Writer Poll: What Could I Do That Would Help You Most?

Carol Tice

How can I best help freelance writers? Makealivingwriting.comEver wish you could just ask a professional writer a question? Whether it’s about negotiating rates, writing a query, finding clients, marketing your work, or earning from your blog?

I’ve been thinking lately about how to make the Make a Living Writing blog more useful to readers. I’m hoping to create a place where more of you can get those questions answered directly by me.

Right now, I offer free blog content, a free call once a month, paid Webinars that usually run $36, half-hour mentoring sessions for $50, and a full mentoring program with ongoing support that costs $400.

That’s working OK…but I want to make it work even better. My mailbag is overflowing with questions and I feel like I can never get to them all. That’s bugging me.

My main goal is to help as many writers as I can to earn more, as fast as possible. Given that my paid products pose a financial barrier for some writers at their current prices, I’m wondering how I could  make more high-value, personalized and individual help available at more affordable prices. That would let more writers get more help.

That’s why I’m considering moving to a monthly-membership model. You know the way it works — many people pay a low monthly fee, which enables me to offer more services to the group.

One of the biggest discoveries I’ve made doing one-on-one mentoring work is that an initial phone consultation isn’t enough — ongoing support is a key factor in helping freelance writers succeed. Right now, only a small number of people in my mentoring program are getting that support.

My hope is to create a unique community where you can get the one thing that isn’t available anywhere else — a chance to get your questions answered directly by an experienced professional freelance writer on an ongoing basis, at an affordable monthly rate. Plus get the ongoing support you need to stick it out, get out there and market your writing, and grow your income.

Take the survey, get one month’s membership free

I’m hoping you’ll be willing to take the survey below to help me gauge interest in this idea. If there are any ideas or thoughts you have that aren’t covered in the survey, feel free to add them in the comments below.

To make it worth your while, I’m going to give everyone who fills out the survey a free, one-month entry-level membership to the community while it’s in beta. You’ll get to cruise around, test it out, and be part of the vanguard that shapes what perks I’ll include for members — all absolutely free.

I’m hoping to have the community ready to test-drive in June. Thanks in advance for your input.


  1. Damsel

    I’m not sure I understand how to fill out the survey. I don’t see anything ranking the circles (are they 1-10?). Could you add some instructions? Thanks!

  2. Kathy Davis

    I’m interested in taking the survey, but did not see a link for it.

  3. Carol Tice

    Hi all — well, this is an experiment, isn’t it? My first time trying to use Survey Monkey here on a blog post. We’ll see if we can get it working for everyone.

    Kathy, the whole survey should be visible to you right here in a box on the post. If it’s not showing, maybe try another browser?

    Hi Damsel — further instructions: The questions with a grid of dots want you to rank them in order of your level of interest. Each level can only be checked once, so you’ll rank them 1-10 or however many there are.

    Look forward to everyone’s feedback! Let me know if you need any more hints.

  4. Rajesh Rao

    Hi Carol,

    I am sorry I filled out the survey like the broke bloke that I am. I really wish I could pay for all the good things that you wanna share. However, I am out of a job and my novel is nowhere near being published. I have taken up writing assignments. I REALLY REALLY want to be published. I know I have the spark and I also have a lot of stories to tell.

    Anyways, don’t want to bore you any further. Thanks for everything. I pray that I can afford to pay for your services and consultations. Till then, please let me be a ‘liability’ member.


    Rajesh Rao

    • Carol Tice

      No worries! Not expecting all 2000 subscribers to join up…but I do get many inquiries from people interesting in mentoring but can’t afford $400, which makes me wonder — what if I could cut the price in half or even less, or in half and add free webinars to it to give it more value, and then they could pay for support on a monthly basis?

      That would allow readers to spread out the cost over a longer time, and it would still cost less ultimately. Hoping I could serve 2-3 times as many people at least with a cheaper format.

      Can’t wait to see what the survey tells me about what things people want most!

  5. Cheryl

    Hi Carol,
    I finished the survey, but how do you know it was me? It didn’t ask for identifying information so that I’d get to explore the beta-membership.

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Cheryl —

      OK, folks, we’ve determined I suck at this! Thanks for helping me road-test this survey.

      I’ve added a box now where you put in your email address. Guess I thought it would be automatically capturing that, but I see that it does not.

      Apologies — if you already filled it out and didn’t leave your name, just feel free to email me privately and I’ll put you on the list. Only 10 people had taken it when I put on the email box, so hopefully I haven’t inconvenienced too many folks. Sorry all!

  6. Alan Kravitz

    Hi Carol,

    On your ranking system, I’m assuming that 1 (circle on the left) would be least important and 10 (circle on the right) would be most important. Is this correct?

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Alan —

      Yikes again, I was thinking #1 is your most favoritest choice. Have added a little clarification language to the question now.

      Thanks for your patience all as I get this poll into useful shape!

      If you took the survey before it had the email box, if you’re willing just take it again with the right rankings, and then leave your email so I’m sure to include you on the free-month membership list.

  7. Wade Finnegan

    Okay, I took the survey, but I’m not sure if I completed it correctly. They should number the bubbles. I will try to budget for this. I like the concept.

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks Wade! Gave you credit for making the effort, and you’re on the list, no worries.

  8. Anne Wayman

    Ah, you’re braver than I am Carol… I’ve never tried to embed a survey – have linked to some, usually on Google Docs. Good luck with this project.

  9. Barb Hartsook

    Hi Carol.

    As I chose the fee I’d be willing to pay in your survey, I had to consider the other fee-based communities I’ve joined, and the budget I have to pay those fees. It’s not that I think your offerings are weak. On the contrary, since I found your site I have rarely missed printing out to read and absorb each of your posts, over coffee — my best reading time. 🙂

    When I read the title of this post, I thought what would help me most is if I could reach you locally, in person, to learn from you. With a chuckle (knowing I was being silly) I clicked through from my email to see the survey.

    By the way, for your info, your survey does not show up in Safari. I’m glad you suggested trying a different browser — I was just going to move on.


    • Carol Tice

      Hi Barb —

      Totally understand the demands on everyone’s cash, believe me — speaking as a mom of 3 who was just reviewing my son’s college-finance plan last night…he goes in the fall!

      I think your response to the question is not uncommon. I have bags full of emails from people and at this point I’m unable to respond to each personally — I’d have no income left. That’s partly what prompted this, and my starting to think about a membership group.

      Clearly the chance to personally ask me questions is of strong interest. So far in the survey I’m seeing “get to send Carol 3 email questions a month” as one of the most strongly desired items.

      And we are going to build that into the community. I feel like in a lot of membership communities the founder really disappears, and my vision for this one is that it’ll be very high-touch with a lot of access to me. Having everyone grouped together in the community will make that economically pencil out — for both me and everyone who joins.

      Instead of a $400 up-front fee to be in my mentoring program, which limits many starving would-be writers from participating! — hopefully people will be able to pay a much lower monthly fee to get started with the support and advice they need. They could then do 90 minutes of mentoring, or maybe buy mentoring in a box, as their needs and budget demand, or just join the group and get advice there in a small trickle each month, or maybe through a group-coaching series — that’s seeing strong interest in the survey, too.

      Or that’s the dream — we’ll see what I can cook up here! But that’s my goal.

      Funnily enough, I’m having no trouble seeing the survey in Safari — that’s what I normally use. Don’t we all just wish technology would simply WORK!

  10. Elizabeth Q.

    Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. I wanted to fill out the survey,but there was no link. Where can I find the link?

    • Carol Tice

      It’s embedded in the post, Elizabeth — try another browser if you’re not seeing it. This has been a tech adventure today! I may just give a link next time.

  11. Barb Johnson

    Hi Carol, I love the idea of the monthly thing and like the other Barb, I’ll have to check the financial angles. I do get a lot out of your blogs and the call I was on.

    I’m trying to find the survey and can’t at this point. I’ll keep trying.

    Thanks for thinking of this idea. I have found this type of membership to be a benefit.

  12. Vonnie

    Great ideas, Carol! I filled out the survey and pretty sure it went through. Keep up the good work! :>

  13. Barb Johnson

    I found the survey. I used my mac and Safari and could not get it. Had to use the old pc.

    Interesting Carol. I can’t wait!

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks for toughing it out and making it work. That’s so funny that the older technology liked it better. Go figure.

      Thanks to everybody who’s participated so far — about 50 people. I am really gratified that so many people are willing to take time out of their day — apparently in some cases a decent amount to figure out how to take the survey! — and let me know what they’d like to see here.

      This makes me really excited about what I’m going to be able to create here on the blog in the coming months~

  14. JoAnne Schlicker

    I can’t pay for a service right now, but things may change in the future if I sell more writing. Working on a number of things. Discontinued the blog so I can use my time on articles that pay. Your courses are tempting, lots of knowledge there.

    • Carol Tice

      Hi JoAnne –

      It’s for people just like you that I want to do this — what if it was just $6 a month, or $10, to get some access to me like a free monthly call and a lot of forum support, maybe a few questions emailed… instead of $400 like it is now? I feel like that’s going to help a lot more people. Really can’t wait to get it going — just have two more technical mountains to conquer named WishList member and iDev Affiliate, and then have to decide what goes in where and what to charge, and we’re going to get this rolling.

      I think there really isn’t much out there like this for freelance writers, that would include so much personalized help. Really excited to get it going!

  15. Misty

    Hi Carol,

    Kudos to you for doing the survey. You’re always on the cutting edge.

    FYI – The survey showed up on my end. I use a MacBook Air with a Safari browser.

  16. Ahnalira-Connected Counsel

    I found the survery very clarifying for me. I now have a much better idea of the support I could use! Thanks, Carol:)

  17. Sarah

    I’m able to access the survey just fine with Firefox on my Mac.
    The question about how much I’d pay for the upgraded version of membership is hard for me to answer because I’m interested in some of the additional perks, but not all. Also, like everyone, I’m on a tight budget and feel guilty clicking a low rate for a service that I know is worth more.. So forgive my starving writer price point offers!


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