The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 190
A Lesson Free of Charge
About two months ago I picked up a new customer, a local farm which sells goat milk products. They are actually nationwide and pretty well known, so it was a nice catch for my freelance writing company.
I wrote blogs for them for a month and then billed them . . . and waited . . . and waited . . . and payment didn’t arrive. I promptly stopped writing the scheduled blogs, contacted their accounting department and eventually was paid in full.
I sent them a letter telling them our arrangement wasn’t going to work out, that I expected prompt payments, and I wished them a great life.
The president of the company called me a week later, asking me to write for them again. Evidently their Google ranking increased during the time I wrote for them, he was very happy with the job I did for them, very sorry for the confusion over payment, blah, blah, and more blah.
I agreed to start writing for them again but only at a higher rate.
Lesson: My time is valuable and I won’t have it wasted.
I just thought I’d share that with you. Now let’s get to the questions.
Blog or Hp?
From Shaloo: “I look forward to reading your mailbags. Do you write anywhere else apart from HP? A personal blog perhaps? Given a choice between a blog and HP, which one would you prefer and why?”
Hello, Shaloo, and thanks for the question. Yes I do! I have two blogs I write on weekly, www.artistrywithwords.com and www.theurbanfarmyardsanctuary.wordpress.com I much prefer writing in the blogs simply because I don’t have to follow guidelines like I do on HP. I can write whatever I want in whatever form I want, and editors have no say in it at all. The rebel in me likes that.
Having said that, I love HP, not because of the money, but because of the community; I have some great online friends because of HP, so I will always be a part of that community, as long as all of you will allow me to hang out with you.
From McKenna: “Happy Monday morning, Bill, and happy Lincoln's birthday! I have a question for next week's Mailbag. If it appears, I'll get to check another item off my bucket list! I'm trying (not very successfully) to write a book, but this is where I always got stuck: re-reading what I wrote. When I put aside a chapter and come back to it, I always think it's awful and I don't want to continue. I don't know if it's actually that bad or if I'm just using it as an excuse for not pushing forward. Actually, this might be more of a question for my therapist than you, but will you give it a go any way? Thanks!”
Good morning McKenna! Well, I really have no opinion on whether you should see a therapist of not. LOL I do have experience with the type of situation you described . . . every single book I write goes something like that. I am never satisfied with what I have written, but at least I now accept the fact that my frailties should never delay the publishing of a book.
I never write a chapter and re-visit it until the entire book is done. That way I eliminate my natural inclination to correct, correct, and correct again. In other words, I simply do not allow my natural inclination towards self-doubt and self-loathing to get in the way of publishing that book. Call it stubbornness if you want, but I refuse to use my own character defects to delay the publishing process.
I’m not saying you have character defects. LOL I’m simply telling you my thoughts regarding similar feelings I have.
In other words, write the book, McKenna!!!!!!
From Shyron: “Here is my question: where do you put a disclaimer?”
Shyron, I’m not aware of any rules regarding disclaimers. Perhaps the Chicago Manual has one, but I’m not reading the damned thing to find out. The conventional way of handling disclaimers is to put in at the front, before the novel, so everyone can see it early on and know you didn’t mean to single anyone out in the novel.
If anyone knows the answer to this question it will be MizB, so perhaps she will enlighten us in the comment section. MizB?
For those of you wondering what a disclaimer is, I guess you could describe it as a way of avoiding defamation. Here is a sample disclaimer:
“This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.”
Two on Self-Publishing
From Venkatachari M: “Does using keywords in the text of my book play any role in fetching audience to my books? This is apart from the keywords filled in the publishing form of Amazon KDP. Another doubt is how can I view my book cover in a paperback edition before it gets printed. The Preview option provides me only with the content of the book. Not the book cover. Your clarifications are requested. Thanks in advance.”
Venkatachari M, thanks for the questions.
No, using keywords in the text of your book does not help in gaining readership. If the book were published entirely online, like in chapters on HP, then it might add a tiny bit to your Google score, but no to those books published on Amazon. At least that is my understanding.
As for your book cover, you have the option of paying something like $2.50 or $3.00 and having a proof copy of your book sent to you before publishing. I always do that so I can see the cover close-up and not just online. It’s worth the money for me and might also be worth it for you.
I hope that helps!
Turning Away Work
From Mary: “I know you have a freelance writing business. Do you ever turn away work?”
Actually, Mary, your question is the reason for the introduction on this Mailbag.
I won’t say yes, all the time, but definitely yes, I do. Sometimes customers are just not a good match for my talents. There is another customer I recently dropped. She was with me for three years but she recently made a demand for me to do a newsletter for her, and I had no desire to do that, so I ended a three-year relationship.
Again, my time is valuable, and I will spend it doing what I enjoy doing.
I’m actually going to write in my writing blog this week about a big refusal I did about four months ago. You might find it interesting to check that out tomorrow. I probably gave up about ten-thousand bucks in that refusal, but it was a decision I’m happy with. You can check it out tomorrow at www.artistrywithwords.com.
MORE NEXT WEEK?
You know how this works. There ain’t no Mailbag unless you ask questions. So far you’ve asked questions for 190 straight weeks, so I’m pretty confident I’ll be talking to you next week.
Have a great week of writing . . . and living!
2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”