Interview: Freelance Ghost Writer Amanda Evans
Today’s Write Out Loud interview features Amanda Evans. Amanda Evans is a freelance writer/ghostwriter whose aim is to teach others how to succeed in the writing world. Amanda has been freelancing online since 2004 and specializes in writing SEO content. A full listing of Amanda’s services can be found on her website along with her writing rates.
WOL: What type of writing and/or editing do you do? What types of clients do you take on?
AE: I am a freelance writer. I specialize in SEO writing and creating unique content using my client’s specific keywords. I have also done some editing work and last December editing a script that is now being sold to Hollywood. My clients vary but most are website owners looking for content. I also write e-books, press releases, and do copywriting. I am a ghostwriter so the copyright for everything I do for my clients transfer to them on payment. I do not get the credit for the materials that I write.
WOL: How do you find clients, market your services and/or sell your work?
AE: I secure a lot of my clients through the bidding website Elance. Many of these become repeat clients that I work with for large periods of time. I also get clients through my website and from referrals. My website is my main marketing and I also use Twitter which I have found to be very successful as has article marketing using ezine articles.
WOL: Why did you decide to become a (freelance) writer/editor?
AE: Writing has always been a passion of mine and when I got the internet at home I began looking for ways to get paid for my writing. I started freelancing after the birth of my daughter in 2003 as a part time thing and once my son was born in 2006 I quit my day job to be a stay at home mom and I now use my freelancing as my main source of income.
WOL: How do you schedule your day?
AE: My day is scheduled around my children. My daughter goes to school everyday but my son is only in pre-school 3 mornings a week and that is when I do the majority of my work. The other two days I work in for an hour or two in the evenings when my children are in bed. I use a to-do-list and prioritize what work needs to be completed and when.
WOL: What portion of what you do is writing/editing and what portion would you say is other business related work (e.g., marketing, networking, querying, etc.)?
AE: 75% of my work day is spent completing client projects and the other 25% is spent on marketing, networking, and additional streams of income which include updating my blog and working on various other paid article websites. I also spend some time each day looking for new clients and bidding on new projects.
WOL: What are your favorite tools for making your work easier?
AE: I have a desktop currency converter that allows me to keep track of the exchange rates. My currency is Euro so I like to keep an eye on the Dollar/Euro conversion to assess my earnings. I also have Twitter search on my Tweetdeck which keeps me updated on freelance writing jobs. I use Firefox and an addon called Fastdial where I have all the websites that I use daily. This makes it much quicker to log onto different websites. I also visit Alltops.com daily for my research and to see what is current in different markets. I moved all my email accounts to Gmail which makes answering emails much quicker and I use google reader too.
WOL: What resources (books, websites, courses, etc.) do you regularly use or have been useful to you in the past?
AE: There are a number of websites and blogs that I subscribe to but no particular courses or books that I use on a regular basis. Blogs I frequent would have to be www.copyblogger.com, www.freelancewritinggigs.com, www.fabfreelancewriting.com, www.freelanceswitch.com, and allfreelancewriting.com to name but a few. I like to keep up-to-date with what is going on in the freelance writing world.
WOL: What skills would you say are most important to your success as a writer/freelancer?
AE: I attribute my success as a freelancer to my passion for writing. I think it is very important to have a love of writing if you want to be a successful freelancer. After all, to be successful in any area you need to enjoy what you are doing. Another very important skill for successful freelancing is the ability to research and compile information and to keep up to date with any topic you specialize in.
WOL: Where is your favorite place to work? What is your favorite time of the day to work?
AE: My favorite place to work is in my kitchen where I can look out on the garden. It is lovely and quiet in the mornings when my children are in school and it is also a very relaxed room. In the summer time I like to work in my garden and take the laptop outside. My favorite time of the day to work is first thing in the morning. If I wake up early I will get an hour or two done before everyone else gets up and I find that I am really productive during this time.
WOL: What strategies do you use to stay on top of deadlines and manage multiple projects?
AE: I like to prioritize my work load and my to do list is essential. I do color code different items so that I know exactly what to focus on first. If I have multiple deadlines I tend to do parts of each project on a daily basis. I might spend 30 minutes on one project, then 30 on another. This helps to keep my mind focused too and stops boredom or writers block creeping in. If I have a large amount of work to complete I will also turn off my e-mail and any other programs such as twitter to stop any distractions.
WOL: What one piece of advice would you give to other writers who are hoping to build a freelance business?
AE: My number one piece of advice would be to treat it like a business. If you want to be successful you need to put the work in. Many people who work from home tend to allow themselves to get distracted easily. My family and friends know my work hours and therefore won’t call uninvited or make unnecessary phone calls during these times. I used to find that by thinking of my freelancing as a job I was able to get more work done and by creating work hours and a work schedule it stopped me from getting distracted and wasting my time.
Another excellent piece of advice is to learn from others. If you know a successful freelancer, ask them for some tips or advice. Many are more than happy to help.
WOL: I think that last point is really key. Writer’s have been much more willing to share advice than I ever would have expected when I started freelancing. OK, we’re down to our last question, and it’s my favorite. Writers are often known for their vices. What’s your biggest writers’ vice? (Hint: Mine is chocolate.)
AE: Like you it has to be chocolate especially if I need to concentrate hard on coming up with a new article topic or blog post. I find that sitting back with a cup of tea and some chocolate helps to get my brain working.
Thanks to Amanda for taking time out from her busy schedule to share her writing life with us. If you want to talk with Amanda more, you can find her on Twitter. You can also learn more at her website Ghostwriting Uncovered and her blog The Hidden Writer, where new freelance writers and ghostwriters will find all the information they need to build a successful career.