Leaving Work Behind

How a Vacation Could Change the Way I Do Business (And Live My Life) Forever

Written by Tom Ewer on February 17, 2015. 45 Comments

Sri Lankan beachI’m going to Sri Lanka in just a few days.

On 28th February my girlfriend and I will be stepping on a plane to Dubai. From there we’ll catch another plane to Colombo, and my Asian adventure will begin!

As the time to leave grows nearer, I find myself getting more excited – for more that one reason. Vacationing in a completely alien part of the world will be an adventure in itself, but beyond that, my trip to Sri Lanka represents a experiment that could change the way I do business forever. Keep Reading

Freelance to Passive: How I Scaled My Writing Business

Written by Tom Ewer on March 24, 2014. 35 Comments

TypewriterOne of the biggest criticisms of freelancing (and more specifically, freelance blogging) is that it is not scalable. By this, people typically mean that you must always be intrinsically involved in your freelancing business. If you’re not present, you don’t make money. It’s a pure hours-for-pay deal.

While freelancing is (by definition) an hours-for-pay business model, assuming that’s all a freelancing business can ever be is naive. I’m proof of that fact.

While freelancing is what enabled me to quit my job, it was never the business model that I had in mind for the long term. Several months ago I put the wheels in motion on a process that would transform my business forever and prove to anyone who cared to notice that freelancing is scalable. It can even achieve that Holy Grail status of “passive.”

In this post I am going to share the story of how I transitioned from freelance blogger to business owner and explain how the change has benefited me enormously.

Freelancing Burnout

It all started in Spring 2013, when I was starting to get a little jaded by freelancing.

I had been writing for clients since September 2011; typically 2-3 hours per day. That doesn’t sound like much (and to many it won’t be), but coupled with my own blogging commitments, it felt like a lot of writing.

I knew that something had to give. I had often remarked upon the notion that freelancing isn’t scalable — that writing for pay would forever limit my earning potential. But at the same time, it had afforded me the opportunity to quit my job and attain a level of freedom I had never enjoyed before.

Freelancing felt like a halfway house to me. It had done great things for me — namely enabling me to quit my job — but it wasn’t going to take me to where I ultimately wanted to be.

Don’t get me wrong — it was a great dilemma to have. I was earning in excess of $150 per hour. But I didn’t want to freelance forever and I had ambitions to earn more. I just didn’t know how I was going to do that. After all, everyone says that freelancing isn’t scalable.

An Accidental Discovery

At times I had considered taking on writers to help me with my freelancing, but I had always discarded the thought on the assumption that people wouldn’t be reliable and/or good enough. To me, working with other people led to the kind of complications that I would rather do without.

But that all changed when I advertised here on LWB for paid writers for a website I was working on at the time, Free Online Dating Advice.

I received a lot of applications. Many weren’t that great, but some were good. And I was really impressed with a handful of the applicants. In short, they did good work for a reasonable price. As long as I was willing to edit each piece to ensure it was up to my own specific standards, the writing was up to scratch.

While I ended up folding that website and moving onto other projects, the process I went through with it taught me a valuable lesson: working with people could be a positive — and even potentially profitable — experience.


At that point I felt I was onto something. Could it be possible to work with other freelance writers to produce work for my clients? I knew there was only one way to find out.

However, I had worries. First of all, would I be able to find writers with the necessary experience and technical abilities to produce articles that I could work with? Secondly, could I actually still make money by subcontracting the work? Finally (and most importantly), would my clients be happy with me working in this way? I decided to address each concern in turn.

The first one was easy to figure out — all I had to do was try someone out. Now I’ll be honest at this point — I can’t remember exactly what I did! I’m pretty sure I just asked one of the writers I had already been working with to write a piece with a view to judging if it would be worthy of submitting to a client as one of my own.

In short, the answer was yes. I had to tickle it into shape a little, to make it my own, but that didn’t take too long; certainly far less time than me having to write it myself! I also discovered that editing is a far less brain-intensive type of work than writing itself (at least it is for me).

The financial aspect seemed to work too. I had no real notion as to what kind of margin would be acceptable, but I was certainly happy with what I ended up with. Although paying a writer might cost me half of what I was being paid for the piece, my time investment would drop from 1-2 hours to perhaps 10-15 minutes. A 50% income drop in exchange for the work taking just 25% or so of the time it used to was a good deal as far as I was concerned!

Finding Writers

One might think that the biggest roadblock I had would be finding writers. You would be right, if it weren’t for the fact that I had a ready-made selection of writers available to me through Leaving Work Behind and my freelance blogging guide (which later became Paid to Blog).

I was really fortunate in this sense — I didn’t have to go trawling the web for writers. I had them at my doorstep. I have little doubt that the transition would have been more difficult (but certainly not impossible) if I didn’t have LWB readers to appeal to.

It really was a case of everything coming together nicely. I was fed up with writing so much, the FODA project demonstrated that good writers were available at a reasonable price, and furthermore, those good writers were on my doorstep. There was no looking back now.

If I hadn’t had this resource available to me, I probably would’ve advertised via the ProBlogger Jobs Board — the destination where I landed my first couple of blogging roles.

Making the Switch

I was excited at the possibilities of this new business model and decided to launch a new business to mark the change: Clear Blogging Solutions. While CBS didn’t last (I quickly reverted back to marketing my services behind my personal brand), the growing team behind it did.

At this stage my only remaining concern was my clients — would they be happy with my new approach? I figured there was only one way to find out. I sent them all an email stating that I would now be working with a team of writers to help me produce my content.

To my pleasant surprise, not one of them had an issue with it. To me, that’s what you get when you work with high quality clients: they don’t have time to worry about specifics of content production. As far as they are concerned, if the content is still up to scratch, they don’t mind. They have bigger fish to fry. And I was of course determined to make sure that the content was as good as ever.

From that point on it was just a case of transitioning from writing myself to using writers for all of my client work. This transition took place over a period of months. I started by reaching out to LWB subscribers and asking them to join a list specifically for freelance writers. I would then email the list with new job opportunities when I was ready to make a change.

Working With Freelancers

Getting new writers set up and writing to a standard that I was happy with did take time, but it was definitely worth it. I went from spending 2-3 hours per day on freelancing to perhaps 20 minutes. Although I was making less, I had a lot more time to dedicate to my other projects and I didn’t feel like I was on the verge of burning out any more.

I’m not going to pretend that the process wasn’t without its teething problems. I had one writer quit on my literally overnight, with no notice. Sometimes writers miss their deadlines. However, for the most part, I have been delighted with how reliable my team members have been. I’ve found that if you extend people a level of autonomy, they will typically follow through for you.

When it comes to working with freelancers, I have three simple rules:

  1. Treat them with respect at all times
  2. Give them flexible due dates (typically, a writer’s due date is two working days prior to when the client is expecting work)
  3. Always pay them quickly and on time

These three rules seem to have worked well for me so far.

What Next?

These days, I spend a few minutes per day editing pieces and communicating with clients (I act as the client liaison — my writers don’t deal with them). My writers take care of the rest.

If I wanted to, I could hire an editor and make the whole thing a truly passive business, but at this point it’s not worth the hassle. I really don’t mind spending twenty minutes per day editing.

What’s really exciting though is where I can take things from here. I’m currently dabbling in social media strategy reporting and ongoing management with Jo (the LWB Community Manager); it’s something I could get really involved in down the line. Then there’s all the other associated areas in which I could offers services: conversion optimization, SEO, design, and so on.

There’s a lot of potential avenues to explore, but I’m in no rush. In reality, the writing side of my business isn’t my favorite part of what I do for a living (although it is currently the most profitable). While I could spend more time on it and probably make a lot more money, it’s not all about making money for me.

I would say that my biggest potential challenge down the line is in transitioning from a personal brand (i.e. me) to a “proper” business brand (like Clear Blogging Solutions attempted to be). It didn’t work for me first time around, but I feel like I should make another attempt at some point. But I suppose that’s a topic for another day…

Photo Credit: JD Hancock

My Authority Site’s Content Marketing Strategy Revealed

Written by Tom Ewer on February 21, 2013. 25 Comments

The following is part of an ongoing series, The One Hour Authority Site Project. If you’d like to read more about it then click here!

Dice.Back in January I revealed my authority site’s plans for organic search engine optimization. Since then I have commented on related sites, had a few articles published on article marketing sites and have also created a couple of unique web 2.0 properties.

My work to date has had no discernable effect so far. While I don’t necessarily think this is an issue with the strategy — I’ve hardly been doing the process intensively enough to draw solid conclusions — my mind has been drawn to the efficiency of my efforts.

I have come to the conclusion that I could get better results in the same amount of time with an adjusted approach. In this post I am going to reveal the content marketing strategy for my authority site that I will be proceeding with immediately.

The Evolution of My Authority Site

For those of you who are new to the One Hour Authority Site Project, the overall aim is simple: to attract a consistent flow of traffic to an authority site with as little upfront and ongoing effort as possible. In effect I want to create passive traffic streams — quite different to the blogging medium, which requires ongoing input.

My approach to this project has been relaxed to date as I have used it as an experiment of sorts. First I wanted to see if I could rank pages in Google by targeting extremely low competition keywords using a brand new site with no backlinks. The answer was a resounding no. Stage two was to implement a conservative link building strategy based upon article marketing and web 2.0 sites, which is what I have been doing for the past few weeks. As I have already said, this strategy has had no discernable impact to date.

Stage three is “blog conversion.” This stage requires a lot of effort, including a complete redesign of the site and an ongoing commitment through social media and content production. As far as I am concerned, once you start blogging you can’t go back — the moment you cross that threshold, you are making a commitment to stick with the site. As I said in my post on the three stages of my authority site’s development:

…once you have a blog on the go, people will take note if you don’t post for a month. The same issue does not really arise when I’m still in stage 1 or 2.

I really don’t want to move to stage three unless it is absolutely necessary, as the whole idea of the project is to not have to commit too fully.

Finding a Compromise

In the past few days I think I have formulated a compromise in which I can get many of the benefits of committing to a blog format without actually diving in at the deep end. Most importantly, it will not require the establishment of social media profiles or involve a complete redesign.

My strategy is based upon a concentrated burst of activity followed by a period of observation in which I can gauge the results of my effort. Based upon those results I can then decide what to do next. The desired aim, quite simply, is to establish a base of consistent referrals via search engines and relevant websites.

There are seven steps to my strategy which I go through below.

Step 1: Tweak the Site’s Design

My site’s design is functional and intuitive. If you read the post on my site’s search engine optimized setup then you will know that it is a lightly modified version of the default WordPress Twenty Eleven theme. It is clean and simple, albeit not particularly eye-catching. In short — it’ll do for now.

However, I have decided to make one key change by adding a sidebar to the single post page. This means that people will be able to sign up to my email list and select categories from any post page.

I certainly could spend a lot more time working on the design, but in keeping with the theory of using my time efficiently, my logic is to start attracting the traffic first then react if engagement metrics are poor.

Step 2: Add “Bloggy” Content

As you will know if you read my post on my site’s search engine optimized content, my focus is on writing high-quality articles that are not overly optimized for search engines. In short, I want people to read and enjoy them.

However, the site is lacking a personal touch — you don’t really see any of “me” in it. As you will understand when you read through the rest of my strategy, this won’t work to my benefit. My site’s content needs to have a bit of personality — especially when you take into account the rather stark design.

Therefore, over the next few weeks I will be creating more “bloggy” content — stories, case studies and a biography of sorts as well. In doing this people who might consider linking to my site will see a much more “human” presence and theoretically be more inclined to send traffic my way.

Step 3: Build a List of Target Blogs

While creating my “bloggy” content I can start work on a list of blogs that I would like to attract links from. These will be blogs that are either directly or indirectly related to my niche. Each one will need to be active and regularly updated. Size won’t be so much of a concern as a healthy variety of links will certainly do no harm.

I’ll find these blogs in the good old-fashioned way: Google. I’ll start with simple search queries like “[my niche] blogs”, “best [my niche] blogs,” and so on. I’ll also search for related keywords from sites that Google would see as contextually related to my own.

Ideally I’ll have a list of at least ten top quality relevant blogs before I move onto the next step.

Step 4: Comment on the Top 10 Blogs in My List

This is the first step on getting on the radar of the bloggers that I plan to network with in the coming weeks. By leaving comments they’re not only more likely to recognize my name in the future and possibly even check out my site, I’ll get a free backlink to my site. Even if the link is no-follow, it does no harm in terms of diversity.

Each comment I leave will be thoughtful and insightful and I’ll comment with my name — not a keyword-loaded pseudonym.

Step 5: Guest Post on Each Blog

Once I have got my foot in the door, so to speak, my next step will be to submit guest posts to each of the blogs. I’ll do this even on blogs that don’t typically accept guest posts, as I can always re-use the article elsewhere if it isn’t accepted first time around.

I’ll take my usual approach of going straight in with a completed article rather than pitching something, in the hope that they will be more inclined to accept on the basis that I have already done the work.

Each guest post will result in a link back to an authoritative and contextually relevant my site. I’ll be careful to vary the anchor text accordingly and not always link back to my home page.

If you want to know more about guest posting then download my Kindle eBook on the subject.

Step 6: Create and Share an Infographic

Once I have had around ten guest posts published I should have established a decent relationship with a number of bloggers. I will seek to capitalize on this by publishing an infographic on my site and asking my new friends to share it and link to it from their own site. I hope that this will result in a number of fresh links and nice social signals (despite me having no social media presence).

The key will be to create something that is compelling and informative. I will probably spend a bit of money on getting a really nice design (something that I am terrible at).

What I Plan to Achieve

I estimate that the whole strategy will take me in the region of 20 hours over the next 4-6 weeks — a time commitment I can stomach for what is a highly speculative project. My hope is that the links from the guest posts, social sharing and so on will be enough to give my site a big of a kick up the backside in terms of Google rankings. At the moment my rankings are terrible:

Keyword rankings.

To be honest I am amazed that my rankings are so low despite the fact that my site has so few backlinks because the keywords I am targeting are extremely uncompetitive. Here’s an example (screenshot from Market Samurai):

Keyword competition.

I can’t help but think that with a few contextually relevant links to the homepage and other pages on the site that Google will sit up, take note and start moving me up the rankings. Whether or not this happens of course remains to be seen.

I’d love to know what you think about my adjusted approach and would especially like to read comments and criticisms — please let me know what you think in the comments section!

Photo Credit: darkmatter

Organic Search Engine Optimization: How I’m Doing It

Written by Tom Ewer on January 10, 2013. 28 Comments

The following is part of an ongoing series, The One Hour Authority Site Project. If you’d like to read more about it then click here!

The best SEO is organic and costs nothing to do (tweet this)

Padlock and chainSince I started with my authority site back in September 2012, my aim has been for it to be a case study in producing a successful website without having to resort to blatant “black hat” techniques. That aim remains the same as I advance into the SEO stage of my project.

My approach to date has been carefully considered and measured, and I intend for that to also be the case with what is one of the most pivotal strategies in attracting traffic. SEO can be a minefield — I have certainly been burned before — which is why I have decided to take what I consider to be a completely “organic” approach.

For the complete lowdown on everything I plan to do to get my site ranked in Google, read on!

There are affiliate links in this post. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission. It will cost you nothing extra. I only ever endorse products that I have personally used and tested extensively. Thank you!

What is Organic Search Engine Optimization?

The word “organic” has multiple meanings in the English language, but in the context of SEO we are interested in just two of them:

  • Denoting or characterized by a harmonious relationship between the elements of a whole.
  • Characterized by gradual or natural development: the organic growth of community projects.

This is how I define organic search engine optimization:

A gradual development of links that point to a contextually relevant site in a natural manner.

Ultimately, I intend to stick to one key concept — building links that align with what Google wants, rather than how its algorithm currently works. The idea is for effective, future-proofed and risk-free SEO.

The Source of My SEO Inspiration

At various times in the last six months or so I have added SEO ideas to a folder in my Evernote. My list gradually grew without the pressure of “needing” to devise a strategy overnight, and by December I was pretty happy with my collection of ideas.

Point Blank SEOHowever, my eyes were well and truly opened when I got my hands on a copy of Point Blank SEO — an SEO course devised by a chap called Jon Cooper. The course was initially introduced to me by Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits.

I devoured the course within a few hours and was able to develop my ideas list even further. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re looking for an exhaustive guide on search engine optimization, Point Blank SEO is it — I was seriously impressed.

With the brainstorming period over, it was then just a case of putting my ideas in some sort of coherent order and presenting them to you!

My Organic SEO Strategy

Phase one of my strategy (i.e. what I am covering in this post) represents all of the link building ideas I have that can be done to a site that is not yet ready for “mainstream” exposure. By this I mean that I don’t want to represent this site as a fully-formed blog to other bloggers in my niche — it needs some design work and social media accounts to get to that stage.

This is very much a link building (as opposed to “curating”) stage. Whilst I may engage in the likes of email outreach and guest posting in the future, my approach for the time being will be relatively limited.

Another thing to bear in mind is that my SEO strategy costs nothing to implement. I am relying upon no special software or link building automation services. It’s just me and my keyboard.

So let’s take a closer look at each link building method I will be engaging in.

Directory Submissions

This is an easy way to build some low-value links to your site. There are a huge number of directory sites out there and Point Blank SEO seemingly has a list of all of them, sortable by PageRank. Some examples include:

The key is in building relevant links to relatively high-quality sites. I’m not going to submit my site to 100 directories — more like a handful that have particularly appropriate categories for my site.

Blog Commenting

Blog commenting is a popular pastime of black hat SEO spammers, but my method will be far apart from theirs.

I have built up and fed into my RSS reader a long list of blogs that are directly related to my niche. I will check through new posts regularly and comment whenever I feel that I have something valuable to add. The anchor text will be my name rather than the domain’s name, in order to keep it natural.

Some (or many) of the comments will be nofollow, but that doesn’t concern me — a few nofollow posts will add variety to my backlinks portfolio. This method will also serve as a subtle way of introducing myself to my niche’s blogging audience.

Web 2.0 Sites

As with blog commenting, building web 2.0 sites is a mainstay of black hat SEOs. However, I plan to take a totally value added approach to my web 2.0 sites and establish them as worthwhile resources of their own.

I currently have an assortment of ideas for different Web 2.0 sites:

As you can see, each site is unique and offers something of value to people who are interested in my niche.

This is an area in which I intend to do a lot of work, and I will do it all myself to begin with. I might outsource it in the future if I could so whilst maintaining the quality of the content, but that’s not something I’m thinking about currently. I’m not going to make the same mistakes that I did with my mass niche site project.

Forums and Q&A Sites

I intend to take the same “quality responses only” approach to forums and Q&A sites as with blog commenting. I will browse relevant forums and Q&A sites and offer my advice when it seems pertinent to do so. Popular Q&A sites include:

I will try to target forums that allow you to include a website within your profile (and preferably within your signature) and Q&A sites that allow you to list a source (which would of course be my site).

Article Marketing

This is yet another celebrated black hat SEO strategy, but as with the others, I will be taking a far more measured and value-added approach.

I will add unique articles to what I consider the top article directories:

These will be rewritten versions of the best posts on my site.

A Bunch More Random Links

The Point Blank SEO course includes a huge list of assorted link opportunities, so I’ll no doubt be tapping that for relatively high-quality links that I can point towards my site.

Principles to Abide By

There are a few things that I will bear in mind as I build these links:

Finally, I must remember that patience is a virtue when it comes to SEO — this is a long play and it may take time for results to develop. As such, I am committing to this course of action for no less than two months. If I think of additional interesting link building ideas in that time I will of course consider integrating them into the strategy, but I won’t formally take stock of the results until two months have passed.

That’s It!

Above is the sum total of my phase 1 plan for search engine optimization. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear certain internet marketers scoff at it, but given that the articles I have written on my site target extremely low-quality keywords, I am confident that I will see positive results.

It remains to be seen whether or not this approach to link building will be sufficient for my ambitions. I suspect that it won’t be, but only time will tell. One step at a time. One thing is of course for sure — if I am successful in my efforts, I will be sure to give you a comprehensive guide as to what exactly I did.

Now I’d like to pass the discussion over to you — I’d love to know what you think of my ideas. Please fire away in the comments section!

Creative Commons image courtesy of Darwin Bell

My Kindle Failure and Future Plans for Success

Written by Tom Ewer on January 3, 2013. 78 Comments

KindleYou know I love talking about failure here on Leaving Work Behind. No constant success stories with all of the reality removed — you get all of the gritty details here. With that in mind, today I want to talk about the failure to date that has been my Kindle publishing efforts.

You may have spotted the blog post I published just over two weeks ago in which I announced the release of Successful Freelance Writing Online on Amazon. It is an abridged version of the information product that I sell here on the blog.

I’ll be honest — I was never totally comfortable with my publishing plans, and that has perhaps contributed in no small part to the failing of my first Amazon book. Read on to learn the full story along with what I plan to do next.

My Original Plan

Ever since I first thought about publishing a guide to freelance writing I was unsure as to which platform to go with — my blog (i.e. an information product) or Amazon (i.e. Kindle). In the end, I decided that I would try to get the best of both worlds.

I started off by launching the guide as an information product here on the blog complete with a bunch of extras (like an exclusive interview with Sophie Lizard, a booklet of 45 blogs that will pay you to write for them, and checklists for building your blog and writing blog posts). It sold (and currently sells) for $47.

Around six weeks later, after the dust had cleared, I published a Kindle version of the guide on Amazon:

"Successful Freelance Writing Online" on Amazon

The book was largely intact but all of the extras were missing, and it retailed for around $10. I was never fully comfortable with the considerable gap in price — the fact is that I value the guide far more than its Amazon price tag. Unfortunately, to price it any higher was completely impractical due to two factors:

  1. The average price of Kindle books on Amazon
  2. Amazon’s commission structure for books priced above $10

At the time I was concerned that the compromise I made in terms of pricing would lead to my failure, but I forged ahead anyway.

The Outcome

There’s one simple way to demonstrate how my guide has fared on Amazon to date:

Kindle Book Sales

Just six sales (including one refund) in a couple of weeks and a total of $34.20 in royalties. It doesn’t quite compare with the $2,500+ I made in the first 14 days of my information product’s release.

Not only that but there haven’t been any new purchases in the last few days — nor do I really expect there to be any more. Why? Because of this review:

Kindle Book Review

I don’t even know where to start with how misleading this review is. You can go check out the free sample on Amazon yourself and make your own judgement. The most important thing to note is that there is absolutely no bait-and-switch — I don’t even mention the information product in the Kindle book! It is a standalone product, available at a drastically reduced price when compared to the information product.

What really bugged me about the review is that Alexandra Romanov (who must be a LWB reader based upon what she said) clearly hadn’t even purchased the book. How can you review something you haven’t read? Fair enough if she had purchased it, thought it was crap, got a refund and left a negative review, but that’s clearly not what happened. Alexandra — if you’re reading, I’d love for you to get in touch with me and explain your position.

The reason why this review is so popular is because I made the huge mistake of posting a reply to it, which resulted in a veritable shitstorm of negative responses. Who’s going to buy a book with just three reviews, of which the most popular is scathing?

Lessons Learned

If you’re a regular LWB reader you’ll know that I often extoll the virtues of learning from your failures and this episode is certainly no exception. I’ve learned a great deal from this eBook’s failure and hope that I can utilize my newfound experience very soon. But before we get onto that, let’s explore the key lessons I learned.

1. Launch Hard

The launch of my Kindle book was rather half-hearted. Sure — I published a blog post and sent a note to my list, but there was no real pre-launch — the book just appeared one day. I didn’t follow up the launch with social media coverage and didn’t ask any of the people in my network to help me out.

With such a laissez-faire attitude, how could I expect for the book to perform well? In reality, I needed to hustle to give this book the best chance of success, but instead I did almost nothing. I relied far too much on the assumption that Amazon would somehow do all the hard work for me.

2. Ignore Negative Reviews

I never should have responded to that negative review. Doing so prompted a bunch of other people to respond and “Like” accordingly, which pushed it to the top of the review pile.

It would seem that a proportion of Amazon’s users are only too happy to voice their opinion in a manner that one might not consider user-friendly. Although I have come across a fair number of “trolls” in my time, I have gone largely without them throughout my blogging career to date. I’ve had plenty of disagreements, but they’ve largely been conducted in a respectful and constructive manner. Being painted as a calculating bait-and-switch marketer in such a public manner came as quite a shock, and as such I felt compelled to respond. I should have just let it go.

3. Amazon Is Extremely Price Sensitive

I have read time and time again (particularly in Cathy Presland’s excellent course on Kindle publishing) that Kindle books tend to sell well in the $2-$5 range (or thereabouts). The huge price sensitivity of Kindle customers (when compared to information product purchasers) is now something that I have now learned first hand with comments such as these:

Kindle Book Comments

Before publishing the eBook I acknowledged the price issue but felt that I couldn’t compromise the value of my book by selling it for less than $10. It just didn’t sit well with me when compared to the $47 price point for the full guide here on the blog. And that leads me onto the final (and most important lesson) that I learned…

4. Never Compromise

Ultimately, I recognise that it was folly for me to ever publish the book in this form because I felt it compromised my value proposition.

I have worked very hard to build a really fantastic bunch of supporters here at LWB and I know that many of you have purchased my guide and found it highly useful — the fact that after 135 purchases I have not received a single negative review or had to give a single refund (apart from one person who loved the book but still wanted a refund) should be enough proof to me that I have something of value.

I should have recognised that fact and stuck to my pricing guns. I will now.

So What Next?

I’m not done with Amazon — not by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I have come up with a solution that I think will result in eBooks that sell and a better information product for people who want the full package. It’s not a compromise, and mostly important, it feels right to me.

I am going to be taking down Successful Freelance Writing Online from Amazon soon and will be replacing it with a series of nine mini eBooks which will make up the Successful Freelance Writing Online series (please note that these are draft titles):

Each book will be approximately 5,000-10,000 words and will sell for around $2-$3. When combined (for a total price of $18-$27) they will be close to the upcoming lowest price point of my information product (soon to be announced — stay tuned!).

I plan to release a book every two weeks, with the first to be published in just two weeks, on 17th January. Each one will be available, completely free of charge (for a limited time), to LWB email subscribers and those who sign up to my Kindle eBook notification list. Just enter your email address below and hit “Subscribe” to ensure that you get your hands on free copies of all the upcoming books!

Please note that I have no plans to publicise the launch of books here on the blog, so if you want your chance to get these books free of charge you need to subscribe above.

If you are an existing LWB subscriber you may also want to subscribe to the above list as I will likely keep those subscribers more up to date with my Kindle goings-on when compared to my main list. Finally, if you can think of anyone who might be interested in getting my books for free, please take a moment to send a tweet out to your followers.

All I will ask from you in return for the free book(s) is to leave an honest review on Amazon. In this way I can offer you valuable content at no cost and you can reciprocate by helping me boost the books’ exposure on Amazon.

My sincere thanks go out to Cathy Presland and Steve Scott for helping me to get to this point — their advice has been absolutely invaluable.

Onwards and Upwards

I am really excited about the new direction I am taking with Kindle publishing — I think it works every which way you look at it:

However, the proof will be in the pudding. It’s time to get my head down and execute on my plan, and as always, you’ll get to read all about the results!

Your thoughts and feedback would be highly appreciated — please let me know what you think in the comments section below!