Sunday, 22 March 2009

random ramblings on Mother's Day

It is mothering sunday today, and I allowed my son to creep into bed with me this morning. He then proceded to wake me by throwing up on his own head and then all over me. Happy Mother's Day!

As a sombre twist to Mother's Day, Jade Goody, she of Big Brother fame died this morning. Whether you love her or hate her, you have to shake your head in disbelief at the speed of it. And send hugs to her two little boys.

I have sent a couple of queries to magazines, and am chewing over a small business idea. To the future...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

We all want something for nothing

I was over at fwj yesterday, cradling my slack mouthed jaw in disbelief. Certain visitors to the website, when faced with a, in my mind, courteous post explaining a delay in posting leads complained at the unprofessionalism of having other things to do.

Whether they realise Deb has a full-time job, a family and other blogs to deal with I don't know, but I'm not sure it matters. If you are getting something for nothing, you are up on the deal- if you (temporarily) get nothing for nothing, you are not hard-done by! Rant over.

On another theme of wanting something for nothing, I like to enter fiction competitions, mostly flash or micro fiction, for which there is normally an entry fee. But how much is a reasonable fee? I have heard it said before that paying £10 to enter a competition where the prize is £50 does not make economic sense, but what about different levels of entry fee and prize? Part of me thinks that, by entering a competition, you should be happy that your work is great (I'm sure mine is) and that you stand a good chance of winning, and therefore any entry fee is worthwhile. But the problem with writing is that its appreciation is so subjective- I am aware that Catch 22 is considered a great work, but I just can't get into it. And Brave New World is better than 1984, just not so hyped.

I'm ranting again...

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Well it made me laugh...

I found this on Craigslist and had to share

Hi, I have a pretty cool job I’m offering that's pretty easy to do. It’s a great chance to make a little extra money that you can do right from your computer when you run out of stuff to google. I'm looking for writers who can churn out about 500-1000 words per day (around a couple of times a week). The topic on which is being written is everything concerning property management, HOA management, real estate, home repair, Rent collecting, etc. We realize this isn't the most popular subject in the world, so we’d be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions if you have no clue what the heck “property management” is, or anything about real estate, etc.

We're really looking for people who like to write or don't mind writing to make some money on the side, so you don't have to be a scholar by any means. If you're a decent writer with pretty good punctuation, you're ok. Please tell us how much you would charge. The quality of the written work has to be good, but not great if great means more expensive.

We're looking forward to hearing from you, thank you. We'll be glad to contact you with any and all questions you may have. Thanks again!

I suppose at least they are open and honest about what they want. So if there are any good but not great writers who don't mind writing about a boring subject you don't know anything about...

Thursday, 12 March 2009

busy busy busy

An excuse for sparse posting. Sorry.

I have been toying with the idea of setting up a site that lists job posting available to UK freelance writers and bloggers, just to save the disappointment of finding a really great gig or writing sitebut not being able to do it because you are not in US/Canada.

What do you think? If you stumble past here, let me know if you think it would be useful.

This point (specifically re textbroker) came up in some interesting (but highly charged!) discussions we were having in comment threads over at fwj the past couple of days. Check out the arguments and add your tuppence worth here or here.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The colour of money

There are numerous discussions flying around the Web at any time about how much a freelance writer should a) expect to earn b) actually earn and c) need to earn.

Deb Ng over at fwj recently posted on empowering those new to the business to realise their worth and don't accept rates that, frankly, take the mickey. This, I think, is a good thing, but will not solve the issues entirely, although every little helps!

For instance, I started my attempt to be a freelance writer, sorry a professional freelance writer (I am a writer, I just don’t earn enough to keep myself in bunny slippers) by signing up to elance. Which is great in theory, except $1 is nothing to me, but a great deal to someone in India, meaning I would always be undercut on price.

What we need is for those seeking writing services to realise that you get what you pay for, much like, I don’t know, a shirt. If you want a shirt to wear once or twice, that no-one is going to look at too closely, you might buy one from WalMart or another supermarket for £5. If you want a serviceable professional shirt, you may try Marks and Spencer or a department store and spend £25-£50. If you want the best, you will go to Savile Row or Jermyn Street and pay £hundreds, because you know that shirt will last you as long as required, will look and feel great, and will fit you perfectly, having been crafted just for you by a skilled professional.
The problem with selling writing services is that a) everyone thinks they can do it and b) you can't try before you buy. I know you can provide samples, and testimonials and buyers can get a feel for your writing style, but if you are trying to differentiate on quality and personal service, no-one knows how good a job you will do for them until you do it.

So we're back to that age-old adage, it's not what you know, it's who you know. If you can garner yourself a reputation for providing quality, tailored writing, you will get more, but the only way to get such a reputation is to do some work for people. And until you get that reputation, it is harder to command the highest rates, no matter how good. Which leaves us in a kind of vicious circle…

Monday, Markets and Money

As a pre-cursor to a post I will publish later, I am thinking about money. It makes the world go round as they say and is the root of all evil. If money didn't exist, or if I had none, would I be any happier? I know I currently feel trapped between needing to earn the good wage I command in the 'day job' in order to feed the family and wanting to spend time writing. More on this later. Hopefully someone will read it!

Anyway, Jodee's Monday Markets are in. Interestingly it could be said that all stereotypical women of a certain age are covered- they either have children or cats!