing skills by that last sentence!)

    2) Running your freelance business completely *in the cloud*. I have tested a great percentage of the apps out there and I have freelanced for a couple of start-ups recently. That gave me a view of how companies work from the inside. I also know what to look for in apps for soloists and very small SBEs. Most companies still don't realize how many of us are out here and just downsize their enterprise apps–that doesn't work. One of my clients paid me two weeks late because his hard drive crashed and he couldn't access his passwords on Outlook! He was out of business all of that time!

    3) How to effectively use writing sites and rise above the pennies-per-word international competition. How to use social media for marketing; network locally and online; etc.

    I use both Blogger and WordPress for my own (4) blogs and those of my clients; so I'm pretty good at that. In the last year, I made the complete switch from PC to Mac–I am now a true Apple groupie, but there is a difference in some PC apps and some Mac apps.

    After reading The Well-Fed Writer and The Wealthy Freelancer last spring, I doubled my rates, doubled my income, and doubled my clients. It is possible. I've experienced working for peanuts. Never again.

    I have the online app for AP. I keep it open in a tab for reference and I am updated every time AP makes a change.

    I visit many sites for freelancers and writers via Google Reader and often leave comments and track links. (That's how I found YOU!) I learn so much from others.

    I am a former teacher and college instructor; I also have many years of sales and sales management experience. I can be hard-hitting, soft and cuddly, humorous, and angry. (Sometimes all at once.) But I just received an email from one of my graduate students in the UK–he told me he loved me and that I was his best teacher ever–makes it all worthwhile. Hubby's OK with that because my student is young enough to be my son, lives 5,000 miles away and pays his bi-weekly bill on time every time into my PayPal account! LOL!

    (I work with business clients and university grad and post-grad students in nine countries.)

    The best part of my work is that I get to work with all kinds of people from all backgrounds and cultures with so many different kinds of projects. I'm never bored. I've learned to speak and write in about four different types of English.

    Thanks again for this *audition*; I look forward to hearing from you. Back to work for my client from Montreal–his research grant proposal is due tomorrow. Au revoir!

  2. John White

    Oh, pick me, pick me!

    I was just about to post to my own blog when I saw today's post from you and decided to invest the hour on this instead.

    Title: "Beginning Freelance Writer? Here Are Five Pieces of Your New Reality"

    1. Stop handing out résumés; you are now an entrepreneur. Your new tools are business cards, an elevator speech and a portfolio. Figure out what you do and how to explain it to people in 15 seconds. (link and example)

    2. The jobs are in your network. Feed the people in your network two things: content that helps them and information about what you're up to. (example)

    3. You are now responsible for sales, marketing, operations and accounting. Figure out what you're best at and what you want to do (not necessarily the same), then delegate the rest. (example)

    4. Your workday will feel strange to you for several months, maybe a couple of years. Your ideas about how you spend hours in the workday are going to change radically. (example)

    5. You rarely know where your revenue will come from three months out. This is what differentiates an entrepreneur from an employee.

  3. Erika

    I could try a post on technical writing. One of my clients is an engineering firm and I write articles for engineering trades. Maybe "5 Steps to Writing on Subjects You Know Nothing About!" The interesting thing: decent writers will probably be good at this. I often get cover stories.

    1. Pick a topic (several methods, from brainstorming with clients to researching magazine editorial calendars)

    2. Have a target in mind and pitch that topic: whether it's a magazine or existing blog. If for the client's blog, make sure it's directly relevant to clients audience, answers their questions. Get deadlines

    3. Interview with client (write down/record everything, ask lots of questions, like "would it be OK to say it this way?")

    4. Outline/draft, submit to client, make sure on-track.

    5. Final. Once story runs, either on blog or outside resource, further the story through clients' own outreach methods: email newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, even postcards/direct mail if a particularly good story.

    Tips along the way: Visuals are great: photos, charts, graphs. Keep these in mind and start gathering near the beginning. Inform the client about how the process goes — it will typically take more of his time than he thinks.

  4. Carol Tice

    Well I’m excited already! I can see there’s a lot of energy around guest posts. And I’m also excited to see my commentluv feature is working — put that on last night. Fun to see everyone else’s blog titles come up.

    @WritingitRightForYou — I’ve asked that each candidate submit a single pitch idea. You’ve given me a lot of background on your qualifications, and three general categories where you feel you could contribute, but I’m looking to greenlight specific posts. So look over your list of topic areas and please post your strongest, single pitch. I’m looking for a strong headline with good SEO that tells me exactly what I’m going to learn in the post.

    @JohnWhite – love your enthusiasm! I like your headline, and 1-4…not sure about 5. Not sure I agree with it, as many people make the jump to freelancing when they land one steady client…so they DO know where their income is coming from (at least part of it). Maybe that could be stated a bit differently, or maybe there’s another 5th point? Maybe about the fluctuating income and planning your budget for that?

    @Erika — As Yoda says, there is no try, only do. I like your headline, but I’m not sure your steps answer the question for me. The steps are basically the steps for writing any old article. How can I pitch a magazine on some complex subject where I haven’t done the interviews yet and I don’t know squat about nuclear fusion or iphone apps or whatever? If you can deliver some insightful tips on how you break down and acquire the technical knowledge, and then chat intelligently with your sources, I think that would make a great post! So if you would, maybe try a repitch with a new outline.

    Also, I don’t think that’s really ‘technical writing’ as I meant it. Technical writing to me is writing product manuals, technical specs, user guides about a technically complex product — that sort of thing. If you have some expertise there, let me know, as I and many others would love to know how to crack that market. What do you need to know? Do you need a degree in engineering or something? That’s the sort of thing I’m looking to answer.

    Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with…and who pitches next! Sort of exciting for me. Grateful to see there’s interest in spicing up the blog with some guest posts.

    Also can’t help but notice that no one is tweeting this post…whatsamatter, afraid of a little competition? Let’s get the word out and see who comes on down to show their stuff!

  5. Yo Prinzel

    I’m not trying to start a war, but I have to say I think it’s hypocritical to ask for regular monthly contributions without paying for them. I know you’re letting the writers retain copyright and reprint after 30 days, but this isn’t like the occasional guest post to market their services or website–this is a regular contribution that helps gain you traffic, book sales, and possibly even more mentees (who pay for your coaching). I don’t think it’s something you’d recommend your mentees do and it is something that (if we saw advertised on CL) we’d probably make fun of (write regularly, for free, for exposure and a free ebook). This isn’t a personal thing, I just can’t say I agree with your idea here.

    If you were to pay a small amount per post, it would make more sense–it’s not like you’re trying to tell people they can make a full-time income writing tons of cheap posts for you–but it would be more supportive of the work writers are going to potentially do for you.

  6. Carol Tice

    When my site makes a small amount per month, I’ll be first in line to pay a small amount to guesters, Yo. Wish I was there.

    I personally blog for free 4x a month on WM Freelance Writers Connection, for exposure to that audience. Which helps sell their ebooks and all…but it drives a steady stream of traffic over to this blog, and I think it builds my reputation and credibility as well, or I’d stop.

    I’m asking people here to perhaps do one post a month, or one post ever. I just blogged for Copyblogger for free as well. So I’m one-quarter as exploitative as the blog that’s exploiting me…and that makes me feel good. In a weird way.

    I think there are a lot of people out there who still just need great samples of how they can write a strong blog, and are looking to connect to new audiences for their own blogs. For all of us that do this, it’s essentially a marketing cost.

    I do expect everyone to weigh the value of freebies they do carefully, which is why I wrote a post a while back called 8 Rules to Consider Before You Write for Free for the Exposure.

    Everybody feel free to read and review. Only you know if free blogging is a productive use of your time.

  7. Yo Prinzel

    This may just be one of those cases in which we disagree forever, but I thought I’d at least respond to your points.

    -Asking people to regularly build your business until it makes money is just one of those red flags that we would avoid on CL.

    -Writing for exposure on a regular basis is not generally a good idea unless the blog has mad traffic (and I think we can both agree that you can’t compare this blog’s traffic with Copybloggers) and you have a product to sell to the readers of the blog. That means that Copyblogger is not, actually, exploiting you. They are delivering hundreds of thousands of readers in your target client pool. Priceless. Also, it’s more widely read than a specialty freelance blog. Business owners read it to get ideas and to understand copy–this could help you gain clients as well.

    -I can’t understand the point of blogging for free that often for a site like wmfreelanceconnection. First of all, the traffic is low (your Alexa ranking beats theirs so it would make more sense to put time into promoting your site on blogs that have better traffic or writing more for your own site to help build readership). Secondly, if you generally get, let’s say $100 for a blog post (and I know you can beat that)–that’s $400 a month you are “spending” on marketing efforts in writing for them. Now, if you know that this is income you are making back in book sales and mentoring clients coming from the site, then I can understand that–but if you are looking for writers who are “in need of great samples” for this site, then chances are good they have nothing to gain from your readers (no ebook to sell since they’re new and certainly no mentoring to do). That makes it less a marketing expense and more of a club membership fee.

    -Newbie clips would be better off on a site dedicated to their specialty (so they can attract clients), not freelance writing.

    -One-time or occasional guest blog posts shouldn’t be paid, I agree there. But you are not actually asking for that. Your posts says: “So ideally, I’d like to find three or four more bloggers who’d be willing to each post once a month, and who could cover each other if someone is busy.”

    I’m just saying that I don’t think this idea is in keeping with your character. If you were paying the bloggers who regularly contribute (and therefore are not really “guest” bloggers but contributors) a small sum, I would get it. This method just doesn’t seem in keeping with your general position on building a successful business.

  8. Carol Tice

    Yo, I'll have to admit you have a point there. I am all about getting writers to earn more. But I do have the sense that many writers want to break into blogging and might need samples of that, who perhaps don't have their own blog up. This could a great opportunity there.

    Probably I should just continue auditioning and have more folks do a single post. I pronounce myself suitably chastened.

    As far as WM…it's sort of an act of insanity, I know. But my blog posts I eventually package into ebooks, and having the regular deadline helps me make sure things get written and the ebook project progresses. We're also launching a project over there to create ebooks out of the WM posts on various topics, which I will revenue-share in, so there is earning potential going forward.

    I also get great camaraderie and networking from the other WM bloggers…so there are some intangibles there. I'd probably blog for them less except their structure is 7 bloggers, 1 for each day of the week.

  9. Yo Prinzel

    Packaging your posts into an ebook is a great idea–as long as you're making enough money on the sale to justify it. Although there is something to be said for working on something you're just plain passionate about–I get that too.

    It's not a huge deal, it just caught me off guard to see this, that's all. And goodness knows I just can't shut up about anything so… 🙂

    Although I don't agree with the original premise, it certainly doesn't negate all the great things you do every day to try and educate and empower writers. I want to make sure you don't undermine your efforts though, which things like this sometimes can.

  10. Carol Tice

    It's probably good to have someone like you sassing on over here and holding me accountable, Yo.

    Meanwhile…hoping we will get back to the audition folks! Bring on your revised pitches, please.

  11. Wyle E Coyote

    I’m just going to be the equivalent of a peanut gallery and give a few 2 cent opinions on all of the above. If hope that I’m not breaking etiquette, if I comment on other people's ideas for posts.

    WritingItRightForYou – Can I suggest a different topic and title for your potential post based on the stuff that you wrote? You mentioned the following: “After reading The Well-Fed Writer and The Wealthy Freelancer last spring, I doubled my rates, doubled my income, and doubled my clients. It is possible. I’ve experienced working for peanuts. Never again” What about the title “How I Doubled my Rates as a Freelance Writer” with a book review(s) plus the ideas that you implemented as a result of reading the books.

    John – I’m going to quibble with number 1. I attach or cut and paste my resume/CV into emails when I approach companies – I have successfully gotten work this way. People have later approached me and stated that they received my CV, sometimes even from another company. Plus I throw the equivalent of my CV on linkedin and I get projects that way, too, so I wouldn’t throw out the resume/CV idea in its entirely. However, I’d love to see #3 fleshed out – maybe something like “How to outsource Accounting” or “How do get rid of your Achilles heel” or something like that. I consider myself still relatively new to freelancing and I would like to get ideas as to how to do this. I’m drowning (or just not doing) the tasks that I don’t like to do. Any solution from experienced freelancers would be great.

  12. Wyle E Coyote

    The whole ‘Post for free vs don’t post for free debate’: I do want to say kudos to Carol for posting the debate/discussion (there are some bloggers that would never have put that up – it takes guts, thank you for letting us see the discussion). I also wanted to say thanks to Yo for posting her opinions (very, very valid) and it is something freelancers should be aware of before embarking on free endeavors.

    Now even though I just said that — as a one-off or even occasional post–it isn’t that big of a deal (to me). Plus, let’s pretend the winner is paid some paltry sum (e.g $25/post). That isn’t very much in freelance land … I can think of other reasons to do a couple posts.

    On that note, I’ll throw a hat in the ring. I know the directions were for one idea, but they may or may not resonate, so feel free to use, ignore, etc. These are not fully fleshed out posts because what would be the point of writing it here and then in a post?

    “How to break into medical writing” (Version A: for the people with a science background, but little writing experience and version B: for people with writing experience but without the science/medical background). Version A would include my own experience and what worked for me, and version B would include what I’ve learned from talking to people with that background working at these companies.)

    “I earned XXXXX my first year as freelance writer” Let’s face it, people want to know what everybody else is doing. The reason I want to write this is that…it kills me when I see people say they earned 10 or 20 K year (after several years?) and there are steps people can take to find clients and find work. I’ll share places that someone can look to find clients (no, not the name of my clients, but I will share places that I looked that are available to anyone else/or easy things that I’ve done to get clients [I <3 linkedin]). I’m pretty sure that I haven’t seen this website or others mention some of the resources that I use.

  13. Carol Tice

    Well Wyle E.

    I WAS thinking in terms of my critiquing the pitches, since it's for my site. Also, have to say your credibility is undermined by the fact that you are anonymous and apparently have no Web link. Your email address also reveals nothing. Why the mystery, man? Or, coyote?

    That said, I like your post suggestion for WritingItRightForYou! A definite possibility.

    Think I understand the context in which John is saying #1.

    I think if you want to pitch and be a guest poster, Wyle, you'll have to become a real person. This site is about authentic advice from real people who're willing to stand up and be themselves.

    Frankly I might not mind a piece on medical writing — which I couldn't write because I haven't done that niche — but it would have to be authored by a real person, not a cartoon character…even one I really like.

    If you really made big bucks your first year out and want to tell us exactly how, I might be interested as well. I did a couple posts on what I did the first year out as a freelancer, both on my first time and round two in '05, and folks seem to enjoy those stories.

    But give me an outline of what you'd say for that…if you want to come out of the closet, so to speak. I think bragging on how much you made…anonymously…is not going to work for this blog.

  14. Erika

    Well, that Yoda quote is my all time favorite so I'll work on my idea. Re: pitching technical ideas to trades, my experience has been that the editors at technical/vertical trades are rarely experts either. They are writers who value having some input from someone "on the ground," like my clients.

    I get your point about technical writing. I have done a little medical writing, just because I was the only one around to do it, but I know people who are regular medical writers. One thing I could do is interview a few & summarize their stories.

    Re: the debate of paid/unpaid – totally get it, and in this case, totally fine with it. I have a job, but would like to start writing for business blogs on the side. I am not cheap as a PR professional, but if I want to stretch my abilities, I need the practice and appreciate the opportunity.

  15. Carol Tice

    @Erika — I'd rather have you pick a topic where you feel you have personal expertise to share, especially as a first guest post. So think on it and come back with a strong headline and outine for your pitch.

    @Wyle E — I just got an unsubscription notice for you…I haven't scared you off, have I? Hopefully you just did that because now you're ready to subscribe under your real name and email address, hmm?

    If not, sorry to see you go. All I can say is… mee meep!

    I had no idea what a little soap opera a guest-blog audition could turn into! Can't wait to see who else pitches tomorrow. 'Night all!

  16. Anne Wayman

    Carol, good for you for wanting to go to the next level.

    Re pay – obviously Yo knows about ranking, but you and I both know that ranking isn't the equivalent to dollars. Also there are costs involved in blogging – you're paying a host, you spend your time (which counts as dollars too) writing posts and answering comments.

    I say it's not unreasonable at all to ask for no-pay guest posts.

    The exposure here is real. Not sure what it's worth, but it's worth something.

    In other words, you go girl!

  17. Carol Tice

    Thanks for the support Anne! Hoping to see more proposed guest post ideas today.

  18. Dan Smith

    I'd love to guest post for you Carol, but I'm swamped at the minute – one day soon, hopefully!

    The reason I'm actually commenting is that I just want to say thank you / well done / congratulations to both you and Yo. There are far too many freelancers out there who would have turned your discussion into a bitching session and I can't help but think that this just proves how fantastic of a community the freelance writing one is.

    Looking forward to reading the guest post. Good luck guys.

  19. Yo Prinzel

    @Anne, I totally get the costs, having run my own blog last year and having hired writers to write for it. I also agree with you on free guest posts. My issue was with free regular (monthly) contributions. At that point, it's my opinion that you've hired someone, not just given them a place for a guest post. Think about it not in terms of a friend or fellow writer, but an anonymous ad on Craigslist. It puts a different light on it for me to do so. We may still disagree on that point, but I just wanted to clarify my thoughts.

    @Dan, I can only think of a handful of freelance writers who can't take constructive criticism and who consider any disagreement the same as dissension, character assassination and personal attacks. Luckily for the rest of us, these individuals seem to be weeding themselves out of the scene so the adults can talk :).

  20. Jenn Mattern

    Interesting discussion. I have to say I read it and had some of the same thoughts as Yo. And I'm glad to see people talking so openly, thinking critically, and debating freely without a bunch of mud-slinging. 🙂

    Carol – While you didn't quite use these words in the original post, here's how it kind of came across when I read it:

    "You can write for me, possibly regularly, for the exposure my blog gives. But then again my blog doesn't really offer enough exposure for me to want to write more, so I'm going to use that extra time and go write where the real exposure is."

    If exposure is going to be a selling point, it seems the blog owner should want to spend more time on their own site rather than on the sites of others (not that there's anything wrong with guest posts on even bigger platforms, especially in addition to growing your own participation on your own blog — just that it was put as an "instead of" kind of situation).

    I'm not sure if that helps to clarify how it might have come across to some. Or maybe it only came across that way to me. 🙂

    Anne – I don't think anyone said no-pay "guest posts" were a problem. But when they become regular columns, it kind of crosses the line from guest post to regular contributor and that's a different kind of commitment from the blogger and (imo) should involve a different kind of commitment from the blog owner as well. The Craigslist example is a good one. Many of those advertisers use that very excuse — it's a new blog, I have costs, I can't afford to pay right now. And they've become a big joke in the freelance world for a reason. Everyone thinks their own project will be big and that they'll be able to pay people someday. It doesn't happen for most. So it's not unreasonable for contributors to ask for something more than exposure that may or may not happen, even if it's not much. I'm the first to admit I don't pay as much as I'd like to my blog's writers. But I based rates on those the original writers asked for (not what I suggested), take very limited rights, and stay pretty hands-off giving them as much freedom as possible. That particular blog doesn't make much these days.

    The thing is, that's my own fault. If a blog isn't earning, the contributors shouldn't be punished. That falls on the owner and their ability to monetize. In my case I'm willing to pay more than the blog earns every month because I'm paying for specific other results (traffic, greater reader interaction, etc.). And I have other blogs that earn enough to support it for now. And there's a new monetization strategy in place (including your affiliate products btw) ;). The goal is to have AFW supporting the writer payments fully by the end of the first quarter next year. But if I didn't have the money to hire them at all, then I simply wouldn't have looked for regular contributors (a mistake a did make with my first site way back in the day when it was more the norm in the indie music niche to just get a group of passionate people together — paying for shows and CDs rather than direct cash). Guest posts and interviews are excellent alternatives as one-offs in the meantime. And when a site (or a company as a whole) earns enough to hire, then that's when I can see it making sense to look for a regular partner or team.

    Of course those are just my personal thoughts, and I don't expect everyone to agree. To each his own. I just feel that on blogs that talk about conducting good business, it's important to notice early on if our own practices might come across as hypocritical to some. We may do them anyway and feel they're fine and dandy. Or we may change our mind. In the meantime, at least it makes for interesting discussion. 🙂

  21. Carol Tice

    Sigh. At this point I'd officially like to take this discussion about the merits of blogging for free or not over to another blog — maybe we could all comment back on my WM post about writing free for exposure?

    Then people who'd like to audition for one-off guest posts…which several people were trying to do, could get back to that?

    The context in which I asked for free bloggers is the context that I AM a free blogger on another site, which I find worthwhile.

    I'm concentrating on adding guest posts because that's what I was trained is most important in the A-list Bloggers Club I'm currently learning in.

    I've altered the contest so that I am no longer looking for ongoing posters. I took Yo's feedback and felt she was probably right — it was not in keeping with my philosophy to ask for more than a single free post. So I stopped asking.

    Not sure what else folks want from me…can we get back to the contest now, please?

    @Erika, @John White, @WritingitRightForYou…it'd be great to hear back with your revised proposals.

  22. Jenn Mattern

    Sorry Carol. The comments were made in response to other comments here, so this was the relevant place to put them — especially as it's something for potential contest participants to consider before jumping in. I can't speak for others, but if you'd like to copy my last comment over to the other blog so others can continue with the topic there, please feel free to do so. And good luck with the contest to anyone choosing to participate.

  23. Jenn Mattern

    And on another note, I didn't notice that you changed things to one-off guest posts rather than ongoing posters before my earlier comment. So I just want to say I have great respect for your willingness to reconsider that point after Yo's thoughts. And I'm sorry I didn't catch that before commenting.

  24. Perry Rose

    No, Carol, she was wrong, and she should have kept her yap shut anyway, along with the other one.

    I have to hand it to ya, though, you do have the patience. I would have just deleted their posts, online acquaintances, or not.

    You said:

    "I am not yet in a position to be able to offer pay for guest posts, but if I publish your guest post on this blog, you will receive a free copy of my Make a Living Writing ebook — more than 200 pages of tips and advice on how to break in, move up and earn more in today’s new-media marketplace, and a $36 value."

    That (mainly the "not yet in a position"), along with helping one another out on occasion with free posts is enough said for me to get it.

    Keep asking for contributors, Carol.

    I do not know what you are needing at this time, but if you need some offbeat posts here and there, do let me know.

    Good luck with this, Carol.

  25. Carol Tice

    Hi Perry — you can see some topic suggestions up at the top of the thread.

    Feel free to pitch a headline and outline for a post Perry. I recommend familiarizing yourself with what's already on the blog and asking yourself what's missing. What aspect of earning more from writing have I overlooked? Is there a marketing technique you've used successfully, or a niche market you've done well in? Give us a report on it — it can be that simple.

    Look forward to what you come up with!

  26. Jenn Mattern

    Just curious Perry — since you're so confident about what's "right" and "wrong" and what anyone else should do with their "yap." How is "not yet in a position" any different from a freelance writing blogger than from a no-budget CL ad poster trying to exploit writers with no guarantee that they're ever going to get a dime or serious exposure? And keep in mind that the original comments were based not solely on a request for guest posts but for a potentially ongoing unpaid gig (very different, and to Carol's credit she changed that).

    Now I know Carol enough to know that she's not trying to exploit anyone. But the point is that the end results can be quite the same in that original scenerio. If you see a significant difference, by all means say why and make a point that contributes to the discussion rather than making personal attacks. You might very well change minds with those points and some logic beyond a "I'm right, you're wrong, end of story" mentality. So much for civilized discussion. Perhaps it's time to take it elsewhere where it's wanted and appreciated. We've never seen eye to eye Perry, and that's fine. Best of luck to you anyway, content or no contest, paid work or unpaid.

  27. Jenn Mattern

    "contest or no contest" – Sorry Carol, not much for proofreading at nearly 1am.

  28. WritingItRightForYou

    Hello Carol:

    I must have mis-read the information. I thought you wanted info about the themes for which we thought we were qualified/interested.

    I guess I'll have to choose one.


    I'll try again later this afternoon.

  29. Carol Tice

    @WritingItRight — Maybe you were concerned I wouldn't find you qualified to do a guest post? But I hereby pronounce you qualified. Now, please pitch one killer headline in one of your areas of expertise and give me an outline of what the post would say.

    @Jenn, Yo and Perry — simmer down now. Let's keep it civilized, please.

    I want you all to know that I learned something very valuable from all of your comments. I learned that I have achieved one of my main goals with this blog — I have a brand, and it really stands for something. It stands for good pay for writers. I've successfully communicated that.

    Now that I stand for that, I'm going to have to be true to that in everything I do.

    I felt OK about asking for free regular guesters because it's something I've found productive to do myself. But I'm coming from a place of strength as a high earner, so I can probably afford it more than a typical freelancer in today's market.

    I feel grateful to be part of an interconnected, online writers' community that will call me out when I mess up. So thanks for keeping me honest. And for showing me I have a banner to uphold here. I stand for something. Thanks for reminding me to stick to that, always.

  30. JoAnne Schlicker

    Time management for people with ADD is a big problem. I offer some specific guidlines and examples that work for me and perhaps other time-challenged writers. I have never shared these but hope they would work for other writers.

  31. Carol Tice

    Hi JoAnne —

    Time management posts have been popular here on Make a Living Writing, so I'm always interested in another view on that. However, since only a small proportion of the population has ADD, I wouldn't wanted it slanted only to appeal to them.

    What if you came up with a headline and outline for your tips for time management…and simply used your own experience as someone with ADD (if that's what you're saying? or maybe you've worked with ADD people?) to inform your advice. Bring your perspective, in other words, but make your advice useful to any writer.

    If that works, let's see a headline and outline — if it's a tip based post, give me the nut of each tip so I get an idea where you're going with it.

    If you're wondering why I'm harping endlessly on about headlines and why I'm not saying "Sure, go ahead and write that!" it's because headlines are VERY important in the world of blogging. Your headline is what's going to be sent around social media and draw people in. The first sentence of the post also gets some SEO, so that's key as well.

    Also, a good headline tells me EXACTLY what I'm going to learn in this post. That's what readers want.

    Look forward to seeing your proposal!

  32. Mark Scott

    Hi Carol.

    I found this post via your discussion in the LinkEds & Writers group over at LinkedIn.

    Actually I want to thank you for something. In another LinkedIn discussion you mentioned Copyblogger. I have learned so much from there in the last week. So, thank you.

    As for the gig, I’d love to be able to do a guest post, but maybe my area of expertise isn’t for your readers.

    If you take a look at my blog, you'll see I write about business writing. My audience is business professionals … the many of us who are not trained writers but who are creating documentation all the time as matter of course for our jobs … without the luxury of proper proofing and editing. There is so much stuff I see that is so average, and some downright poor.

    You'll see I haven't posted a huge amount … being a company blog, we have to balance content across all the company's skills. I think the best example of my style are the 'Love me, tender' posts. (I'll be aggregating the series in a single post after reading that tip on Copyblogger.) I’m about to start posting my next series ‘Seven tips for templates’. Part #1 is ‘Know your tools’. Oh, by the way, I edit all Frame bloggers' posts.

    I make a living writing, just not in the way you do. If you think my perspective would be of value to your readers, I’d love to make a pitch.

  33. John White


    Title: “Beginning Freelance Writer? Here Are Five Pieces of Your New Reality”

    1. Stop handing out résumés; you are now an entrepreneur. Your new tools are business cards, an elevator speech and a portfolio. Figure out what you do and how to explain it to people in 15 seconds. (link and example)

    2. The jobs are in your network. Feed the people in your network two things: content that helps them and information about what you’re up to. (example)

    3. You are now responsible for sales, marketing, operations and accounting. Figure out what you’re best at and what you want to do (not necessarily the same), then delegate the rest. (example)

    4. Your workday will feel strange to you for several months, maybe a couple of years. Your ideas about how you spend hours in the workday are going to change radically. (example)

    5. You will almost certainly have good quarters and bad quarters, but the universe yields to the determined psyche. Stick with it.

  34. Carol Tice

    Hi John —

    I like it! I think it's time to submit a complete post. Give us an introduction before you go into your points, then bring in your links and examples. In #5, I'd like to hear something about doing some financial planning to make sure you can survive the lean months. The biggest problem out there that I'm seeing is people who can't survive an extra week if a check's late…so this is a good issue to bring up.

    Send it to my email and I'll get it scheduled. Thanks for taking the time to refine it a bit.

  35. Carol Tice

    @Mark — thanks for checking in! And yes, Copyblogger…sooo useful. And I don't just say that because I wrote a post for them! I read it myself. Big fan of Sonia Simone and Jon Morrow's stuff.

    I see how your niche is different…but maybe there are some basic good-writing practices you've gleaned from working with business people that all writers could benefit from? Pitch me something in that direction if you like.

  36. Mark Scott

    Carol, the whole reason I started my blog was because there is so much poor writing by business people in their B2B communication. I can't think of anything your readers could learn from them! Except what not to do. (Would that work as a piece?)

    I'm afraid I may have wasted your time. I have a few ideas but not enough to pitch. Perhaps I'll have some inspiration over the weekend. In any case, thanks for your time … and I'll be keeping an eye out for your work.

  37. Mark Scott

    Hi Carol. It's the wee hours of Saturday morning in Seattle, and Saturday evening here in Sydney. I had that flash of inspiration I was hoping for. I was watering the garden. Here’s my pitch:

    B2B communication: a corporate world of writing and editing opportunity

    I was led by the purpose of your brand: good pay for writers. I can’t think of any more lucrative field than B2B communication. There’s masses of it being produced and it’s crying out for proofing and editing. I present ideas for other avenues within business where writers and editors can pitch their skills for casual work and (hopefully) get well paid for it.

    I use bid writing as an example. Bids cost companies a lot of money to run and, if there's a multi-million dollar contract at stake, the skills of a lead editor would be highly valued.

    Then I suggest some ways to get a foot in the door, tied in with your articles on marketing your writing.

    I’ve actually finished the draft … I had to, to see if my idea would fly, and to get it out of my head.

    Do you think this would appeal to your readers?

  38. Carol Tice

    Hi Mark —

    Thanks for checking back in. Since I write for a lot of B2B clients, you don't have to sell me that it's a great niche.

    I'm concerned that you're biting off too much here — we only want to go on for 400-500 words. Since my focus is on writing, I think I'd rather hear about just writing opportunities in B2B. (Though that suggests another topic idea, maybe, on branching out from writing into proofing or editing, and how do you accomplish that transition — would love to see someone take that on!)

    Writing contract bids is a great example of the arcane niches you could spotlight — I'd love that approach, maybe a list of 12 opportunities? Or even 5. I personally just wrote a position paper for a local employees' union…yet another example of the weird stuff you can find in here.

    I don't want B2B in the headline, too jargony. Spell it out, I'd think. I'd love to see you go back to the start, and write a more focused headline, then give me a quick outline of what you would spotlight.

    Help people understand how companies that sell to other businesses are different from companies that sell to consumers, and what it takes to sell to that audience. Give some examples of B2B-type companies. For instance, I did a huge amount of Web content at one point for insurance-industry consultants, where the clients were insurers and retirement-plan providers. What's different about speaking to this type of audience?

    Look forward to seeing your revision —

  39. WritingItRightForYou

    Hi Carol:

    I did a lot of thinking over the weekend and looked over my business since our last messages. I had to choose one topic, and so I choose "High-Value/Low-Cost Marketing Strategies". Posts would include:

    1) Using writing sites wisely. I have a lot of experience with many of these sites and I have learned a lot of what to do and what not to do.

    2) Using (not over-using) Social Media for marketing. (I have received many leads and clients from my Tweets, my LinkedIn and my personal Facebook page and Facebook Fan Page.)

    3) A great number of my clients come from referrals. There is an art and a science to learning to get and use referrals.

    4) The pros and cons of local networking events. I have personally chosen only five local areas with which to regularly network locally. There is a difference between really networking and just attending those business card "cattle calls".

    Marketing myself is a little easier for me because of my sales and marketing background; but I realize from comments on writing sites like yours that a lot of people are uncomfortable with marketing even as they realize how necessary it is.

    Thank you again for the opportunity.


  40. Carol Tice

    Hi Pamela —

    Thanks for getting back. I love this headline, though I'd add "For Writers" to the end of it for SEO.

    I don't think I've touched on referrals yet in this blog, so happy to see that point included.

    If you can include a few concrete tips in each of those four areas, write it up and send it to me on email. Examples from your own personal experience are great. Look forward to seeing and posting it!

  41. Mark Scott

    Hi Carol!

    Yes, I've bitten off a lot, however …

    As someone sitting in business, I know there are opportunities for writers to put their skills to good use. Writers have a specialist skill. In business, we write all the time, but it's not generally the specialist skill business people have.

    This won't be about roles that require specialist skills. A writer of medical education material needs knowledge of developing training material and probably medical knowledge; a bid writer needs to understand sales and procurement.

    I want to ask writers to use their ability to communicate and engage with readers to help business in areas outside of corporate communications. I want to give a taste of the opportunities that exist, the businesses and industries they exist in, some of the skills required (or to learn), and what to do next.

    Still a lot to fit into 400–500 words, I know. It really can't be any more than a teaser. I just want to let writers know these opportunities exist and, if they're prepared to learn some new skills, they may find a lucrative income stream.

    So, how about this headline?

    Writers: you've got the skills, business has the opportunities—many more than you know

  42. Carol Tice

    Afraid that headline is way too long, Mark! You might want to take a look at this Copyblogger training on headlines:

    Seriously, focus it just on writing. I'd rather hear about that in more detail than end up with a 100,000-foot view of too many things. Send outline with the points you would highlight. I know there's a good post in there! Just remember, if there's more to know it makes a followup post… or a related post you put on your blog and give us a link to.

  43. Mark Scott

    I’m struggling now, Carol.

    There are writing roles available in business: bid writer, policy writer, speech writer, procedure writer, technical writer, etc. In general, they require specialist knowledge of the industry and/or the type of material being produced. They may require other skills like consulting, business analysis and project management depending on the exact nature of the role and the organisation. Is this is what you had in mind, to list these sorts of opportunities? If not, I’m not sure what you mean by keeping it about writing opportunities.

    The headline? I know. If only I could rewrite the headlines in my blog!

    This is all such a great learning experience, and I appreciate your patience and feedback.

    • Carol Tice

      Yes, that’s basically what I had in mind. Outline some of the niches in business writing — what background do you need? A tip or two on how one might break in?

      Could be 5 great-paying business writing niches — oops, I wrote a headline. Was trying to make you do it…but that’s OK.

      I personally would love to know more about how you get into writing government bids, I know that’s lucrative, and breaking in with technical writing.

      You could also throw in writing business plans…I actually tried to break into that for a year without success, even though I’ve covered VC, small business, startups, etc for years.

      If they require a special background, just tell us about what it is. How could we get a little of that background and maybe get started? Maybe you recall how you got into some of these niches. If the answer is “it helps to have previously been a software engineer” or something, just say it.


  44. Mark Scott

    So, Carol, does that mean I get to submit something now?

  45. Carol Tice

    I'm looking for a new outline and headline based on our discussion above. Think we have it about nailed down…just want to see it before I tell you to write the full post.

  46. Mark Scott

    3 business writing niches: are you ready, willing and able?

    The three I'll present are: internal communications, technical writing and bid writing.

    I'll give a brief explanation of each role and some of the key skills required to perform them.

    I'll show your readers (writers!) that business writing roles aren't just about writing. In fact, other skills are just as important, sometimes more important than the writing … even if the role's title includes 'writer' in it.

    I'll then identify some ways to get a foot in the door.

  47. Carol Tice

    Call it 3 Great-Paying Business Writing Niches, write it up and send it over via email.

    Ideally, write it in WordPress and then copy it into a file for me, so that the links are ready to go. Include a 2-line bio for yourself with a link to your site.

    Look forward to seeing it!

  48. Bob

    An interesting and dynamic discussion about "Free" vs "Paid" posting. I guest post about pets on WM Pets and also guest post about diabetes on another site because of the feelings I have for both and the information I can disseminate to help people.

    Any Freelance Writer needs to value their writing because no one else will if they don't.

    I turn down many writing assignments because the price offered for the writing is an insult. I am loath to try job boards and Craigslist for this reason.

    I have written over 300 articles, over 100 book reviews, and maintain blogs and social media for a client.

    I have five blogs of my own where I write on numerous subjects. The blogs are a labor of love and I write sporadically on them for free. I also have an online magazine where I write for free, and submit articles to article directories and a site where I am paid by views.

    When it comes to writing for exposure, I feel that it does not lead to opportunities unless the point of publication has a massive following; and even then I am not sure exposure of this type leads to anything of value, just my opinion from years of doing it.

    That said, I am working on a book about breaking into freelance writing that holds nothing back about what it takes to be a full-time freelance writer.

    Just a few of items of what it takes.

    1. Patience

    2. Daily writing

    3. Persistence

    4. Marketing

    5. Networking

    and a whole lot more.

  49. Mark Scott

    Thanks for this opportunity Carol. I'll have something to you next week. Whether you post it or not, this has been a great learning experience.

  50. Kristin Offiler

    Hi Carol,

    You asked me to pitch an idea about writing for and I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now. I would like to write about how Patch is hiring freelance writers left and right, and how it has been a positive experience for my career and can be a great way for newer writers to build a portfolio while also getting paid. The money is fairly good pay for local news-type writing. I don’t know if you would prefer a post that is more about my personal experience with Patch, or if you would like it to be a sort of how-to. Either way is fine by me, just let me know how I should proceed. Thanks, Carol!

    All my best,
    Kristin Offiler

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Kristin —

      Thanks for pitching this. I think I’d prefer a personal experience — “X things I learned writing for Patch” sort of thing, or “The Inside Dope on Working for Patch.” Something along those lines. 500 words or so. Read the guidelines and ideally send it in a plain-text html file complete with image for popping into my WordPress.



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