Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Preferred Method(s) of Payment

I always had this theory about myself, but it’s been proven in the last few months—tangible items just can’t be beat.

By this I mean—I still don’t have any type of electronic reading device (and doubt I will anytime soon) because I just love holding a book too much. I don’t have to rely on electricity or outside sources to enjoy a book—just open it up and escape. Although I read a lot of news online, to me it still doesn’t compare to having a magazine or newspaper in my hand.

And, I’ve learned, I’m the same way with payments.

I’d been working at a temp job for a few months, and opted for Direct Deposit just for the sake of convenience (same thing with my teaching gig—that’s direct deposit, too).  Payday had the usual thrill just because I knew my bank account was getting a nice bump, but to me it wasn’t the same as getting a paper check and physically going to the bank to deposit it. I think that’s why I was even more excited to get a check for a freelance project!   I have a PayPal account, but if an editor gives me the option to be paid through that or with an actual check, I take the check (did you know PayPal has user fees attached? Me either, but that was another big deal breaker when I found out!) I know, I know--as a freelancer, I should be grateful to be getting paid at all, let alone on time (thank you editors--that's never been an issue here!), but in a perfect world, I'd take an actual paycheck rather than incessantly checking my bank account online.

As a writer, I know that I need to embrace new technology and keep my skills sharp to a certain extent, but in many ways, I’m still very old school. I’m not looking forward to the day when everything is digital and hard copy anything goes the way of the dinosaur—when I have a check in my hand, I don’t know…to me it really feels like I earned that money. Am I a total freak?

What about you? Do you have an affinity for the tangible, or have you gone strictly high-tech with your preferred payment methods?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Life Changers

Last year was a year of Major Changes for me. Little did I know that it would pale in comparison to 2012!

2011 was a year of endings. I said goodbye to my full-time job, my iron-tight grip on this little thing called “control”, and my beloved grandmother. Well, both grandmothers, actually. It was one of those times when things were absolute hell while you were going through them, but once you made it across to the other side, you can see that it was just what you needed.

I can ramble on about everything I've learned in the past few months (and will no doubt do just that in other posts), but I wanted to resurface here for just a moment and reconnect.

So, on to 2012. What have I been up to? Here's a brief recap:

                     I joined the world of the non-self-employed, at least temporarily. I've been working at a technical school, filling in for 2 separate employees, since January. So this meant getting up before the birds (literally), and showering before 3 p.m. My first stint there was a joy; the second had a huge learning curve that made me very nervous. My second “gig” ended about a week ago.

                     My boyfriend and I took our very first “just us” vacation—a 9-day cruise to Bermuda, Boston, and Newport, RI. To say it was a “blast” is an understatement.

                     We got engaged on the above mentioned cruise.

                     I took a very long break from writing, both due to burnout and time limitations. At this time last year my projects were about quantity, which led to burnout. Around Christmas I made a conscious effort to go for quality instead, which meant dropping a few clients, but I'm hoping to focus that time and energy on fewer, bigger, more lucrative projects.

                     I used my non-writing time to do what I've been wanting to do for about 5 years—use the bulk of my free time to read. Without guilt! So worth waiting for.

                     I started practicing yoga. Now I understand what all of the positive buzz has been about. Incredible.

I've spent much of this year continuing to de-clutter—my energy, time, and priorities. My goal is to have a less cram-jammed schedule and spend more time on what I enjoy—family, travel, literature, and writing, of course. It's been an interesting process, but a very necessary one.

What about you? What changes have you made in the last few months? Okay, several months?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review: Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks by Kelly James-Enger

I realize I’m incredibly late to the party as far as the many, many books on building and improving your freelance business go, so I do apologize to those of you who probably read this book years ago. But since diving into freelancing without much of a plan, I’ve been trying to make the time to read the books that I’ve heard positive buzz about.

And Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: The Writer’s Guide to Making Money Ghostwriting and Co-Authoring Books by Kelly James-Enger is certainly buzz-worthy. She offers a clear, step-by-step process for establishing yourself as a ghostwriter, warts and all. While ghostwriting can certainly be a lucrative income stream, some writers may not want to put a major amount of work into a book project and not get any credit for it. This is where co-authoring—collaborating with another writer and seeing both names on the cover—may be a better option.

Enger, who has ghostwritten and co-authored a number of books, provides pointers on what to charge, how to decide on a client (will they be amiable or a total PITA?, will they be easy to reach and accessible or difficult to track down?), how to get down to work with authors (whether as a ghost or a collaborator), assembling book proposals, and how to tackle 10 common problems many ghosters experience.

While I haven’t tackled any book-length projects, I’ve ghostwritten blogs and other materials and my ego was fine with it. Of course, a book is considerably more work, so I think all of the elements would have to be in line before I’d agree to such an arrangement. I could see the pros and cons of both ghosting and co-writing, and I think both come down to one thing: being able to work well with others (and that goes for the collaborator, too). The other person must be willing to pull their share of the weight in order to get the project done, and Enger doesn’t sugar-coat the fact that not all clients are a joy to work with (as any freelancer would agree!) But her suggestions and input for how to deal with different types of roadblocks are helpful, and could be useful for dealing with any type of writing client.

What about you? Have you ever ghosted or co-written a book with another author? Care to share your experiences?