Category Archives: Business Writing

Taking A Break

The last three months I have been gainfully employed in a ‘real job’. I was handling sales and marketing for a small, family owned security company. They got a lot of work in over Christmas and because they haven’t been paid by their clients, yet have had to pay all their staff, they have become insolvent and so had to let a bunch of us go. So I’m back earning my  living as a freelance eWriter. Magic!

I confess it was nice to get the money in the bank every Tuesday, even though it wasn’t much. They were great people to work for but, I prefer being self employed. My time, and thus my life, is my own. I confess I let the site slip while I was busy swapping hours for dollars and I have 32,743 spam posts to delete. I can only do 20 at a time so that means 1,637 deletions at three clicks a deletion or up to 15 seconds a time. That’s nearly seven hours of solid clicking! You gotta be kidding me! If nothing else, this tells me I need to pay regular attention to my sites!

Part of the role of being an eWriter is that you have to market yourself. You need to be filling the sales funnel with prospects so you get a steady drip out the bottom you can work and bill. I’ve let the funnel dry up these past 14 weeks, so my first job is to start refilling it. Part of that process will be using social media and my blog sites to raise the profile, get the search engines ranking me as high as possible for keywords like ‘ghostwriter’. I need to spend just 15 minutes a day on each of my sites to keep them fresh, relevant and ranking well. better get on to it then!

Censorship By Stealth

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Martin Niemoller

 

 

Yesterday I received an email from Mark Coker, owner of Smashwords. Basically he told how he had been pressured by PayPal to remove any books that contained certain material. One of the 18 titles I distribute through Smashwords  was classified in the category being targeted. I changed the category because it did not fit given the content and I had tried it there as a marketing exercise to gain new readership. The category and the content is not relevant. It is the censorship that is the issue. I understand Mr Coker’s position and I feel for him. PayPal control the money and that is the bottom line. They are controlled by the banks who process the credit card transactions. They feel they should charge very high fees for some categories as sadly there are more chargebacks in those categories. This is all about money. Or is it? Coming from the USA where religious extremism is what kicked the country off back in the day of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims, why should any of us be surprised?

 

Read these other posts and decide for yourself what this is really all about. I also think there is an argument that this is pushed by the big publishers, exerting pressure on their banks, to wipe out indie publishers. They don’t like the power being regained by the writer and the little guy, they have too much invested in their grip of the market. This is happening all over America. A report the other day studied how today, pharmacy graduates have no hope going into business for themselves thanks to the big four drug store chains ruling the market. What about any line of retail? Forget it. Supermarkets? No point. Books, same deal. It is all about massive firms with lots of money, invested by share holders who want huge dividends and who cares who suffers? They have enough money to be part of the 1%. Now it is spreading all over the world. First they want us to be aspirational and think we are middle class, then they con us into believing we can afford it by taking their credit, then they wipe us out while getting bailed out by our tax dollars. They don’t pay taxes as they have very smart people on their payroll figuring out how to minimize their tax obligation, or bring in laws to change things. We are here to work for them, serve them, make their lives easier. As F.Scott Fitzgerald once remarked to Ernest Hemingway, “the rich are different to the rest of us”. He was so right.

 

This time it is books in this particular category that are being targeted. Who is next? Pick a genre, perhaps me for having a blog where I call these people out on their actions. I don’t write for that category and I don’t read books in that category, in fact I find some of them very objectionable. But nobody who writes, reads or sells them has ever threatened my writing, my business, my income and thus my family. None of those writers, readers or sellers have ever put a gun to my head and forced me to do anything. Or threatened to take anything of mine away. As Pastor Niemoller is alleged to have said, “Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Network To Grow

It sometimes pays to keep a tight rein on things and control everything yourself and then there are the times when it is wiser to spread the load a little. In November I linked up via LinkedIn with Lorraine Cobcroft, who knows most of the things I don’t know and vice versa. We are looking at expanding the scope and value of the online writing courses I offer through a joint venture and I have to say her presentation skills have dazzled and delighted. She has a great deal of experience and expertise in taking a very dry document (my lecture notes) and making them into a visual feast. When you consider that people want value for money and will always choose the visually stunning over the drab, even when the content itself is identical, having a partner who can add that value to your written work is a huge PLUS! On top of the graphics bonus, Lorraine is also a gifted writer so I am confident we will be able to provide the market with a lot of value as we ramp things up. Check it out and give networking with other trusted professionals some thought. Sometimes the trick is knowing what you don’t know and where to find the person who does.

Seeing The Other Side

I try to be tolerant, compassionate and fair in my life and my writing. However too often I fail and I am bigoted, one eyed and belligerent.  So be it. Trying to be good is a lot harder than taking the easy path and just hammering whatever and whoever I come across that is new, different or somehow vaguely threatening. Man has been this way since Day 1 and it is part of why he has lived as long as he has on this earth.

Lately I have been investigating the essay writing industry, as I am a writer who earns his living, modest as it is, from his writing. I found there are so many scammers out there when it comes to essay writing providers it really is a problem for people looking for paying writing work. I have also found a forum where the purported objective is to identify the scams and scammers, the real action seems to be the constant attacking and insulting of anyone with the temerity to post on THEIR forum.

Despite having to fend off or ignore numerous forum nazis, I did manage to discover two good people through the forum, both of whom, of course, were too often the target for the so called experts. The first led me to Oxbridge Researchers Ltd, a UK based legitimate, registered company that has several web sites and cater to a wide range of clientele across several continents.

Their set up is professional and differs from the scam sites in that there is a physical address you can go to (if you are in Nottingham), tons of verifiable media reports and they pay for writing, they don’t ‘fine’ writers for mistakes (in truth, excuses to not pay the writer).They stress that they provide a ‘model’ essay on the topic and it is up to the client to use it to further their own research. They also strongly dissuade handing the paper in ‘as is’ as one’s own work. I think they go as far as one must in this regard. After all, Ford make cars but they don’t have to stop people driving them into pedestrians.

So far I am registered and have received several jobs I could go after but none have been my forte and the one that was had to be done asap and my schedule this week is full. Yes, I write to a schedule as all professionals should. I would rather pass on jobs and let others compete for them than take one and screw it up or give my stress levels a reason to rise. The best way I can judge for myself as to how good or bad this company are is to sign up and give it a go, the first part of which I have done. Time will tell.

The other find was ‘Essaybrah’, a young man who is building his own writing business out of Seattle, USA and has targeted the body building forums as a great place to market his services. While I have no idea of the quality of his work I can say he seems genuinely keen to make a career with his writing and I applaud that.

What I failed to achieve with my brief membership of this forum was any headway into why people cheat. One poster did explain how he was snowed under, plus had a job to hold down and so on. OK, I can understand how that can happen but it is not something that only affects one or two students. Everybody who studies and needs to work to earn their keep while they do so must learn to manage their time and study properly. But then I am looking at this from the age of 49, not 19. See, tolerance, compassion and fairness. I am trying. ‘Very trying’, my wife might quip.

Click on this link Domain Whois

Essay Writing Rip Offs

First of all let me say that I have a moral issue with writing someone else’s essay or term paper. While they may believe it is ethical and legal at Degree Essays I have to say they do draw a long bow with their viewpoint as to whether it is cheating or not. To their credit they do say not to submit the essay as one’s own work but to use it to write one’s own. If the student did that then I can accept their argument as it being just another form of research or notes. But we know no student who has just parted with over a hundred quid is going to go to that much trouble, right?

At least they try to do the right thing. Most of the other writing sites targeting the dumb, the lazy, the desperate and the naive ignore the issue and steam ahead under the impression there is no issue to discuss. From a strictly commercial point of view that is the best thing to do. Like those diploma mills offering degrees for your life experience and ‘nominal fee’, it is like the judge and pornography. We all know it when we see it but until then nobody says a word.

Are there any decent essay writing sites to work for that do pay you? So many people get onto forums that expose the rip offs that you wonder if there are any legitimate sites around, other than Odesk and Elance. I’m registered with both but have only ever bid for work on the latter and they are straight as a die. There is competition for the jobs but then the jobs are real and so too the pay. If it gets too easy where they throw work at you then you should be ready for some disappointment.

Some sites are merely the hub of a network of several sites, so packing it in at one and starting work at another only means the url has changed, the same people run the show. Most of these shows seem to be run out of the Ukraine with a US, UK or AU toll free number to call to make you think you are dealing with someone in one of those countries. Others are based elsewhere, such as Hong Kong and you might read about them on the scam site forums with just one person going into bat for the. Perhaps that person is an employee or maybe the business is genuine and only those who can’t write and so didn’t get paid for their rubbish, complain.

As with anything to do with the Internet you have to exercise caution and common sense. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. Nothing is free and if it is worth doing, e4xpect other people to be after it too so bring your best game to the table everytime.

Those That Can, Do…

The old saw, “Those that can, do and those that can’t, teach” is not really appropriate at any time for any topic and I guess it was coined by some disgruntled doer who couldn’t get a cushy job teaching! I ‘can’ eWrite and I am teaching it, too and both are not walks in the park, so to speak.

Today I received word that, providing I get enough students signing on, my three writing courses are scheduled for next term, starting February 2011 at a community college close to home. I have been teaching my ‘Eat Your Words – How To Make A Living As An Online Writer’ for the past six months at a community college outside my area and they have been well received by the students. More importantly, I have learned a heck of a lot about my topic I didn’t really fully understand before. There is another old saying that if you want to learn, then teach and that one I have found to be true.

I am very much in favour of teaching people how to make a living from their talent. Nowadays anyone can write and be published, either online or in print. The secret is to write something other people are willing to pay to read. An even bigger challenge is finding a way to put that writing out there so they can actually find it and buy it. If I can learn better ways to achieve that while teaching others what I know so far, then that has to be a win/win situation surely?

Business Writing: What Works, What Won’t

Product Description
A thorough, accessible, and results-oriented guidebook intended for today’s business environment, Business Writing: What Works, What Won’t offers the first and last word on writing memos, business letters, reports, and all other kinds of business documents. Wilma Davidson, a veteran corporate writing coach whose clients have included M&M Mars, Johnson & Johnson, Anheuser-Busch, and several other, Fortune 500 companies, uses clear and memorable examples, charts, … More >>

Business Writing: What Works, What Won’t

The Elements of Business Writing: A Guide to Writing Clear, Concise Letters, Memos, Reports, Proposals, and Other Business Documents

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The Elements of Business Writing: A Guide to Writing Clear, Concise Letters, Memos, Reports, Proposals, and Other Business Documents

The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course in Business Writing and Communication, Second Edition

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Supercharge your writing skills . . . by the end of the week! In the workplace, your writing speaks volumes about you. Whether you’re crafting a three-line message or a 300-page report, you need to write in a polished, professional way—regardless of your position or profession…. More >>

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Business Grammar, Style & Usage: The Most Used Desk Reference for Articulate and Polished Business Writing and Speaking by Executives Worldwide

Product Description
Based on the actual writing and speaking styles of leading business executives worldwide, this book features easy-to-follow instructions and techniques for preparing polished written documents and writing and speaking in an articulate manner. Focusing on how leading business professionals really communicate, the basics of writing and speaking, including traditional grammar and speaking dos and don’ts, are covered. Examined are the particular styles in which business… More >>

Business Grammar, Style & Usage: The Most Used Desk Reference for Articulate and Polished Business Writing and Speaking by Executives Worldwide