I’m an Amazing Stories writer

AS-button-blog-team-MEMBER-Blue-smallI have some great news to share today; I’m now an official Amazing Stories writer. Why am I so excited? Because Amazing Stories is a place dedicated to Sci-Fi. It’s also been running, almost uninterrupted since 1926! Though it finally closed in 1996, there were two attempts at bringing it back in 1998 and 2005, and now it’s had some fresh life breathed into it! The Amazing Stories magazine goes hand in hand with an online blog and SF community to talk, review and discuss all things totally geekery (yeah – I’m so excited that I made that word up).

I will, of course, still be blogging here with news and updates, but I’ll be providing some more in-depth articles over at Amazing Stories. My first post – 4 Modern and Completed SF series that you shouldn’t miss; Part I – is now live, and I’ll be blogging every week. So, what you waiting for? Head over and take a look! 😉

A new zombie read; Pacifier 6

On the back of getting my lengthy science fiction novel, CRYO, published, I’m happy to say that my zombie novella has also been released at Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk and Smashwords(soon to come to iBooks, B&N and Kobo).

I hadn’t intended on writing a zombie book at all, but the storyline sprung into my head last October and I was off, finishing the novel in just a few weeks. It seems like 2013 might be the year of the zombie too, with both World War Z and Warm Bodies coming to cinemas – I can’t for either! 😀

Anyway, here’s the blurb Pacifier 6.

Pacifier final art KB (200)

The apocalypse has come and gone. A disease, an infection, that blackened the Earth with horror. Then came Pacifier 6; a drug to calm the evil, to dampen the cravings for flesh and bone. Now you go to the store and pick out a zombie as if you were buying a new pet. 

But what happens when you realise that familiar faces still have feelings? 

Carl’s pulling himself back together, attempting to cope with the losses that life has dealt him. Amidst the horror of the past few months, he begins to realise that death isn’t necessarily the end; it can be the start of something new, something that has never been seen before. With everyone around him battling to keep society intact, Carl manages to see beyond the ravaged faces of those he once knew. There’s a new creature in the darkness, a consciousness that most have overlooked, and it’s waiting to reveal itself.

If you’d like to pick up a copy, just head to Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk or Smashword. Happy Friday everyone. 🙂

A new science fiction read

cryofor kindle-600pxI don’t tend to talk about my writing much here on the Modern Hermit, but I’m happy to announce that my new science fiction novel is now available at Amazon and Kobo, and soon to be in iBooks and B&N.

CRYO: Rise of the Immortals is set slightly in the future, and follows the story of John Carlody, an ordinary man with an uneventful life. With the Earth dying around him, John’s desperate to find a way out, and when he wins an elusive ticket to the world’s cryogenics program, his life changes forever.

Whilst CRYO offers an escape to the future, are the company all that they seem? Will John be able to leave his family and friends behind him for 50 years of sleep? And what will be waiting for him when he awakes?

 

If you’d like to check it out, simply head to Amazon. You can download a sample for free, giving you more than a chapter of reading for nothing!

A New Blog

I just can’t help myself. I’m a blog whore. I just like writing, so I started a new blog!

GeoffreyWakeling.com is my exploits into self-publishing in the ebook industry. I’ll be updating with book progress, promotion and marketing ideas and other self-publishing, writing type posts.

I’ve come into self-publishing completely blind-folded and don’t really have a clue as to what I’m doing. I’m finding lots of advice online, as well as discovering tips and tricks myself from forums to help myself along the way – hopefully to novel writing success.

So, if you want to see how I build my book from the ground-up and try to establish myself as self-publishing ebook novelist, then feel free to head over to GeoffreyWakeling.com and say hi! 🙂

Create A 24/7 Presence with Elance

Today was a quiet day for me. I completed a couple of hours of freelance writing work in the morning, toddled off for an eye test, and then a health test. I ended up in Soho, stuffing my face with blueberry muffins, sipping Earl Grey tea, and enjoying the afternoon. The sky was clear, the scarves and coats were out and making almost every man look very attractive. I think it’s the change of seasons, but a man wrapped in scarf and snug jacket is pretty damn hot!

Having had what was essentially a day off, I returned home to discover I had two new jobs on Elance. This is why I love this site. As long as you take the time to prepare a decent profile, and put in a headline that will attract niche customers, work pretty much comes your way without having to look for it. Once you’ve completed a few clients job and got feedback and stars, you can showcase yourself without actively having to do so. I’ve had a day off, yet I’ve scored two new writing jobs where all I had to do was read through the brief and click accept. It’s that easy.

So if there’s one thing you do this week, join Elance and create a profile. Include as much information for clients as possible and use a niche based tagline (mine’s “Horticultural London based Freelancer”). And even when you’re out with friends and seeing the sights, you can sure that your online writing persona is still attracting valuable clients.

This Year I AM a NaNoWriMo Writer

My book remains unfinished. In fact, for anyone who ever reads this blog, you may know that my first book is finished and unedited, whilst my second is lurking in the depths of my computer files. But, there is hope on the horizon as I gear up for NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) looms in the distance and I’m very excited. It’s not something that will be easy. It’s not something that I’m sure I will enjoy every minute of. However, it is something that can help me acheive my goals. The premise is simple, within the 30 days of November write 50,000 words. Not client work. Not blog work. But that novel that is languishing in both file and creative mind. Don’t edit. Don’t re-read. Just write.

Of course, many may ask why the hell you would want to do this, but for me it’s a unique opportunity to set a feasible task and finish the book. I could have a bestseller sitting on my computer. It’s more likely that I’ve just got a semi-decent novel that a few people might be interested in. Having those 50,000 words will allow me to write, to catch up with my characters, and too hopefully finish their stories. And then of course, I can edit in December, and start sending manuscripts out at the beginning of 2012.

So…I’m super excited. I’m eager to write now, but I’m holding myself back in the hopes that the snowball motion will allow me to coast through to the middle of Novemeber before I start to tire. And hopefully, by 2011 I’ll be finally able to send out those letters and look forward to all those lovely rejection slips!! 😉

Freelance Writing – Become An Expert

Starting off in a freelance writing career can be tough. It’s a very competitive world out there, and with thousands of people logging onto the internet, applying for the same jobs, and often undercutting each other on price, it can be difficult to score the best jobs. Meanwhile, there are MANY providers who think they can realistically pay $3 for a 500 article. The problem is, people are actually willing to work for this!

Specialisation in an area when freelance writing is a key concept to help you get ahead. Of course, and I’ve done it too, when starting out you’ll automatically take on jobs that you have no interest in. I’ve ghost written finance blogs, articles on insurance, and an entire project on accountancy which had me wanting to scratch my eyes out. And taking these jobs on is essential to keep the money in so look on it as practice to improve your skills. But in the back of your mind you should start to try and specialise in a number of areas. This will allow you to become an expert in your niche, become well recognised in that area, and demand higher fees. It’ll also give you the pride and satisfaction that comes with developing skills in a key area and really becoming a master of your subject.

But what if you don’t know any niche areas? Develop them! I have a degree in marine biology and zoology, but my specialities online are gardening and male exercise. Why? Because I love these subjects and I know them. I set up a gardening blog. I started tailoring my online profiles at Ezine and Elance to horticulture and exercise. I made it know with my ongoing clients that these were my specialities and if work came up, then to please keep me in mind. You don’t have to know a subject to become an expert, you just have to be willing to learn.

Gardening’s my expertise…what’s yours?

Choosing a speciality is one key element that will set you apart from others in your freelance writing career. My Elance profile is purely horticultural, and I don’t have to look for clients, they come to me. Start a blog on your preferred subject, and join Ezine to start producing articles in your preferred field. And whilst continuing to slog away at work for conservatories, washing machines, or paint products, believe that you can become master of your subject, and watch your freelance writing career take off.

Time Management for your Writing Day

One of the amazing benefits of being a freelance writer is the joy of working from home. When the dog’s giving you the ‘I want a walk’ eyes you can down tools and take to the forest. I can fit in gym sesssions wherever I want, and being a gardener I can nip to clients here and there without having to worry about sticking to office hours. I don’t have the annoyance of taking an annual leave day just to wait for a parcel delivery, and I can visit the bank whenever I want. However, a certain degree of self discipline is needed for any freelance writer, and whatever your effective writing method, you do need one.

It’s all too easy to become distracted at home, whether it’s cleaning, making yet another cup of tea, or spending hours looking through tweets and emails. I find myself pottering down the garden to visit the hens A LOT. And weeding. I put out one little weed and then an hour later I’m up to my armpits in soil having decided to dig out the compost bin. Being distracted is very easy if you don’t have a time management plan for working at home. Meanwhile, without a full load I find myself putting jobs off, when in fact, if I got them finished I could use the spare time to search for more clients, and greater earnings.

Creating your perfect schedule is a personal thing. I tend to write best in the early afternoon, or late evenings…hence I’m often up to 1 or 2am tapping away at the keyboard. Knowing these peak times is vital to ensure maxiumum efficiency and allow for other activities to take place during times when perhaps writing isn’t as efficient. I recently started using the “50 minute focus” technique as explained on the Elance blog for client work, and it suits me down to the ground. Rather than putting work off for a few hours, or even a few days, I can get pieces finished and yet still have time to write more should I wish. Meanwhile, whilst some like to work a five day week and enjoy writing free weekends, I prefer to spread the work over seven days, having more me time throughout the week. It also allows me the option to a write a little more one day if I have a big social event the following one.

So, whether working for a few big clients, or a huge portfolio of smaller ones, time management is vital for freelance writers who want to maxmise their creative potential and future income. I’ve found my perfect way, what’s yours?

Elancing

Having had to scour the internet in the past few weeks for new freelance writing work, I discovered myself re-browsing Elance. Whilst I joined the site last year, I never actually gained any work. It seemed to be full of buyers looking for 500 word articles and only willing to pay a few dollars. It was ridiculous really, and totally undermined the freelance writing economy. Yet people took on the work, and got paid peanuts for work that would be taking several hours.

However, in a bid to increase my portfolio, I updated my profile, threw in a few specifics to name, and moved onto the next site. Within a week I had an invited bid offer which was horticulturally based and paid well. I snapped it up immediately. This got my interest flowing, and say I gave the site another shot. I started looking for freelance writing work and found another interesting job. Whilst I had to lower my average rate a little, it was a big bulk job and putting in a bid at the top of their range I was stunned to win that too. And now, both clients have given me repeat work and my Elancing career is taking off.

Many may be sceptical about using a site which acts as an intermediary between writer and client, but actually, I see NO problems. Yes, Elance takes a fee, but simply incorporate these into your bid so you don’t lose out. You talk to the client directly through the site which can be a bonus as it actually protects your personal email identity. In addition, with Elance portfolio and widget available, you can receive much needed ratings and feedbacks to improve your writer’s score.

For someone who was looking for freelance writing work a few weeks ago, I’m now inundated and have plenty to keep me going. So give it a go. Don’t lower your bid just to gain the work, be honest with yourself about what you want to earn so that working won’t feel like a chore. And give your profile the once over to encourage new custom.

Do you use Elance? What are your stories? Happy Elancing 🙂

‘Tis the Season to Up the Anti

At this time of year, when the mornings are just that little cooler and the glimmerings of autumn are on the horizon, I have to start seeking out new writing jobs with gusto. My career is two parts, nine to ten months of the year is spent gardening, but as the winter rolls in I have to increase the writing to counteract the loss of gardening income. And combined with the recession, and the resulting loss of a few clients here and there, the gardening work has been rather lacklustre this year.

And so, its off to work I go. I have enrolled at Indeed.com which sends new job adverts directly to your inbox. So to does Peopleperhour.com which, though I haven’t gained any contracts from yet, is proving to be a very respectable source of feelancing gigs. Meanwhile, after its take over by Splash Media, freelancewritinggigs.com still remains a favourite of mine, as does Elance. However, the former does seem to have lost a little of its personality, with Deb Ng always doing a great job of making readers feel comfortable. Now she is gone, the site feels a little more corporate, however, it remains a vital source of some of the globe’s best daily writing gigs.

Finding freelance writing gigs can be difficult, but actually winning contracts with so much competition can be incredibly hard. It is therefore vital to apply to far more jobs than you anticipate gaining, and take the time to create personal portfolio’s online. For example, I write my personal gardening blog, supply articles for Ezine, and am now writing in the community for Mother Nature Network. And with a wider number of viewers, and an increased variety of portfolio’s with which to attract clients, fingers crossed that the next few months see a steady increase of work. 🙂