Tag Archives: business

Know When to Say No – Seeing a Bad Writing Job Coming


Every writer works for money. If you know a writer who doesn’t have an outside job and is working at writing as a business and they say that they aren’t working for the money…call BS. We all need to eat right? I admit it; I am in it to some degree for the cash flow. I have bills, and kids and bills and did I mention the kids? Living in today’s world requires that you have a certain cash flow; if you are making that cash flow with your writing well all the better then.

So how does one make money with their writing? The answer is as complicated as there are jobs out there for writers to do. I ghost write books and articles, I blog, I write ad copy, I do resumes, I write letters (both personal and business) and all while working on my own books which tend to sell pretty well. This is just a small list; it goes on and on. When you are a writer you have to take the work where you can get it until you start selling those blockbuster novels. Often times the work is there but it is small and it takes a lot of those little jobs to equal a paycheck from….say…7-11. The small jobs aren’t so bad until you discover that many of them end up being non-paying gigs. And to make matters worse, even some of the big writing jobs can turn out to be nothing but a solid waste of time.

Case in point…yesterday I received an e-mail from a potential client. I have ads up on job sites as well as my regular website and this blog offering my writing services. Now and again I get a bite on those sites and yesterday the potential client had been to my entire platform. They appeared to like what they saw in my work and were now offering me a 6 month writing job. At first I was thinking, “whoo hoo” but then I came back down to reality and started researching the client. What I discovered was that this writing job was not for me at all. Sure the money would have been good but the client was an intimacy coach who was requiring that the person hired be “comfortable” with fantasy. Turns out the job was ghosting a platform for a new writer but also someone who could (and would) “service” her other needs too. I’m getting married in 2 weeks and I don’t think I would have gotten this job by the spouse. I declined the job.

My point in sharing this is that there will be all kinds of writing jobs that come along but you have to be able to determine if they are the right job for you or if the person is honest enough to pay you in the end. Even more importantly you have to be able to turn down a job when your instincts tell you not to take it. Sure I could have used the money on that last one but I also want to go through with the wedding so…there was my decision. I still get taken from time to time and it is frustrating but over the years I have learned to weed out the bad ones. I do some online research and I ask a lot of questions before taking a job…I have to, my time is valuable and so is yours so take the time to really consider those jobs you take and listen to your inner writer…you will know when it’s good and when it’s not.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Posted by on May 30, 2023 in Business of Writing, Writing


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For Sale……ME!

Self-promotion…it’s a scary phrase. My reaction when I was a young writer just starting out was, “I have to do what???” I didn’t want any part of self-promotion. Why should I have to do that? I’m a writer after all. I don’t sell things; I write!

And that attitude is all fine and well, unless you actually want to make a living writing. I mean if you are independently wealthy and don’t rely on your writing in order to hit the drive thru at Taco Bell…go ahead…don’t tell anyone how special your work is. As for me…well my writing has to feed my family, buy my sweats in the winter and keep the electricity on. Self-promotion is a fact of my life.

So how does it work…this self-promotion? (It sounds so…well…you know…) First and foremost, a writer has to write, but then they have to sell themselves. We have to be able to convince people that we are worth taking a gander at. And then we have to convince them that we are worth their investing their time and money into us. After all, when a writer is selling their work, it is, in a sense, selling themselves.

There are a lot of ways that writers sell their selves.

  • When you write a blog - you are coaxing people to follow you and maybe buy your work. Your blog is one way you get your readers attention. Sort of a “hey, look at me” thing. Followers equate to readers which equates to word of mouth. Word of mouth=Good!
  • When you pitch a magazine-you are convincing the editor that you have the qualifications to write for their magazine. That query is your how-do-you-do handshake. You have to make sure that it is a firm handshake otherwise the editor will move on to the next writer. You have to yell “pick me, pick me” louder than the rest.
  • When you query an agent or publisher- You are selling an idea or a novel. You are telling this person, that you probably don’t know, that your work is worth taking a look at. Your book proposal is the make-up you dawn every morning…a way to say, “see….aren’t I purty???”
  • When you leave a comment on a blog, Facebook or Twitter-Even when you are leaving these you should be selling yourself. You best face forward all the time means potential attention to who you are and who you are is your work. When you comment on certain social media sites think about what you are putting out there.  These days those comments can come back to haunt you so why not make them work for you too?

These are just a few ways that we can self-promote and although I know that the thought of doing so can make you a bit queasy…get over it. You have a duty to put your best face out there so that your work can be shared with the world.  Heck you have a bit or a moral obligation of sorts. So think about how you can self-promote and then just do it…then pay a bill with your rewards when your work sells…or go to Taco Bell…because sometimes…. getting a burrito makes it all worthwhile. (I am in no way promoting Taco Bell…in fact, I can’t stand it, but it was funnier than Wendy’s)



© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Posted by on August 4, 2022 in Business of Writing


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You Want Me to Do What for How Much?

Getting paid…this is a sore spot for me but the person who pisses me off most when it comes to getting paid for my writing isn’t the client…it’s me. When it comes to money, I really hate the decisions that I make.

Dealing with the money aspect of writing is probably the hardest thing for any writer to deal with. First, there is the concept of having to put a monetary value to your writing in the first place. What’s my writing worth? My blood, sweat and tears? All those sleepless nights trying to make the chapters work? All those missed episodes of the Big Bang Theory? (Guilty pleasure) Hell, I don’t know…a million dollars? It’s as hard for us to put a price on our work as it is to Velcro jello to your brother’s forehead. (there’s an image) For the writer it is about the work not the business but, to be honest, without the business aspect of it all, the support for the writing is just not there. (It’s hard to live on Ho Ho’s and drink boxes, I’ve tried) The business side is a necessary evil.

I under charge. In fact, I notoriously under charge. Then I get irritated because the client doesn’t “appreciate” my work and pay me more. I stomp around the house complaining that I’m unappreciated and underpaid and damn it, why do people treat me that way? (Seriously, I do this) The truth is I am the reason I am underpaid. If I just set my prices to meet the needs of me, I wouldn’t have to complain. As a writer you can’t fall on your sword and not expect the client to go “whoo hoo”. They are getting a deal and that’s okay with them. So why do we do it? Why do we undercharge? I can tell you why I do…insecurity.

Yep I often undercharge because I am afraid that if I set my prices where they need to be, the client will run screaming to the next writer. ALL writers feel this way. There is also the fact that most clients don’t get it either. They want to pay practically nothing for your hard work and the reasoning they use is that they don’t “see” you work. It’s hard to argue that a construction worker doesn’t earn his pay because eventually you get to step inside their actual work. Writing is often times a work in progress and most folks have a hard time seeing progression work as tangible so they want to pay you at the end of a project, which doesn’t work when you have to buy Ho Ho’s for the family.

So what’s a writer to do? First, charge what your work is worth. There are lots of guidelines out there, one is in the Writer’s Market, and so you can determine what the market charges. Second, use contracts and stick to them. I recently dropped my prices for a client I have been working with for over 6 years. He was having issues and so I figured I’d help out; that was 6 months ago and guess what, he hasn’t suggested reinstating my original prices….I don’t think he will either. I am going to just have to start charging the original prices on my own, which is uncomfortable but necessary. My writing is worth it. Third, remember that although your writing is personal, business is business. I have had to learn that the hard way, especially lately. I have spent more than one evening crying to my beer because my feelings were hurt because some client was being cold about a business deal. In the end you have to realize that the while writing makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, for the client it’s just business and that’s all. So write but when you have to charge, make it worth your while….at least make enough for those Ho Ho’s.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Make Business Not Whoopee - How to Keep the Writing Business from Getting Personal

Perhaps I am not the best person right now to dole out advice on this subject because I have recently come through a scrap in regards to the business of writing. But then, perhaps I am the best person to dole out advice on this subject because I have recently come through a scrap in regards to the business of writing.

The business of writing is really tough. Your writing is personal. It is a part of who you are and what you pour onto the page whether it is an article, a novel, a ghost writing project or greeting card lines, it is your blood in its purest form. This is why it is so hard to go about the business aspect; it’s personal from the start. I have a hard time not giving more than I should. I use contracts with large projects but soon after beginning I find myself giving more than I promised and before I know it, I’m in trouble because the client is either expecting more or demanding more. The other thing that makes it that much harder is, because it is personal for me, I get my feelings hurt when a client starts going all “I’m in charge-y” and starts to get mean-spirited about it. In the end, I am on an emotional train I can’t get off of and Denzel Washington is nowhere in sight. (reference to the movie “Unstoppable” for those of you who need to get out more) So how do you write as a business and not get on that train? Here is what I have learned:

Make sure your contract is clear- Remember that your clients don’t really understand the writing process. Although it is frustrating to have to spell everything out, do it, trust me…you will thank me for that one day.

Define the terms – Make sure you define what a first draft is, what a polished draft is and what the finished product is. If you don’t, you are leaving it up to interpretation and that can get to be a very, very bad thing.

Give yourself time – I know that a project should take 6 months but make sure that you tack on some extra time for life to get in the way. Your client isn’t going to understand sick kids, the flu or any other challenges life throws your way.

Make the confidentiality clause go both ways – If you don’t cover yourself you are left open to allow the client to talk about your process. Make sure that the concept goes both ways and then enforce it.

No matter how much you want to, don’t change your process – I recently thought I was putting a client at ease by sharing draft chapters instead of the final draft, it was a mistake. There were all kinds of misunderstandings before it was over. Follow your process and remember that it is business.

Charge what you should – This is the hardest part of the process for me. I never want to feel like I am cheating someone so I end up grossly underbidding a project and screwing myself. Your work and your time are worth the money so set your price in a place that allows you to keep your dignity throughout the process. You have a specialized skill. If a client balks at the price, you don’t need to be working for them.

These are just a few of the things I have learned over the years. There is no room in the business of writing to make it personal. I do realize that, on some level, it will be personal anyways – we can’t help it – but this needs to be something you keep to yourself. Just like with anything else in life, if a client sees that it is personal for you they will take advantage and before you know it you are on that train again screaming for Denzel only to discover that he’s not coming. Protect yourself, your writing, and in the end, your heart, by making sure that business is business.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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