Archive for April, 2009

Love Thursday: Somebunny Loves Me!

I have a huge sweet tooth, so it’s not surprising that one of my favorite parts of Easter is the candy. More specifically, the candy my mom makes–especially the peanut butter eggs. Yum!

If you’re starting to feel sorry for me because I’m not in the same country code as my mom and therefore can’t enjoy her Easter candy, think again.

My mom continually sends me care packages, but around Easter, one always contains a special treat:

Mom's Easter candy on Flickr

And I swear when I staged this photo, I wasn’t trying to make it look like one bunny was offering his/her love to the other. But it does sort of look that way doesn’t it?

Happy Love Thursday everyone!

When is the last time you received or sent a care package?

P.S. Happiest of birthdays to my mom (yesterday) and my sister-in-law (today)!


Announcement: Changes in Posting Schedule

Week 2: Changing My Tune by stephweiss on FlickrBack in December 2006, one of the reasons I started blogging was to drum up freelance writing business. I’ve been *very* lucky that this has indeed happened and that my career has continued to grow even in the face of a horrible economy.

Unfortunately, posting here five days a week is becoming increasingly difficult as I pursue more writing opportunities (including trying to make time for a novel or two!), so starting today, I will be posting here at Bleeding Espresso every three days.

When reconsidering my posting schedule, at first I thought to post Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but that would mean losing Love Thursdays, and I don’t want that. And I also don’t want to lose What’s Cooking Wednesdays either.

So I decided to allow for posting on all different days so I can keep up with some regular features and possibly even go back to an old one–Sunday Scribblings. So yes, there will now be occasional weekend posts as well, if that’s when the third day falls.

Another positive note is that I think you, as readers, will be better able to keep up with posts here (I personally can’t keep up with reading blogs that post every day!); with fewer posts, I should also be able to respond to comments more fully and thoughtfully, visit more of your blogs, and meet up with you throughout the web more often.

If it seems that I’ve thought too much about this and wasted a post talking about it, so be it, but I didn’t want to just start “missing” days without an explanation; I felt I owed this post especially to loyal readers who have helped Bleeding Espresso grow over the years.

Your support is appreciated more than you know, and I hope you’ll continue reading!

And how was *your* weekend?


Freelance Writing Week II: How to Tell Whether Freelance Writing Job Offers Are Legitimate

Welcome to the final day of Freelance Writing Week II!

So far we’ve covered:

Now finally to one of the most important freelance writing topics out there:

How can you tell whether freelance writing job offers are legitimate?

One of the hardest parts about being freelance writer searching for work on the Internet is deciphering when a job offer is legitimate and when someone just wants to get something for free–or worse.

Here are some tips from separating the wheat from the chaff, as Willym said:

  • Don’t answer blind advertisements.

I rarely, if ever, answer blind advertisements, i.e., those that don’t offer the name of the client seeking writers; I can’t imagine many situations in which a potential client should have to be a secret. If you had a solid name and reputation, wouldn’t you want to put it out there so potential writers knew they could trust you?

But if you think you’ve found the perfect job and simply must respond to a blind ad, pay special attention to their return email address, so you can….

  • Google!

Check out any websites or names attached to the job offer. Most legitimate freelance writing job offers will come from people who already have *some* sort of online presence, so if nothing at all turns up, I’d probably start to be suspicious.

With so much social media out there these days, it’s highly unlikely that reputable clients have no online presence whatsoever.

  • Ask writer friends.

One of the best ways to find out whether something is too good to be true is to ask around and see if others know anything about the client. If you don’t have writer friends you feel comfortable asking, scour writer message boards and forums.

Included here is my recommendation to keep up with “Whispers and Warnings” in Angela Hoy’s Writers Weekly newsletter, which names clients who haven’t paid writers or are otherwise being difficult regarding payment.

  • Trust your instincts.

If something sounds fishy, and you just have a feeling you’re never going to get paid, don’t think twice about turning down the job offer.

Now believe me, I *know* how hard it is to turn down job offers particularly when you’re first starting out, but if something feels off to you, it probably is—and you’ll be saving yourself a lot of hassle by avoiding the situation entirely.

And this concludes Freelance Writing Week II. Thanks so much for reading, and as always if you have more questions you’d like me to address, leave them in the comments!

Do you have more advice on how to spot legitimate freelance writing jobs?

For those of you in Italy, Happy Liberation Day for tomorrow!

Buon weekend a tutti!


Freelance Writing Week II: How Do Freelance Writers Get Paid?

Welcome to Day 4 of Freelance Writing Week II!

So far we’ve covered:

Next up is some information about how and when freelance writers can expect to be paid.

How do freelance writers get paid?

Freelance writers usually get paid in one of three ways:

  • Check: The client sends you a check and you have to cash or deposit it.
  • Direct Deposit: Funds are deposited by the client directly into your bank account; usually only an option if you work a lot with a client and under contract.
  • Paypal: Hands down the most popular method of payment for online writing gigs. Fee for accepting money but you can transfer it to your bank account without paying a fee.

Some clients give you the choice of how you’d like to be paid, but many only pay one particular way; be sure to know how they intend to pay you before accepting work in case you cannot accept their payment method.

Special Payment Considerations for Expat Freelance Writers

Writing Desk by ~Prescott on FlickrFor those of you who are expat freelance writers, PayPal is probably going to be the easiest way to get paid as you can then transfer the money to your bank account (unless you can get someone to deposit checks for you in the United States).

But if you open an account at PayPal.com, your bank account *must* originate from the United States. There are different PayPal sites for other countries, though, and by using them, you can link your foreign bank accounts (but not your U.S. bank account!) to your foreign PayPal account. See the list of countries for which this service is available at PayPal Worldwide.

For instance, I have a PayPal account with PayPal.it (Italian site) hooked up to my Italian bank account so I can transfer money between them. And for those of you in Italy who aren’t so sure of your Italian, you can also select English as your language of choice at PayPal.it.

When can I expect to be paid?

One of the biggest stresses of freelance writing life is clients who don’t pay or those who take a long time to pay.

Some writing contracts will provide that you will be paid within a certain amount of time (often between 30 and 45 days from the date of invoice), but generally clients should absolutely pay you within 60 days; if they’re paying you through PayPal, you will likely get paid much faster than that.

If the timing of payment is not specified in a contract, be sure to discuss this with the client *before* you start working. This way there can be no dispute later as to when you or the client thought you were supposed to be paid.

And don’t be afraid to send reminder e-mails to clients who are delinquent in paying—you did the work and you deserve prompt payment. Period.

If you do have trouble collecting payment, one of the best writers’ resources out there is Angela Hoy of Writers Weekly. Hoy personally fights for writers who have been stiffed and nearly always (if not always!) gets great results.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for
“How to Know Whether Freelance Writing Jobs are Legitimate!”

If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe through an RSS feed so you don’t miss a single Freelance Writing Week II post.

Also free free to bookmark, Stumble, and share these posts with friends via email, your blog, and Twitter. The more people we have reading them, the more ideas and suggestions we can come up with in the comments. We freelance writers have to stick together!

Do you have freelance writing payment tales to share?


Freelance Writing Week II: The Right Pay for Freelance Writing Jobs

Welcome to Day 3 of Freelance Writing Week II!

So far we’ve covered:

Now, let’s move on to:

What is the “right” pay for freelance writing jobs?

Writing Tools 3 by avianto on FlickrIn my best lawyerly voice, I respond with a straight face: “It depends.”

Basically this is something you’re going to have to decide for yourself, i.e., whether you’re comfortable with the amount being offered or want to negotiate. Rates are all over the place, so your best bet is to do lots of research before committing to a price.

One thing that is absolutely certain, though:

Be sure you know what you will be paid for an assignment *before* you even start.

To be clear, pay is usually offered in two ways: by the word or by the blog post/article. Print publications often have set rates that aren’t *too* negotiable (although it doesn’t hurt to ask), but you’ll probably have more wiggle room with online venues.

As stated above, rates vary widely, but it doesn’t hurt to look around to similar publications or blogs and make sure the rate you’re being offered is competitive.

Sometimes pay is also offered by the hour, so you should be prepared with a number for that as well.

How do I set freelance writing rates?

Many factors should be considered when deciding how much you should get paid for a freelance writing assignment, including but not limited to:

  • Your experience
  • Your expertise on the subject matter
  • Length of the finished piece
  • Amount of research required
  • Writing time required

For more specific details on this, I’m directing you to Anne Wayman at About Freelance Writing, who recently posted:

Setting Freelance Rates

Final note about freelance writing rates

If you’ve been writing for a publication or organization for a year or more and your rate has stayed the same, don’t be afraid to ask for a raise.

I did this with one of my regular clients and now make four times more per piece than when I started–and have a much smaller required word count as well. It never hurts to ask!

Also, on the subject of earning money as a freelance writer, check out:

Not Earning Enough as a Freelance Writer? You Have Only Yourself to Blame by Jennifer Mattern at All Freelance Writing. Jennifer gives *excellent* advice that is sure to get you motivated to find well-paying freelance writing gigs.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for
“How and When to Expect Freelance Writing Payments!”

If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe through an RSS feed so you don’t miss a single Freelance Writing Week II post.

Also free free to bookmark, Stumble, and share these posts with friends via email, your blog, and Twitter. The more people we have reading them, the more ideas and suggestions we can come up with in the comments. We freelance writers have to stick together!

Do you have advice about setting freelance writing rates?


Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time.

 
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Homemade apple butter
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