An American Editor

September 6, 2019

Discount day for “Be a Better Freelancer”® conference!

Filed under: Editorial Matters — An American Editor @ 10:15 am

To celebrate National Read a Book Day, Communication Central and the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) will allow colleagues to use the early bird rate today for “Gateway to Success,” the 14th annual “Be a Better Freelancer”® conference, October 11-13, 2019, in St. Louis, MO. For speakers, session topics, local attractions and registration info, go to:

http://www.communication-central.com

or:

http://www.naiwe.com

Who knows – your, or your client’s, book might be the one someone reads today!

By the way, the An American Editor blog is among the conference sponsors, in the good company of Intelligent Editing/PerfectIt, Digital Reader and more.

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September 4, 2019

Conference update – deadline for hotel rate, special offer for AAE subscribers

We have a new hotel contact for “Gateway to Success,” the 2019 “Be a Better Freelancer”® conference, who has reminded me that the deadline to use our rate for hotel rooms is September 10. This year’s conference, co-hosted by Communication Central and — for the first time — the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE,) and sponsored in part by Intelligent Editing, home of the popular PerfectIt consistency-checking tool (thank you, Daniel Heuman!), will be held October 11–13, 2019, at the Chase-Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, across the street from gorgeous Forest Park and in the heart of a vibrant, walkable neighborhood of shops, restaurants and even a national chess museum, with a movie theater right in the hotel!

The conference program includes breakfast and lunch on the 11th and 12th, with dinner outings to be arranged as separate activities.

While the early bird deadline has passed, AAE subscribers may use the NAIWE/former conference attendee rates to save on registration. Full details of sessions and speakers can be found at http://www.communication-central.com or http://www.naiwe.com.

Hope to see lots of you there!

On the Basics: The ongoing challenge of finding editorial work

Filed under: Editorial Matters — An American Editor @ 9:35 am

By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, Owner, An American Editor

I’ve started seeing (along with the seemingly constant flow of phony job offers) announcements of new platforms promising to help editorial professionals connect more effectively and efficiently with prospective clients. Some are more open than others; some have confusing business models. One claimed to only work with the 300 “best” editors, with a model that involves somehow pitting them against each other through a process being called consensus editing. The creator of another was planning to charge an editor $50/month to participate, as far as I could tell, and asked for input on his business model — that is, he wanted editors to pay $50 each to test his business model when it wasn’t even up and running yet. (A request that was roundly scotched, by the way.)

These may not be outright scams, but they are among the many sites or companies supposedly trying to put editors and clients together. The savvy entrepreneurs who come up with such “services” are taking advantage of the many people who are desperate for income or portfolio-building projects because they don’t have the experience and networking contacts for better types of clients and projects, or who are more hobbyists than professionals and willing to work for peanuts for the fun of being published somewhere — anywhere. Some of these sites charge the editors to participate, some don’t. Most of them profit from fees paid by both authors and editors.

Some of the more-established ones are being called helpful in creating regular streams of work for editors and our colleagues in other skillsets. Others are considered scams of some sort.

The problem with most of these, both established and startup, is that they usually don’t pay very well. That may not be an issue for people who are just starting out; even low-paying jobs do help you build a portfolio and experience. The low fees also might be acceptable even to more-experienced colleagues who appreciate (or desperately need) a steady flow of income, or a few bucks to fill in the gaps between better-paying projects. Some of them have more-demanding, micro-management-style oversight systems than others, and their critiques aren’t always as helpful (or accurate) as we might like.

Because the legitimate versions of these businesses do find favor with colleagues, they will continue to proliferate. As long as you know the limits and accept the pay rates or overbearing oversight, working for them is no real problem. It might be more profitable, though, to spend some of that time and effort on looking for better clients, even though doing that can be daunting.

Better options

For many of us, the best source of new and well-paying work is word of mouth or referrals from existing and previous clients. Of course, if you’re new to the field, you may not have such resources. Those resources include:

  • Membership in professional associations for your editorial niche,
  • Environments like this blog where you can “meet” colleagues and display your knowledge in comments or guest posts (contact me if you have an idea for a guest column),
  • Participation in professional groups at LinkedIn and Facebook,
  • Your own website to showcase your skills and experience,
  • Current and past clients, and colleagues, for testimonials and recommendations or referrals,
  • Cold queries,
  • Conference attendance where you interact with colleagues in person (because they’re more likely to remember you if you’ve met in the real world) or encounter people looking for freelancers, etc.

Several colleagues over the years have said that telling current clients you have a vacation coming up is practically a guarantee that you’ll hear from people with urgent “Please do this before you leave!” projects who might not have contacted you otherwise.

Another good tactic is to contact past clients every so often to share something relevant to their business, or just to say hello, as a reminder that you exist. When I’ve done that, at least one client has said something like, “Oh, what great timing — you made me realize that we could use your help on such-and-such an upcoming or new project!”

If there are any people in your network of past colleagues whom you haven’t told about your freelance or independent editorial business and services, now is the time to do so. People who know and respect you from working together can be a great source of new business. If they don’t need you (or can’t afford you), they may well know people who do — but you might have to let them know (a) that you’re available and (b) what you offer. They might assume that you’re too busy for new clients or projects, or not be sure of what you want to do in your freelance role.

Platforms like LinkedIn can be quite useful; their ProFinder service has yielded a couple of worthwhile projects, and I’m told that their paid service can be a good investment as well. Signing on with temp agencies also can work in our favor, depending on the agency and its understanding of what we do.

A little light

Despite the proliferation of often-questionable outlets for freelance work, there is good news. In the same week as pitches from the two newest such “services” popped up, I got a call from someone local (St. Louis, MO) who wants to start a new publishing company and turned out to be legit. That, at least, promises to be useful by generating actual work for me as a consultant and for any editors, book designers, layout professionals, etc., who work with him. How did he find me? Through my website. That experience will fuel my website presentation at “Gateway to Success,” this year’s Communication Central “Be a Better Freelancer”® conference (www.communication-central.com, www.naiwe.com) — in partnership with the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) for the first time — keep it in mind!

In recent weeks, I landed two new projects through Facebook business groups, and I just got a message from a long-time editing client who wanted to know if I’d be interested in writing an ongoing column for his business. Would I ever! I’ve also seen posts from colleagues recently who got new projects or clients by being listed in an association membership directory.

There are ways to find freelance work that does pay a decent rate. Don’t let the cheapskates get you down!

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is an award-winning provider of editorial and publishing services for publications, independent authors, publishers, associations, nonprofits and companies worldwide, and the editor-in-chief and— as of 2019 — owner of An American Editor. She also hosts the annual Communication Central “Be a Better Freelancer”® conference for colleagues (www.communication-central.com), this year co-hosted with the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (www.naiwe.com). She can be reached at Ruth@writerruth.com or Ruth.Thaler-Carter@AnAmericanEditor.com.

September 2, 2019

On the Basics — Why a website? Highlights of a conference session

Filed under: Editorial Matters — An American Editor @ 10:24 am

By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, Communication Central owner and
NAIWE Board of Experts member for Networking; An American Editor owner

As some of you may have seen if you belong to the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE), I’m looking forward to talking about websites for freelancers at “Gateway to Success,” this year’s “Be a Better Freelancer® conference, coming up October 11–13, 2019, in St. Louis. This is the 14th offering of the conference, the first time it’s been held beyond the East Coast, and the first-ever partnership between Communication Central and NAIWE.

AAE subscribers may use the NAIWE/past attendee rate. The early bird closes on September 3; hotel reservations must be made by September 10 (you won’t be charged until you arrive, but the conference rate ends on that date).

This topic is always fun to discuss because there’s always something new in the world of creating and managing websites, and because it lends itself so well to graphics and illustrations. It’s also fun to share what doesn’t work in a website, alongside what does make an effective site to promote your freelance business.

It’s become common knowledge that freelancers in any skill set need websites to build and support our business efforts. Sure, you can promote your business at LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, but a website is important because:

  • It’s all yours; no one else controls or limits how it looks and what it presents.
  • It helps you be found — it comes up when someone searches for the skills and services you provide. That’s especially important for anyone starting out, because unknown freelancers won’t be found by their names.
  • It gives you a permanent e-mail address.
  • It’s flexible — you can choose what to post, what and when to update it, the amount of information you provide, etc.
  • It speaks for you with clients who aren’t local — it’s your portfolio in an era when you probably will work with more clients who aren’t in your geographic area than ones who are, whom you aren’t likely to meet in person to show your work samples.

Even if you already have a website for your freelance services, it can probably benefit from insights to be offered at this session. You might gain new resources for making it look or read better, and more effective at getting you business and educating prospective clients about who you are and how you work. Depending on timing, we might even do critiques of participants’ websites.

Think of your website as the base and office of your freelance business. It’s your showroom. It’s your path to being a better freelancer!

The conference as a whole is an invaluable resource of information about creating, enhancing and managing a freelance editorial business, no matter what your skills and services might be, and where you are on the thinking about-launching-having-enhancing your business. And freelancing is a business; a perspective that many people find difficult to embrace, but that is essential to success.

To benefit from this session — and many other ones featuring respected colleagues from around the country — by registering for the conference, go to https://naiwe.com/conference/. We hope to see you there!

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is an award-winning provider of editorial and publishing services for publications, independent authors, publishers, associations, nonprofits and companies worldwide, and the editor-in-chief and — as of 2019 — owner of An American Editor. She also hosts the annual Communication Central “Be a Better Freelancer”® conference for colleagues (www.communication-central.com), this year co-hosted with the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (www.naiwe.com). She can be reached at Ruth@writerruth.com or Ruth.Thaler-Carter@AnAmericanEditor.com.

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