As a result of Ameel’s comments on my previous post, I have decided to post a link to a source which I think freelance writers and editors will find useful. The resource is a pricing guide for freelancers from Writer’s Market, which you can find here on the Writer’s Digest website.
I discovered this guide after I was gently told by a couple clients that I was far under-pricing my services. I had only experienced the peanut-sized pricing of Fiverr and similar sites at that point–even my experience there was minimal–and so I had no clue what my prices should actually be. I won’t say what any of those original prices were (and you better not either, Ameel!) but I will say that all my book reviews went for only $10 back then.
What can I say? I was new, I was trying to build a client base, and I was naïve enough to jump in blindly without any real research to speak of.
It hasn’t been more than a few months since then but I’ve learned quite a bit, and one of the most important things I’ve learned is to use the Writer’s Market pricing guide.
The guide is an excerpt from Writer’s Market Companion, 2nd Edition. The excerpt includes calculating your expenses, calculating hourly rates, negotiation, raising your rates, and sample rates.
Did you know that it’s acceptable to charge $1 to $3 per page for proofreading a book? Or that you can get $28 to $150 per hour for writing brochures and fliers? That’s just a sample of what you will find in this pricing guide.
The best part? It’s free to download! You only have to give them your e-mail address. (Don’t worry; Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Market are well-established and reputable, so you don’t have to worry about giving them your e-mail.)
One caveat: this is only a pricing guide, so you shouldn’t take it as the pricing gospel. Each client and each project are different and it might be necessary to keep your rates negotiable until you’re more established as a freelancer. You can afford to be firm on higher prices once you have more experience, but you’ll want to retain some flexibility in order to keep the jobs coming.
Do you know of any guides or other resources which could help freelance writers and editors? Have any good examples or horrible warnings from your personal experience you would like to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and your wisdom might appear in a future post.
It’s time for me to pass on some wisdom I’ve earned through causing myself unnecessary stress. I’ve talked to you about the pitfalls of self-employment, writers as workaholics, and the love/hate relationship between writers and time management. Today, I want to talk about something which is important for freelancers and in life overall: learning to just say “no.”
It sounds simple, but learning to say “no” is much harder than it seems. There are many reasons to not say “no”: you don’t want to disappoint people, you need the money or favor attached to the agreement, you’re too shy or passive to argue, etc.
No matter your reason for not doing it, telling people “no” is a very important skill for freelancers to master. Whether you’re a freelance writer, editor, graphic designer, voice over artist, or anything else, you have to get the courage and the assertiveness to tell people when you can’t do something.
Unfortunately, it’s very hard for freelancers to do, at least in our work. The most common reason is that we need the money. Freelancing jobs, no matter what the medium, are few and far between. That’s why we take on as much as we can–well, as much as we can get, even if it’s more than we can handle.
I have very recently stumbled into this conundrum. I have taken on several beta reading and book review jobs (around five right now, one due right after the other and the shortest being 125 pages). I also have a part-time job (three hours a day, five days a week) writing online quizzes which, if I make it past the month-and-a-half probation period, can become a regular gig. All of this on top of grad school, a new puppy, this blog, and my own writing. It’s been pretty…chaotic in my head.
I need the work, I really do, and I’m more than happy to do it. However, for my sanity (and my ability to get some writing done myself), it would be best for me to cut back. If I said “no” every now and then, I would probably be able to handle my workload much better.
Fortunately for me, I have yet to experience the real issue with overbooking: a decline in the quality of the work. Some freelancers can thrive perfectly well under pressure as far as the quality of their work goes. Others…not so much. They’re spread far too thin and can’t keep up with demand. Those freelancers are the ones who have to learn to pick and choose the best projects and reject the rest.
I wish I could give you advice on actually saying “no.” If I knew how to do that, I’d be a lot more relaxed right now. All I can tell you is that you need to remind yourself how much better things will be if you don’t take on every project that comes your way. That way, you’ll see more benefits in regulating your work over doing everything.
Do you have any tips for saying “no” to potential clients? Advice on how to better manage time and projects? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below so we can all benefit from your wisdom.
Happy Saturday! I’m sure my American readers are still decompressing from Thanksgiving and, considering I’m sick and not up to doing much, I decided I will start this weekend with a book review for The Art of Winning by Matshona Dhliwayo.
The Art of Winning is a quick compilation (approximately 113 pages) of 100 inspirational quotes and mantras by Dhliwayo. These quotes are framed by Dhliwayo’s “Winner’s Manifesto” 1 and 2. The work has been highly praised by a wide range of successful individuals, from Olympic gold medalist Adam Kreek and multi-Grammy nominated producer/engineer/songwriter Mitch Goldfarb to former Hearst Newspapers CEO Bob Danzig and New York Times bestselling author Shawn Achor. After reading the book, I can see why.
From a form perspective, this book is simple but effective. Each quote/mantra reads like one or two short, free verse poetry stanzas. Many utilize repetition so that each line builds on the one proceeding it, both in rhythm and in message. This poetic presentation coupled with the short page count make for a quick read, although you’ll want to slow down to fully consume the messages of these quotes.
I found that the wisdom in this book is nothing new but it’s also something that people usually don’t keep in mind, especially during hard times. I know that many of these positive thoughts escape me when I encounter stress and obstacles (often replaced by very bad words). He doesn’t necessarily say “do this and this and you’ll succeed” and he doesn’t guarantee that anything will change overnight. Instead, his wisdom is like that provided by philosophers and gurus, building blocks for making your own life more positive and successful. It may take a while of consistently following his advice but it will yield results so long as you keep at it.
One of my favorite “rules,” as Dhliwayo calls them, reads:
Let go of negative thoughts.
Let go of negative memories.
Let go of negative desires.
Let go of negative people.
Regret poisons your thoughts.
Doubt poisons your dreams.
Fear poisons your hopes.
Insincerity poisons your deeds.
–Matshona Dhliwayo, The Art of Winning, “Rule 40”
As you can see, this isn’t anything new or groundbreaking; in fact, many people would argue that it’s common sense. That, however, is the genius of Dhliwayo’s rules. They’re simple and easy to understand but are also things that we tend to forget about, such as how negativity poisons our lives and how our souls are more important than our material possessions.
For all this praise, I have a couple issues with this book. The first is more a matter of conflicting world views than the quality of the book itself. I have said repeatedly that I’m spiritual but don’t belong to any particular religion and that I’m specifically not Christian. This book makes many references to God, Jesus, and the Bible. If you’re offended by such content, you might want to avoid Dhliwayo’s work. However, the advice transcends religion. Everyone can get something from this advice and, frankly, you can choose to ignore the few Christian references or reinterpret them within your own belief system and still gain some spiritual and life direction from it.
My second issue does affect the quality of the book, at least in my opinion. While there is a “Winner’s Manifesto” at the beginning and end and Dhliwayo provides a list of praise for the work on the first few pages, I felt that the book lacked a well-defined purpose. The rules are tied together by the kind of advice they give as well as the “Winner’s Manifesto” framing device. Still, I’m not sure what Dhliwayo wants readers to get from this book. Is this just advice that you should refer to when you’re feeling stressed and hopeless? Is it a 100-day plan for improving your attitude and your life in which you read a new rule each day? Is it for getting your life back on track, keeping it on track, or both? A quick introduction explaining who Dhliwayo is, why this advice is important, and how to use it would be very helpful in guiding the reader’s experience and ensuring that he/she gets the most out of this advice.
All in all, The Art of Winning is a great book to keep at your bedside. You can use it to start your day on a positive note, recharge you when you’re too drained to continue, or fuel your brain when you’re in need of philosophical contemplation. As of right now, I can only find it on Amazon in paperback format for $9.99. However, it’s worth a read, especially for those of us who find it hard to stay positive (guilty!).
Know of any works I should read? Want me to review your book on this blog? E-mail me at email@example.com or message me on Fiverr and we can arrange something. You can also reach me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr.
Good evening, my valued readers. Tonight I’m taking some time out of my increasingly-busy schedule to let you know about the release of the next story in the Honeycomb series. This novelette, only 51 pages long, is called Honeycomb: Lethal Cargo by Wren Cavanagh.
Spoiler Alert: The following recap briefly refers to events in Honeycomb: Revelations, so proceed with caution if you have not read that novelette yet.
Honeycomb: Lethal Cargo picks up right where Honeycomb: Revelations left off. After a monstrous encounter at the debtor colony on the planet Honeycomb, the Triton has finally left that God-forsaken planet with its cargo, its crew, and a slew of ex-convicts who have repaid their debts and are eager to go home. Unfortunately, it also harbors a rather dangerous stowaway, one which even the diligent crew cannot see in its current hiding place.
Honeycomb: Lethal Cargo follows the Triton as its crew and passengers attempt to outsmart this deadly menace. What tragedies will befall the cargo ship Triton? Who will survive? Is it even possible to survive a foe that can be anywhere–or anyone?
As with Revelations, Lethal Cargo takes readers on an imaginative journey of suspense and mystery. Cavanagh and Notch Publishing House have provided another fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat piece, and I think that fans of classic science fiction will be pleased. As it is only 51 pages, it’s a quick read and I don’t think you’ll want to put it down until you’ve read the entire thing from start to end.
An extra bonus is that Amazon sells the Kindle editions for Lethal Cargo and Revelations together for $2.98. If you already have the first novelette and only want to get the second, you can buy the second novelette by itself on Amazon through this link.
I’ll try and have a combined review of Revelations and Lethal Cargo in the near future. Unfortunately, as you can tell from my previous post, my schedule is packed and I can’t guarantee when it will be up. Until then, give the Honeycomb series a read for yourself and leave your thoughts in the comments section below. I’m sure that Wren Cavanagh would love to hear them.
Do you know of any small-press/indie books that are coming out? Want to help extend their reach? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss featuring the release in a future post.
Hello everyone, here’s to another week. You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything this week. I had planned to, but a couple things got in my way. The first is that I have an assignment for grad school due on Wednesday (and I’m still trying to squirm my way through that). The second is that I got a new puppy on Saturday, hence the subtitle “puppy jail”.
My new puppy, Bubba, is only nine weeks old. He’s also a Toy Fox Terrier mix (probably mixed with Pomeranian but we don’t know for sure), so he needs extra care and attention to make sure that his blood sugar doesn’t drop, he doesn’t get too cold, and, of course, no one steps on him. He’s still too small to be fixed (that’s planned for December) and we have to take him in for some shots, so that’ll keep me busy. Raising a puppy takes a lot of time and energy, especially in the beginning.
Between my critical response and Bubba, I’m going to be even more sporadic about how often I post for the next couple weeks than usual. I do have a couple posts planned for this week, including some information on a new Honeycomb story by Wren Cavanagh and a book review for The Art of Winning by Matshona Dhliwayo, but I can’t guarantee when those will be up.
Thanks as always for your understanding. I’m sure that most of you are busy with your own personal lives and NaNoWriMo anyway. For my American readers, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are also coming up and that’s always…fun? Busy? Horrifying?
Good luck to everyone on your current projects, and I’ll see you later this week. And here’s an extra “good luck” to those still cranking away at their NaNoWriMo goals.