Questions to Ask New Freelance and Ghost Writing Clients

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Let’s face it; every client and project may not be a match made in heaven. To avoid a catastrophe, gather as much information as you can about a client and their project to determine if the relationship/project will be a good match before you send a proposal, quote or bid. This will save you time and headaches in the long run.

Questions to ask New Freelance Writing Clients

1. What exactly is the project? Is it a blog? Do you need articles written? How about a newsletter? Make a client tell you exactly what it is they need and want.

2. Will I receive credit or byline? Some clients may or may not give you a link to your website. It’s your decision as to whether or not you’ll accept the project if the client says, “No, you cannot have a link to your website.”

3. How long is the project? Is it ongoing? Is it one to two months? Ascertain the length of time for a project.

4. Who’s the target audience? Some people need help determining their target audience. If you have a background in marketing, you could become a client’s marketing consultant in addition to their freelance writer.

5. Who owns the rights? Unless you’re writing for a magazine or newspaper (or you write a book), nine times out of ten, a client will retain rights to the written work you provide.

6. How did you hear about me? Clients may have found you through your website, social media websites, direct mail, etc.

7. What questions do you have for me? Of course, a potential new client will have questions for you.

8. My terms are 50% up front and the other half when the project is completed. If a project is month-to-month, I send an invoice at the end-of-the-month. Do these terms work for you?

9. Proposals. If the scope-of-work changes, I’ll submit a change to the scope-of-work proposal. This may affect the ‘original’ fee. Work will not continue unless both of us ‘sign off’ on the proposal. Agree? Disagree?

Tip: A client who isn’t thrilled about answering questions, or is evasive and indecisive indicates they could be a ‘nightmare’ client. They may be highly disorganized or can’t figure out what they want. Also, you may not get paid on time or at all for your work. Have the courage to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Questions to ask New Ghost Writing Clients

1. What are you looking for? A fiction book? A non-fiction book? eBook? Children’s picture book? Short story? Other?

2. How many words is your book? This could be an estimate if the person doesn’t know exactly how many words they want.

3. Who’s the target audience? Again, it’s important to know the target audience.

4. Have you started on your project? Do you have sample chapters for me to look at?

5. Why do you want this book, eBook, short story, etc. written? What is the purpose of it?

6. Why are you considering hiring a ghost writer? Time? Don’t enjoy writing? Focusing on business aspect? Other?

7. What kind of publisher do you hope to be working with? Do you want to sell your book to a traditional publisher, or self-publish it with a print-on-demand service?

8. What is your estimated budget for this project? This is a good way to ‘weed’ out a client who may not be able to pay your fee.

9. What is your deadline? How quickly do you need this material?

10. What voice, style and tone are you looking for? Conversational? Direct?  First, second or third person? Omnipotent? Give explanations of these in case the client may not understand what you mean.

11. If I walked into a bookstore, what section would I find your book? Young adult? Children’s? Self-help? Poetry? Science? Technology? Business? Travel? Other? It’s important to understand and to ascertain if the client understands where they’re book will be in the local or ‘big chain’ bookstore.

12. What authors have books like yours? This gives you a good idea of what a client is looking for.

13. Will I be interviewing anyone for the book? You could interview people for the book if it’s a memoir, self-help, etc.

14. What questions do you have for me? Allow a potential new client to ask you questions. They should ask questions.

15. My payment terms are ___________. Give a client your fee and payment structure. Make sure they’re comfortable with it.

16. How soon would you like to begin? A client may be anxious to begin straightaway. If the client/project feels good, go for it. If not, respectfully decline the project.

The more details you can obtain about a potential, new client the better you’ll be able to ‘tune-into’ whether or not the client and or project is something you want to pursue. Please don’t feel like you have to accept every new client and project. You don’t have to. Listen to your ‘gut instinct’ and say “Yes” or “No” to a ‘new’ client.

Rebecca

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Freelance Writers Share Your Newsletter … Receive More Leads and Referrals

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One of my pet peeves about newsletters is that some of them don’t include social media share buttons. I enjoy sharing useful content with others because it may help them grow their business or learn something new. However, nine times out of ten, newsletters don’t have a ‘share’ button. If I want to share a newsletter on Facebook or Twitter, I have to open my social media websites or Ping.fm, copy, and paste the link. This takes time to do. It’s easier for me to ‘share’ a newsletter when it contains the ‘common’ social media buttons such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; you can add others but these are used by most businesses. Don’t forget to include ‘follow’ buttons. No one can follow you if don’t provide them with links to your social media websites.

Tip: Include a StumbleUpon ‘share’ button in your newsletter. This social media network is driving more traffic than Facebook. Word of caution: StumbleUpon allows adult content. When you share an article or blog, make sure to choose “Yes” because this means your content does not contain adult content.

The next time you send out a newsletter or are writing one for a client, make sure social media icons are visible on the newsletter. If they’re not, add them. It’s important for readers to be able to share your newsletter in addition to following you. Let’s face it; most people are under time constraints. If they have to ‘manually’ open up their Twitter or Facebook, they may not be inclined to share a newsletter. Make it easy for others to share a newsletter by incorporating ‘share’ buttons.

Rebecca

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How a LinkedIn Endorsement Can Hurt Your Freelance Writing Business

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If you’re on LinkedIn, you’re probably familiar with the ‘recommendation’ feature also known as “Please endorse me.” This is a way for your connections to endorse you and your work and vice versa. Is this a good idea? What is the real benefit to you? How can it help you and your freelance and or ghost writing business? Actually, a LinkedIn endorsement can hurt your business.

Tip: If you want a LinkedIn endorsement, personalize the request. Don’t use the generic copy that’s provided in the body of the endorsement because it can annoy and frustrate the person who receives the endorsement request. It shows the receiver you didn’t take time to ‘think’ about asking them for an endorsement; you want and expect them to take time to ‘think’ about writing a well-written LinkedIn endorsement. You may not receive an endorsement.

I’ve been asked to write endorsements for LinkedIn. I like to think about my endorsements before I write them for many reasons. First, I sometimes ask, “Who are you? How do I know you?” Second, there isn’t much of a relationship. If I’m a former co-worker who’s been gone for several or more years, I’m not sure I’m justified to write an endorsement. Can I remember what they were like to work with? How do I know what the person’s work ethic is today? How do I know they show up for work on time and give 120%? What about when you work with someone for a short amount of time? Third, the person uses the ‘generic’ copy provided by LinkedIn. I chuckle at this. Finally, I need to think about what I want to write. I like to write more than two sentences. ~ Rebecca

Before you request LinkedIn endorsements, think about who you want to endorse you and appear on your profile. For example, I’ve read LinkedIn endorsements that are poorly written and or paint an unflattering picture of the person’s work ethic and ability. Endorsements are filled with spacing, grammar, and spelling issues. Or, they read like this, “John Doe worked for me in the marketing department. He showed up on time and met deadlines.” These aren’t professional and don’t help you. Some endorsers spell the person’s name wrong. Can you imagine that? You request a LinkedIn endorsement from a former boss and or client and they spell your name wrong. Yikes! It’s important to proofread endorsements before you accept them. If it’s filled with errors, you can’t correct them. You can send an email (be polite) requesting the endorser correct errors or ignore the endorsement . The other alternative is to hide it.

Writers understand the art and craft of writing. Unfortunately, some people have poorly written LinkedIn endorsements on their profile. They’re not helpful, they’re harmful. ~ Rebecca

Peruse your LinkedIn and endorsements and delete or hide those that are weak. You may want to start over and request recommendations/endorsements from people who truly know you, your strong work ethic, and professionalism. You don’t have to have hundreds of endorsements. It’s better to have five to ten solid endorsements versus 20-30 poorly written and unprofessional ones. These won’t help you or your freelance writing business. They’ll only deter potential clients from hiring you. Be discerning and discriminating with endorsements. Remember, quality is more important than quantity. An endorsement is no different than a blog post — content is king or queen.

Rebecca

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What’s the Difference between Facebook and Twitter?

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Question: I’m beginning to market my freelance writing business. Do I need to use both Facebook and Twitter? What’s the difference? How much time do I need to devote to social media? I want to maintain a balance between writing and marketing.

Answer: Facebook is relationship driven and Twitter is content driven. In order to create a Facebook Fan Page, you need to create a personal and or business account. This can become sticky if you don’t want family and friends to know what you’re up to. Perhaps they’re not supportive of your freelance writing career. Their negativity could sabotage you and your dream. It’s unfortunate but it does happen.

One of the benefits of Twitter is it is straightforward and to the point. You create one account and that’s it. There’s no creating a personal or business page and then a Twitter account. On the flip side, Facebook could be like treading through muddy waters. You have to create a personal and or business page. Then you have to create a fan page. There are more steps involved with Facebook compared to Twitter.

Twitter is about posting links and videos containing important and informative content. However, you can participate in a Twitter chat which is one way of developing relationships. For the most part, Twitter is about content. People look for unique content they could apply to their business or life. This is one reason why followers ‘retweet’ posts.

Facebook is about developing relationships. For example, you probably have a personal page which means you’re probably connecting with people, maybe even family, friends, or groups. When you create a Facebook fan page, it’s important to interact with fans. You could create a contest or post a link to a contest from your website. You could give away a free copy of your book or eBook to the first 100 fans. Get creative but make sure you keep in contact with your fans.

If you choose to use both Facebook and Twitter, make sure you stick to a social media schedule. You don’t have to spend hours every day on your social network sites but spend at least 15-20 minutes per day. While Twitter is mostly about content, there’s no harm in developing relationships with your followers. It may be under 140 characters, but you’d be surprised how your words impact others. Be polite and professional on all of your networks — you never know who’ll be watching you.

Rebecca

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Freelance Writers Market Your Honesty to Clients

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According to the article Telecommuters Are More Honest, Survey Says, “employees who don’t have a boss looking over their shoulder are more honest.” This is great news for freelance writers — use it to your benefit. Think about it. You don’t get paid unless you complete the work. Employees can get paid either way; unless, their place of employment has a ‘three strikes’ and you’re out policy. Point out to clients that you bring value to their organization because you’re a freelancer not a staffer. You’re not caught up in the ‘drama-rama’ of office politics. You’re main purpose is to solve a problem for a client; the secondary purpose is to market your writing business.

Believe it or not, most people appreciate honesty. Clients appreciate it when you’re up front with them. If you can’t meet a deadline, be honest about it. If you’re not strong in writing marketing copy, be honest about it. Don’t string a client a long because it will ‘blow up’ in your face and it’s not professional. You can always learn to write marketing copy and then offer this writing service to clients.

One of the perks of freelance writing is you get to create your own hours. Let’s face it; some writers prefer to write at night (I do, sometimes) and that’s when they do the bulk of their writing. On the flip side, you may prefer to write in the morning. Whatever the case may be, it’s up to you to create and follow your writing schedule. Most clients don’t care when you write as long as you complete their projects on time.

The next time you’re about to deliver your ’30-second elevator pitch‘ to a potential client, make sure you stress the benefits of hiring a freelance writer such as objectivity, attention to deadlines, you don’t get paid unless the project is completed, etc. Drive home that you don’t have the luxury of not completing a project, waiting for a co-worker to pick up the slack. Show off your professionalism and how much you want to solve a client’s problem. Do this and you’ll be hired as the freelance writer. Good luck!

Rebecca

Affirmations for Writers

Success

Do you believe in the power of affirmations? Do you believe in the power of your mind, more importantly the sub-conscious mind? If you can conceive and believe it, you can achieve anything in life. It’s important to only share your dreams with those who are supportive. If you’re surrounded by Negative Nina’s or Negative Nick’s, don’t share your writing aspirations and dreams. Take it from me … Some people will not be sincere or supportive. They may be nice to your face, but they’re probably ‘seething’ inside that you have the guts to go after your dream. Only share your dreams with those who’ll sincerely want you to succeed and reach your goals.

Affirmations for writers

  • I am a writer.
  • I am a published writer.
  • I enjoy writing.
  • I attract the ‘right’ freelance writing clients for me.
  • I attract a kind and honest agent and publisher.
  • I am a talented writer.
  • I love writing.
  • I enjoy the freedom of being a freelance writer.
  • I have plenty of writing ideas.
  • I enjoy pleasant communications with my writing clients.
  • I am a published author.
  • My books are well received by readers.
  • I enjoy greeting and meeting my fans.
  • I am surrounded by supportive people.
  • I have great editors.
  • I earn a comfortable monthly income from my writing.
  • I’m earn royalties from my books.
  • I receive many writing opportunities.
  • My books are made into television series and movies.
  • I sell my screenplay.
  • I have the perfect writing space.

Rebecca

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Welcome to Savvy Writing Careers

My Fellow Writers,

I realized Savvy-Writer (writing website) which showcases my portfolio, became ‘muddled’ with information for clients and writers. This can be confusing for visitors. So … I took my own branding and marketing advice and created Savvy Writing Careers which is for authors and writers; it’s the writer’s companion to Savvy-Writer. I don’t have a problem admitting I should have done this in the first place. Live and learn! Continue reading