8 Websites for Freelance Article Writers

As any reasonably experienced freelance writer knows, finding sites that pay well and allow you to write (mostly) on the topic of your choice is hard. Throw in complications such as creating a Chitika account, not knowing the first thing about Adsense, and having to work extra hard to attract traffic to your articles, and you get a mess that produces confusion instead of revenue.

Most freelance article writers are turning to sites like Constant Content, where you get paid per article by a specific person--and there's nothing wrong with that. But writing articles for article bases or article directories is a market that provides stability and a decent revenue once you get your foot in the door. These eight websites help you earn money through ad revenue and referrals as a freelance article writer:

1) Bukisa
2) Seekyt
3) Snipsly
4) Hubpages
5) Info Barrel
6) Squidoo
8) Ezine Articles

Most of these are profitable for freelance writers through ad revenue and referrals. Seekyt authors generally produce more revenue, while Hubpages is more convenient for article writers, and Squidoo has a well-designed layout to boost revenue. Evaluate each website carefully and choose a few based on what matters the most to you--are you simply looking to build a platform? Or is your biggest goal writing for profit?

Throw convenience into the mix too. Which website works easier with your goal? If you're writing for profit, Ezine Articles may not be the smartest choice, whereas if you're writing to build links and a platform, Ezine's perfect. Consider what you're looking for in an article writing website and make your decisions from there.

What websites do you recommend for freelance article writers? Have you used any of the above, and if so, what was your opinion? Leave a comment, please!

How to Add a Punch to Your Writing

Great writing is what draws a reader in, whether or not your genre is the type that keeps readers on the edge of their seat. And as most writers know, the key to writing an unputdownable book is writing with a punch. Writing with a punch is delivering a swift series of twists and turns to a reader, keeping your reader on his toes, and engaging your audience so much that they read into the wee hours of the night without even remembering once that they have to be up early for work tomorrow.

Now, writing with a punch is a lot easier done than said. If your writing is starting to fall a little flat--or even if it isn't and you just want to make it better like the overachiever you are--here are a few techniques to add a punch to your writing:

  • Break up long paragraphs. Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn't it? Sadly, this is one of the most overlooked tips I've come across in the writing world. With all those newfangled e-readers nowadays, plus the intense pressure of engaging your reader with the ever-competitive publishing industry, it's no wonder readers' attention spans last about two seconds. In order to get your point across, you need to do it quickly and in short paragraphs. Think bam, bam, bam!
  • Speak and act instead of think. How interesting do you think your favorite novel would be if the main character stood in a daze the entire novel, thinking about exactly what he was going to accomplish when that chapter ended? Right. That brings us to this point: let your characters speak and act rather than focus on their thoughts. You can just as easily let the reader know what your main character is thinking by incorporating it in dialogue or your character's actions. For example: instead of saying 'Felicity thought the flowers were beautiful,' you could try, 'Felicity said to the florist, "Gosh, your flowers are gorgeous!"'
  • Broaden your horizons. Now, technically, this bit of advice could apply to quite a lot. But I'm getting at something specific here--be openminded! Consider all the fun you and your main character could have if you...*drumroll, please*...opened yourself up to other genres! And no, I do not mean cut off your women's fiction novel with a random alien kidnapping in the middle. What I'm saying is, incorporate subtle hints of other genres that make sense in your writing. For example: if your novel is a realistic fiction novel, a dash of mystery and a pinch of romance is sure to add a punch to your writing!
  • Get away from adverbs. Yes, parts of speech can be great assets when needed. However, adverbs should be used with utmost caution throughout your writing. Tacking them onto perfectly expressive nouns or adjectives ruins the flow of your writing and gives off the disgusting odor of...gasp!...flowery purple prose. Yep, stay away from adverbs.
  • Think simple and clear. But you might be thinking--aren't exotic adjectives my friend? Nope, not really. When it comes to writing that engages your audience and is punchy and effective, you need to think simple. If you need to tone down your vocabulary, so be it. Take all out that "her face emanated an angelic halo of radiance" crud and replace it with "she was glowing." Yeah! See the difference? Not only is the purpose of your sentence a lot clearer, it's a lot simpler and easier to understand, too. Your flow is smooth, your rhythm tight, and your writing punchy!
So, there's my advice on how to add a punch to your writing. What do you think of this idea? How do you add a punch to your writing when it really needs one? What do you recommend to authors who are searching for advice on this topic? Do you think I covered the topic well? What else would you have liked to see in this post? What is your opinion on adding a punch to your writing? Leave a comment or share the love through social media!

One Strong Tip to Write a Compelling Story

Above, I've included one wonderful book that will be on my 'to-reread' shelf for a long time. Here to Stay by Catherine Anderson has been devoured by thousands of readers, enjoyed by plenty of fans, and through this wonderful book, Catherine Anderson has created a gigantic fan-base. Now, what makes this novel so compelling? Here's the answer:

A compelling subplot.

True, readers enjoy getting involved in the other aspects of the story itself. It's not very often a reader's actively hunting down a compelling subplot. But there's always more to a story than focusing on your main characters. In order to write a novel that people will want to read, creating a fulfilling, conflict-filled, detail-driven, enjoyable subplot is most definitely important.

Now, to help you accomplish that, here's a list of questions to ask yourself when coming up with the story arc of the subplot:

-How can the hero/heroine make a difference in his/her town?
-What effect do the romantic aspects of the story have on the rest of the community?
-What major problem is affecting the rest of the community?
-How do the internal conflicts of the hero/heroine link to the community they live in?
-What new characters can you introduce to create a subplot?
-What is the one twist your hero/heroine would never predict coming?
-What is one problem your hero/heroine can resolve?
-How are secondary characters shaping the life of your hero/heroine?

With these questions in mind, think about what subplot you can use to shape the rest of your story. Other important things to consider include: will you be using other people's point-of-view? How closely will your subplot affect the hero/heroine?

Taking a look at our above example, Here to Stay, let me tell you a bit about the subplot. Mandy, the heroine, has a blind brother named Luke who refuses to go near a guide dog and is purposely depending wholly on Mandy because he doesn't want Mandy to leave him--even though he's nineteen. On the other side of town, Zach Harrigan has transformed from a party animal to a guy who is training a pony, Rosebud, to help the blind. Now, there you have an instant connection between the hero and heroine--and you also have a subplot waiting to happen!

Readers, what is your opinion on writing a compelling subplot? Are you a fan of subplots? Why or why not? Do you think there are other ways to write a compelling story? If you're published or have completed a manuscript, how did you incorporate subplots into your story? Let us all know by leaving a comment or spreading the love through social media!

5 Ways to Spark Your Passion for Writing Again

Sometimes, writing is so difficult, so tedious, that you're just about ready to give up on it. I hear you, readers--I've been on the receiving end of this predicament several times. Why write anymore? When your words are starting to blend into mushy sentences and you find yourself pushing your writing away, sparking your passion for writing becomes something important. Here's how:

Step out of your comfort zone.

It's truly not an earth-shattering, ground-breaking, captivating revelation. But truth be told, it works. And it's worked for several writers, people who thought they were comfortable writing what they were writing but were really getting bored. Step out of your comfort zone. Try a new market. Step into the ginormous world of writing a second time around, a newbie again, and choose a different market.

But what about your income? Your steady flow of money? Your established reputation as a writer for that market? Sure, these are important. And they're most definitely milestones for many professional, reputable authors. But if the passion isn't there, you won't have any of those things for much longer. Writing is a career which is pursed by passionate people--you have to be passionate about your writing for it to sell. And if that spark is long gone...well, it might be time to move on.

So, if you're ready to take the plunge and try a different market, here's a list of certain markets you might be interested in:

  • Writing greeting cards! If you've got a knack for short, snappy lines or slightly longer sentimental poetry, you may be the perfect candidate for this option. To get started, I recommend becoming a member of the Greeting Card Association. Then, search up 'make money writing greeting cards' on Google, and you'll quickly get a list of companies you can send a few of your ideas to. As any other writing market, it takes a lot of practice and devotion--but it's known as the most 'do-able' genre in the world of writing. It's quick, makes money fast, and you truly get to showcase your talents.
  • Blogging for money. Does writing a blog sound like cheating? It definitely isn't. Blogging is improving your writing with every post you write. But be warned: for those of you writers who aren't satisfied with anything for too long and are always craving a new writing task, this is definitely not the venue for you. No, blogging takes patience, hard work, dedication, and many, many months. Plus lots of cups of coffee. (I know from experience, as you can tell if you're reading today.)
  • Writing articles and selling them on sites such as Constant Content. This isn't the quickest, easiest way to make money writing. And you don't earn too much profit, that's for sure. But if you just want to step out of your comfort zone and indulge yourself a bit, this is the route to go. Writing quality, error-free, informative five hundred to one thousand word articles for a decent price, at around thirty dollars each or so, is guaranteed to pull in some revenue and find satisfaction in your work. Try getting started by creating an account on websites such as Constant Content, Hubpages, Suite 101, Daily Article, and more. (I recommend Constant Content! If you've got patience, it pulls in a lot more money than other sites.)
  • Writing (gasp!) genre novels. Did you ever think the words 'genre novels' would never taint your tongue--or, in your case, your reputation as a writer? Sure. Lots of writers don't want to be considered sappy romance writers, or living-on-the-edge, risk-taking thriller writers--but it's worth whatever reputation you develop. With every book you write, there are lots and lots of green pieces of paper to be earned. And if you dedicate lots of time to perfect your craft, you'll be earning plenty in no time.
  • Guest blogging for money. This could also fit in the blogging category, as, at its essence, it really is blogging. But there's a distinct difference between hosting your own blog and guest blogging on someone else's well-developed, reputable, sturdily-established blog. You may not get too much financial compensation at first, but the harder you work, the more money you earn. And the more informative, funny, and engaging you are, the more clients you'll get. I recommend creating an account on My Blog Guest, one of the best ways to find blogs looking for guest authors. Make sure you try Googling 'blogging jobs.' That search term pulls up a lot of results, most of which will help you earn money.
  • Writing for a newspaper! Yeah, I know this might be stretching it for most of the writers out there who are perfectly content with the money and reputation they have currently. But writing for a newspaper is no small task--you could get a job blogging on their website, or running around town digging up interesting stories. You never know! And if you've got a charismatic personality and a certain charm with people, you could end up becoming a solid reporter. (Plus, this category includes writing for magazines, ezines, newsletters, etc.)
So, there you have it, readers. 5 bonafide, satisfying ways to spark your passion for writing again if you're not really in the mood to write anymore. Now, what did you think about this blog post? What venues do you suggest for burned-out authors? Have you ever been one of these authors yourself? How'd you deal with your urge to give up? What's your take on this topic? Leave a comment! (Psst--do you think any of your Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, blog, and Google + followers would be interested in this topic? Spread the love, please!)

One Simple Trick to Make Your Writing Stronger

Strong writing is what lures in editors at first and then attracts readers. Without strong, solid, potent writing, your work will be nothing more than flowery prose that no one will bother to wade through. This one simple trick below explains how to edit your writing and boost its strength:

Cut out adverbs and replace the adverb-verb combination with a stronger word.

Yep, it's really that easy. That's it. Here are a few examples to illustrate how this rule applies to making your writing stronger:

1) She said softly VS. She whispered.
2) She danced crazily VS. She shimmied.
3) Her wings lifted delicately VS. Her wings fluttered.

(Having trouble reading what those crossed out ones say? Number 1 is 'said softly,' Number 2 is 'danced crazily,' and Number 3 is 'lifted delicately.)

Notice how you're saving space while boosting the flow of your writing. Flow is what keeps your paragraphs going, what helps sentences blend into each other to create a seamless piece. In order to establish this wonderful flow that keeps readers hooked, cutting out adverbs and replacing the adverb-verb combination with a stronger word is absolutely necessary.

Take a look at the examples again and notice how the writing was made stronger. For number one, I didn't try 'she whispered softly.' For number two, I didn't try 'she shimmied crazily.' Instead, I took out the adverbs completely. Adverbs can be a waste of space when used in the wrong way--of course, sometimes, they can aid your writing, so you don't have to be totally merciless when slashing them out of the pages of your manuscript, but it's a great tip to stick to. If you see an adverb attached to a verb, try to replace the combination with one stronger word in your mind. If you're having trouble, the dictionary and thesaurus are great resources for referral.

Of course, while this tip may be the most helpful technique you've ever come across if you're an accomplished, expert writer, but it may be a little difficult to use if you're an amateur or novice. Instead of jumping into your writing and editing out all the adverbs right away, why not try some practice? Get into the habit of finding strong verbs, and soon, you'll be able to edit your manuscript/article with a practiced eye.

Now, I'm a very nice blogger. I want only the best for my readers. And if you're going to get somewhere with this tip, practice is crucial. Here are three quick questions where you transform the adverb-verb combo into a stronger verb:

1) What is a stronger verb for cried loudly?
2) What is a stronger verb for jumped lightly?
3) What is a stronger verb for walked gracefully?

So there you have it--my one simple trick to make your writing stronger. If you enjoyed this article, I'd love for you to spread the word about it through Twitter, Facebook, or whatever else you choose. And if you're interested in leaving a comment...

Have you used this tip in your own writing? If not, do you think you're going to try it out? What do you like and dislike about this technique? What advice do you have for authors struggling to make their writing stronger? Leave a comment and let us all know!

Why Should Writers Blog?

blogging image

Yes, I know. You've already got plenty on your plate, what with attempting to come up with an idea for a new book, trying to break into the greeting card industry--oh, and that client of yours is really bugging you about the copywriting errors in the article you wrote recently. So why take on the burden of blogging? Contrary to what many writers believe, blogging is not a burden. Actually, it can be quite beneficial--and here's why...

  • You build a fan-base. When your precious book comes out into the world and sales are flat, chances are, if you announce it on your blog, there are going to be a lot more people lining up to buy your book. Especially if your blog is interesting, keeps them hooked, and offers valuable information. By attracting people through your innovative, helpful, great blog posts, you're getting them to devote their time and energy to reading your blog and becoming a fan of your work. When you create a blog, as a writer, your fan-base does nothing but grow.
  • You build your brand. Using the power of association, your blog can be a very innovative tool for you to promote your other pieces of writing. If you're thinking about writing a series revolving around roughly the same topic, then a blog can be your ticket to establishing a beloved, well-respected brand. When you blog, and your blog posts are top-notch quality, then people start to trust you. They start to associate your name with wonderful, entertaining, informative content. And when your series' first book comes out, they buy. And if you keep your blog just as good and your writing is stellar, they buy some more. With a blog, you build your brand, building trust right along with it.
  • You build your writing. No, blogging is not a cheap way to type a few sentences and earn a fan-base. Yes, it actually improves your writing. When you blog, writer's block fades into the distance and looks on forlornly as you go on your merry way writing everyday, coming up with fresh ideas, using your brain, and applying that contagious writing energy to the article/book/greeting card/poem you're currently working on. You are constantly improving your writing through blogging.
  • You get to share your passion! Who says writers can't blog about writing? After all, How to Write (and Write Well) is run by yours truly, who happens to be none other than a writer. You might be the best writer on the block, but if you don't have a blog, there's no way to share your expertise and secrets with the world. And when you share those aforementioned secrets with the world, you not only building your brand and fan-base, you also build your writing while sharing your passion. Sound good? It is.
  • You earn some more money. Chances are, as a writer, you're not exactly rolling in the dough. An extra income would be nice--actually, it'd be wonderful. I admit that myself. If you stick to your blog and you're dedicated to making it the best it can be, you stand a steady chance of making a passive income through your blog.
  • You open yourself up to a whole new community. With all the writers that are blogging nowadays, you find yourself transported into a world that may seem unfamiliar at first but is so valuable later that you can't help but thank yourself for deciding to create a blog. Plenty of writers blog, and all those writers are willing to guest post for your blog, allow guest posts from you, and help you to get to know the writing business. Becoming part of the writers' and bloggers' community online is unbelievably advantageous.
  • You build your writing personality. True, you may have already developed a style/voice if you're an accomplished author or writer. But it's never too late to learn if you haven't, and if you have--well, there's always room for improvement. By blogging frequently, you learn to open up your mind and write like you speak--which in turn allows you to develop a voice that you can apply to your writing and make your own.
  • You get valuable feedback. Of course there are plenty of other ways for writers to receive feedback on their writing. But blogging is one of the easiest, allowing your readers to shoot off a quick comment explaining what they like and dislike about your posts/writing excerpts/articles/greeting cards/novels/whatever other piece of writing you may be working on. As a blogger, expect to receive plenty of comments that help you to improve.
So, there you have it. The eight clear, legit reasons why writers should blog. But what do you think? Why should writers blog? Do you blog as a writer? What topics does your blog cover? Do you have anything to add to the list? If you do, leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you.

Oh, and while you're at it...if you found this post entertaining, helpful, funny, wise, intelligent, or all of the above, I'd love a tweet or Facebook status to get the word out. Thanks, readers, and do be sure to leave a comment!

How Can Self-Publishing Help You?

For decades traditional publishing houses have ruled the publishing world. Not very many authors could break out without the help of an agent and editor--in fact, no writers at all could become successful by avoiding traditional publishers. But with the evolving world today, who are publishers to tell us, as writers, how to share our stories with the world?

That's right--they can't. And that brings up the topic of self-publishing. Self-publishing is a route many indie authors are choosing nowadays, opting to upload their ebooks to sites such as Amazon, Smashwords, and Lulu. In fact, I'm thinking about uploading one of my works as an ebook to the Kindle store. But when I make a decision, I research it thoroughly--and that's how this post came about. Below are some bullet points I've thought up on the topic of how self-publishing can help you, as an aspiring indie author:

  • You choose everything. For some potential authors, this may be a turnoff--it's not easy to create an eye-catching cover, write a blurb that leaves readers craving your writing, and format your book properly. However, it can be quite the advantage if you think about it. How often do traditional publishers let you envision your own dream and then actually play it out through your book? You get to accomplish your own goals.
  • The process is much quicker. If you get some outside help, it doesn't take too long to have a proofread, formatted ebook ready to go and uploaded. You don't have to jump through the hoops of finding an agent who is willing to represent your book and then waiting for the big-shot publishing editors to bring your baby out into the world. With self-publishing, you get to get it published--and get it published fast.
  • If your book sells at least a few copies, you make more money. Traditional publishers don't offer you whopping royalties, and if you want to make a living as a writer by enjoying your passion and making money from it, you're not going to get anywhere publishing traditionally and accepting those meager twenty percent royalties. Self-publishing authors, with certain platforms, get up to seventy percent in royalties and are easily able to earn themselves more money.
  • You keep your rights! Once a book has been published by a traditional publisher, they're your baby's new parents. Permanently. You don't get to call the shots when you want to issue a reprint of your book, and you don't get to choose if you have a sudden impulse to edit something in your book someday. You don't get to copyright your book so many times it drives you crazy with giddiness. Self-publishing means exactly that--you get more for yourself.
  • You get to choose your niche. Traditional publishers may decline several fantastic book ideas because they're too narrowly focused on one corner of the whole wide world--but with self-publishing, you get to choose how narrowly focused your writing is. If you want to write about how romance authors can make money playing the guitar for tips at the local bar, go for it. No one's going to stop you when you self-publish.
  • You catch the attention of major players. Yep, you heard that right. Big, intimidating publishing houses are ready to sign a contract with you if they think your self-published book is excellent and you can churn out plenty more of the same quality. Of course, you may be rebelling against the traditional publishing industry and want to avoid all contact with it--but hey, if you get yourself a nice little deal where you have to do close to nothing after working your butt off for your previous book, I'd leap at the chance. Just saying.
  • Your book's lifespan can be as long or short as you want. Traditional publishers stop marketing your book and placing it on the top shelves of bookstores once it gets a few months old. They've got bigger projects to take on. But with self-publishing, you can keep your book on the Kindle store forever, if you so choose. Your book's lifespan is completely in your hands, and because of that, you can be reaping the profits of a book you wrote twenty years ago when you're ready to settle down and retire.
  • Your name is splashed all over the world. Readers from all over the world get instant access to your ebook once it's out there in the world. People from a hundred countries can download your ebook and enjoy it, and once they get hooked, you'll be growing yourself a nice little international fan-base when your next book comes out. If you want to be recognized all over the world, give self-publishing a shot.
  • You get quick, thorough updates on your book. Traditional publishers offer about two reports on your royalties throughout the year. Huh? How are you supposed to track your progress as a budding author if you learn about your royalty statements twice a year? It's pretty much impossible, and that's where self-publishing jumps into your canoe. You're always updated and in-the-know about your success--which means infinitely more bragging rights and a great deal less stress.
  • You attract more devoted followers and readers. If you run a blog, or you write a weekly newsletter which you upload to some websites, linking back to that in the 'About the Author' page of your ebook can mean a ginormous increase in your followers. The more people that get exposure to your promotional page, the more followers you'll get. And the more followers you have, the more people enjoy your work and buy what you have to offer.
So, what do you think? This list doesn't even begin to cover the numerous benefits of self-publishing, but it gets the big ones, and if you're looking for more, my Contact Me page and comments' box are always open.

Readers, how do you think self-publishing can help you? What's your opinion on self-publishing? Are you thinking about it? And was this post informative, helpful, and engaging? Leave a comment, please!

P.S. If this post did happen to be informative, helpful, and engaging...well, I'm sure your Twitter followers are looking for another great link to check out.