Welcome to THE WELL-FED E-PUB!

The companion monthly ezine to the quadruple-award-winning how-to
guide, “The Well-Fed Writer." Serving up food for thought and tasty tips
for the prospering FLCW*. Come on in, sit anywhere and bring your appetite!

*FLCW, peppered throughout the ezine, stands for “Freelance Commercial
Writer”—anyone who freelances for businesses (vs. writing magazine
articles, short stories, poetry, etc.), typically earns $50-125+ an
hour, and is the sole focus of this e-newsletter.  

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VOLUME 12, ISSUE 6 – JUNE 2013
Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002  
Read it online at HERE!

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ATTN: OHIO, OREGON AND CALIFORNIA FREELANCERS & PUBLISHERS!
I've got six events planned (so far) this summer, starting in late
July, in the above states. For details (which are evolving), click HERE!

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WANT TO BUY “THE WELL-FED WRITER” IN BULK (AND SAVE BIG)?
Have a writer’s group, class or workshop? Buy TWFW at a discount, add
a profit center to your group! Buy more, save more. Details HERE.

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PARTNER WITH DESIGNERS FOR A LOW-EFFORT FLOW OF WRITING JOBS!
Get all the details on a strategy that delivered steady gigs for me for 19+ years!

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NEW 1-ON-1 COACHING PROGRAMS: SAMPLE/SITE REVIEW & “SIDECAR”!
Low-cost peace of mind and guidance. Details HERE!

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Check out The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG! Weigh in on “What You Do When You
Do What You Do”; “Commercial Writing Has Many Faces (as These Unusual
Projects Prove…)”; “Trying to Make the Transition from Employee to
Full-Time Commercial Writer?” & more!

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

I. APPETIZER: WHAT’S THE “CURRENT STATE OF FREELANCING”?
Emailed Question Underscores a Key Way Writers Disempower Themselves

II. “FIELD” GREENS: HAVE YOU LEARNED TO “LOVE THE DREAD”?
NYC FLCW Embraces Her Fear of Cold Calling, Enlists Friends, and Scores!

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: WHY I NEVER QUOTE PROJECTS HOURLY!
Atlanta FLCW Shares All the Reasons Why Flat Rates Boost Bottom Lines

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
IA FLCW Donates Her Time, and The Universe Returns the Favor!
TIP: Yours Truly Discovers Excellent (and Far Cheaper) Substitute for Adobe Acrobat!  

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS
- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  
- GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? Email Me!
- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin!
- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register HERE, Get Bonus CD!
- How Can My Multiple Mentoring Services Serve You?


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I. APPETIZER: WHAT’S THE “CURRENT STATE OF FREELANCING”?
Emailed Question Underscores a Key Way Writers Disempower Themselves

A reader emailed me a question last month, which I’ve gotten many
iterations of over the years. I’m not picking on this person, since,
on the surface, it seems like a perfectly logical premise. But it’s
not, and thinking this way will only sabotage you. They wrote:

In TWFW, you really emphasize the importance of phone prospecting. Ed
Gandia makes a good case for email prospecting in his Warm Email
Prospecting program. I know you wrote Well-Fed Writer long before Ed’s
program came along.

Given the current state of freelancing, do you feel that one type of
prospecting is superior to another? In TWFW, I got the impression you
feel phone prospecting is better than email prospecting.  


My response: I only lead with cold calling in my book because that was
what I was comfortable with, AND, just as importantly, it’s a good
strategy for those starting with few/no contacts/connections.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the economy is determining that
one strategy is better than another. Doesn’t work that way, IMO. All
methods can work just fine (direct mail, cold calling,
in-person/grapevine networking, etc.). Pick which one(s) fit you, and
know that a combination of several is ideal. Social media is another
strategy, but given the low-promotion/profile-building nature of it,
it’s a long-term strategy. You’re not likely to build a business fast with it.

AND don’t fall into another trap: There IS no “current state of
freelancing” (a topic I blogged about a few years back). That implies
some fixed condition inherent to the field of freelancing, and to
which all of us are subject. Just not so. SO not so.

There’s MY state of freelancing, yours and everyone else’s. They all
depend on our respective skill level, marketing savvy, and how
aggressively we go after the business. It explains why, over the past
few years, I’ve heard from plenty of people lamenting how tough it is
right now, and plenty of others telling me they’re having their best
year(s) ever.

Remember my “broken-record” mantra: Since any ONE FLCW needs an
absolutely tiny sliver of the whole enormous copywriting pie out
there, to make a REALLY good living, the state of the economy really
has very little bearing on one person’s success. Unless you think it
does. On that happy note, let’s eat!

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: HAVE YOU LEARNED TO “LOVE THE DREAD”?
NYC FLCW Embraces Her Fear of Cold Calling, Enlists Friends, and Scores!

Got this really fun piece about that seemingly (at the time) deadly
serious subject: cold calling. Comes from NYC FLCW Sheela Kangal.
If creating visuals in your mind, or enlisting colleagues to whom you’re
accountable (and vice versa) helps you battle your demons more effectively,
go for it. And have fun. I promise you, it’s nowhere near as scary as we make
it out to be, and it DOES get easier.

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Being a career-changer and relatively new to freelance writing, one of
my first lessons was to love the dread. Writing work is getting
regular, but it doesn’t appear by itself, so along with network
breakfasts and emails, I’ve got to get visible over the phone.

That means every morning I face my personal psychobabble in the form
of an immense stone wall, covered with slimy moss, with no hand- or
footholds. It veritably looms at me, laughing, (laughing?) threatening
to morph, any second, into a prehistoric monster. Call a prospect?
Approach the wall? I may be swallowed whole! Worse, far worse: I could
be laughed at. Or get slimed. OMG.

So what’s the trick to pole-vaulting said dread? Quantitative action
and a partner to share it with.
In these days of unlimited text
messages and friends who freelance or work from home, I’m equipped to
approach the wall, turn my back to all distractions and punch a text
declaring twenty calls by 10am.

The wall seems to shudder, but no matter; I’m locked in. And what do
you know? Looking down, I see I’m wearing crampons, protective gloves,
and a stunning fur jacket, with a list of prospective web designers
waiting for my call! Connect with Droid, square off, leg up, GO.

The dread wave recedes with every call. My muscles build, I develop my
footwork, I laugh. The trick? Being able to OMG to a pal, but also
meet my quota. And if you’re wearing crampons and furs, it’s hard to
take yourself seriously.

And victory, too: after roughly 200 cold calls, I landed a $1,500 web
copywriting gig. This Cub Scout is thrilled and laying the ground for
her next merit badge.

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: WHY I NEVER QUOTE PROJECTS HOURLY!
Atlanta FLCW Shares All the Reasons Why Flat Rates Boost Bottom Lines

Fellow Atlanta FLCW Don Sadler crafted this great “reminder” piece about
why flat rates (i.e., “project rates”) make far more sense than hourlies. I
especially liked it because Don moved the discussion beyond time and into
the realm of value. Don, a thriving FLCW focused on financial writing, contributed
an excellent blog post a few months back, chronicling his transition
from full-time job to full-time FLCW. He brings a wealth of knowledge
to the table, so read and heed. Enjoy!

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In reading blogs and articles about freelancing, I often see
references to hourly rates and ideas for ways that freelance writers
can raise theirs. I’ve got a better idea: Don’t charge hourly
rates—charge project rates instead!

Think about it: Charging by the hour penalizes you for working fast.
It actually incents you to work more slowly on projects in order to
make more money. And nobody benefits from this: You get less work
done, and clients get slower project turnaround times. Does your
client really care how many hours it takes you to complete a project?
Doubtful. All they care about is that you meet the deadline and
produce quality work.

Charging by the project, not the hour, requires that you change your
mindset from how much is your time worth to how much is the project
worth to the client
. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t consider the
value of your time when pricing projects, just that this shouldn’t be
your main consideration. By all means, estimate how much time you
think a project will take you. But only use this as a basis for your
minimum price.

For example, if you think a project will take you five hours and you
want to earn a minimum of $100 an hour, then $500 is the least you
would charge. But is the project worth $1,000 to the client? If it is
and you just charge an hourly rate of $100—OR even a flat rate based
on that $100 an hour rate—you’ve left $500 on the table.  

Determining how much projects are worth to clients takes experience
and knowing the right questions to ask. If you’re just starting out,
it might be challenging, but I encourage you to start thinking about
pricing with this mindset instead.

Now, here’s the best part: You can potentially make MUCH more money
charging by the project than by the hour. Because I have worked in the
same niche industries for more than 25 years, I can usually complete
projects very fast. And because my niches—business and financial
services—are fairly specialized and technical, I can charge relatively
high project rates, and earn far more than I ever could with hourly rates.

“What if a client insists on knowing my hourly rate?” This has
happened exactly once—in the course of hundreds of freelance projects
with dozens of clients over the years.

Why not give it a try? Project-based pricing could enable you to increase
your freelance income considerably on the same volume of work!

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PB Notes: In my experience, flat rates DO have their place: mainly
when a project’s parameters are undetermined and fluid, and can’t be
reduced to specific easily delineated components (i.e., a large
brochure, two tri-folds, three two-page case studies, one six-page
white paper, etc.). Usually happens on larger projects. In such cases,
if the client is unable to tell you the scope, it’s best to suggest
keeping track of hours.

A few examples… A few years back, I was onsite working on a huge
proposal for a client pitching a possible financial partner. They had
me wordsmith various passages, craft new sections, and brainstorm
headlines, subheads, etc., as needed, throughout the process. But the
thing was evolving constantly, so they just said, “Keep track of hours.”

Ditto with another onsite project I had—brainstorming dozens upon
dozens of catchy one-liners for various products for a supermarket’s
store signage. When I started, they had no idea how many I’d be doing,
so again, suggested I keep track of hours.

While such projects can be windfalls (and these were) in the sense
that you’re often billing a lot of hours in a short period of time, I
still prefer working on flat rates. After all, as Don notes above,
once a client signs off on that flat rate (NOT a certain number of
hours), if you get it done faster, your hourly rate just jumped up.

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
IA FLCW Donates Her Time, and The Universe Returns the Favor!
TIP: Yours Truly Discovers Excellent (and Far Cheaper) Substitute for Adobe Acrobat!

Cool success story from Iowa FLCW Jodie Toohey. Volunteering is just a
good karmic thing to do in general, and if you go in with the idea that
whatever you offer will come back to you many times over, you might just
have a little success story of your own. Thanks, Jodie, for the great lesson!

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Sometimes paying work comes from volunteering. I agreed to lead a
series of creative writing workshops for older adults in a partnership
between the Midwest Writing Center—where I regularly volunteer—and the
Center for Active Seniors, Inc. (CASI). I am a firm believer in
volunteering just because of the confidence, contacts, and camaraderie
it has provided. Plus, I believe it eventually leads, at least
indirectly, to paying work, either through networking or items to add
to my portfolio. This time, however, the link between income and
volunteer assignment was more direct.

At the first session, I met the marketing director of a local start-up
company selling healthcare products to help seniors remain
independent. We got to talking about copy he needed for his company’s
website, that he and his partners didn’t have time to do. He didn’t
return to the creative writing courses, but he did hire me to write
several articles for his website each month at a fair fee. I may even
get to edit the existing web copy.

The moral? Don’t automatically reject a volunteer project, especially
if it something you enjoy and believe in, because you never know to
what paying paths it may lead.

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PB: Just replaced my Mac with a new MacBook Pro (love it!). When I
went to buy an Adobe Acrobat upgrade for the new box, to my dismay, I
re-discovered what I’d encountered with my first Mac in 2007: you
can’t use Acrobat’s Standard Edition on Mac; you must use the
Professional. I was willing to pay $139 to purchase the Standard
upgrade, but when I learned I’d have to fork out $199 for the Pro
version, I balked.

My computer genius* suggested PDFPen, a great
program that’s actually quite comparable to Acrobat Professional
(priced at $450), but for just $60! For FLCW’s, PDFPen will be more
than you need, and the price is pretty amazing!

(*Wheat Williams; PC/Mac expert, and thanks to remote-access
programs like LogMeIn, he can help you with computer problems
wherever you are in the world).

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS
- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? Ebook Serves Up the All the “How-To”!  
- GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? Email me!
- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin!
- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register HERE, Get Bonus CD!
- How Can My Multiple Mentoring Services Serve You?

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MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!
That’s not hype. It’s how my business has worked for the better part
of 18 years, thanks to some juicy partnerships with graphic designers.
The result? 1-2 jobs virtually every month with little or no effort on
my part. And I put all the how-to details down on paper. Details HERE

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GOT ANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
While my call for submissions netted a TON of stuff a few months back,
I’m still a bit lean on success stories. Whether starting out or
experienced, if you recently had a noteworthy success (i.e., landed a
new client—perhaps in an unusual way—a new gig, new work from an old
client, or anything else that has a good lesson for your fellow
FLCW’s), send it on to me HERE.
100-300 words is great.     

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The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin!

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AWAI COPYWRITING (& OTHER) COURSES: Register Here, Get Your Choice of
Bonus CD Program! Six-Figure Copywriting, Graphic Design, Internet
Writing, Fundraising, Health Market and more! Details HERE!

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HOW CAN MY MULTIPLE MENTORING PROGRAMS SERVE YOU?
One-on-One and "Sidecar" (Extended) program details and testimonials HERE!

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