The Writer's Mailbag: Installment One-Hundred and One
Let’s Start in on the Next One-hundred, Shall We?
I see no reason why we shouldn’t do it all again. The questions continue to be first-rate and I’m still having fun, so let’s see what this week has in store for us all.
TWO FROM ANN
“What do you do when a series comes to an end? It occurred to me that one could use a different character in the series and see the same story from his or her point of view; would this work? I think it might be too complicated but I'd be interested to hear your view on the matter.”
Ann, I really don’t think that’s complicated at all. In fact, I think it’s refreshing to do that.
A mystery/thriller writer I greatly enjoy, Robert Crais, has a series about a Los Angeles P.I. named Elvis Cole. Occasionally he’ll do a book through the eyes of Cole’s best friend, Joe Pike. Same series but told from two different perspectives, and it is quite effective. I’m actually toying with this idea with my first novel, The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today. I’m thinking of writing a sequel through the eyes of the daughter, and a prequel through another character’s eyes.
Anyway, to answer your question, I see no problem in doing it at all.
Another question from Ann: “During your book signings have you ever had anyone who's been confrontational or rude about your work? On the other hand, has anyone been so complimentary that it's bordered on embarrassing? Just wondered how people react first-hand to your fame - or is it notoriety? Just kidding, notoriety of course!”
No fame at all, Ann, but thank you. I’m attempting to become the greatest writer no one has ever heard of. Wish me luck. LOL
No, I have never had a confrontational encounter at a book signing or reading and no, I’ve never had comments so praising as to be embarrassing. Usually it’s just polite people being supportive and saying nice things, for which I’m very grateful. I’ve actually found complete strangers to be very kind when I’m out in public, and that should be encouraging for all writers.
A helpful resource for writers
Ridiculous Freelance Pay
From Tarunponders: “I began my freelance writing journey around 4 years back. When I started out I signed up with Up work. Looking at the job postings then used to scare me. There were jobs paying a mere 25-50 cents per 100 words. This to me was absurd. As a writer I thought writing was also viewed as a commodity and buyers wanted to buy it as if they were buying vegetables. I had started out then so settled for a mere 1 dollar per 100 words sometimes (never settled for 25 cents jobs though) though my writing was of a much higher quality than the amount paid. Some jobs also paid 2 dollars per 100 words. Having spend 4 years in the industry my writing skills have improved manifold and I can write as good as anyone or maybe better. My question therefore is - Is asking a 4-5 dollar per 100 words a very high price that I am asking for when there are jobs which easily pay 10 dollar onwards per 100 words? Also can you please guide me to some fair resources where they don't discriminate me coz I am an Indian and probably pay me less. I am willing to take a paid membership as long as I get higher paying jobs requisite to my skills. Please do advice based on your experience sites that pay fairly for the writing they get done.”
Tarun, I’m going to answer your first question first because, well, I’m anal that way.
Is asking 4-5 dollars per 100 words a high price? No, not at all! Quite frankly, a good writer is worth five times that much…but…and there’s always a but….can you get that much? That’s the question that needs to be faced. Will the market allow you to ask that much and will the market pay that much? These are supply and demand questions which have been asked for decades by all people who have a service to sell.
Is your product worth that much? Only you can answer that. Your second question asks where you can find better-paying writing jobs, and that is a bit tricky in its answer. I have a freelance friend who believes strongly in Textbroker and makes good money on that site. I’ve found good-paying gigs on Craigslist, believe it or not….but….the best-paying gigs I have are ones I found by walking around my home town and asking business owners. Local businesses like local writers. It’s a face they can relate to and communicate to rather than some stranger with an email address.
Go to this site…..http://www.freelancewriting.com/freelance-writing-jobs.php….and shop around.
And good luck!
From Mary: “I have a question for a future mailbag about editors. Are book editors specific to one genre? Also do they charge by the amount of pages, by hour, or perhaps number of rewrite?”
Mary, in the order of your questions, the answers are sometimes, yes, yes and yes.
Next question please!
I’ve known editors who will only edit science fiction. I’ve known some who will only edit technical books about astronomy, and I’ve known editors who will take any gig thrown at them. Rather than worry about that, try to find an editor with a great track record. Ask who they have worked for in the past and then contact those people and ask their opinion of that editor.
As for charging for an editing job, I’ve seen it done all three ways. $25 per hour…..so much per page…extra charge for re-write….re-write included in original quote. Again, shop around. You’ll get a feel for what is the industry standard once you do a few Google searches.
A very good editor is worth the money they charge. The tough part is finding a very good editor who charges what you can pay. I don’t know many independent writers who can afford top-notch editors, so search as long as it takes to find the perfect marriage.
From Babby: “For the Mailbag: What are your thoughts on writing through grief? Is it possible to be objective enough to glean good stories from our sometimes tragic situations? Can we ever really distance ourselves enough to tell the story? I have a first draft that's been gathering dust for about six years now because it's still too emotionally raw.”
Well my friend, I’m no grief counselor. All I have is my own experience. The biggest loss in my life was the death of my father, when I was twenty, and I’ve written about it several times, and it has helped to write about it, but….and there’s that but again…..it took me literally decades to reach that point in the process. When I was sixty I was ready and not a minute before….so…..
It will happen when it happens for you. In the meantime, take good care of that first draft gathering dust, and one day I’m sure you’ll sit down and allow yourself to tell the story.
A resource on writing from yours truly
And That’s a Wrap
I’ve got things to do. You’ve got things to do. I suggest we all get to doing them.
I’m going to shamelessly tell you that my latest Billy the Kid novella will be released by June 15th. This is a brand-new story, never seen on HubPages, so I thought I’d mention that for those of you who enjoyed the series of short stories here.
And the Writer’s Mailbag Podcast is getting closer to a reality. I’ll let you know when we hit the airwaves.
And that’s it! Have a superb week of writing and living, and I’ll see you next week.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”