freelance editingDr. Freelance: I just received feedback from an author about the draft I edited, and I detected he was a little upset/surprised at the number of changes I made to his book. I suppose I could have warned him, but do you have any other suggestions to help take the sting out of the process?—Seeing Red

Red, at the risk of mixing sports, entertainment, and work metaphors, I’m reminded of Tom Hanks’s character Jimmy Dugan in A League of Our Own: “There’s no crying in baseball!” There’s no crying in freelance editing, or there shouldn’t be. [read more…]


overcommitting freelanceDear Dr. Freelance: I have a freelance client that I’ll describe as a “phantom client”—I’d had some challenges with him, but he recently paid me for everything he owed. He’d been a steady source of work, so I was reluctant to just sever the relationship. While I was waiting, I was contacted about another project, but I had a fear of overcommitting: If the phantom client came back, I was going to be stuck without enough time to do either job right. I ended up sending the polished, customized resume and letter very late, and it was pretty much moot since the potential #2 client had already submitted a bid to the end user. How do I strike the balance between getting good projects, ensuring quality, and not driving myself crazy?—Rachel

Rachel, I look at occasionally being “too busy” as part of the reason I’ve succeeded in my freelance business—in fact, I have a chapter titled “Why I Love Emergency Clients” in The Science, Art and Voodoo of Freelance Pricing and Getting Paid. Last week, I worked 7 long days in a row, late into the evening (which I hate, because I’m a morning person). On top of my freelance jobs, I was trying to finalize a webinar on referral strategies for the Editorial Freelancers Association—not to mention having a car at the mechanic and playing nurse to our dog after he had a bunch of teeth pulled! [read more…]


Freelance referrals gone bad

Referrals—given or received—can be among the most powerful business-builders in your freelance arsenal. As today’s guest post illustrates, however, they come with their own set of responsibilities and conflict resolution requirements. A former client (let’s call him Jim) contacted me and wanted me to work on a new project with him. I didn’t have time and […]

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The hole in my office

It’s been a hard week. We put our loyal Labrador retriever, Bagheera, to sleep on Saturday. There is a hole in my family, my life, and my office.

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4 rules of face to face meetings for a freelancer

I know what you’re thinking: “I hate meeting face to face.” And I also know why: Face-to-face meetings take time and energy. You need to get dressed up. They break up your day inconveniently, especially for a freelancer on deadline. You need to drive to the client’s office or agreed-upon offsite venue, and there will be […]

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Phoenix Holiday Author Event

A quick plug for the Phoenix Holiday Author Event this weekend, December 6th, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at The Pressroom in downtown Phoenix  (441 W. Madison Street). I’ll be among nearly 70 local authors from a wide variety of genres—fiction, children’s, spiritual, business, personal development, and more—signing books and talking books. It’s a great opportunity to meet […]

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Academic malpractice in freelance pricing

Busy day, so just enough time for a quick rant. I met with a colleague for coffee yesterday. She’s a lawyer by trade, with plenty of courtroom experience and a solid background in the technical aspects of writing, but happens to be new to the freelance writing and editing business. At one point she mentioned that […]

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The best way to run a freelance business

I was honored to be the keynote speaker at Communication Central in Rochester, N.Y., in late September, and I was struck, as I networked with the assembled writers, editors, designers, and publishing experts, by the myriad ways people successfully operate a freelance business. (If you’re interested in attending next year, there are roundups of the event here and here, with lots […]

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The wrong way to get freelance jobs

There are countless strategies and places to find freelance jobs, but this week, I received a note that represents a classic example of the wrong way to go about it: soliciting work from other freelancers with whom you have 1) no relationship or 2) no understanding of their businesses. Exhibit A is a pitch I received from out of the […]

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Writing revisions and doing the right thing

I ran into a sticky situation with an editor a few months back over writing revisions for a freelance magazine assignment. I’d written a short travel piece featuring three different locations, and received approval for the text. The art director wasn’t able to secure a free photograph of one of them, however, and I got a call asking for […]

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