Finally Connected

June 4th, 2012

I’ve never been an early adapter. In fact, I’m just the opposite. I tend to wait so long that the bandwagon has almost left before I finally jump on.

I also am averse to the interconnectedness that characterizes the modern world. Social media—why bother? If it weren’t for NAIWE, I wouldn’t even have a blog.

Yet I have been hearing over and over about the value of LinkedIn. So I finally jumped on that bandwagon—long after LinkedIn became popular as a way to connect with other freelance writers and editors and potential clients.

I’ve been on LinkedIn for about 6 weeks now—too early to come to firm conclusions. I will say, though, that I don’t hate it. I appreciate the way seasoned freelancers share their knowledge and experience, especially with those who have less experience. I like the concept of being able to pose a question and, possibly, get responses in a matter of hours.

Several people have mentioned my books in LinkedIn groups, and I’ve seen immediate increases in sales. When I post a comment about my books, nothing happens. Clearly, members want to hear unbiased opinions before they take the next step. That makes me wonder if anyone can actually succeed in self-promotion using social media.

With so many people participating in the same forums, I can’t see how job opportunities arise. I’m not actively looking for work on LinkedIn, however, so I am only guessing.

The one thing I most appreciate about the discussions is the lack of time pressure. Some threads have been open for months, and people are still talking about the topic. I imagine that the delay in some postings is because work takes precedence. That’t a good thing. I’d hate to think that people are connecting through social media rather than making a living.

Let’s Meet at ASJA

April 19th, 2012

I’ll be selling my award-winning book What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants and print copies of Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW (normally available only as an ebook) at the American Society of Journalists and Authors meeting in New York on April 27 and 28. I hope to meet other NAIWE members at the event. Look for my table, and introduce yourself!

NAIWE Pricing Expert Makes Two Appearances in April

April 5th, 2012

April is a busy month for me, with two book-related events.

On Saturday, April 14,  I’m giving a talk on pricing at the 10th Annual Freelance Workshop sponsored by the Delaware Valley Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association. This meeting takes place in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. I’ll also be selling my books What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants and Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW.

I have a table to sell books at the 41st Annual Writers Conference of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. That meeting is on Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28, in New York City.

If you are attending either conference, please look for me. I welcome the opportunity to meet fellow NAIWE members.

More Awards for What to Charge

March 22nd, 2012

My book What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants was one of only two titles to place in multiple categories in the 2011 Reader Views literary awards, which were announced last week. What to Charge tied for first place in the Business/Sales/Economics category and  came in second in the Writing/Publication category.

In November, What to Charge was named a finalist in the USA Best Books 2011 competition, in the Business: Writing & Publishing category.

I am honored that What to Charge is being recognized as a valuable book for operators of small businesses and for those who write professionally.

NAIWE has long recognized the value of this book and has made it available for members to purchase. Just click on http://naiwe.com/bookstore/index.php.

 

 

Lessons in Book Promotion

March 2nd, 2012

For the first week or so in the life of my new e-book, Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW, I did no promotion. I was curious to see how many people would find it simply by searching Amazon. None did, or at least none bought it.

Then I sent an email to about 20 people with strong followings and websites with good participation. I described the book and offered a pdf. Most accepted. Two posted a notice about the book immediately.

I watched the sales figures climb steadily over the next five days. As the numbers started to inch up, I became obsessive, logging in to my Kindle account several times a day. 0…11…20…28…33…42…48…53…55. It was a thrilling ride.

Besides offering quick guidance on setting a price for a particular job, the new e-book is meant to drive sales of my longer book, What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants. It did. During the same period that Freelance Fee Setting purchases went from 0 to 55, Kindle sales of What to Charge rose from 8 to 20.  

Then it all stopped, as quickly as it began.

Lesson 1: A passive approach to book marketing does not work. The author has to get out the word.

Lesson 2: An author can use a brief, inexpensive e-book to promote sales of another book.

Lesson 3: Book promotion needs to be continuous. When it stops, so do sales.

New Tool for Freelance Fees

February 16th, 2012

Earlier this week my new ebook, Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW, debuted on Kindle. It will soon be available for other ebook readers.

I already wrote one book—many people say THE book—on pricing. So why do another?

Freelance Fee Setting is quite different in scope and purpose from my other book, What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants. Whereas What to Charge deals with the entire gamut of pricing, Freelance Fee Setting is more limited. The new book looks only at the first part of the picture: how to price a particular job. It’s an easy-to-use tool, consisting of many lists to  help a freelancer come up with a price quickly. Fee setting becomes a 1-2-3 process: (1) ask questions to understand the job better; (2) weigh the pros and cons of different methods of pricing; (3) plan a negotiating strategy.

All of these topics also are covered in more detail, with extensive examples, in What to Charge. But a freelancer who has to quickly name a price doesn’t have time to study examples. When a client is waiting impatiently for a quote, a checklist to guide the price-setting process is more useful. That is the motivation behind the new book, Freelance Fee Setting.

Worse than Out-Of-Stock

January 20th, 2012

Earlier this month, the print edition of my book What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants suddenly disappeared from Amazon. It still appears there, but it can be purchased only from third-party vendors, most of whom charge far more than Amazon. Fortunately, NAIWE members don’t have to worry about buying the book, because it is available in NAIWE’s bookstore (http://naiwe.com/bookstore/index.php).

I emailed Amazon about this problem and received a nonsense reply. When I sent a second email, the response was “We are through with this problem.” Well, I wasn’t!

I then contacted my publisher. They began almost daily correspondence with Ingram, the distributor. The CEO even got involved. It’s now two weeks later. Ingram has informed the publisher that they notified Amazon that the book is still available. At last look, though, it still wasn’t on the site.

What to Charge is print on demand. One of the purported benefits of print-on-demand books is that out-of-stock situations don’t occur, because stock doesn’t exist. I have encountered a worse problem than being out of stock: not being available at all.

I still don’t know what caused the problem or if the fault lies with Amazon, Ingram, or the publisher. (My initial thought was that when the publisher sent an announcement to Ingram that the cover was changed to show the Best Books finalist award, they may have sent the wrong message.) But I do know that for several weeks my book has been in limbo. I hope it returns to reality soon!

It Was a Good Year

December 27th, 2011

2011 turned out to be a very good year for my freelance career. Not for my business per se; as an independent writer and editor, I earned only half as much as usual. But I developed new skills and saw much success as I marketed my book What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants.

In any other year, I might be lamenting my low earnings. Not so this year. My intent from the start was to make my ordinary business secondary to marketing the newly published second edition of What to Charge. I worked only half as much on freelance assignments as I typically do and didn’t look aggressively for additional work. Yet I still managed to earn as much as I have in some recession years when I beat the bushes trying to scare up an assignment. This time, I felt no panic. I saw my business heading in a new direction.

Marketing has never been my strong suite; it isn’t for most freelance writers and editors. But promoting What to Charge has been fun! In fact, I don’t remember when I enjoyed myself so much. I’ve made great contacts, some of which (like NAIWE) will be long-term relationships. I’ve had glowing feedback on my book and its messages, culminating in the USA Best Books award.

Beginning in March, I have reached out to about 100 organizations, websites, etc, for freelancers. Almost half have resulted in a personal or virtual appearance. I’ve had only a handful of “not interested” responses.

In less than a year, I have earned back the costs of self-publishing. I had anticipated it would take two years to reach this milestone. However, I’ve spent twice as much in book promotion as I had intended to in the first year. I feel it’s money well spent.

Freelancers buying my book or catching an article or webinar that resulted from my promotional efforts are learning more about pricing issues. I like to think they are becoming better business people. That was my goal in writing the book. That is why I have been marketing it: to spread the word and share what I have learned in my 26-year career. I will continue to do this in 2012.

Pricing Expert Has More Web Appearances

December 5th, 2011

This month I have two more Web appearances.

The first is a teleseminar for the Association of Ghostwriters. The event is live on Tuesday, December 6, at 11 AM EST and can be accessed later by members of the Association of Ghostwriters.

The following week, on Wednesday, December 14, I am a guest of Barbara Saunders, Director of the International Association of Self-Employed Communication Professionals, on her internet radio show Solo Pro Radio (http://www.iasecp.com/solo-pro-radio). The live broadcast takes place at 10 AM Pacific time (1 PM Eastern time). This interview also can be accessed later via the link above.

Life never slows down for independent writers and editors!

“What to Charge” Named Best Book 2011

November 9th, 2011

The second edition of my book What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants was selected as a finalist in the Business: Writing & Publishing category in The USA Best Books 2011 awards sponsored by USA Book News.  This is an especially great honor because all books that first appeared in 2010 and 2011, whether published by a traditional publishing house, an independent press, or a self-publishing venture, were eligible to enter the competition.

NAIWE was one of the first to recognize the value of this book for independent writers and editors. What to Charge was the first book (and at present the only book) to appear in NAIWE’s bookstore. You can purchase it at http://naiwe.com/bookstore/index.php.