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Freelancing & Consulting

Get Publishers to “Pre-Approve” Your Manuscript Approach

Posted on: July 23rd, 2013 | No comments 

Here’s a thought for nonfiction authors—particularly in service categories such as business and finance where your book was not acquired for your literary genius. While the pressure of finishing a manuscript against a deadline will always tap some level of emotional exhaustion, in our current publishing age, there is one major uncertainty you can remove from this process: whether you are delivering the manuscript your editor wants.

Many times books are acquired on the basis of a proposal and sample chapters. The publisher’s team will have “liked” some part of the book’s plan, and discussed changing particular sections. In other circumstances, the publisher may say very little about the manuscript.

After acquiring your book, most editors will want to see an early chapter; some will want to see more than one, or see chapters on a regular basis. Despite their good intentions and early engagement, some editors may postpone grappling with your early chapters, and based on a single, sample chapter will urge you to complete the book.

But here’s the catch: months or years later when you hand in your manuscript, that editor may have forgotten all about liking your detailed plan or even signing off on a particular direction. In fact, you may receive extensive edits and requests to restructure the text after submission—which is your editor’s right.  To build more certainty into the review process, work closely with your editor immediately after acquisition to sign off on an early, detailed outline for the final manuscript. Here’s are a few tactics:

  • Submit a full, detailed chapter outline and chapters (when they are ready) after your book deal is completed.
  • Front load a few solid conversations with your editor about the outline and chapters and get comments in writing. By asking your editor for comments on the outline, you’ll

Refreshing Take on Networking – Focus on Values, Beliefs, and Your Authentic, Best Self

Posted on: July 19th, 2013 | No comments 

We did some editorial work for Porter Gale’s book Your Network Is Your Net Worth, published this June by Atria/Simon & Schuster. I was a fan when I was working on it, and I’m a bigger fan now that Porter has done such a masterful job of bringing this book to its fullest potential.

Porter’s book is so invigorating, smart, and approachable to a range of readers—not just self-promoters or people who love to network. It’s a wonderful step-by-step guide (packed with networking tips) for those of us who may be introverted or out of practice socially. I particularly recommend it to writers, creative entrepreneurs, designers—basically anyone planning to bring a book, product, online initiative, or artistic work to the public. I love this passage from the introduction:

“The old way to network involved climbing a ladder while pushing others down or to the side for individual benefit. The past was about competition, pursuit of materialism, and ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’ Networking all about your position in the game and the number of degrees on your resume or titles placed after your name. This process worked for some people, to be sure, but not for most. Thankfully, networking has evolved from a transactional game into a transformational process. It’s not just about ‘who you know,’ it’s about ‘who you are becoming as a person.’”

Among the many intuitive, but you’d-never-thought-of-this-way-by-yourself, networking tips and strategies are:

  • Give Give Get: Porter explains how you can help others professionally while not expecting anything in return, but knowing how to receive help or mentoring when it comes to you.
  • Shake It Up: This strategy focuses on the hidden benefits of making changes to your favorite routines (based in a positive mind set).  Make minor shifts in daily routines such as

How to Negotiate a Good Contract—Essential Tips from The Freelancer’s Bible

Posted on: February 5th, 2013 | No comments 

Every member of free agent nation can avoid headaches and profit financially and personally by reading the new book from Sara Horowitz with Toni Sciarra Poynter—The Freelancer’s Bible (Workman). I’ve read it, loved it, and marked dozens of passages useful to our own goals.

Horowitz is executive director of the Freelancers Union and CEO of the Freelancers Insurance Company; a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” winner; and a pioneer for her work in establishing and advocating protections and services for independent workers. The new book is chock-a-block with tips and guidance on every aspect of being a freelancer or an independent consultant, with parts that include how to get started and find work to how to grow and manage your business.

The Bible’s tips on common contractual issues for freelancers are concise and complete. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Scope and the Deliverables—Clearly define and quantify what you will deliver: nail down specs, and establish processes for reviews and meetings with your client; don’t forget to include a provision for additional work.
  • Approvals—Think about the criteria for completing the project in a satisfactory manner. What approvals will the client have in place? What is the nature of client comments and requests for changes? What is an appropriate revision period?
  • Payment Structure—Horowitz describes various payment structures: payment in regular stages at lower amounts; payment in larger chunks such as half up-front, half at completion; and payment in numerous smaller amounts if you think the client is apprehensive about cash flow. Here’s what I’ve learned: regular, timed payments (monthly, for example) aligned with how the project progresses tends to reinforce the best behaviors and stabilize cash flow. If a client hires you for a complex or unwieldy project that is riskier to complete (for example, ghost writing a