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 10 – OCTOBER 2013
Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002  
Read it online HERE!

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2014 UPDATED EDITION OF “THE WELL-FED SELF-PUBLISHER” NOW AVAILABLE!
Check out various book AND ebook (multiple formats!) products/bundles, HERE!

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ATTN: BIRMINGHAM, AL JOURNOS/FREELANCERS – OCTOBER WORKSHOP!
I’ll be delivering an AM workshop on getting started in commercial
writing on 10/10/13 (a week from this Thursday) in B’ham, AL. Details HERE.

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25% OFF PARTNER WITH DESIGNERS EBOOK (LIMITED-TIME OFFER!)
Insert code DESIGN25 at checkout (offer good until 10/31/12!). Details HERE.

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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 “How Do You Deal with
the Unimaginative Client”? “Why Aren’t You B2B Writers Doing More of
these Lucrative Projects?”; “Instead of Just Sharing What You Do with
Clients, Share Who You Are”; & more!

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

I. APPETIZER: WHY THE FUTURE OF OUR BUSINESS IS BRIGHT!
New Client Shows Why Businesses Predictably Evolve into Needing Our Services

II.
“FIELD” GREENS: ARE YOU ANSWERING THE RIGHT QUESTION?
NY FLCW Listens Carefully to Client’s Question, Knows His Network, Lands Juicy Gig

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: PRETTY UP YOUR PROPOSALS!
NYC FLCW Suggests “Low-Learning-Curve” Way to Make Your Bids Stand Out!

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
TX FLCW Asks: “Are You Charging by Time or By Value of the Project to Client”?
TIP: Toronto FLCW Says This Invoicing Program Is Boosting Her Income…

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS
- (25% OFF!) MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? 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: WHY THE FUTURE OF OUR BUSINESS IS BRIGHT!
New Client Shows Why Businesses Predictably Evolve into Needing Our Services     

Had a meeting with a new client this past week, after my longtime
graphic designer (already working with the client) brought me in.* The
client, new to the role, was doing a good job, but felt overwhelmed
when it came to writing. Every time she’d want to put an ad together,
she’d ask my designer to help her with the copy, OR she’d try doing it
herself. And since writing wasn’t either of their core skills, the
results were sketchy. Finally, the designer tells her, “We need to
bring in my writer.”

So, I’m sitting there as she’s explaining why they’re considering
bringing a writer in, and it’s ALL the reasons I’ve heard countless
times before. And why ANY person in her position makes that move: they
don’t have the skills (personally or in-house); they don’t have the
time to do it themselves; their business has hit the point where they
realize the need for some serious expertise to take them to the next
level, etc., etc.  

And I’m smiling to myself, because she’s explaining these reasons like
they were so new and novel; LIKE no one before had ever gotten to this
same juncture. When, in fact, they’ve simply hit that predictable
stage of evolution for any small- to mid-sized business (~50-200+
employees—the “sweet spot” for folks like us).
   
This is one of the key reasons why this opportunity of ours is so
robust. Most start-up businesses don't have dedicated on-staff
creative folk (everyone wears many hats), and they don’t have much
money to hire them, either. But, at a certain point, while they still
don’t have those in-house resources, now, they DO have the money to
hire them. And talented freelancers like us (partnered with a
designer) are a great option.

In time, as they become even more comfortable financially, they may
decide to go the agency route (bigger ad agency/design firm/marketing
company), though, from tons of firsthand experience, going that route
is NO guarantee they’ll get better work from that agency than a few
good freelancers could deliver. BUT, paying far more IS a given. So,
“get ‘em while they’re young”! On that happy note, let’s eat!

*The client was already using my favorite graphic designer, so when it
became clear they needed writing
, she called me. I’ll say it again:
Build those partnerships with designers. And my ebook on the subject
(25% off until 10/31/13) explains it all! Insert code DESIGN25 at Checkout.

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: ARE YOU ANSWERING THE RIGHT QUESTION?
NY FLCW Listens Carefully to Client’s Question, Knows His Network, Lands Juicy Gig

Good advice (worth repeating) on listening for the “question beneath
the question” from Wesley Hills, NY FLCW Alan Zoldan. Certainly know
your limitations and don’t make promises you can’t deliver, but build
your network so you can take on projects requiring skills beyond your own. Enjoy!

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Sometimes the right answer to a client’s question isn’t always the “write” answer
to the question—that is, the response necessary to land the job.

Recently, a client called with a quick question: Do I understand
Hebrew? The short answer is: no, I do not—but I’ve been around the
freelancing block enough to realize, from the get-go, that there was a
question underlying the spoken question: Could I arrange for the
translation (from Hebrew to English) of some reference documents that
would be needed for the potential project?

And that, I certainly could do. I didn’t misrepresent myself in any
way. “I don’t know Hebrew,” I told my client, “but if you need to know
whether I can handle this project, including arranging for the translation,
the answer is yes.”

And that, I’m happy to report, was enough to land me a rather
high-ticket project. I’ll even confess that the project was rather
easy, as it merely involved the tweaking and polishing of one of the
Hebrew brochures.

Too often, we freelancers are apt to decline a project because its
requirements falls outside our immediate skill set, but I contend that
that is often to our disadvantage. Most of the time, the client is
fine with our “getting it done” – so long as we “own” the project and
can reliably deliver as promised. Can we include those additional
services in our estimate? Of course!

After all, ad agencies, graphic and web design firms, and marketing
firms do this all the time. When you think about it, that’s probably
why you get most of the projects you do—because you can write
something they can’t; because they’re too swamped to do it in-house;
or because outsourcing is simply how they operate. Point being, the
Creative Director never says, “No.” His or her job is to find a way to
get it done.

Taking this more expansive view—that you’re not merely a writer, but
(potentially) a bundler and coordinator of related creative
services—may be scary at first, but it could lead to more work . . .
AND to higher-ticket work. But all things in moderation. Too much
project coordinating, and you just may lose the perks and pleasures of
the freelance life!

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: PRETTY UP YOUR PROPOSALS!
NYC FLCW Suggests “Low-Learning-Curve” Way to Make Your Bids Stand Out!

I love cool, different ideas like this one from NYC FLCW Sheela Kangal. If you want
to make your bid/proposal stand out in a prospect’s mind, share more info about
what you can do, and do it in a storytelling format, this’d get the job done.
And it’s really not that much more work or hassle. No, it’s not critical to do it
this way, but it’ll definitely make your bid more memorable. Enjoy!

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I have a new format for bids: PowerPoint. The inspiration came from
the client, a social event/web development company whose owner has 20
years in print production and design. After finishing the main points
of my proposal, it occurred to me that just text in an email wasn't
going to cut it. With virtually no experience in PowerPoint (aside
from an afternoon of noodling and some simple editing of a
presentation), I opened the software, picked a template, and watched
the copy scatter rather nicely into five slides, including a title
page and summary with an enticing closer.

Knowing my client was more of a generalist and unlikely to review
anything with a magnifying glass, I spent time on the slide titles,
which were, effectively, the main actions. On the bid slide, I
inserted a text box (easy as pie) notifying the client that he was
getting a special rate for this two-page white paper. It went like this:

Slide 1: Cover Page

Slide 2: Project summary (i.e., the Challenge, what needs doing). For
this project, I called it “The Travels of Company X,” since I was
proposing a company profile

Slide 3: The Breakdown (i.e., costs involved; text box here)

Slide 4: The Game Plan (i.e., payment terms, allowable edits and other T’s & C’s)

Slide 5: Summary

I got the job, by the way, and was hired shortly thereafter to develop
copy for my client's RFP presentation. We worked in PowerPoint.
Coincidence? Perhaps. Fun? Indeed.

Writers are often seen as introverted and lacking a visual eye. Now,
that just might be true, but with just a touch of flash here and
there, I can prove my respect for content placement and design. My
advice? Start with a simple template and the 'ole cut and paste.
Changing the backdrop might just inspire your words and make
connections you didn't know were there.

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips
TX FLCW Asks: “Are You Charging by Time or By Value of Project to Client”?
TIP: Toronto FLCW Says This Invoicing Program Is Boosting Her Income…

Got this dead-on little success story/tip on the difference between a
project’s cost and its value to a client, from Austin, TX
Renaissance-Man writer (copywriter, novelist, non-fiction author, and
man of—it would appear—strong prose and stronger opinions) Brad
Whittington
. Shifting your thinking on this isn’t always easy to do, but
when you figure it out, watch your income rise. Thanks, Brad.

Following that is a great tip from Niagara, Canada FLCW Lou Anne Reddon
about an easy-to-use and budget-friendly accounting/invoicing program made
for North American small businesses.

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One of the toughest things to do when starting out is determine what
to charge. The Well-Fed Writer devotes an entire chapter to it.

Having worked by the hour for so many years, it took me a while to get
used to the idea that what I charge should be based on the value of
the product to the customer, not on the time or effort it took me to
produce it. Once I digested that concept, I began to make sure that I
reinforced the perception of value in the eyes of the client.

For example, I recently got a request for a case study from a regular
client. Because of my familiarity with the client’s products, their
customers, the industry, and the market, I was able to produce the
case study that afternoon. I could have sent it to him immediately and
impressed him with how fast I am. But I didn’t.

I waited a few days, and then sent the case study. The client’s
response?
“That was fast! It would take me a whole week to do that.”

So, is the case study worth four hours or a whole week? I charged him
something in between and he felt like he was getting a deal. And he
was. He got what would have been a week’s worth of work, if he had
done it himself, for a whole lot less.

It takes experience to determine the value of the things you deliver
to your clients, but you can maximize your revenue by finding the right spot.

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Hate paperwork and accounting chores with a passion? I think most
creative, wordsmithing FLCWs do! But now, thanks to FreshBooks, I love
invoicing. This cloud-based accounting software application was created
specifically for North American freelancers and solopreneurs.  

It creates invoices quickly and easily for U.S. or Canadian clients.
They can pay you online. Best of all, each month’s revenue has
surpassed my previous month’s since I started using FreshBooks! Why?
Because my invoices aren’t filed away out of sight.

Every time I log on, I see a bar graph showing how much I’ve billed
and which invoices are outstanding. It challenges me to meet or beat
last month’s numbers. Down this month? Make some calls!

There’s an affiliate badge you can add to your website to get paid for
referrals. (I haven’t yet, so this is not a paid endorsement). I just
think you’ll love it, too!

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS
- (25% OFF!) MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? 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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(25% OFF!) MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? 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. Check out all the details, and insert code DESIGN25 at checkout for
25% off the regular price (offer good until 10/31/12!). 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 peter@wellfedwriter.com.
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!

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HOW CAN MY MULTIPLE MENTORING PROGRAMS SERVE YOU?
For details and testimonials, click HERE.

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