Confessions of a Freelancer

Posted on September 20, 2011


I’ve written a new ebook called Confessions of a Freelancer, which I’d really love people to buy (if nothing else, because it’s only 99 cents – or 63 pence at current exchange rates). It’s one of those how-to guides, coupled with a bit of self-help, in which I make ten frank confessions about how I’ve found the experience of freelancing and offer some cautionary tales about what not to do. Shouting at clients is one of them; taking part in sausage-factory copywriting is another.

The book is available at Smashwords, who do a magnificent job of converting it to pretty much every format under the sun (yes, you can read it on the Kindle. Yes, you will be able to get it via Apple’s bookstore once it’s been accepted there. Yes, if you’re still a technological mongoloid like me you can just download the PDF or view it online). And it’s less than the price of a Twix at the corner shop down the road from me. So please take a gander at it.

It might be useful to you; it might not. But I think that it’s fairly true to the problems that freelancers face – especially the dilemmas they often have. For example, invariably people go into freelancing because they want to wrest back control of their career and write only what interests them. The problem with that is that what interests you often doesn’t pay. That’s one of the central tenets of the book, and it’s front and centre as the first confession: I don’t always like the work I’m doing. A sample:

You have to become realistic at some point. Pragmatism is perhaps the best skill that a freelancer can have – way beyond writing skill, personal personality or the ability to sell themselves like no-one’s business. The freelancers that work in cloud cuckoo land…well, actually, they don’twork at all.

So take shoddy jobs that you don’t like, because every job is experience to add to your list. Plus you never know – you might hate writing your first erotic story, but end up liking the second and third, and know how to push a reader’s buttons by the fiftieth. If you’d been snooty about the jobs you took, you’d never have found your real calling.

I haven’t found that niche yet, but that’s not a problem. I’m learning lots of stuff about the world that I ordinarily wouldn’t have bothered to figure out or find on my own initiative. Some day I might. If I don’t, what’s the problem? I can just keep doing anything and everything, and still present myself as unique. I’ll be adaptable, rather than a self-confessed expert at something.

I also touch upon other hotly-debated topics, like devaluing yourself by lowering the amount you charge for different clients (it’s a contentious issue, I know), selling yourself (people who follow this blog regularly will know that I ascribe to a peculiarly Geordie phrase, shy bairns get nowt) and some jobs that didn’t go so well.

I think it’s good. Even if you don’t, well, it’s 63 pence and 12,500 words of your time. Got to be worth a gamble, hasn’t it?

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