After being in the freelance writing and editing business for several years, there are so many things that I have learned in terms of establishing professionalism among clients and the experts. For today’s post, I wanted to focus on helping amateur writers and authors understand the importance of timing when it comes to hiring an editor or any expert for that matter. Before I get into the suggestions, let me highlight why this topic is important to discuss.
Often times, new writers are so anxious to get the entire book publishing going. They make hasty decisions when it comes to certain matters without really considering that book publishing is as much of a professional business as anything else. Establishing yourself as a professional author, whether as a traditional or self-publishing author, is so vital to your book business/career. And as a new writer, it’s important to establish positive, professional relationships so that you and your product can be taken seriously.
Being professional is not something that should only be relegated to the traditional work force, but it should also be a part of your own brand. And if you as the writer have not considered the fact that you are establishing a brand, then you are not as ready to be taken as seriously as you may think. Building your brand, your business, and your products are essential factors that must be founded at the beginning stages; and these factors will come into play as you look to establish positive, professional relationships with experts.
As an example for this blog, I will focus on your need to connect with an editor for your book, mostly because this will be one of the most important relationships to your writing career. For this reason, I want to present some suggestions on why it is important to contact an editor at just the right time. In addition, I want to give some pointers on how to begin the phase of establishing that positive working relationship the first time around.
And as always, let’s grow together!
Earlier this month, I created a blog post about the National Novel Writing Month, and was pleased to come across a few authors that participated in this opportunity. (If you haven't read this post already, head over there and you will find some interesting information about it.)
I was so intrigued by this opportunity that I had hoped to find an author willing to share her experience with my readers. And what a wonderful privilege it is to have as my first blog guest, Author Chelle (pronounced Shell) Ramsey with me to share more about here NANO experience. So, let's begin!
Felecia: Greetings, Chelle! I want to thank you for taking the time to share your experience with my readers. I had some followers who were interested in the NANO opportunity, and I am so pleased to have an author follow-up with my previous post so quickly. To begin, please tell us about you and how you're connected to the writing industry.
Chelle: I write women’s fiction novels with a romantic and inspirational twist. I am happily married and a mother of three children. I am a Southern peach from Atlanta, Georgia. I currently have three published novels available for sale, and I am preparing to release a fourth one, which is book 3 in The House of BeJeweled series, next month. I initially had five novels published. However, after publishing and becoming more educated in the industry, I pulled my first two novels from the shelves. They are undergoing revisions. I have two other novels waiting to be released in the first quarter of 2016 and several projects in progress. I was recently nominated for B.R.A.B. Christian Fiction author of the year and B.R.A.B. Women’s Fiction author of the year. I am also a blogger and I host other authors on my blog to introduce them to other readers, and share their works with a new audience.
Felecia: That's great. As you know, I recently created a blog post about the National Novel Writing Month, and was looking for someone who participates in the event. Can you tell us how you are connected with it, and how would you evaluate your experience so far?
Chelle: I have been writing with Nanowrimo (short for National Novel Writing Month) for the last few years. After losing a laptop and major account information stored on there, I unfortunately had to create a new Nano account this year. This will be my third year writing with them, and the first year attending the in-person Nano events. Nanowrimo enables me to stay focused on my goal of completing a novel. It’s really helpful to have it during the month of November. With the holidays right around the corner, if it weren’t for Nanowrimo, I probably would not get any writing done. Yet, because of Nano, I schedule writing time daily, and my family supports me. Nano is great at helping writers. They provide several hosted write-ins where you can participate online or in person. They also send emails and personal messages to your inbox to keep you focused and encouraged. When you’re at that halfway point and just when you have the tendency to fall off, you’ll surely receive a word of encouragement to keep you on track. The hosts and guest speakers are transparent in the challenges they face as writers, too. Nano offers forums on many topics, where you can post in the threads, meet other writers, and find the answers to your questions. The writers in these forums are supportive and encouraging in their interaction.
Felecia: It sounds like your experience has been very positive, and I am sure that many of my readers would be inclined to participate. How can new writers also engage in this opportunity.
Chelle: New writers and aspiring writers alike can participate in Nanowrimo simply by creating an account and a profile. They will be prompted to give their novel a title and then they can begin to write. I encourage them to update their word count daily in order to attain the badges. It inspires you to keep writing regardless of the obstacles that may pop up along the way.
Felecia: Would you recommend this event to others? And if so, why?
Chelle: I definitely recommend this opportunity to others. This is especially true if you are a procrastinator and have a hard time getting started. Enlisting writing buddies in Nanowrimo will keep you accountable and will help you achieve your goal. You will also feel inspired to write, especially as you rack up the badges and receive daily email alerts about your progress.
Felecia: Wonderful! My readers will want to know what happens to your project once it's completed. And are there any awards or honors for those who complete their novel within the set time frame?
Chelle: I have actually gone on to publish my works on my own. I typically completed my goal within a day or two of the deadline. I would later go back to revise my works, especially if I was more focused on word count than content. Nano also offers support beyond the 30-day challenge for those who need it. Whether it is in editing and revising the novel, or going on to publish it, you can still find the support you need after the process is completed. Nanowrimo organizers provide little badges that you can achieve along the way to celebrate your accomplishments. They are listed on your dashboard to keep you uplifted. When you complete one goal, there’s always another one waiting in the wings to push you to the next level.
At the end, if you win (completing your 50,000-word-count goal and uploading your entire novel to the dashboard,) you can win sweet little prizes such as discounts on publishing packages and writing software. Even if you don’t win and simply participate, you can receive discounts on these items. The discount percentage is larger for the “winners.” There is no limit on the winners. You simply complete your goal and upload your completed manuscript.
Felecia: Perfect! Do you see this opportunity as something that you will continue to do each year?
Chelle: I plan to continue on with this program because it keeps me inspired. I love the write-ins. They allow me to interact with so many other writers from different locations. We participate in timed-writing challenges and then we can select to share what we have written during that time period. It’s competitive, but in a fun and inspiring way.
Felecia: Great! Lastly, what advice do you have for other writers who are interested in writing a novel, and how do you think NANO can help support their efforts?
Chelle: I say write! It doesn’t matter where you are or what resources you have available, just begin to capture your thoughts and ideas before you lose them. If it’s on a napkin in a restaurant, start writing. If it’s in the middle of the night, jump up and write that dream down. I’ve often done this and it led to some great novels, although it was challenging to read my handwriting the next morning after putting on my contacts. (Keep that pen and paper near your bed.) Don’t worry about the editing process, or whether or not it makes sense to someone else. Write what you know, write what you would like to read, and write what you’re passionate about. In the end, you can have BETA readers help you whittle down what works and what doesn’t before sending it on to an editor. In the beginning, just stay focused and write. Capture your heart and imagination on that paper. Using Nano helps you to stay focused on a goal, holds you accountable, and allows you to loosen up during this time. There are so many fun activities to look forward to. Once you create your account and select your region, there will be a list of events hosted in your area to participate. The individuals in your group will keep you encouraged.
Felecia: Chelle, I want to thank you again for sharing your experience with us. Let us know how we can find your works.
Chelle: My website is at wwwwchelleramsey.com. I can also be contacted at email@example.com. My works can be found on Amazon at the following links:
So, there you have it, my dear readers. Please visit Author Chelle Ramsey and purchase a copy or two of her books. Connect with her if you wish to participate in the National Novel Writing Month, if not for this year then next year. And who knows? Maybe one day you can have a featured article on the blog as you discuss your latest novel!
And as always, let's grow together!
Just the other day, I was talking to a potential client about my editing services; and whenever this portion of any consultation arises, there’s always some hesitancy on the writer’s end. That’s completely understandable, especially since the editing process of the book publishing phase can be the most expensive.
Many writers have averted the need to pay for the type of editing that their manuscript truly required; and often times, this has led to a poor execution of the book. I have read self-published books that contained embarrassing errors, which spoke poorly of the writer’s craft. (One writer substituted the name “Satan” with the word “Satin.”) Mistakes likes these can be costly in the end, especially when customers review the work. So, it’s important that every writer obtain the appropriate editing, no matter what! To assist in this, I want to give another suggestion that can allow you to gain the proper editing you need and within your budget. You can always try to negotiate with a potential editor.
Over the years, I have come across a number of potential clients that wanted to use my services, but they were unable to take advantage of them because of my prices. Even though I had persuaded them that their manuscript needed the type of service that I provided, they chose to pay for something else within their smaller price range. Little did they realize that like so many other freelance editors, I was willing to negotiate if they had presented this as an option.
You may be thinking, Well, why didn’t you tell them to negotiate? For me, presenting this as an option to a potential client is more of a sign of desperation on my end. I view it as begging for work, which can diminish the effectiveness of my brand. (This is for me, but surely can be a different feeling or experience for other editors.) But when it comes from a client, I view this as the potential for a powerful business transaction.
Consider how other businesses work with their customers. A few months ago, I contacted Sprint, my wireless carrier, about a charge on my account that I had not agreed to have. When I contacted the customer representative the first time, she gladly removed the charge and wished me well. The following month, the same charge came back, and I proceeded to contact Sprint again to remove it. This time, however, a different representative would not agree to what I wanted. The charge remained, and I eventually paid it; but I was determined to leave a negative feedback with Sprint about my experience. Just last week, I received an email from the company, stating that it was sorry that I did not receive what I wanted, and issued me a $15 credit to my account. To be honest, that simple gesture of $15 made me want to stay with Sprint, regardless of my previous experience. I knew that Sprint could deliver on what I wanted because I understood that negotiating with this organization was not only possible but I was sure to get what I wanted if I simply asked. There is something that I have come to learn as a customer and consumer: Businesses want you!
In like manner, a writer should present a negotiable offer to an editor if he or she is truly willing to work with that editor. In my case, building lasting relationships is priority to me and my business. Building a strong clientele is paramount to my company’s success, and without it, LiyahAmore Publishing would not stand. People are its most precious commodity. If you come across any business with this same philosophy, you will find that those running the company will always be willing to negotiate with you if they want you especially as a client. So consider the following suggestions if you ever decide to negotiate with an editor:
So, I hope these few pointers will encourage you to consider the power of negotiating with an editor about your book. You can even use these same techniques for other expert services such as graphic designs, book layouts, and more. By no means am I guaranteeing that every expert will negotiate with you, but that’s why you will want to generate a list of experts as you move through the manuscript process. But never be afraid to be aggressive in this business. You have the power to create a dynamic business relationship for years to come.
If you can generate more ideas on how to negotiate with experts, leave me a comment on the post.
And as always…Let’s grow together!
The other day, I received a question from a reader who was concerned about publishing his book on his limited income. I thought his question would work well for my next blog post because I know there are many authors and writers who are concerned about the costs associated with publishing. For many people, writing a book is a dream; but that dream is often diminished when the price to put the piece together comes into play. So for today’s post, I wanted to present some suggestions to writers or authors who want to publish a book on a small or limited income. Let’s begin!
Back in 2012, I published my first book, Fear, Faith & Patience, and did so on a budget of about $450-$500. That number included the proof books and other copies that I purchased to sell face-to-face. I would consider this a relatively small budget considering there are other authors that have spent thousands of dollars to have their books published. But it was not easy keeping my project within this price range. Some of the advantages that I had included being an expert writer and editor. This is not something that every author possesses, and for that reason, the costs can rise. Consider the following expenses when it comes to publishing your own book.
(For the sake of this blog post, I will only focus on the cost related to self-publishing. Traditional publishing will be addressed at a later date. In addition, the following prices will reflect my services, which is about the average price for expert services.)
In total, you can spend well over $2000 just to publish the book yourself, mostly because the editing will require a large portion of your budget. But what if you don’t have the funds to pay for these services?
The best thing to do in case you cannot afford these services is to find a way to do the work yourself. If you can put aside the rush to have your book published immediately and take the time to perfect your project, you can create a product that is good and within your limited budget. Here’s how:
You can see that by taking full control over the entire book publishing process, you are able to save a lot of money. But the time you spend is very costly. In essence, you will have to determine what you're willing to spend the most on: the time or the money.
I hope this post was able to give you some advice on how to manage the book publishing process on a limited income. I am sure there are other ways to save money, so if you think of something, leave me a comment below.
And as always, let’s grow together!
Upon first glance, this question might seem a bit out of place considering the fact that most of my readers are looking at freelance work as a viable career option for them. But it’s important that you consider whether or not this is something that you want to do, especially because it’s vastly different than traditional work.
In one of my other posts, I listed a number of benefits that come with working as a freelance writer and editor. But it’s important that my readers also have the cons to this business, which can be just as long as the pros. So, let’s begin.
One of the challenges in working full-time at this job is that you will spend a great deal of time doing other things besides writing or editing. Unlike a traditional job in which the work is provided to you and you complete it, with freelancing, you have to market yourself as well as conduct the work. You have to generate the clientele before you can complete the work. That can take away from the joy of simply writing or editing, but it is necessary if you want to make this business profitable.
Consider another challenge: the inconsistent income. Each month will have its own income based on the clients you receive. For me, it is impossible to project what I will make each month unless I have a long-term contract. For this reason, I have to expand my business to create multiple streams of income. At this point, I am able to generate a steady flow of money because I provide professional development training to adult learners at a career college in Sacramento. Although I do not work as an independent contractor with this company, I am utilizing my expertise as a professional writer and editor for this organization. In addition to working twenty hours a week for the college, I work an additional forty hours per work on the freelancing part. This, my dear readers, brings me to another challenge you will have to face if this is your career choice.
Freelance work is non-stop. If you want to make real money from this business, you have to commit to it longer than the traditional job. No more 9-5. Try 5:00 am to 9:00 pm, if not later. As far as vacation or sick leave goes, just know that the time you take away from your business is money that is going to another freelancer. (This, of course, does not negate you from taking time to rest during the week. I will discuss this in another post.) If you are not willing to put in twelve or more hours a day, then this is not the career for you.
Let’s consider one more con to this profession: the difficulty in separating work from home. While working from home is truly a benefit for most people, it can also be a challenge and obstacle for others. At times, it becomes impossible to set aside the work because you literally live where it lives. It’s not like the traditional job in which you can leave your assignments at the office and return to them later. Instead, as a freelancer, you are constantly confronted by the many assignments that need to be created so that your business can thrive. Of course, this may work well with some individuals; but I have read and even experienced in my own life that balancing work and home life can be difficult. Therefore, if you are not willing to fight through this type of frustration, then freelancing is the not the route for you.
So, I hope this post gave you more perspective in terms of whether or not having your own writing business works best for you. For me, the benefits outweigh the challenges. I understand that I am doing something that will establish a life-long career for me and my daughter. As you think about your possible career choices, consider what you are willing to sacrifice in order to make this dream happen. Leave me a comment below, expressing what you think is another challenge in having a freelance business.
And as always, let’s grow together!
If you are like many writers, finding the right editor for your manuscript can be daunting. While I have never been in this particular situation, my clients have expressed their former apprehensions of hiring someone to work on their project, especially someone they did not know. During my consultations with them, I reassured them that anxiety was a normal part of the publishing process, but that hiring an editor was essential to perfecting their manuscript.
With today’s post, I want to provide some advice to those who are looking or will be looking for an editor for their next book. And while I will always recommend my own services—as would my clients—I understand that I may not be the best fit for your individual project. Nevertheless, there are effective ways to determine which editor is right for you. So, let’s begin!
One of the first things you want to do is to shop around. Generate a list of about five to seven editors that you have interest in working with. This can be done in many ways, but one of the first things you can do is ask other authors who they use. If you know of writers that have gone through the publication process, then using them as a reference is a great way to get what you want. You can also refer to your social media contacts to find an editor. I promote LiyahAmore Publishing on Facebook daily, and in fact, this is where I have received close to 90% of all my clients, past and present. You may be able to run into an editor in this same way, so keep an eye out.
Next, after you have generated a list of editors, visit their websites to look at their prices and the types of services they offer. There are editors who specialize more in some areas than others. This is based primarily on their past experience and the skills they have acquired either on the job or through educational training. You will want to see some of their previous work; and if it is not presented on their website (or on another online portfolio), don’t hesitate to ask them for samples. You should NEVER consider an editor who has nothing to fall back on, no matter how much they charge (which is often a low offer).
Consider your budget before you interview an editor. You need to have a realistic budget that will cover the type of service your manuscript needs. If you know that your work needs developmental editing, please stop looking for a proofreader or content editor. Remember that you want your book to be the best it can be. If, however, you have experience as a writer and know how to properly organize it, then perhaps a copy editor works best for you. The important thing is to know where your work stands in terms of editing, and save enough money to pay for the required service.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have tried to convince some clients that what they needed was not what they expected. For example, some clients only wanted proofreading but their work required developmental editing. When they refused to take my advice, the results were abysmal, and customer reviews of their work were embarrassing. So set your budget according to what you truly need. You'll thank me later.
After you have done your research and established your budget, it is now time to interview your potential editor. At this point, you want to begin thinking about the type of personality you are able to work with, and how that will help create a positive learning and working atmosphere for you both. In my case, I inform my clients that I am an honest, straight-forward editor. I don’t sugar-coat my critiques or suggestions because I know what works best in perfecting their manuscript. I tell them that these suggestions are not personal, and that what is corrected is not meant to destroy their work but rather enhance it. I can assure you: Every client that has received my advice has gone on to produce a great book, even best-sellers. That would not have been possible had they ignored my corrections.
But I realize that my personality may not fit well with everyone. I remember another former client of mine that had difficulty in receiving some of my advice. She felt that I was too hard on her work, and at one point, wanted to avoid paying me. (That’s another blog for another day.) The tension resulted in a negative business relationship; and while we may never work together again, I am glad that I stuck to what I knew best. While she was not too receptive of my personality and style of critiquing, she did take my suggestions into account and applied them to her work. Her book has received great reviews in spite of the tension we had in the editing process. The point in all that is you need to consider beforehand the kind of personality that works best for you; and don’t be afraid to ask the editors about their previous client relationships.
Once you have conducted your interviews, make a decision after you have taken a day or two to process everything. Don’t feel pressured into getting into any contract immediately; at the same time, don’t wait too long. I remember when a client wanted to continue working with me a couple of months after initially speaking with me. By the time she wanted me to do some work for her, I had already committed to another project. I had to basically tell her that she would have to wait longer to have anything done, which displeased her. Keep in mind that an editor’s business is just that: a business. And we tend to clients as we see fit.
Lastly, after you have made a selection about your editor, contact them immediately and in writing. Never rely on verbal communication to create an agreement. If for any reason there are issues that arise later, you will have everything in writing.
If you have any other suggestions on ways to find the right editor, leave a comment in the below section. And as always...
Let’s grow together!
A couple of months ago, I decided to create a blog that would help writers and editors develop their own freelance business; and so far, the readership has been encouraging. For the month of November, my focus is to help get things started, using my own experience as an example for others to follow and to even build upon. One of the questions that many freelancers have is centered on how to generate clients for one’s business. And I think the answers are simpler than one thinks.
Creating a client base is essential to your business, without question. Being able to have repeat clients is even more important because they will continue to provide regular work throughout the year. Below, I will present a list of ways that I was able to generate clients.
Let’s grow together!
As always, my blog posts are designed to explore and share many resources that will help writers and editors create their own business; and for today’s post, I want to give my readers a testament of my experience in landing my first major writing contract. So, enjoy!
It wasn’t until the end of December 2014 when I began to realize just how much I was able to accomplish as a freelance writer while working from home. Whenever I heard the phrase “full-time work,” my assumption was that I would be required to perform traditional work. But 2014 taught me otherwise.
For many people, $18,000 does not seem like very much money. But it was significant for me because it alleviated financial strains within my current situation; and because I was able to work from home, I could save thousands on child care, but that’s another story in another blog.
To begin, let me highlight that having a full-time writing and editing business is more than possible; and the times are changing dramatically that companies are willing to outsource these types of opportunities to cut costs internally. This is great news for anyone who has the skills necessary to complete such tasks. One of the things I want to highlight in this blog was that this contract agreement was for 6-7 months, which required a great deal of flexibility on my part and that of the company’s. So, how was I able to land this single writing contract? Simply put: Indeed.com.
This job site is not only perfect for people looking for legitimate work in the traditional sense; it is also perfect if you want to find work as a freelancer. Back in December 2014, I stumbled across a job announcement, calling for a curriculum writer to complete a semester-long assignment that included lesson plans, assessments, and other activities. When I first applied, I did not expect anything from it. After all, I had never done full-time freelance work of this magnitude; but I was willing to step out on a limb and try it. To my surprise, I received a reply from the Human Resource department. The company, Spider Learning, Inc., had me complete a sample assignment, which I passed. Within a couple of days, I was presented with the five-figure contract.
The work was intense. Although I had experience creating content for my former ELA (English Language Arts) classes, I did not have much experience in writing Social Science curriculum for middle-school students, which was what they needed. The challenge for me was trying to create content for a new audience (middle-school students). But I mastered that after a while. Another challenge to working with the company was the virtual environment. At times, it was difficult to communicate some of the technical trouble I was experiencing; but eventually that all worked out as well. It was such a new experience for me, and one that I will continue to cherish. And it would not have been possible had I not tried something different in my job search.
So, if you’re considering the possibilities of working with a company on a long-term contractual basis, consider using Indeed.com or another job search board to help you land that deal. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with a new opportunity. You will find that the skills you acquire in that experience will be valuable and applicable to your thriving writing business.
Can you think of any other places to land long-term contracts? Leave a comment below and share.
Let’s grow together!
If you’ve never heard about this amazing opportunity, don’t feel alone. I recently came across this movement while searching for content to write for my blog. In keeping in line with my blog’s mission, I want to continue providing resources that will help writers optimize their potential in greater ways. So, I hope you find this information today relevant and useful.
They have a few programs, one of them that works with young writers to help them ignite their creative writing skills. They first began this writing challenge in 1999, and over the years, it has developed into a world-wide movement. It’s an exciting opportunity if you are looking to create a compelling novel within 30 days!
There is SO much more to this opportunity, but I wanted to highlight a couple of the features that I found interesting. Check out their website here to learn more about the organization, and let me know what you think in the comments section. If you decide to participate, contact me to arrange a guest blog post about your progress and experience. I would love to hear about it!
Let's grow together!
build the writing ministry of your dreams
Having the ability to effectively market your books and other products requires that you first have a writing ministry that is built on a solid foundation.
After all, there are millions of new and aspiring Christian Authors who struggle to build a writing ministry that will be inspirational, empowering, and profitable.
But your story can be different.
At LiyahAmore Publishing, we provide the answers to this problem by offering an exclusive training program--the Empowered Writerpreneurs Program--that walks each client through the building and execution of their writing ministry.
As a result of this training through our publishing school, new Christian Authors gain clarity, focus, and a system of operations that transforms them from an amateur writer to a dynamic writerpreneur, one who is able to operate in this calling full-time.
If you want to effectively promote all your books, products, and other resources, then it's time to build a writing ministry that will astound your audience.
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