#AuthorInterview: Diana Marinova

Jeri Walker
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Jeri Walker
Jeri Walker
Jeri Walker
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The work ethic of today’s featured author is beyond compare. Diana Marinova is a freelance marketing consultant by day, and a traveler by heart. In her free time, when she’s not exploring the world, she blogs and writes books with one purpose only–to help people find their way in the freelance world. Born and raised in Eastern Europe, she knows all too well the value of personal freedom and how hard life is without it. Therefore, all her writing is aimed at helping people all over the world to break free from the rat race and live their dream life as freelancers.

 

1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.

Diana’s Freelance Tip–How to Succeed on Upwork (oDesk) and Elance is not the typical how-to book. It does not portray being a freelancer as the dream job to make quick cash easily. It provides actionable information and a step-by-step guide how to lay a solid foundation for a successful freelance business on the mentioned sites. Furthermore, it discusses some hard truths which every starting freelancer should know as early as possible so that they prepare for the journey ahead–e.g. personal qualities needed to succeed as a freelancer, time management tips, the importance of work principles, and more. Also, it contains “homework exercises” in the end of each chapter to help the reader master a specific skill or put the tips into practice.

 

The book is entirely based on my experience as a freelance marketing consultant. It is a direct result of the many questions I receive on a daily basis from blog readers and wanna-be freelancers.

 

Cover image of Diana's Freelance Tips

 

2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.

When I was starting my freelance journey, the available information about becoming a freelancer was scarce. I made a lot of initial errors and eventually found my way as a freelancer. I come from a small Eastern European country where employment was hard to find at that time and being a freelancer was a foreign concept altogether.

 

So I thought I’d share my experience trough a blog, hoping I’d help people who were interested in alternative methods of employment (a.k.a. freelancing with clients abroad).

 

Not long after, I launched a similar blog in English–to help like-minded people on a worldwide level. And before I knew, I was receiving many emails asking me the same questions about becoming a freelancer – where to start, how to set up their profiles on freelance websites or LinkedIn, how to write proposals and cover letters, what to do to get invited to interviews, and so on.

 

Long story short, I wrote my first book so that I save myself some time I would otherwise spend replying to readers’ emails 😉

 

I never thought I’d be a writer but I can say my writing is mostly inspired by fellow freelancers who need help finding a way to live a better life.

 

3. Writing aside, what passions drive your life?

I love traveling. My TripAdvisor travel map says I have visited 242 cities in 23 countries covering 18% of the world.

 

I am happy my freelance lifestyle enables me to travel as much as I want and more importantly, to live in different countries for as long as I want. This way, I don’t rush for a week through all major sites a city or a country has to offer. Instead, I blend in with locals and get to know the culture.

 

Traveling and experiencing new cultures pretty much defines me as a person these days. That is yet another reason I blog and write books – to help more people succeed as freelancers and travel the world, if this is what they want.

 

Picture of author Diana Marinova

 

4. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?

Oh, snap–I am a bit embarrassed to say I am not an avid novel reader.  I read mostly marketing related books and blogs. When I do read a novel, I forget what it’s all about within a week so my favorite novel changes pretty often. Right now, I am very keen on Stealing Time by KJ Waters, a book I found through Jeri’s blog, and I am eager to read the next two parts of the trilogy, as soon as they come out.

 

Now that I think about it, maybe I have not yet read my favorite novel.

 

5. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?

I blog at Diana’s Freelance Marketing Blog. It’s not a marketing blog per se. It is aimed at helping freelancers to build their business and market their services successfully. It’s not specific to a certain profession but focuses on what you need to have or do in order to succeed as a freelancer.

 

For example, you won’t find tips how to write the perfect pitch letter for a magazine, or how to record the changes you make in your website code, or how to present your design to your clients for maximum effect, etc. Instead, you will find advice and information on how to pick your clients and build strong relationships with them, how to form your prices, how to present yourself so that you stand apart from the crowd, how to have clients find you instead of prospecting on a daily basis, and other useful aspects of the life of a freelancer.

 

Picture of author Diana Marinova

 

6. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?

I get my writing done in one of two ways.

 

Sometimes, I just sit down and start writing. I used to self-edit a lot but I had an ah-ha moment after reading a post on the topic at some point and since then, I no longer self-edit while writing. Ever.

 

Other times, I map out the blog post by writing the general idea and drafting the key points as headlines. Then, I fill in the blanks between the headlines by writing whole paragraphs. Each paragraph should convey the key point relating to the specific headline. If the paragraph is too long, I break it up in smaller paragraphs for easier comprehension by the reader.

 

In both cases, I revisit the draft at least once more, on the next day or at a later date. I found out that editing on a different day helps a lot to simplify the message and make the post more concise.

 

It’s worth mentioning that topics and ideas recording is an integral part of my writing process. I have a special file on all my devices, where I write down ideas as they come. Sometimes I write down a title of a post with a few words to remind myself where this idea came from. Other times I write down a whole paragraph stating in details what the purpose of the post is and why I thought about it in the first place. Whichever the case, I always write it down–this is the only way I can make sure I will return to the idea and develop it into a post when the right time comes.

 

I had never used professional editing services before starting to work on my first book. I was lucky enough to know Jeri through her blog earlier and she opened my eyes how much more than just proofreading can a professional editor do for a manuscript.

 

Although my book is non-fiction and there is no storyline or character development, her critique helped me immensely to clean some repetition (to which I am inclined, apparently), to improve its structure and make my key message stronger. I believe it’s thanks to her that my book today is not only useful as it was planned to be (it’s a how-to book after all) but readers also vote it as inspirational.

 

 

7. Are you traditionally published or self-published?

I am self-published–I didn’t even think about going the traditional way. I suppose a main reason is how easy it is to publish a book these days, technically speaking.

I am in marketing, I love reading about marketing, and I don’t think that the readers of my book would go and pick a paper copy in an offline bookstore so… there was no doubt in my mind I should self-publish and use Amazon as a main sales channel for the book.

 

Picture of author Diana Marinova

 

8. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?

I’ve been following Tim Grahl’s blog about book marketing and I find his advice and tips very useful. His work style and approach is very close to my mindset and attitude toward writing so if you are passionate about marketing your book on your own, I think his blog is the first place to look. Here’s a link to his definitive book marketing checklist to get you started.

And a tip which I find invaluable is “always focus on helping the reader”. It describes exactly my journey–I became a blogger and a writer to help others find freelance success on their own terms. If you want to find your “why”, I urge you to read this blog post by Tim Grahl–there is a section for fiction writers and their “why”, too.

 

9. What future projects can we look forward to?

I have a clear idea of two more books–one would be focused on relationship building with freelance clients, and another one on marketing your freelance services. I have a very rough draft of an inspirational book about the freelance lifestyle but I think I want to complete the other two first and only then move on to the inspirational one.

In the meantime, I plan to launch e-mail courses and a package of my book with e-mail support, so to speak. I’d like to give my readers the opportunity to receive feedback on the homework assignments in the book and help them further hone their skills like goal setting, proposal writing, time management, etc.

 

Picture of author Diana Marinova

 

10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?

Yes, no matter how hard it is–don’t give up. Make up your mind, make a plan and stick to it. You will succeed as a freelancer only if you believe that you will. So, believe in yourself and move forward, always.

 

You can connect with Diana and her social media sites via her blog.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to know about Diana?

 

Author: Jeri Walker

Need help writing that book blurb, bio, or newsletter? Give your book the attention it deserves. Book your copy edit, manuscript critique, or proofread today. Make every word count.

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48 Comments

  1. Loved this interview! I know Diana from a LinedIn blogging group (BHB) and was honored when she asked me to read her book in advance of publication. Even though I am primarily a novel reader, I really found some great things in this book pertaining to hiring a freelancer. The fact that it is well written and edited made the reading more enjoyable than I had imagined it would be! I admire her grit and her life, which is chock full of purose.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words and positive feedback about my book, Jacquie – much appreciated! I am so glad that even though the book is geared toward freelancers, you still found it useful in the light of working with freelancers. ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  2. Very interesting interview. I love how Diana’s own personal interests are also what she does for a living. I also appreciate how hard she has had to work to get to this point. I wish her continued success!

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  3. It is a pleasure to meet a different kind of writer and read about honest revelations about Diana’s writing style. Marketing yourself and your books is such a challenging task and I am glad that there are such writers who are so helpful. I like it.
    Thank you Jeri for all the links you have provided in this post for marketing. I have to visit them to learn more!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Balroop – for book marketing, do check Tim Grahl’s blog. You can even enroll in one or two of his free courses. I found particularly useful the one about hacking Amazon 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting.
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  4. —-Diana & Jeri,
    such a wonderful interview.
    This is every writer/bloggers DREAM JOB.
    I. Want. It !!!
    Love this sentence: “You will succeed as a freelancer only if you believe that you will.”
    I believe it.
    If we don’t believe in ourselves, why should anybody else?
    Kiss from MN. x

    Post a Reply
    • ha-ha, your comment reminded me of quote – “If you can dream it, you can do it!”
      I’m glad you liked the interview. Keep on dreaming and believing, you can do it.
      Thanks for stopping by 😀
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  5. Hi Diana and Jeri, great post a awesome advice. Diana, what cities have you traveled in America? Have you been to London or Italy? You are living the dream life. It gives me inspiration to keep going with my writing. Thanks for the wonderful tips! 🙂

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Crystal – I haven’t traveled much in the US – only in Florida (most of the state below St Augustine) and NYC just recently. I’ve been to London as well as a few cities in Italy (Milan, Florence, Verona). I’ve been trying to squeeze in a road trip in Italy for the last few years but I haven’t gotten around to do it yet. To be honest, I like Spain way better than Italy, from what I’ve seen 😀

      Happy writing and more power to you to live your dream life! I’m glad this interview was inspirational for you 😀
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  6. The number of people who are working as freelancers seems to be growing substantially. So this is a topic that is going to resonate more and more. Think of all the advice that is out there about how to score a full-time job. The body of literature is not nearly as rich for freelancers.

    Post a Reply
    • So true, Ken, remote working is the future, if you ask me 😉 And working as a freelancer can be quite different from working as an employee, so no wonder you find information is still scarce compared to what people need. Thanks for reading and commenting!
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  7. I love that you said you haven’t read your favorite novel yet, Diana. And also that you can forget the book you’ve just read within a week — I think it takes me a little bit longer, but not much!

    Post a Reply
    • Ha-ha, thanks for this comment, Laura – I was worried how my answer to this question would be perceived (a writer who doesn’t read? yeah, right, some writer!) – but it was an ah-ha moment for me. Up until now, I didn’t realize I haven’t read my favorite novel yet. I’ll let you know when I do 😉

      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  8. Jeri, thank you for this great interview with Diana. Diana, I find it interesting to read about your life and your choices. I especially like your honest answer in response to your favorite novel! You seem to have found a good balance between work and doing things you enjoy, such as travel.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Leora! Thanks for your kind words. You know me – honesty above all 😉 And yes, finding your baance is a tricky business but when you do, it’s awesome. Thanks for reading and commenting.
      ~Diana

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  9. 🌟 A very dynamic and interesting interview dear Jeri… It was good to read about the author and I particularly liked her answers regarding what drives her and what inspires her… Also nice to know that Blogging helped her kick off her debut as a freelancer! … Thanks so much for sharing! All my best wishes. Aquileana 😀

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Aquielana – I’m glad you liked the interview. I hope it inspired you a little bit to make a step forward today 😀
      And by the way, it was freelancing which helped me kick-start my blogging… I was freelancing for about a year when I started my first blog in my mother tongue and only a year or two later, I made my debut in the blogosphere worldwide. Nevertheless, I am glad I did 🙂
      Thanks for reading!
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  10. I have followed Diana’s travel blog for some time and was happy to see and read about this other side to her; one which I will investigate further. Another great interview Jeri; thanks.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Tim – sadly, there’s not much to follow on my travel blog these days (soon to be changed!) but I’m glad you follow the development of Meliway, now PictraMap. I hope you’ll like my freelance marketing blog as much 😉
      Thanks for reading!
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  11. Hi Jeri and Diana, what a great interview, ladies. I, of course, already know you Diana from our BHB group on LinkedIn. You are such a hard working gal. But nice to get to learn more about you through this interview. Congratulations on your book. I’m sure your freelancing tips will help many as they start out in their freelancing careers.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for the encouragement, Susan – BHB group on LI proved to be a wonderful place for meeting wonderful people 😀
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  12. Why haven’t I met Diana at BHB? She sounds like the kind of person I would love to know. This was a super interview – I like the way she looks at things and then just moves ahead to completion – making mistakes along the way but eventually getting there. Sounds like the way I work. I am definitely going to check out both her’s and Tim Grahl’s blogs. Jeri, thanks so much for the intro.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Lenie – thank you so much for your ind words and for further checking out my blog. As for why we don’t know each other from the BHB group – maybe because I have not been there for ages! I should correct that and soon. Thanks for the reminder 😉
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  13. Great guest post! I intend to check out her website.

    She refers to remembering your “why”. Thinking about my “why” has helped me to stay focused and to push through when everything in my mind says I am out of my depth.

    Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • Awesome, thanks for sharing how you feel about knowing your “why”, Phoenicia, I feel the same way!
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  14. Really enjoyed this interview Jeri. Several people have suggested I look into freelance writing but it smacks just a little to much of going back to working for other people – something that I am working very hard to avoid. But I jumped over and looked at Diana’s blog and like what she has to say so I added it to my Feedly and I’ll definitely take a look at her book.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Marquita – funny you should say working as a freelancer would be a step back for you. My ultimate goal is to not *have to* work some day, freelance or not. But until then, I think going freelance is the best decision I could have made career-wise – let’s say it lets me get the best of both worlds (working but still, not being too bond by work and place). Thanks for adding my blog to your feedly – I hope you find it useful and worth your time 😉
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
    • Hi, Doreen – I think we’ve “met” through the BHB group before. We even were in touch in relation to my travel related startups 😉 But I would be thrilled if you checked my freelance marketing blog, too. Thanks for reading and commenting!
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  15. Wow, Diana makes it sound really doable to travel the world while freelancing. What an inspiring personal story! I especially loved the answer to #4, I think I would feel the same way if asked my favorite novel.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks, Meredith – I am glad you found inspiration in this interview 🙂 And yes, being a freelancer enables me to travel the world and keep making a living. But honestly, it ca be anything anybody wants to do (traveling or not). That’s the beauty – you decide how you want to live your life. All you need to make money off your skills while doing what you love is internet.
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  16. It’s always helpful to get perspectives from other freelancers, and especially successful ones like Diana. She obviously has very carefully thought through and itemized good working habits and sticks to them. And it’s wonderful that she’s sharing them with others! I’ll make a point of checking out her blog.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Krystyna – very well said. Work principles and habits were half the battle for me. In the beginning, it was very tough to land projects. My work habits (and self-belief) was what kept me going … I hope you enjoy my blog 😀
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  17. This interview post has so much valuable information in it. Thank you for sharing. Diana mentioned that she edits on another day. I too do this. I was told in high school that one side of the brain is for creating and the other side helps with refining and more detailed oriented tasks. It is not recommended to do both at once. It’s just not effective. So doing editing the next day allows you to separate yourself from the work and get a fresh eye on it.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Sabrina – now thanks to you, I know why it is so effective to edit on another day, thank you for enlightening me. And for reading 🙂
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  18. This perfect timing! I’m at the point with my blog I’m starting to think about outsourcing. However I find the freelancing sites,with their innumerable choices overwhelming. I’m ordering this book today. Thank you

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Pamela! Thanks for your nice comment.

      Before you order the book, note that it is geared toward freelancers – how to succeed as a freelancer on Upwork and Elance.

      If I understand you correctly, you are at the point of looking for freelancers – in which case, you may find useful info in the book as to how to recognize successful freelancers but it is not written with that goal in mind. Just so you know 🙂

      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  19. I love that I’m not the only one who can enjoy a book, but still completely forget the details within a few weeks of putting down the book. My husband always makes fun of me for that. Diana’s blog sounds very informative and definitely something worth checking out.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks, Erika – you are not alone, definitely 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you over at my blog.
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  20. Now that I think about it, maybe I have not yet read my favorite novel.

    That’s a great way to think of it. Maybe the next one will be your favorite, or the one after that. One can only hope the joy increases with each one. 🙂

    Post a Reply
    • Oh, my favorite novel would definitely not be “the next one” 😀 Right now I am kinda stuck with a book – I don’t quite like it but I feel bad for just moving on to the next one, jo I don’t move on, but I don’t read much either. It would appear I turn into an avid novel reader when I am on the road so maybe I’ll get past this one on my next trip, we’ll see.
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  21. What a great interview. I remember Diana from the BHB group from a while ago as well. I will be checking out her site as well.

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    • Thanks, Jason – looking forward to seeing you over at my blog. I hope you liked the interview here 🙂
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  22. Another great interview with an author. I enjoy reading these interviews each week. I like seeing what motivates people to write and what their process is. The part of being self-published hit home and gave me some encouragement, as my publisher might not put out my sequel. Thanks for sharing this.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for reading and commenting, William – good luck with your book if you decide to go down the self-publishing route 🙂
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply
  23. Great interview. I like how Diana started sharing her experience because she found there was so little information available. I also agree with editing on a different day than doing the original writing. I will check out the blog.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Donna – thanks for your positive feedback. It’s funny how we always get something in return, even if it’s only gratitude and self-satisfaction, when we genuinely want to and do help others by sharing our experiences, without expecting anything in return. Thanks for reading!
      ~Diana

      Post a Reply

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