How My Writing Has Evolved with Time

How My Writing Has Evolved with Time

JS, Medium, writing

Writing is so interesting because it is one of those things which is both a skill and a talent.

The difference between those two is that a skill is a buildable, progressive thing you can practice and work on and improve on over time and a talent (at its core) is more inherent. It’s something you have.

Those are my definitions. Let’s check in with Merriam-Webster for the official ones.

Skill: “1a: the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance

b: dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks

2: a learned power of doing something competently: a developed aptitude or ability. Language skills”

Talent: “1a: a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude

b: general intelligence or mental power; ability

2: the natural endowments of a person”

Oh, good! Pretty similar. Feels good — and I love words and knowing and learning precise definitions and synonyms, antonyms. I am a proud word nerd.

Singing is another great example. You can be born with and grow up with a good or great singing voice, and you will still improve and learn to sing even better with practice and lessons.

My Writing Evolution

I was recently asked about how my writing has evolved or changed over the years and I was struck by how fantastic of a question it was.

My writing has evolved over time from being more personal and for me (such as LiveJournal and my first Blogspot blog) to writing FOR and TO an audience and my readers.

I am much more focused on trying to give information or teach something than in just writing to myself. I can write to myself in a journal, and I sometimes do, but I now prefer my online writing to be useful and valuable to others.

I also write for my business. As a freelance writer, I am often writing for specific companies or people. I needed to learn how to write in different tones and styles in order to get their messages across while fitting their brand.

Even when I wrote my books, they are both so different in style, tone, messaging, and audience. The writing for each is different and distinct.

It’s extremely interesting to think of the changing, adapting, and evolving writing.

How has your writing changed over the years?

Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Check out my story and freelancing guide, “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” with tons of practical info packed into a short book! I also have a brand new writing course called “How to Write a Book in 3 Months.” Go to the site to learn more!

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How Important is “Exposure”?

How Important is “Exposure”?

Entrepreneur, JS, Medium, writing

What is it and how to (& not to) get it.

Merriam Webster defines exposure as “ the condition of being presented to view or made known” and “the condition of being subject to some effect or influence,”along with a couple other definitions.

Practically speaking, as a freelancer or entrepreneur, you need exposure.

It’s a fact of business.

People need to know you exist in order to buy your product or services.

How Can You Get Exposure?

There are many different ways to get exposure, like having a column in a major publication, but like Nicolas Cole learned, it may not be the best way (he shares some great insights in this article). You can start a blog, pay for ads, do work for free (but you shouldn’t!), you can pay social media influencers to feature you, you can use PR tactics like pitching to media outlets, and more.

You can become a top writer on Medium and Quora (I’mcurrently both), though those don’t necessarily mean more exposure, they certainly have the potential to do so.

You can also just be marketing yourself to individual clients and focus on building up your client base.

What Works Best?

That one is a bit harder. What works best for me — using social media to find clients and then selling myself on the phone — may not work best for you.

Most people and companies find that a combination of several tactics is best for them.

You have to figure out what works by judging cost versus benefit. Whether it’s costing you money or your time, it is costing you something.

If you boosted a Facebook ad or sponsored an Instagram ad, look at the stats and results. Did you get any new clients from it? Or inquiries? Did any more people subscribe to your mailing list or buy your book?

Testing different ideas is a great way to see what works for you with minimal risks. Don’t spend $200 on your first ad, start small and figure out your audience and then move up.

You Still Have to Pay the Bills!

Be careful not to do too much for the elusive “exposure.”

There are websitescomicstwitter accounts, and more showing just how often freelancers and craftspeople are asked to do things for free or “for the exposure.”

There are very few times when the exposure they are offering is actually going to be worth your time and energy. Amy Morinwrote a piece for Inc on this exact topic.

You can’t pay your rent/mortgage with exposure. Be very careful not to just do a bunch of free or vastly underpaid work in the HOPES it might get you some exposure. Your time will be far better spent looking for actual paying clients.

I found clients even when I had zero professional writing experience, using only my old personal blog as writing samples, simply by approaching people and asking if they would be interested in any writing or editing services.

Make your OWN exposure. Value your work and yourself very highly!

Of courses there are exceptions!

I am NOT saying to not do anything for free ever in your life! I am talking specifically in the context of potential clients and paid work. For example, there may be a charitable organization you choose to volunteer your time and skills for — of course, that’s wonderful and is also your own choice.

You also may find yourself in a HuffPost situation.

About a year before I ever even thought about looking for clients and being a paid writer, I started contributing to HuffPost for free. I loved it, it was something I chose to do knowing there was no payment. However, when I weighed the benefits I’d get (major publication byline, the marketability, write what I want) against the cost (my time), it made sense to me.

So of course, find what works best FOR YOU and don’t just trust every stranger on the internet!

Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Join my mailing list for more info (not spam!) or check out my story and freelancing guide, “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” with tons of practical info packed into a short book!

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Tarana Burke: Continuing the #metoo Conversation

Tarana Burke: Continuing the #metoo Conversation

JS, Medium, writing

Tarana Burke was the honored guest at Stony Brook University on Sunday, January 28, 2018, where she met with politicians, students, and held a open forum to answer questions from the public.

NY State Assemblywoman Christine Pellegrino and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn were at the event to discuss efforts in legislation for women, children, and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“It’s so important to ensure that this hashtag turned viral moment turned movement, turns into lasting social and cultural change that will actually reduce victimization,” said Hahn, who revealed on stage that she was also a survivor of sexual assault.

The goal of the event was “to turn awareness into action.” Coordinator Cindy Morris of The Benson Agency and CEO of i-tri, a local organization which promotes women’s and girl’s empowerment through triathlons, worked tirelessly for weeks organizing the event, the sponsors, partners, speakers, and raising money. It came together beautifully.

Tarana Burke spoke about community healing and her work over the last 20+ years in working with survivors and finding and being a resource for healing and on-going coping and survival.

Ms. Burke shared her journey, her work, and what she is doing to help people. She spoke about her feelings on the sudden explosion of the hashtag #metoo in October 2017, saying, “Honestly, I was terrified.” and explained how she spent the next month making decisions about being involved and becoming part of this huge groundswell after spending so long working on a grassroots campaign.

While friends were trying to get her to step up and take credit for the movement, Burke was focused on making sure the movement had direction and that people understood what it was all about, and not just about the original discussions of sexual harassment in the workplace, which the first Me Too posts on Twitter were talking about. On October 15, 2017, Burke posted a video on Twitter explaining what Me Too is and what the movement’s goals are and have been for the last 12 years.

“I had to decide, am I going to be in conflict or in service? There was no direction, it was just getting bigger and I had to make a choice to be involved. I did it so there was a direction and a shape to the movement, so people could know exactly what it really meant.”

Ms. Burke has gotten a lot of attention for being the founder of the Me Too Movement.

“I appreciate the accolades and recognition for founding me too. But what I know is there are thousands of us across the country…I acknowledge all those who do what they have to do to make it work.”

One question for Ms. Burke talked about men and whether they are ‘allowed’ to say me too.

“I am not going to be the person who looks at a man and tells him he isn’t allowed to say ‘me too’ and discuss his sexual assault. 1 in 6 men have been sexually assaulted or abused, most of them while they were just children. This is for all survivors.”

When talking about empathy and breaking the silence, she discussed how sharing your story is a roller coaster of emotions. It is not just about relief, it’s also about reliving the experience, and having fear about putting it out there, and healing.

“Every time we break the silence, we give others permission to, as well.”

On sympathy and empathy.

“When we tell our story, the first thing people say is, ‘I’m so sorry that happened to you.’ They don’t mean to, but they are putting space between the two of them. Often, the survivor ends up in the weird position of trying to comfort the other person, saying, ‘Oh, no it’s okay…’ What we need to be doing is simply asking the survivor, ‘What do you need right now? How can I help you?’ Bring each other together, not separate.”

In her mission to continue the conversation, Ms. Burke absolutely succeeded. The audience of a few hundred hung on her words and were actively engaged in the discussion.

Ms. Burke was incredible. She is so grounded and real and very intentional in her work and how she speaks to people. She was a joy to listen to and I left the event feeling more ready than ever to be a part of the conversation and the solution for ongoing healing.

The #metoo event at Stony Brook University was sponsored by i-tri, L.I. Against Domestic Violence, Protect NY Kids, AFT, TD Bank, The Safe Center LI, VIBS Family Violence and Rape Crisis Center, Crime Victims Center, and the Association for Mental Health & Wellness.

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8 Lessons I Learned in My First Year of Freelancing

8 Lessons I Learned in My First Year of Freelancing

Entrepreneur, JS, Medium, Sales & Marketing, writing

I got my first freelancing clients almost on a whim, on October 31st, 2016. I began working with clients in the evenings and weekends for November, December, and January.

Once I realized that being a writer was a viable career for me and people were willing to pay me, I made plans to quit my day job as a Director of Business Development at a recruiting firm.

Friday, January 27, 2017 was my last full-time day at my day job.

I was a freelancer.

Though I did a lot of research and asked many questions, I had a lot to learn. Now that I am at a year of freelancing, here are some things I have learned. Use this and make new mistakes and learn new lessons, instead of the ones I’ve made for you.

1. If someone is willing to pay you, then you are skilled enough.

When it comes to freelancing, especially something as subjective as writing, many potential freelancers question their abilities and whether or not their writing is “good enough” for them to be a writer as a full-time career.

Instead of trying to find a way to judge your writing, use your clients as a barometer. If people look at your writing samples and are willing to pay you, then you are definitely good enough.

Pack away the insecurity and focus on improving and on the work for your clients. There is no point in questioning yourself so much, and that insecurity can lead you to not marketing yourself or not having the confidence to attract new clients.

2. You are definitely not charging enough.

Pricing yourself is an exercise in frustration sometimes. You do tons of research on what other people are charging, you try to undercut them, but then you may find that the lower price makes it not worth your time.

As a freelancer, time is your commodity.

Whatever you’re charging, it’s too low. I have seen it time and again from freelancers, including myself, where we are charging one price, but then the actual time the project takes is more than we thought, or there is more research involved or the project is longer, and suddenly your “decent prices” are only getting you $20 an hour.

Charge more. The good clients will pay you for your skills.

And remember: Just because writing comes easily to you does not mean it should be cheap. If clients could do it themselves, they wouldn’t need to hire you. Your skill is valuable.

3. Learn to identify “bad” clients.

The clients who email you at 3 am expecting an immediate response, or who are constantly changing the specs of the project. The ones who are never happy.

The ones who harass you about your prices over and over until you offer a discount.

Just say no. It’s difficult to turn away clients, especially when you are new to freelancing, but the hassle and difficulty in dealing with them and the extra time it takes for you, on top of the lower rate, will bring you down. Not only that, but they take away from the clients who would be paying your regular rate and be great to work with and appreciate you.

Here is a piece I recently wrote about how to identify the bad or negative clients before you start work.

4. Your business will continue to evolve.

When I first started freelancing, I was doing almost entirely one-off articles and blogs for clients and charging per-word prices.

A year later, I have evolved and changed the work I do as I learned more what I enjoyed and how it makes sense for me. Now, I focus on monthly retainer clients and having long-term relationships with them instead of one-time projects, have developed a book coaching service, and have been able to try things I never thought I would — like writing a comic book!

Be open to new experiences and allow yourself to evolve and grow and change as the work you enjoy evolves. Do not force yourself to stick to just one type of work. Try new things, get creative, stay interested.

5. You don’t HAVE to have a niche.

One piece of advice I saw a lot of at the beginning of freelancing was to “just pick a niche and specialize!”

I prefer significant diversity in what I work on, so instead of focusing on one industry or type of client, I chose to be a generalist. This has allowed me to have a ton of experiences and learn new things.

I have blogged for law firms, medical cannabis companies, business consultants, life coaches, real estate investors, cryptocurrency and blockchain companies, professional speakers, and more. I’ve edited fiction, nonfiction, and even a children’s book.

As a self-described jack of all trades, I have gotten to explore opportunities I would never have if I’d just stuck to sales, marketing, and career coaching, which my 10 years of corporate experience prepared me for.

Don’t be afraid to try something new and to be a generalist! It’s so much fun having a diverse client base and getting to work on something different each day!

6. Building good relationships is the backbone of my business.

I like to know my clients. Who are they? Why do they love what they do? What are they hoping to get out of the writing services?

Creating a monthly retainer business model has allowed me to have longer relationships and really get to know my clients as people.

I have weekly calls with each of my clients to manage expectations, discuss the tasks and work for the week, and stay connected.

Having been in corporate business development for so long, I deeply acknowledge and understand the strength and use of a great relationship with the people you’re selling to.

Really make a point to get to know your clients as people. Ask questions and be kind and genuine. That relationship is so important! Nurture it!

7. You don’t need a portfolio.

Portfolios are not a bad thing, you CAN have one. But you don’t NEED one to get started as a writer.

As long as you have writing samples, you are good to go. You can publish those samples on a blog or site, or you can just have them as PDFs you attach to emails.

Much of my work is ghostwritten, so even though I have tons of published blogs and articles, none of them would be able to go into a portfolio.

When I first started, I grabbed pieces from my personal blog and wrote a couple samples, and that is all I had to show. These days I direct people here to my Medium blog!

8. Just write. Get started now.

The best thing I learned through my freelancing journey so far is that you don’t need to be super prepared or have a website and business cards and a fancy briefcase.

You can just go out and find ONE client. As soon as you have one, find another.

Figure out the rest as you go. You can research contracts and build a WordPress site later. For now, go out with your writing samples and find a client. The rest will come after.

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How to Be a Better Writer

How to Be a Better Writer

JS, Medium, writing

It mostly comes down to practice.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to master something, and at 31.5 years old, I have spent at least that long writing, scribbling out, rewriting, and editing my work over the years.

Working on my own writing and with other writers, here are a few ways I have collected to improve writing skills and exercises you can do to continue to practice.

  • Write a lot. Write daily. Write different things.
  • Get critiqued.

Exercises:

  • Go somewhere like Reddit, which has a whole sub for writing prompts (r/writingprompts) and get tons of different prompts and styles to try and get inspiration and ideas. You can even write a response to the prompt in the thread and get comments and critiques from other Reddit writers.Many of whom are quite good!
  • Try writing in different styles and from different perspectives. For example, write a short story however you want and then come back and write the SAME story, but from a different character’s perspective. An amazing example of this is how Gregory Maguire wrote Wicked from the wicked witch’s perspective in The Wizard of Oz. Long before it was a huge Broadway show, it was an extremely good book.
  • Write a story in the third person and come back and write the same story in the first person. Ask yourself: What does the character not know that the narrator knew? How does knowing her/his thoughts (but not the narration) change what the reader knows about her/his motivations?
  • A similar exercise is to rewrite a story you read somewhere (an existing story) from the perspective of a non-main character. Sometimes you see successful series authors adding additional books in a series this way. One example is Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. She came back and wrote from Four’s perspective, who ended up being a much loved (but was not the main) character from the original series.

If you are looking to improve nonfiction writing skills, one way to do this is to start a blog. You’ll write often and if you gain a following, they will often ask for additional information or clarifying questions, which will show you where you can improve.

Another way to improve nonfiction writing skills is to attempt to write a book.

Though I was already a profitable full-time writer, writing my nonfiction book truly helped me improve. Committing to writing a whole book is a huge undertaking and required me to really focus in on how I explained things, giving good examples, and making sure I truly understood the subject well enough to write it and teach others in the first place.

I also learned more in the editing process. I was able to see mistakes I made, she asked clarifying questions, which forced me to look at things from a reader’s perspective and write it in a way that made sense.

It was an incredible learning experience!

Even when writing comes naturally, learning and growing and improving and polishing your skills is a lifelong task. You should never stop growing and learning. I think if we stop learning or lose our curiosity, we die, or at least those skills stagnate and wither and die.


What has been a great learning experience for you? What do you do to improve your writing skills? Do you have any other interesting writing exercises? Share them with us so we all grow!

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#MeToo the Book — Share Your Story

#MeToo the Book — Share Your Story

Books, Entrepreneur, JS, writing

I have been deeply inspired by the sharing and bravery of the people who told their story while #metoo swept social media in the last weeks. I have also been a victim of sexual harassment and assault, and I think it is more important than ever that we continue to talk about, continue to provoke conversation, and refuse to be victims.

I am putting together a book of stories based on the #metoo movement.

Are you interested in telling your story?

Hi, my name is Jyssica Schwartz. I am a 31-year-old writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. If you’d like more information about me, please feel free to check out my websiteblogInstagramTwitter, or book. This is a sensitive topic and I will be open and honest with all of you. Reach out to me with questions, concerns, and stories.

I have been very open about writing about mental health and my anxiety in my entrepreneurship journey and I continue this refusal to be a part of stigmatizing difficult topics with this book. As an author, I have the capacity and ability to put this project together using professional editors, cover designers, formatters, etc.

Submissions

If you would like to participate, please submit your story (no minimum length requirement, but please keep it under 3000 words) either to me by email at jyssica.schwartz@gmail.com or uploading it to upload it to Google drive here.

  • Make sure you include a title (if you want one), a first name, age, and location either in the filename of the document or at the top of the document itself.
  • I have been asked if contributors can be anonymous – YES. Use a fake first name or just “Anonymous,” but please still include your age and location.
  • This is open to ALL genders, ages, races, nationalities, everything. There will be no discrimination. If you submit, you will be included.
  • You are NOT being asked to pay anything at all. It is 100% free to be involved. I am currently planning to self-fund this project.

There is no length requirement, but here are some things to consider:

  • Think about not just the incident itself but the way you felt afterward, what steps you took, and why you did or did not report it.
  • Were you raised hearing things like “boys will be boys” or being told not to wear certain things because it might “distract the boys” or cause problems?
  • What might you do differently now or tell people now about these situations?
  • Your story is subject to general editing (not for content).

It could be anything from realizing we’re raised to expect it to how you feel about harassment to anything deep or light-hearted. I genuinely want different perspectives and views. It can be short or long, but I am looking for raw honesty. You would not need to be fully identified.

This movement has certainly highlighted the fact that almost all women are harassed so often that we ignore it and don’t talk about it, but I think we should.

This project is open to both men and women and you can stay anonymous with just a first name (even a pseudonym), age and country as the location.

This book

  • Will be open to all ages, genders, and nationalities. Diversity is encouraged and completely welcome.
  • Does not differentiate between types of stories. If it was verbal harassment or something far worse, your story deserves to be heard.
  • Will be self-published and available as both an ebook and a paperback.
  • Will be professionally edited.
  • Will have a professional cover and interior formatting.
  • Will have an introduction by me, likely based on a blog post I recently wrote about this topic (Unless someone more famous [which is basically everyone] is interested in being involved and wants to write a foreword/introduction!).

This book is for all of us.

A Few Statistics

  • 70% of sexual harassment incidents in the workplace are not reported (source)
  • An analysis of 55 representative surveys found that about 25 percent of women report having experienced sexual harassment, but when they are asked about specific behaviors, like inappropriate touching or pressure for sexual favors, the share roughly doubles. Those numbers are broadly consistent with other survey findings. (source)
  • In 2015, 6,822 sexual harassment claims were filed with the EEOC. 17.1 percent of those cases were filed by men. (source)
  • Perpetrators of sexual violence are less likely to go to jail or prison than other criminals. In fact, out of every 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free. (Source)
  • Only 344 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police. That means about 2 out of 3 go unreported. (source)
  • Members of the military: 43% of female victims and 10% of male victims reported. (source)
  • In 2016, the EEOC released a comprehensive study of workplace harassment in the United States, which concluded that “anywhere from 25% to 85% of women report having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.”
  • Almost two-thirds of male and female college students interviewed said they have encountered some type of sexual harassment while attending a university, about a third of which included physical contact such as being grabbed or touched in a sexual manner. (source)

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The Hardest Part of Writing a Book

The Hardest Part of Writing a Book

Editing, JS, Medium, writing

I see this question many places — on Quora, in articles about writing, when I’m asked directly.

“What is the hardest part about writing a book?”

I understand why people want to know, but the truth is that just like everything else in life, what is most difficult for me may be easy for you and vice versa.

Here’s what I can tell you from my own experience. I have ghostwritten a few books and recently published my own.

For me, the hardest part of writing a book is knowing when I’m finished.

I started with my trusty outline, I wrote everything, I reread several times, it FELT complete.

The moment I sent it to the editor, I had ideas for things I could have expanded on or written differently.

I managed to keep it together until I got it back from the editor, at which time I ended up adding an entire case study and about half a chapter.

I sent that part BACK to the editor.

And I made myself stop writing.

The moment it hit the virtual shelves for sale, I recounted my mistakes.

I could have added more, made it better, given better examples, used a more formal vocabulary.


For me, it was never anxiety over whether or not I was qualified to write a book, or if people would think it was silly, or if it was poorly written (some of the top fears expressed to me when people talk about writing).

I have confidence in my writing and I was building off of content I’d previously written and gotten solid feedback on as a blogger.

My anxiety came from feeling like it wasn’t complete.

A feeling of “Nooo! I forgot to tell them this amazing advice on how to get the higher-end clients!”

And I don’t mean to say that I think that information could only come from me.

But my goal was to write a really helpful, practical book to help people find clients, market themselves, and build a freelancing business with no initial investment, and I just truly wanted to provide as much a framework as humanly possible.

Even now, I sometimes think about what more information I could have added to it.

But I have mostly moved on. I’m thinking about my next book, focusing on my clients, and continuing to build, grow, and refine my own business.

And all of these experiences will help me on the next book!


What was the hardest part of writing a book, a paper, a blog, anything, for you?

Sign up for my occasional mailing list here and check out my book on how to find clients & make money freelancing!

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How to Stop Procrastinating

How to Stop Procrastinating

JS, LinkedIn, Medium, writing

Working from home doesn’t make me more likely to procrastinate, it’s just easier to get away with it because no one is watching.

In the corporate world, procrastination is there, it’s just slightly less detectable. Facebook and Twitter in between clients, Instagram while you go to the bathroom, texting all day. Reading the news is the easiest way to procrastinate at work because it seems that it is the most “acceptable” non-work thing to do.

It’s unlikely that anyone will sit at a desk in front of a computer and work nonstop for 8 solid hours with no distraction or rest.

Instead of policing an employee’s every move, it should be understood that some distraction can be a good thing. Leaving a task and coming back with fresh eyes is great and can catch errors you may have missed before. Refreshing yourself and coming back to work with renewed vigor is great!

Working from home, I have found that I can just as easily get into Facebook for half an hour as I can stop and sweep the house or take pictures of my cat.

4 Tips to Stop Procrastinating

  1. Schedule tasks. If you know you need to do specific things on Tuesday or have them done by Wednesday, put them on your calendar. Schedule an hour to block off specifically for “edit Client A’s Chapter 2–3.” And then keep to your calendar.
  2. Close out of social media. When focusing on a specific task, close out of all social media websites and put your phone face down. It is a simple way to remove distractions.
  3. Get in the right mindset. Instead of thinking, “Shoot, I have to do this task.” Consider trying a different perspective. Try, “I am going to knock this out and be done with this whole task in only 45 minutes!” It’s been shown that changing your mindset affects your attitude and even likelihood of success.
  4. Just start! Stop trying to think of why you don’t want to do something and just start. It will go faster than you think, and you’ll wonder why you spent so much time complaining about it or procrastinating when you could have been done that much sooner.

What do you do to get started on work? Do you find yourself procrastinating a lot? How do you accomplish your goals?

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Never Work For Free

Never Work For Free

Entrepreneur, Medium, writing

A friend of mine is also an entrepreneur. She was asked about possibly doing a whole new project for one of her clients. She wasn’t super familiar with the details but knew she could do the main part, so she said she was interested.

The client didn’t even ask her to, but she spent several hours researching information and details about parts of the project she wasn’t as familiar with — but hadn’t firmed up a price or a contract with the client yet.

I told her to stop. The biggest thing about being an entrepreneur is you only get paid for certain work. It was the client’s responsibility to take care of some of what she was researching, and even then, only if they agree to move forward.

Protect your time.

As the expert, your time is your most valuable commodity.

Time spent doing “just a quick little favor” for a client that pays by the minute or researching something for someone you don’t even work for any more than 10 minutes should absolutely be paid.

If you are wondering what this includes — literally everything. It is up to your discretion to give advice to your family or close friends for free. Anyone else should be paying.

There is a REASON you are able to make a living freelancing and that is because you are really good at what you do.

Which means you deserve to be compensated for it.

Don’t work for free.

I will occasionally give discounted pricing to people if it’s a trial blog post or something. But even then, still not free and that is my own choice.

The times when I have not charged for advice or help are when I choose to do so in a community, such as Reddit or Quora, where people are genuinely asking for help and no one is under any obligation to give it. I like helping people, and other writers are a fantastic group of people!

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How to Have a Great Editor/Author Relationship

How to Have a Great Editor/Author Relationship

JS, Medium, writing

I see authors getting frustrated. “Just tell me how much editing will cost!” They cry, annoyed at vague or incomplete answers.

The editors are sitting on the other end of the email chain despairingly, grumbling in annoyance, “How long is your book??”

As an editor, an author, and an employee of a publishing firm, I think I can clear this right up.

Authors: there is no set cost for editing. Editing depends on many factors, but the two main ones are:

  • Wordcount (length of book)
  • Type of editing desired (there is more than one)

These two things are extremely important. A 30,000-word book will take far less time to edit than a 100,000-word book, which is why there are significant price differences.

Generally, the cost of editing comes down to how much TIME it will take the editor to completely edit your book. They will estimate number of hours for the project, multiply that by their hourly fee, and that’s your price.

There are two main types of book editing that happens after the book is written.

  • Copyediting: This is general proofreading. Correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, and word usage while preserving the meaning and voice of the author. Checking for overall clarity and consistency of format and style.
  • Substantive/developmental Editing: Sometimes these words are used interchangeably. This is a more in-depth edit, including checking for plot holes, asking questions, looking for plot consistency, suggestions on word changes, restructuring paragraphs or sections, asking questions of the author to create better clarity of the story, and can even include consulting on titles, cover design, and more.

Editors: the authors don’t understand editing as well as you do, have patience. They are also incredibly nervous about handing over their book — a piece of their soul — to someone and not knowing what happens next.

How can you alleviate their fears?

First, be open about your process. Tell the authors exactly what they can expect from you, how your process works, the types and number of check-ins and progress updates you’ll do.

Second, take the time to really discuss the different types of editing with your authors and your timeline and deadlines.

Thirdly, remember how it was for you, and be open to answering a million questions and getting to know your author. Ask questions, be honest, and really be a part of the process of their book, not just a side quest.

Try to be collaborative. I like to edit in a Google doc, so that the author can pop in and out, make suggestions, answer questions from me, and be constantly aware of anything happening to their book.

This has served me well and allowed a symbiotic author/editor relationship. It also makes sure that the author is not surprised by any changes I make, as they can see it happening and make the final call.

Your editing is great, but the final product needs to be something the author is excited about and proud of, too.

 

Authors: You are allowed to say no to editor suggestions (though not if it is a grammatical error. We feel strongly about those.). When it comes to style and wording, your preference wins.

Editors: Authors are allowed to say no to suggestions in style and wording, and you’re not allowed to feel bad or take it personally. Their book, their story, their voice.

 

Is this helpful? Do you have questions? What is your relationship with your editor like?

 

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