Over the last week, I received an object lesson in how important trust and honesty are when you are a freelancer. I contracted a local fellow to paint my home and the experience has been less than satisfactory. But it’s been a great reminder and learning opportunity.
The last month has brought me a challenge that, until now, I’d not had to deal with in my freelance business. Several jobs that were booked with regular, reliable clients were cancelled meaning that my work and financial planning were laid to waste.
Setting a rate when you’re dealing with a new client can be a tricky task. On one hand you want to ensure that you’re paid a reasonable rate but you don’t want to give them sticker shock and scare them off.
Is writing and self-publishing an e-book worthwhile? For every success story there are thousands of writers who sell fewer than 500 copies and make nothing. If you’re planning to write a book – be clear in your objectives and make sure they are realistic.
A recent article on how an Amazon bestseller made nothing has me thinking about whether writing and self-publishing an e-book is a worthwhile pursuit. Almost everyone I know who considers themselves to be a competent or better practitioner of their craft thinks that they ought to write a book about their expertise. But for every Twyla Tharp (I recommend reading The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life) there are thousands of writers who sell fewer than 500 copies and make almost nothing from their labour.
Patrick Wensick’s story is important. Despite landing near the top of Amazon’s best seller list and outselling The Hunger Games for a while he made just $12000. That sounds good but it’s a pittance if you consider that’s a pre-tax number for work that took hundreds of hours to complete. Based on my system for setting a pay rate it’s not a good return on investment.
Like anything you do in your business, you need to consider whether the time you invest is going to deliver a worthwhile return. Writing a book is not a trivial exercise – I’m close to finishing a book and I’ve invested many hours that I could have spent doing any number of other things – so you need to do it for good reasons.
Expecting to publish and wait for someone to fill your money bath is not a good reason.
Allison Tait recently wrote about The Business of Writing: How to be an authorpreneur. Her advice is sensible. A well written and edited book can be an exceptionally powerful marketing and promotional tool. But you need to include it as part of a well thought out plan. It’s not like Field of Dreams where if you build it they will come.
Writing a book and becoming a published author is a great ego boost. But a big ego doesn’t pay the bills.
If you’re planning to write a book and get into self-publishing – be clear in your objectives and make sure they are realistic.
Setting a rate – it’s one of the first things all freelancers need to do. If you don;t know how much you want to be paid, there’s no way of knowing whether the work you do will help pay the bills.
Setting a rate – it’s one of the first things all freelancers need to do. If you don’t know how much you want to be paid, there’s no way of knowing whether the work you do will help pay the bills.
Although I’ve written about setting a rate before, I’ve put together a couple of additional resources.
The first is a video that runs through a short presentation. The slides are also available on Slideshare or you can download them as a PDF from Setting an Hourly Rate [1.7MB PDF].