She said she appreciated how "transparent" I was when it came to talking about the challenges and rewards of freelancing. I suppose she has a point. I talk about money. I'm honest about what I receive in advances, and I try to educate readers about what royalties are and how they work. I even share the mistakes I make and even post (cringe-worthy) queries and other submissions I've made in the past.
But I admit that I do try to put a positive spin on things. I think part of success--especially when you're self-employed, and especially as a writer (which comes with it all kinds of starving-artist-in-the -garrett connotations)--involves always presenting a positive face to the world.
But I have days where I really don't want to freelance anymore. And like any freelancer, I suffer setbacks. I'm experiencing one now. At the beginning of the summer, I was offered a lucrative ghosting gig--to the tune of $15,000. That's not a lot of money to ghostwrite an entire book, but I had a highly motivated client who agreed to write the draft chapters, based on her research, and then hand them off to me. I would then reorganize, edit, rewrite, and ask for missing/additional information as necessary. It would still be an aggressive deadline but one that I could make, averaging at least one chapter a week to finish the book in less than 12 weeks.
Long story much shorter, I've done a great job. But for reasons outside my control, it looks like I won't be finishing the book. That's a problem for several reasons. First, I set aside the whole summer for this gig (turning down other work in the process), and now I'm looking at about six weeks' worth of lost work time--not to mention a loss of about $9,000.
Losing that expected income is a blow, because I admit I've already mentally spent some (okay, a lot) of that money. I'd planned to pay for our family vacation and to fund some work on our house with it. Plus the gig meant that I didn't have to market my ass off for a few weeks.
But you know what? This is a good reminder that you never count your chickens before they hatch. Within a few hours of getting this news, I had already done three things:
1. Reached out to several potential big projects I'm still in the running for, to remind them that I'm available/interested in the work;
2. Touched base with my handful of regular clients, to drum up new freelance business; and
3. Created a list of new promotion ideas for Improvise Press. One of my latest special offers for readers to buy my super-helpful freelancing books, Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets, and Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money as a Freelance Writer, Second Edition, at a discount produced a surge of sales. With an imminent work slowdown, it's time to reboot those sales and spark new interest in these titles. That will help bring money in in the short-term AND create a successful publishing company in the long-term.
So the latest offer? It's half off these two popular books (two more IP titles are currently in the works! Woo hoo!) if you order directly from Improvise Press and use the discount code CHICKENS (all caps). I'll be shipping books out every day for the next two weeks, so get your orders in soon!
As with all of my special offers, this is only available for a limited time. Coming up next, more advice from the trenches about how to write better queries, get more work, and succeed as a freelancer today.
**Got a freelance question? Comment here and I'll be happy to answer it. :) Thanks for reading, and for supporting my work. :)