Contribute to the SD/PEN Blog!

Working at LaptopThe San Diego Professional Editors Network has a new blog, and all current SD/PEN members are encouraged to submit articles (preferably unpublished) they have written on the topics of editing, writing, grammar, language, publishing, book sale promotion, or marketing a freelance business.

Blog contributors are given a prominent presence on the number one website in the region for editors, and their byline will be linked to their listing in the SD/PEN online directory and/or a personal or business website.

In addition, new blog articles on SD/PEN’s website will be posted on our social media channels and be featured in an upcoming issue of the bi-monthly member newsletter.

Members who are ready to send in a submission or have questions should email us at webmaster@sdpen.com. Note that we reserve the right to copyedit blog submissions and cannot guarantee that every submission will be accepted. We may also suggest revisions.

How My Trip to the EFA Conference Paid for Itself

By Katie Barry

Photo of Empire State Building taken by Katie Barry at EFA ConferenceIn August, I attended the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) conference in New York City. There, I was able to network with colleagues, meet new friends, and learn how to improve my skills as both an editor and a business owner. Immediately upon returning, I successfully applied one of those business-owner lessons, which is paying big dividends!

The EFA conference was a rare opportunity for freelance editors at any stage of their careers to learn and develop new skills while meeting peers. Breakout sessions each day featured a range of topics, including

  • Get More than Money from Your Pricing
  • Inclusive Language
  • Copyediting Fiction
  • Brainstorming to Bring in Better Business
  • Editing for Self-Publishers

The first of those sessions, Get More than Money from Your Pricing, with Jake Poinier (aka Dr. Freelance) was the first breakout session I attended. It also contained the first nugget of wisdom I’ve put into practice since coming home.

Jake asked us to think beyond the rate sheets about four aspects of pricing:

  1. What you need to earn
  2. What you want to earn
  3. What’s the market willing to bear
  4. What’s the value that you deliver

The last point sunk into my brain. I have a long-standing client (Client A) who has been underpaying me for a while. When I started my own business, my need for a steady client (in terms of providing work and promptly paying) justified the lower rate. But as the years have gone by and I’ve gained other clients, my rate for Client A grew more out of line. It had bothered me for a while, but I’d been too timid to force a renegotiation.

Jake reminded me that although it’s fine to assess each client individually, it’s also important to keep in mind the value that you deliver. I know I’ve delivered a good product—for a long time—and that value needed to be recognized on my bottom line. Jake’s session empowered me to not only stand up for what I believed, but also be ready to face the consequences—I might end up with one less client.

The day after I got home from the conference, I drafted an email to Client A saying that although I was grateful for our relationship, I needed to bring my rate for them more in line with that of my other clients. I explained that I hoped we could discuss something that would satisfy both of us. Within the next 24 hours, I am happy to say, we agreed to a new rate (that included a significant bump for me), and we will continue to be partners.

I share this story for two reasons. One, yay me! It took a leap for me to send that email. The fact that I sent it and the story had a happy ending? Icing on the cake! Two, this may not have happened for quite some time had I not attended the conference.

Professional development is something that I believe strongly in. I take courses in writing, editing, marketing, etc. to keep my skillsets sharp. Attending this conference was another piece of my continuing education. In this case, a 1.5-hour session transformed a bitter-turning client relationship into a renewed relationship. My spirits are higher, my savings account will be happier, and that conference will pay for itself within the month.

The next time you’re wondering if that class or workshop is worth your time, stop wondering and GO! The payoffs may not always be as clear and immediate as this experience, but my guess is you’ll find your own piece of wisdom.

Click the following links to read other blogs by Katie Barry:

 

If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

Beware of Online Job Scammers

By Adrienne Moch

 

online-scammer_cropChoosing to be a freelancer is a bold step, especially if you don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in your body. While you may have great talent—as an editor, for our purposes—you may find the marketing side of the business to be rather challenging. For that reason, when you receive an unsolicited offer of a job, you tend to do a happy dance.

Unfortunately, scamming seems to be rampant everywhere on the Internet, so those who choose to secure work from online (and unknown) sources best beware. Those of us who’ve been around for a while—and perhaps have even fallen for something that seemed too good to be true—can usually spot a faker right away. For those of you who are newer to the industry, or are still too trusting to a fault, here are a few things to look out for in email solicitations:

  • Sparse signature. Beware when getting an “out of the blue” job offer from “Stan” or “John,” etc. You’re left with no way to vet the sender. Someone from a legitimate company is going to provide full contact details.
  • Extremely poor writing. Sure, this potential client is allegedly coming to you with editing work, but emails that are close to unintelligible are likely from scammers. Couple this with no contact information, and you should definitely move on.
  • A huge payday offer up front. Like the headline says, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Vague job details with a request to commit right away—especially when the sender ignores your request to schedule a phone call to discuss specifics. Serious clients will be happy to speak with you about their project.
  • Email solicitation isn’t addressed specifically to you. If someone really visited your website and was impressed with your work, that person’s email should start with your name, for example, “Hi, Adrienne.” If that’s not the case, it’s likely a faux job offer sent to scads of people.

Also, don’t let your guard down when screening potential clients through online job boards like Thumbtack. While that service is pretty good at weeding out frauds, some do get through once in a while.

How to Protect Yourself

When you have the chance to do business with a new client who comes to you via the Internet, you must complete thorough due diligence. Here are some things you should do to help protect yourself:

  • Get the contact person’s full name and company so you can check out his or her website. Plus, search to see if any fraud complaints have been filed against the person or the company.
  • Make sure the email address being used seems legit (name@companyname.com or even name@gmail.com, for instance).
  • Ask for the person’s phone number and suggest discussing the job on a call. Many scammers will ignore this request, and you should consider yourself lucky that you didn’t waste any time on them.
  • NEVER provide tax information (like a W-9) or banking information (for direct deposits) to someone you haven’t thoroughly vetted.
  • Use your common sense and run, run, run if something seems fishy to you. Unfortunately, there are plenty of less-than-scrupulous people out there who would like nothing better than to give you grief—and it’s not personal; they’ll try to scam anyone.

SD/PEN Blog Coming Soon!

The San Diego Professional Editors Network is preparing to launch a member blog in the coming weeks. SD/PEN members are encouraged to submit articles (preferably unpublished) they have written on the topics of editing, writing, grammar, language, publishing, book sale promotion, or marketing a freelance business.

Blog contributors will be given a prominent presence on the number one website in the region for editors, and their byline will be linked to their listing in the SD/PEN online directory and/or a personal or business website.

In addition, new blog articles on SD/PEN’s website will be posted on our social media channels and be featured in an upcoming issue of the bi-monthly member newsletter.

Members who are ready to send in a submission or have questions should email us at webmaster@sdpen.com. Note that we reserve the right to copyedit blog submissions and cannot guarantee that every submission will be accepted. We may also suggest revisions.

1 2