Ann Harth writes on the ups and downs of running a writing business from home.
- Homework for Writers
It's interesting. Utter the word 'homework' to most people under the age of seventeen. You will induce sneers, curled lips and muttered, colourful language. Sighs will escape and heads will shake. Eyes will roll and shoulders will sag. But... homework for writers?
- Know Thyself
You're going to work from home. It's not a decision to be taken lightly, but you've made it. This first giant leap in your journey toward a home business fills you with a sense of freedom, excitement and a touch of fear.
- Freelancing Balance
Just to put you in the picture: I'm sitting beside a river, the sand is warm between my toes, my son is swimming, my husband is fishing. I am working between the occasional 'Yes, I'm watching, Sweetie', and 'Are you sure there's bait on that hook?'
- Saving Time and Sanity
There are hundreds of theories and self-help articles concerned with time management when working from home: Write a Book While Waiting for a Bus; How to Run a Business While Coaching the Under-Tens; Meeting Deadlines While Baby Sleeps; Taking Your Work With You, (the Vet Won't Mind...
- How to Find Writing Work
You are writing full time. You crank out books and articles in your favourite genre and are published consistently. Royalty checks are rushing in so quickly that your next investment will be a larger letterbox. The phone never stops ringing and they're hounding you for more…
- Query Letters Unsolicited
It's finished! Your novel is in its 'resting phase' behind the whirring white noise of your computer. It will wait patiently until you can convince an agent or editor of its brilliance.This can be an exercise in frustration and plummeting self-esteem -- but it doesn't have to be. By following some basic guidelines, your novel can be introduced to the publishing world in a professional and positive manner.
- Querying Magazines
Learning to write exceptional query letters will ensure that invitations to send your article drop into your mailbox with regularity. Not only will you have steady work, but you will also be writing about subjects that interest you. The hardest part will be deciding which article to write first.
- Spreadsheets for Submissions
Have you ever received a 'Dear Author' rejection and found yourself completely mystified? Who are these people? What did I send to them? When? As most of us know, rejections are part of the game. If your work is rejected, you will need to send it out again … and again…. and maybe again. If you have more than one manuscript making the rounds, it would be wise to keep clear records.
- Branching Out
You want to specialise. I know. What could be better than spending the days doing the things you love most and the evenings knocking a few articles together? This can work and, eventually, it may. But when you are first starting out, limiting the work that you accept will limit your opportunities, income and the growth of your own business...
- How Much to Charge for Writing
Before you can send a quote, you must decide what to charge. Setting your fees can be one of the most difficult parts of running a writing business. If you're filled with self-admiration and rank your writing skills up there with those of Stephen King or Harper Lee (ten points if you can tell me what Harper Lee wrote), you won't have a problem asking people to pay for your time.
- Invoicing for Writers
I am assuming that many of you have the same amount of experience with invoices as I did when I started my writing business: That is …none. If I'm wrong, you may want to skip this month's article. If I'm not -- or you just want to see how someone else does it -- read on. My first few paying jobs filled me with inconsistencies: Excitement? Yes. Dreams of a thriving business? Of course. Fear? Most definitely.
- What About a Website
Think of your website a constant, global method of advertising. But before you decide to become a site owner, it may help to define your goals. The following is a list of reasons why many writers take the plunge into the world of websites. Use your imagination. Be creative. Your website can be the entrance to your writing business.
- Working for Free
Should you work for free? If we were discussing a waitressing job or employment as a shop assistant, the answer would be an emphatic 'no'. I have never heard of a self-respecting new employee who would say: Of course I'll work a week for free. Then you can decide if you want to hire me. When we talk about writing for free, this line gets a little hazy. Monetary rewards are not the only payment a writer can receive. Many writers give away their work for various reasons. Some are sensible and sound. Some are not.
- Finding an Agent
Scams within the writing profession seem to be the flavour of the month. This may be due to an increase in actual 'stings' or it could simply be my own perception as I, too, have recently become a member of a select group -- scam victims. I am sharing my experience with burning cheeks and more than a touch of embarrassment (how could I be so naïve?) but if I can help even one person avoid making the mistakes I did, it will be worth it.
- Back Up and Sleep Well
I'm sure there are dozens of methods and programs and software that will help you back-up your work. There are probably even little alarms that will tell when you are due. I don't know about those, but I will tell you what works for me.
- Speaking Without Freaking
In our profession, if we want to be successful, we will probably have to speak in public. Book signings, launches, speaking to groups of school children and groups of our peers can all generate a portion of the income that we need to support our writing habits. Accepting these opportunities can make a huge difference to our careers. So what do you do if the thought of public speaking terrifies you...?