Category Archives: What I do

Building your author platform? Here’s what not to do…

“Platform, in a nutshell, is your ability to sell books based on your visibility to the intended readership. If you’re a total unknown, then you may be turned down for lack of a platform to support your book’s publication,” writes Jane Friedman in her (indispensable and outstanding) blog at JaneFriedman.com.

As self-publishing becomes more and more viable, authors learn early on that a good author platform is key to finding that elusive book deal. And the advice we get to build it ranges all over the map. Jane offers some great advice on how to balance “the numbers game” with a realistic approach to platform building. She also cautions against three things that will undermine your efforts…but are often touted as being important:

  1. Focusing on superficial indicators like number of likes and size of list.
  2. Too much focus on social media growth, at the expense of creating work people want.
  3. Rushing the timeline.

“The good news is that authors can build a platform by engaging in activities that are most enjoyable to them—because if they’re not enjoyable, you won’t continue doing them for the time required to see any kind of pay off,” she advises.

“If you build platform only as a means to an end, it generally fails, and that’s why I tend to get cynical when authors try to do it only in service of securing a book deal. It doesn’t reflect an understanding of the much bigger picture: the tremendous value of being visible to your audience.”

The post is well worth a read if you are looking to build your own platform.

How NOT to Do Customer Service Right

Annnnd, I’m out.

A few weeks ago I signed up for an online project organizing tool that I’ve used in the past. I was excited by their new features and ready to give it a go (after kind of forgetting about it for three years.)

I’m taking their new training, committed to mastering what I know will be a useful tool, all good so far. Then I get the “hey, congrats, we just upgraded your account” notice, and promptly realized that ALL my account data was gone. All my projects, lists, priorities, plans…GONE.

Okay, these things happen. I emailed CS, and got the typical “hey, we’re looking into it and we’ll fix it” reply. Okay, I can be patient.

Meanwhile, I’m getting at least one email every other day from them with a new product or feature to UPSELL me…on an account that is useless to me. And it’s not just the usual upsell stuff; it’s cleverly designed to look like goodies (like the “hey, send me your mailing address so I can send you this book…oh…and you’ll just pay postage of approximately what the book is selling for anyway.”)

With each email, I forward back to CS and say “hey, fix my account. Please and thank you.”

Crickets.

I just got the latest “don’t miss this offer” while getting NADA response on getting my real problem fixed.

Clearly their business model is focused on growth; that’s cool, we all have to set our business priorities. But the best way I’ve found to grow is by taking excellent care OF THE CUSTOMERS YOU ALREADY HAVE.

Sigh. Cap locks off; having a nice cup of tea and moving on with  my day…without this company.

How are you treating your customers?

How much should you pay your freelance writer?

“How much do you charge?”

It’s the eternal question for the freelance writer. And the bottom line is….it depends. The amount you can expect to pay varies on a number of factors, spelled out beautifully by Courtney Craig in ClearVoice.

“This FAQ doesn’t have a simple answer,” Craig writes. “Most intermediate to advanced freelance writers charge between 10 cents and $1 per word, depending on the amount of work they will have to put into the project. But, the way they bill that average range will vary. Some freelance writers bill at a flat rate, per hour, or per monthly retainer for frequent work (in this case, a volume-based discount should apply), rather than per word. Typically, freelance writers who use one of those last three billing methods will include services beyond just the content.”

So, it really does depend…and Craig provides a fantastic infographic to help make it more understandable.

Where does the Words Girl fall? Check out the PRO category below for a good idea. Then let us know what you need.

Freelance writer rates from ClearVoice

Image part of an infographic by ClearVoice, (c) 2015.