Create your own Thesaurus

I’ll admit that when I think of copywriting, my original thoughts often wander to “copyright” which is a lot of legalese. Copywriting on the other hand is the act of writing copy or text for the purpose of marketing or advertising. You can do this for a product, business, person, opinion, or an idea. I explain it to those who question the profession like this: the words you read when you visit a website? The “About Us” the “Company History” the “Services” pages – those are all forms of copy to be written for clients. *Light bulb*

Now you may be saying to yourself, “plenty of people can write.” That’s quite true. But have you ever scoured the Internet and noticed just how poorly written some webpages are? Where there is a problem, one must create a solution. Mine?

Curly Q Media (check it out – become a client).

As a writer, especially when you’re writing for multiple businesses, you must be flexible with your words.

Flexibility in our words is often one area largely impacted by writer’s block.

So tell me: what words are tripping you up regularly? Share it in the comments below.

For me, it’s the word “said”. It’s so easy to use, especially when you’re quoting someone. But it’s boring, especially when you use it five times in a 500-word article. Trust me. The thesaurus, by the way, offers little assistance to this particular plight.

How do I push through overuse of words? Easy: I create my own thesaurus. Whenever I come a across a word that I feel I use too often, I open my notebook and I write it down. Then, I spend about 5-10 minutes brainstorming other ways to express the same thing. For instance:

Said (this is straight from my notebook, folks)

Spoke

Mumbled

Retorted

Shared

Breathed

Exhaled

Gasped

Lied

Cried

Muttered

Yawned

Laughed

Your turn. What is a word that you would really love to start using less?

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The New Way To Publish (That No One Told You About)!

Self-publishing versus a traditional publishing house: what hasn’t been written about these rivals? Exactly. Even I spouted an opinion on why I choose the indie route. At least, for now.

Which is why rather than yakking on about traditional publishing versus self-publishing, the pros the cons and the blah, blah, blah, I’m going to tell you about a third way that receives very little coverage.

Now before you get too excited, pay attention. This third option isn’t the “magic bullet” everyone keeps searching for. If I had that, I wouldn’t be waking up to write and work and research well before my work inbox begins to ping. I’d be sitting pretty on a beach and the words “work inbox” wouldn’t be a part of my daily vocabulary. Despite this, it will be a relief to know that you’re no longer forced to choose between endless rejection letters and doing everything yourself.

What is the name of this glorious third option, you ask? I’ve simply dubbed it the “in between.” It’s that common ground between a traditional publishing house and your own blood, sweat and screams of frustration. You see, there are companies that make it their job to cater a variety of publishing services that fit your exact needs to you – the author.

As an example, you may love the cover work you designed yourself, but you could use some help with converting your files into ePub formatting. Perhaps you’re brilliant at rewriting sentences, but you could use a savvy bookkeeper. Starting to make sense? As with any service, different companies will offer you, the author, different resources. It really comes down to how much you want to spend and which company really fits your personality.

Are you hooked? Start shopping around. There’s a lot more info out there for you to consume. I’ll get you started with a few “in between” companies below.

Author Solutions is a Penguin Random House Company. If that’s not enough to make your heart flutter, know that their imprints include some huge names such as Balboa Press. While many reviewers claim that the company is incredibly aggressive toward authors, it shouldn’t deter you from considering them as an option. For just under $800 (which indie authors can spend on a great editor alone) you become published, get cover customization and you receive some basic marketing. Perks increase the more you’re able to spend.

Lucky Bat Books claims that they are leading the charge in a revolution to give writers what they need without taking royalties. Unique in that they offer services based on your needs, Lucky Bat Books approaches authors with a more a la carte approach. Menu items include editorial services, cover art, eBook conversion, legal and accounting help and more. Plus, authors keep 100% of proceeds if publishing on the Lucky Bat Books imprint. Finally, I just really like their name.

She Writes Press is an indie publishing company founded to serve members of She Writes. Unique in that they offer only a single package, She Writes appears to be focused on encouraging authors to take their hand and hold it every step of the way, which is hugely refreshing when you’re an entrepreneur. I mean, I forget what it is like to have someone on my side now and again, you know? If that package isn’t what you’re looking for or if you don’t have the funds to purchase it, She Writes offers additional individualized services outside the package such as editorial solutions, DIY marketing plans and experts for hire (web designers, cover designers and such).

And so fellow writers, don’t believe those who tell you that there are no more than two options available when you have a finished manuscript. These “in between” companies (and many others) are great ways to write exactly what you want to write without the hoopla (whatever that may mean for you) that comes with self-publishing and/or the perfectly pitched submission. As with most things in life, you simply have to look for opportunities where you’d like them to appear.

 

SEO Assignments

There are very few writing assignments that make me shudder. Since the age of five, I’ve written short stories, newspaper columns, magazine articles, ad copy, photo captions and more. Despite this, I’m constantly a student. Frankly, you could master every rule in the English language but be a terrible writer. In my opinion, it isn’t how well you understand a language – it’s about continuously challenging yourself to use it differently.

Has a writing assignment ever arisen that felt – impossible? For me, writing 10,000 words is not nearly as difficult as writing a 500-word SEO article. I wish I were joking.

In my personal experience, SEO articles consist of writing 500-word explanations of items I don’t use or understand. Parakeet Cage Gyms and 3.7V 3800mAh 18650 Rechargeable Batteries are just two of the examples I have in my cache. Did I mention you have to use the exact search phrase (in the above example, Parakeet Cage Gyms or 3.7V 3800mAh 18650 Rechargeable Batteries) at least four times in a 500-word article in its exact order? For instance, you can’t describe Parakeet Cage Gyms as “Gyms for Parakeet Cage” or “Parakeet Gym” and have that count toward one of your four uses.

In a nutshell, the 500-word article is a long (sometimes disjointed) description of the item. Properly researching your keyword or phrase before you begin is incredibly important – you can’t fake your way through these. And leaving them awkward and disjointed won’t win you any favors with your client, so that’s not really an option when you get frustrated with how little information there is on these items. Interestingly enough, the Internet CAN lack insights. I was surprised, too.

Writing an SEO article, for me at least, is no picnic. Nonetheless, good SEO makes a HUGE difference (as you may be aware) when a company is looking to expand its audience. SEO helps raise your website or item in search results. Everyone wants that number 1 spot. According to the research, Rank #1 gets 36.4% of clicks while the #2 rank gets just 12.5% and the numbers get more dismal from there. There are plenty of job opportunities for individuals with strong SEO article portfolios because everyone wants their descriptions to take that #1 slot. Plus, taking on difficult assignments, I believe, help make me a better writer.

Want to practice? I’ve included a few SEO phrases below. Write 500 words on one or on all and feel free to post them below.

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