Saturday, July 30, 2011

Writing for Free

I am delighted to host author Karen Cioffi on my blog today. This is the final day of her virtual tour, and it has been an exciting one. Karen is going to talk about Writing for Free. She also has some nice giveaways. A warm welcome to you, Karen.

Karen Cioffi is an author and ghostwriter. Her new MG/YA fantasy book, Walking Through Walls, is based on an ancient Chinese tale.

Writing for Free – A Means to an End: Visibility
By Karen Cioffi
I have come to the conclusion that the most time consuming aspect of writing is keeping up with all the useful information that is made available through everywhere from business sites to personal blogs. It seems everyone is offering free information. I have already spent entire days just surfing through sites and reaming ideas, strategies, tips, and so on. It really is endless.

In the writing world everyone tries to and actually needs to keep their work and names visible. Whether you’re selling books, or services, or another product, you need to reach the potential customers. Providing information is a primary means of accomplishing this. The information you provide creates an informational funnel leading readers back to your site/s.

One tool to use to create an information funnel is the blog. New blogs are popping up everyday with free tips and advice. The blog has become a great vehicle to bring you to the reader. It is an excellent way to show readers what you have to offer. The information you provide will hopefully not only draw readers, but keep them coming back for more. Using my own blog as an example, I found that if I don’t offer beneficial information, I lose followers.

Another vehicle to bring you to the reader is the free online magazines. This is where you can write and have your articles published. While you don’t get paid, you do get published. Although it doesn’t have the credibility of paying markets, it is a great way to hone your craft, expand your visibility, and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.

One more source of visibility is writing guest blogs or articles for other blogs or sites. Often the writers are looking for new and fresh content for their sites or newsletters. If the offer arises take advantage of it, or ask bloggers if they would be interested in a guest blog from you.

Every marketing teleseminar and workshop I have been to encourages writers to offer information through blogs or free online magazines. According to marketing experts the name of the game is visibility. Free information draws readers. I can confirm that this is true because I make it a point to attend all the free teleseminars and teleclasses possible. The businesses that offer this free information want to draw you there so they can sell you their services. This is understandable. It is a win-win situation; they acquire some new customers and you, whether you take advantage of their services or not, receive valuable information.

But, to what extent should a writer offer their services for free?

While taking this path of visibility it’s important to remember that submitting to free ezines or guest blogging is not just a lack of financial gain, it’s the time loss incurred while preparing these articles – this is called opportunity costs, the cost of choosing one path over another.

The best strategy is to start out offering free tips and articles until you can provide your own expert information and advice. It’s important to remember that this free information will draw readers and show them that your posts and articles are helpful and needed. Once you feel comfortable enough that the information you are providing is of substantial value you can offer it in the form of ebooks, newsletters, teleseminars, workshops, and/or other means for a fee.

You should be aware that even when you reach this point, it’s still a good idea to publish articles in the free ezines for continued visibility and as a means of drawing new readers/customers to your sites and services. And, don’t forget that while you’re providing free information you can also be submitting articles to paying markets.

About the Book:

Longing to be rich and powerful, twelve-year-old Wang studies the legend of the mystical Eternals. Certain they are real, he journeys to their temple and begins an apprenticeship with the Eternal Master. There he enters a world of magic where not everything is as it seems, and where he learns the magic formula to ‘walking through walls.’

Walking Through Walls should now be available through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and book stores. If it’s not yet listed, it will be very soon!

You can also order the book today at:

To learn more about Walking Through Walls, its touring schedule and contest, and purchasing information visit:

To learn more about Karen and her books, visit:


This wraps up the Walking Through Walls July Tour; thank you all for being a part of it.Karen will randomly pick nine winners (from those who commented during the tour) and send them their prizes through the mail or online. The names of the winners will be posted at:


  1. Beverly, Thank you so much for being a part of my book tour, and the LAST STOP! And, thank you for following along on the tour - it's appreciated!


  2. Great article Karen. I do a fair amount of writing and interviewing authors. It has paid off, as my google ranking is a 4 for Blogcritics and a 5 for Bizymoms. I love your book, look for a review soon.
    Nicole Weaver
    Trilingual Children's Author

  3. Great article, Karen. Writing for free is good publicity. Why do we write anyway if not to share out point of view whether it's for free of pay!

    Good luck with your book.

  4. It's been a great tour, Karen. Wishing you the best of luck with your lovely book. The cover is so intriguing.

  5. Nicole, it does help to get our names out there.

    Nancy, you're right. Publicity is good. The free stuff can lead to something great.

    Beth, thanks.

  6. Nicole, Wow, great stats. I belong to Bizymoms, have to post there more though. Will look into Blogcritics. Thanks for stopping by!

    Nancy, Thanks! And, it is great for establishing and maintaining visibility. There is that opportunity cost to consider though.

    Beth, I'm so glad you found the article interesting. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Great post, Karen! I never thought about it this way, but blogging is like writing for free. I completely agree that even if you aren't being paid, getting your name out there on blogs and free ezines is a good thing. Best of luck with you book!

  8. Karen, you do make some interesting points. I think it is good to some free writing here and there. I also read Zoe Winters blog (and others) who think that even the 99-cent eBook puts writers in an author ghetto. My take on this is that it is wise to offer some excerpts/chapters/essays/articles for free, at least during a window while you add readership.
    By the way, I love the cover on your book! And its premise is cool.

  9. I do quite a bit of "free" writing with my blog, the 4RV Newsletter, a newsletter for Writing.Com.

    Oh, you should have received your books by now. Did you?


  10. Kelly, thanks for stopping by. A little freebies to make the readers want more.

    Catherine, I guess it's just up to the individual authors.

    Vivian, thanks for stopping by.

  11. Great article, Karen. It's important to remain visible or you have to work to gain a following all over again when your next book comes out.

    I try to guest blog at least once a month, in addition to the blogs that I maintain.

    I've enjoyed following your tour. Wishing you great success.


  12. KHashway, Yes, offering free content does have its benefits. Thanks for stopping by!

    Catherine, While doing some article marketing and maybe a couple of free ebooks as an ethical bribe for your subscribers list, I'm not sure of the value of 99 cent products.

    In a recent seminar, the Kindle marketer said his research showed that cheap doesn't always make a product sell.

    I'm actually testing this theory out - it'll probably take a few months, but I'll be posting about it.

    And, thanks so much!

  13. Vivian,

    I just got them this afternoon! Exciting!!!

  14. You're absolutely right, Cheryl. People forget quickly. :)

    Isn't it great to hold your books in your hands, Karen? Congrats.

  15. Thanks for an interesting post, Karen, and for hosting, Bev. It's always a balancing act - trying to decide how much writing to do free and yet keep the bills paid. ";o)

    Congrats on a successful blog tour, Karen! All the best with Walking Through Walls.

  16. Cherly, Maintaining visibility can be so time consuming, but so important. Thanks so much for following along.

    Beth, It really is a balancing act, but paying gigs always come first! :)
    Thanks so much for following the tour.

  17. Thanks for stopping by, Beth.

    And thanks for being my guest, Karen. Enjoyed your post.

  18. Oh wow, Beth! How can I be so lucky. Going to your site now. Thanks you, thank you. I'm grinning. :)

  19. This was a very interesting guest post. Lots of great tips. Thanks for sharing this information.

    Karen, I hope the tour was a great success!

  20. Hi, Susanne, I'm so glad you found it interesting! Thanks for stopping by!