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Archive for September, 2010

Writing for the web seems to be relatively easy; you not just get published but get paid too. With that said, can anybody become a writer? The answer to this question could be a yes and a no, which essentially means, anybody can write and get published, but there is no guarantee that their written works will be read.

Readership is what determines a writer’s popularity. While it is good to get support from friends and family, the best appreciation for a writer comes when a stranger appreciates your work and wants to know more about you or wants to read more of your written works.

In that case what are the 10 essentials of web writing?

Here is a list of some important requirements for writing engaging content on the web.

Use a conversational tone-this means directly address the reader. You may be one of those who uses personal experiences to drive home a point or one of those who just state facts. In either case please ensure that whatever you are stating has relevance for the reader. Some people have a great way of using personal experiences to convey a message and they make it humorous too.

For instance, I get newsletters from Sue La Pointe, a writer who writes in a very informal tone– but–does she manage to drive home the point? She does. In fact, she does it so well, I find her blogs posts not just interesting but she manages to motivate me enough to believe that I can write well too.

Active Voice– Stephen King and several others recommend the use of active voice, the reason for this is simple it is direct and keeps the reader engaged. While the third person narrative or the impersonal or objective tone is fine, it should not be didactic or tend to sermonize.

Use Examples– Using examples or illustrations to convey your thought has always been preferred, especially in non-fiction writing. You can use illustrations from your personal experiences or just pick any object or example to explain your point. Use of illustrations to explain a concept has always been a standard method of teaching. Consider your readers as your audience who want to gather some information from the article.

Provide Information– Do not consider the web to be your literature class where you display your verbal flourishes, rather pack your written work with information. Remember the internet is often primarily used as a place to search for information. So, make sure your article has accurate, up-to-date and in-depth information. Do not do a perfunctory job when it comes to providing information. The more information your articles provides the more likely is your reader will come back. The standard rules of writing apply to the web too. Give correct information and the reader will buy your book.

Use Short Paragraphs– Writing for the web should be concise. It is essential to make your writing succinct. The reader skims the article for information so unless the article is pithy, the reader is unlikely to stick around. Short sentences and short paragraphs are the essentials of web writing.

Know your subject– Irrespective of whether you are a subject matter expert on a particular topic or not, make sure when you write about something you know the subject in-depth. Don’t limit your knowledge of a subject to a 500 word article. This will not just help you in building trust with your reader, but is good for your credibility as a writer.

Confident Tone– Write confidently and this comes when you know your subject well. So make sure you have your grammar in place and you know what you are writing about. Make sure every article, blog post, or e-book you write is well researched, even if you are just compiling information, make sure that your source is good so that you can be confident that you are providing value to your reader.

Avoid Using Jargon– Do not assume that your reader has also done the same kind of research work as you. In fact remember that you are a facilitator of information for the reader, so make sure that the he finds your copy easy to understand.

Interactive content– Web writing is a lot about being interactive. Make sure you leave things open for the reader to comment on. The reader should have questions or should be able to add some information to the article. So make sure that your content is presented well and engages the reader.

 Focus on the content– It is not necessary to make your article an encyclopedia but make sure you provide all the information in a simple, easy to understand manner. Make your article come alive by exuding your energy and enthusiasm into it.

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Everybody has a story to tell, but, they may not have the time or energy to write their book, or they may not know how to tell their story in an interesting manner. People who want their story written can use the services of ghostwriters. Ghostwriting is of several types–it could involve telling somebody else’s story, where the book is credited to somebody else. Another kind of ghostwriting could involve writing books or articles on any subject and then giving over the credit to somebody else for a small sum of money.

Ghostwriters are generally well established writers who write books for a hefty sum of money while the credit for writing goes to somebody else. In short they sell their writing services for a certain amount of money.

Skills required from a ghostwriter

A ghost writer should be a competent writer. He should have good interviewing skills that involve asking relevant questions to get enough matter from the client to write an engaging story.

The writer should make sure that his personality as a writer does not come forth when he is ghostwriting. He should keenly observe the client’s thought pattern. He should be able to see the client’s vision and translate that into the book. He should function as the client’s voice.

A ghostwriter should maintain complete confidentiality. He should not threaten to sell the client’s story in case there is a fall out between the two. Ghostwriting also involves being a good listener. Irrespective of how preposterous you may find the client’s story, you have to do a good job of telling it.

Ghostwriting involves constant interaction between the client and the ghostwriter, so it is imperative that the ghostwriter possesses excellent communication skills.

A ghostwriter should be good at collecting data and then organizing and processing it to create a meaningful and interesting book.

Steps involved in ghostwriting a book

As a ghostwriter when you have collected all the relevant material for the book, you have to create an outline and a rough draft. Once you have prepared a first draft send it to the client for approval. After the client approves the draft, start writing the final book. Do not edit while writing the book. Once you have finished a chapter or so, start editing.

As a ghostwriter your job is to collect as much relevant data as possible. Try and learn about all the aspects of the client’s life.

If the book you are writing is not a work of fiction, rather it is an ebook on online marketing or has some other technical aspect, you will have to collect all the relevant data and then write your book. A non-fiction book may take less time to churn out than a work of fiction.

Fields where ghost writers work

Actually ghostwriters work in all fields. There are medical ghostwriters, ebook ghostwriters, screenplay ghostwriters and of course auto-biographical ghostwriters.

In fact ghostwriters though not well known are often responsible for all the books that are ascribed to movie stars, politicians and industrialists.

Ghostwriting screenplay is not just a full time job but can fetch you a lot of money too. It will also ensure a full time career for you. The entertainment industry is always looking for fresh talent so even if you begin by ghostwriting, you can end up writing for yourself.

Ghostwriting can enter any field of work. You can ghost write books on finance, spiritual guides, and marketing manuals. In fact sky is the limit for a talented ghostwriter.

One field in which ghostwriters have traditionally worked is writing memoirs and personal stories. This is also a field which requires a lot of money to work.

Becoming a certified ghost writer can be of immense help. Try attending the tele-class run by Claudia Suzanne, to fine tune your craft. Even if you are a great writer, the course will teach you the essential mechanics of the ghostwriting process. Here’s the link to her site:

http://claudiasuzanne.com/tag/professional-writer/

Payment terms and agreement:

Make sure you have a written agreement before you begin writing. Payment should be 50% advance and the rest once the book is finished. Client satisfaction is of utmost importance, so consult the client at every step and if the client is not satisfied by the final outcome make sure you make the necessary changes. A negative feedback can seriously damage your career as a ghostwriter.

Make the right moves and this could be one of the most satisfying careers, where you have the respect of your clients and money too.

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Effective writing is the key to ensuring a good readership base–this is true of anything that you may be promoting– your website, your products, or just yourself as a writer. Unless you offer some meat to the reader, they won’t come back. This would bring us to our next point–should one then write only about saleable topics? Or should one write in such a manner that we make our topics saleable? I’d suggest the latter. True winners always chose the unbeaten path and slow and steady wins the race.

While we are discussing the unbeaten path or topics that already do not have endless promoters we also should consider how we promote our topics. Remember, when it comes to researching on the internet– people search everything, people basically come to the internet as a one-stop-shop for information. So, as long as you are providing good solid information on any topic be sure that your article will be searched.

Not every one comes to the internet looking for 10 tips on how to make easy money. Many come to look for genuine information and the topics they look for could be as varied as looking for a recipe or information on computer hardware to written works of Shakespeare or even a research thesis on biochemistry.

If you provide knowledge that makes for interesting reading, you should not be worried about driving traffic to your website. An important point to consider when you settle for topics that figure in the list of top-searched topics in Google search engine rankings is– you are inviting plenty of competition. Remember, all the online marketing gurus are promoting just these topics– these markets are already saturated and basically everybody is providing the same information with just a few changes.

This brings us to our next point– what then is effective writing? It’s not always about what your natural inclinations or tastes are– it is often about how well you know your craft? So, whatever topic you choose to write about, make sure you know how to present your information. Here are a few points to bear in mind when writing for any topic—

 1. Think about your target audience and address them: always write keeping your audience in mind. If you are writing for the layman– then keep things simple, but, if you are writing for somebody who, already knows the topic then write accordingly, you have to cater to your niche audience.

2. Make sure your article has a clear purpose: you should not keep rambling on and on about a certain topic. Write with a clear purpose in mind and that should be to impart information or educate about your product–so, there should be maximum information offered about your subject matter in the article.

3. The article should have a logical outline: somewhere in school we had learnt that every piece of writing should have a beginning, middle and an end– this still holds true. Write your article by introducing your topic and addressing your audience– somewhat like a stage performance, where you briefly state what you are there for and then you start your act. Give more information and gradually direct the reader to a logical conclusion. Your article should read like a well made film, where the reader is clamoring for more.

4.Try to gauge the reader’s mind: after you have written your article think what kind of questions your readers might have once they have read your article and try and answer them. Read through and analyze every sentence that you have written and make sure every word adds value to your content.

5. Avoid repeating information: a common mistake that people make while writing on any topic is– they get carried away and start repeating the same thing albeit in different words. They keep making the same point by using either different examples, or they keep playing with words. The disadvantage of this is that it will either drive the intelligent reader away or they would rate you as a writer who has little information to impart. One also has to understand that people who read content are generally impatient– if, they don’t get what they want, they quickly move on. Always remember that short is sweet.

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