In anticipation of the new baby’s arrival, we’ve all been learning sign language. Babies can sign long before they have the ability to speak. Surprisingly, Max (age 4) has tackled signing with gusto. He can easily learn and remember 5-10 new signs each day. He’s been watching a baby signing video and he’s now teaching all of us new signs. He was signing to me at a lunch last week with some women I’d never met and I had to tell them that, yes, he can speak. He just prefers signing right now. It’s really neat to watch him get so excited about learning something new!
Is writing short articles, 100 – 800 words, worth the effort? Because the money involved is small, one has to question the value of accepting these short assignments. There can be sacrifices involved. Shorts can fragment one’s time, allowing less time for larger projects that bring fatter paychecks. This time fragmentation also can make it harder to meet deadlines.
However, with effective strategy and good time management, short pieces can be additional income producers while paving the way to longer, more lucrative assignments from some editors, while not interfering with your current larger projects.
In 2001, I signed a contract through my agent, and began working with an editor at the publishing house that accepted my proposal. After I delivered the manuscript and received half of my advance, the editor told me that she proposed my manuscript to the company as a hardcover rather than the gifty small book I’d proposed. Great, I thought. The bad news was that it would have to wait another season. Then it was pushed back again because she claimed that she hadn’t figured out what the art should be yet. At that point, we were talking two years. But I didn’t think that meant never.
Richard and I have hired a midwife to deliver the baby at home. It’s a long story that I’ll try to detail next week (I’m a bit behind this week because of the virus). Basically, the local hospitals won’t allow VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean), even if the doctor doesn’t feel it’s in the patient’s best interests to go through that major surgery…
I received the following email last week:
Since my initial entrance into the World of Writing, as I like to call it, I have not generated any sales for my four novels, including the one we, (my wife and I) paid a POD Company $650.00, for what turned out to be a rather bogus list of media outlets and bookstores with which to try and get my latest novel into. I am not looking to get rich overnight, but it would be wonderful to walk into a bookstore and see my novels displayed upon a self.
If you’re wanting to see your book in bookstores, the best way to do that is to get an agent and then try to land a traditional publishing contract.
I really appreciated the advice that was given about writing for non-profits. Here’s the way I put it to the large non-profit I did some editing for last summer, after I was asked if I could donate 30 hours of my time, because the writers I would be working with–all employed by a teaching institution–were donating theirs: “This is how I make a living. I cannot afford to take on a large project for free.”
I did give them a slightly reduced rate, but only because I felt comfortable doing so. I absolutely agree that non-profits need to understand writing is a professional service like any other.
Having said that much, if the non-profit is local and run by volunteers, I may well donate an hour or two of time, because I do believe in giving back to the community, but in that case I’m very up-front about what I will and will not do.
As far as the Red Cross director’s salary–in my humble opinion, no one at all working for any non-profit deserves that kind of salary–it’s not as if they’re paying for their travel, etc., because those are all business expenses. A quarter of that amount, okay, which would put them on a par with university presidents, etc. But they shouldn’t be profiting personally off donations made to help the unfortunate.
Keep up the good work.
Shhhhh. I’ve got a secret to share with you that you may not even know about.
In fact, if you have ever written a book or thought about writing a book, I’m gonna let you in on something that won’t cost you a dime of money, but could produce an incredible opportunity to effectively market your work.
What is this dream plan for building an audience of enthusiastic buyers for your book? Simply put, it’s a blog. What’s that?!
I am an avid reader of your newsletter and it has inspired me to get back into the freelance game this year. I recall seeing a letter for writers who have deadbeat clients who try to get out of paying. However, I’ve searched your site and can’t locate it.
I need it now and wonder if you could direct me to it’s location.
Thanks so much!