Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hiring my hubby

My best hire is my husband. Although he is not a writer, he has talent and less emotion than I have. So I hired him to sort through and get rid of my project leads that I will not do. There are many things I do not do either because there are much more talented freelancers out their to do them (like grant writing), I would find them ethically wrong (like writing stellar product reviews), or I personally find them boring and unappealing (like press releases).

When I hit 100 project matches (I like to keep about 20 in this folder), I knew I needed help weeding them out. My husband gladly complied, but being a woman, I demanded more. I wanted him to help me write a book in the style of a Pentecostal preacher from Madagascar (or something like that). My husband was less than thrilled, but he thankfully complied. Amazingly, he actually did a remarkable job, to the point that I did not have much rewriting to do.

I am hoping to teach him how to format next. Most authors run into three problems when writing a book that requires the hire of a freelance ghostwriter: (1) I have a great idea but I do not know how to write it or finish writing it, (2) I finished an awesome book but I need someone to make it flow better (content editing) and/or check spelling and grammar, or (3) I need someone to format my book for print/e-book. Usually (1) and (2) also need (3), it is just a matter of where in the process the author got stuck.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Balancing act

In addition to reposting some of those jobs I feel I must do out of loyalty to my customer-employers, I have also hired my husband to help with some of these jobs. You see, when I started I posted really low bids on jobs. This slowly increased, but the thing is that your bid never expires. An employer can hire you months later.
Now I am happy with the level of short jobs I have been getting, but I have been accumulating too many large jobs. this began with the script I just finished for MW and the confidential book I am still working on and it has grown.
I was hired by a woman to edit her dissertation - quick and easy - but she commissioned me to the end of the year. I was hired for my translation and now commissioned to the end of the year. The biggest problem is that these jobs both require me to output masses of work virtually overnight. I can translate about 10,000 words per day and edit 20,000, but if I ever get unlucky enough to get both these jobs in one day, I will be in serious trouble.
There is also always the danger that someone you once completed a job for now needs you to tweak it some more. This week a prospective doctor for whom I had trimmed and edited a personal statement in the spring has written me and asked me to tweak it again...sigh. I had to put him on hold and, he will get charged an additional fee for it since it has been so long, but still, I would rather be finished with jobs when they are done. This is my problem with Johnny5 - I keep getting jobs on the same topic. Unfortunately, I thrive on the new.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Work Work Work

Normally, I like to have about eight open jobs. Five short quick no brainers like editing. One creative, one long cheap job (usually for Johnny5) and one long nice job (usually for the publishing company that does Need To Know books in the U.K.).
This past week has been crazy. Yes, I earned a lot of money. However, I find myself on Friday needing to add 75 pages to a non-fiction book by bedtime tonight (usually 1 AM, but 3AM as of late) and about 12,500 words to a confidential project by tomorrow at the same time. This is not to mention the fact that I am also throwing a birthday party for my son.
In part, one of my repeat translation customers asked to contract me for the rest of 2013. This means I received a new translation project 3 of the 5 business days this past week. Aside from these two projects, I also had a small editing job. I also have to write a book for said nice publisher, two for Johnny5 (although he is only supposed to end me 1 at a time), and expand a book for another person from 10,000 to 40,000 words.
So, I caved in. I have a children's book I wrote that I personally think is awesome despite the fact that its many years worth of rejection letters would make people think otherwise. And I have been wanting to get it illustrated for some time so I can self publish it. Why not kill to birds with one stone and become an employer as well as a freelancer. Setting up an employer account was actually quicker and easier than a freelancer account (this would explain how some of my employers were able to post jobs)
I posted the job for the illustrator, which got so many wonderful responses, I now have five people who I will probably have to pay for samples to see who gets it. I then reposted one of Johnny5s jobs which I am willing to lose money on just to get it done. This particular job is one I have almost finished but was asked to boost the word count and informational content. I really do not have time to be research the topic, which I hate with a passion (why in the world did he give me this?)
So I stated in my post that as long as the writers gave references they could cut and paste because all I need is research. First, this project was bounced back to me - 'we cannot post projects that are potentially illegal.' Really! So I had to clearly state in my project that I would rewrite it. Then, I only got two people who applied. One of them looks like a match, but wants a little more than what I want to pay. Although... I really want to be done with this.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Microsoft Word

I love Microsoft Word....2000. Yep, that's right. I have MSWord 2000 in my computer and MSStarter (although I am planning on downgrading that to MS Word 2010 as soon as I can get it).

I hate MS Word Starter. It is one of the most annoying programs one can work in, although my MS Word 2000 is a little incompatible with a few features I need for my work, so I occasionally open a docx in MS Starter save it as MS2000 doc and then work on it back and forth in both as needed.

Did I mention I hate Starter? The only thing I hate more is the licensing agreement and the new cloud based word - really? Do I not pay enough for these programs that I can now only keep for the life of my computer or I can only rent them until the end of the month? Right now, I am working on a computer that is less than a year old and it is already showing signs of wear. I am so glad that the MS monopoly was broken apart to make things easier and cheaper for us little people (that was dripping with sarcasm in case you couldn't hear it in my typing).

My biggest problem is that MS2000 and MS Starter are not able to be operated together very well. Yeah, I know that shouldn't surprise me - and it doesn't - it just is disappointing. I can only hope that when I upgrade I will like 2010 better than Starter.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Real Job?

Occasionally, I am contacted outside of Guru for jobs. I know that it is easy for people to find email addresses and all sorts of personal information, but these people often see my bid and then decide to contact me privately.

Recently I had one person do this. He required that I sign a confidentiality agreement with him and sent me work so I could show a sample of my editing skills. But every time I bring up how much I will get paid or anything that has to do with payment, he doesn't answer my questions beyond saying - whatever you bid.

So, I keep all my proposals (bids) and I cannot find this person's name on any of them. It is true that I could have accidentally deleted it, it is equally as true that he could be looking for free work. The question is: How much do I give him before I say enough.

Well, here is my answer: enough. I have more than enough work through Guru. I do not have Paypal or any other way to receive money except through Guru. Therefore, I do not feel I need to do any more (such as sending this guy an email asking why I haven't heard from him). I also hope that he does not contact me again because the work is tedious.

Now, I am going back to writing my other top secret job with a guy who is okay with working through Guru.