A year ago, I published a post chronicling my first year into publishing and freelance copywriting. I dabbled around a bit in 2016 by taking a few writing courses, and 2017 really marked my start into the world of creative writing and fiction. 2018, however, has been the year of commercial copywriting for me.
So, how did I do it? (Very carefully). Is it possible to earn a living wage as a freelance writer? (Yes it is). Find out below in my 2018 year in review post.
What happened in the beginning of 2018?
So, last year’s year-in-review post left off with me about to launch Nefarious IV: The Dirigible Airship Disaster. The book officially released on Valentine’s Day. I had a Rafflecopter going for the book, and also ran a (somewhat) extensive email marketing campaign for the title. At the peak of the campaign, the book reached #34 in Gaslamp Fantasy.
Not too terribly bad for someone who didn’t experiment with any paid advertising methods. I earned about 100 bucks that month in royalties from that title alone. Unfortunately, I didn’t do much author marketing on the back end of the book’s release while I worked on Nefarious 4.5: The Heads That Rolled. The book had a pretty quiet release with minimal royalties earned. But I’m proud of it and am happy it’s a part of my back list. I also think it’s one of my best books to date, even though no one has ever agreed with my assessment, and hardly anyone has ever heard of the book.
On top of that, I also participated in an anthology and wrote I am Drusilla, a prequel to the Nefarious series. Right now, I’m working on the fifth and final book of the Nefarious series and hope to have it ready around March.
What are the rest of my indie publishing goals for 2019?
Finish the Nefarious series.
Write and publish another dark romance vampire book, and an M/M shifter romance book that are both loosely outlined.
Further build my author email list and author fan base with help from my VA.
Hire a freelance copywriter to tweak and optimize my email sales funnel and run my author newsletters.
Yes, I hired a VA at the tail end of 2018. He’s helped create and launch Amazon ads for me, and is also working on garnering reviews for my books. I really like having someone else do these parts of marketing for me because I just don’t have the time. I’m hoping to further advance the sales copywriting part of my business to fund the author side as I continue to build my brand and launch more books.
For the last year, my significant other and I have been fixing, remodelling, and renovating my shack in the woods. We should be done with everything this spring and I will finally have weekends off again. Once this happens, I’ll have a lot more time to devote to book production.
What happened with the copywriting side of my business in 2018?
At the very end of 2017, I started taking on paid fiction ghostwriting assignments. It was all right, as in it kept the lights on. But, I didn’t find it sustainable and I also didn’t think it would advance my career. To pivot strategy, I decided to revamp my Upwork profile and start working on landing higher-paying, long-term marketing gigs.
At the end of March, I got a hired as a web content and sales copywriter for a content agency. I also started landing small business clients who needed a long-term relationship with a content writer. I’m also working with RoosterFin Games, and an odor removal business in Maine.
What did I do to land these writing gigs?
The marketing and writing experience I got with email marketing for my author business made me an attractive candidate for these types of jobs.
I took several email marketing and content writing courses through Udemy, CourseRA, and Hubspot.
I continued to write posts for Medium and this blog that showcased my expertise and writing talent.
I’m now a top-rated freelancer on Upwork with a 100% job success score. Let me reiterate a few things about me.
- I dropped out after one semester of college.
- I worked in a dead-end job in healthcare for ten years.
- I came into the writing and digital marketing scene with 0 prior experience.
- I’m a custodial parent with limited hours in the day to work. My ex husband is disabled and does not pay child support.
- I suffer from severe bouts of clinical depression of which I’ve been hospitalized for in the past. It’s what makes me such a good writer of dark things.
Basically, the odds were pretty much against me. What I needed was a little bit of elbow grease, some strategy, patience, and hard work to get to where I am. Anyone with grit and determination to make it in this industry can.
What kind of money do I make as a writer?
I don’t make enough to pay the bills with book royalties yet, but I know I will eventually if I keep writing good books and marketing them.
I only work part time as a copywriter, but I make enough to where I’m able to pay my bills, save for retirement, and have enough l left over at the end of each pay period to add to a savings account. I don’t really like to publish hard numbers, but suffice it to say, I don’t stay up at night worrying too much about money, and it pays better than my last job.
What do I hope to accomplish with the copywriting side of my business in 2019?
What I would like to do is start a series on Medium showcasing in more detail how I became a top-rated freelancer. I’ve had several people in my offline social network reach out to me for coaching, so I’m hoping to do more to help other people launch and build a career they can be proud of.
I’d like to find another long-term client who needs ongoing web content, or blog, or email content to my clientele.
Once my son starts school full-time in the fall, I hope to add a few more hours of copywriting-related work to my day that will bring me closer to full-time hours.
I hope to start earning more in Medium and book royalties for added financial security. As a freelancer, if you don’t work you don’t eat. It’s a bit of a pain point for me because it would be nice to still have money coming in if I get sick, go on vacation, or take a holiday off. As someone who doesn’t have access to any traditional employment benefits, it’s something I will need to build for myself.
What readers can expect from me in the next year:
More steampunk vampire, and dark fiction books by Lucille Moncrief
More steamy, dirty dirty books by Penelope Pattelbottom
Readers who want to be writers can expect more how-to posts and articles explaining different techniques for how to get started in the business.
Anyone reading who needs a long-term copywriter for their online business can get in touch with me via my Upwork profile or through the contact me page.
So what about you? What are your goals for 2019? Are there any particular questions you have about writing and online business? Please ask away in the comments.