Tips for the Business of Writing

by | February 25, 2020
  • Remember today’s strict privacy laws. Forward client/colleague emails only with permission.
  • If you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize and fix it as best you can. Avoid the blame game – take responsibility for your actions.
  • Keep on good terms with clients so they will recommend you to others.
  • Be patient. People in business are stressed. Taking offense at something someone says is a decision on your part. Sometimes it’s best to bite your tongue. Make the customer think he/she is always right.
  • Avoid putting clients on your I-think-this-is-funny/touching/important or I-want-to-share-this-virus-warning-with-you bulk e-mail list. As an editor, it ticks me off when people assume I want to get these messages. I already get more emails a day than I can handle.
  • Make the most of every opportunity. I have been teaching creative writing for years, during many of which I was editing numerous publications. Only a couple people ever queried me with ideas for the magazines and newspaper sections I edited.
  • Do what you say you’re going to do. This will get you more business than any advertising or social networking.
  • To be fair to others in the publishing chain (editor, layout person, printer, etc.), come in on deadline and within the word count allotted.
  • Make it easy to do business with you. For example, on your invoice, include “Make cheque payable to…” and let clients know ahead of time when you will be away or unavailable for work.
  • Treat layout people well – they make what you write look great. BUT – if you are proofreading, check titles and cutlines carefully; layout artists sometimes key those in and make typos.
  • Charge enough to make a decent amount of money per hour. If a client won’t pay it, assume that person/company is not in your target market and move on.
  • Avoid procrastinating invoicing. It’s a pain for most of us right-brainers, but regular invoicing by freelancers is necessary for cash flow.
  • Be honest in business. If you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize and do what you can to remedy the situation. Then move on.
  • If you’re going to give away writing, offer it to a charitable or non-profit organization rather than a for-profit publication or business.