If you missed our Sept. 3 freelancer panel, this is the roundup of resources. Thank you to the Women of Words members on the panel who shared their great information and advice: Lisa Mitchell, Wendy Darrow, and Jana Pruet-Whitson!
In-Person Networking Groups
- Look in your neighborhood for small businesses that need help. For example, maybe a store you frequent needs help with its social media presence. The owner of a small business is more likely to trust a patron like you over a big company that’s pitching social media services.
- If you’re interested in becoming a freelance editor, proofreader, or writer, P.N. Waldygo is a wealth of information. Her site, DesertSageBookEditor.com, includes how to make a living as a freelance book editor, her extensive list of set fees/rates for a variety of editing and writing work, etc.
- Find a mentor.
- If you approach people for freelance work and they don’t have any for you, always say, “If you can’t help me, do you know who can?” Try to get contacts to continue your search.
- If you ask the people in your network often enough for freelance work, eventually they will approach you with work and/or recommend you to others because they know you’re available.
- Use a portfolio website to showcase your work. Here are a few:
- Ask for part of the total project fee up front. For example, if you’ve quoted a client $3,000 for a website writing project, ask for $1,500 up front so you aren’t working for free.
- Develop a package system for your work hours that the client can purchase up front. Examples: 30 hours for $900 and 10 hours for $400.
- Research what other freelancers are charging/making at sites like these:
- Ask your freelancing peers what they charge per hour and per project, if they are comfortable talking about it.
- Keep in mind that agencies bill clients at least double what you make, and the agency keeps half. For example, if you get $35 per hour for editing, the agency is probably charging the client $70 per hour for your time.
Meet Amanda! She can attest to the power of networking. While attending our May meeting, she mentioned that she was looking for new opportunities. Right then, another Women of Words member offered to connect her with someone who had an opening that would be a great fit. It worked out, and Amanda started her new position shortly afterward.
Sure, it’s not always that easy, but you never know who you’ll meet when you attend a Women of Words meeting. Those connections could lead to opportunities for you, just like they did for Amanda. Here’s what she has to say about her new position (and a little more)!
Job title and company: Marketing Coordinator, Montgomery Coscia Greilich
What’s the best thing about your new position? The chance to help translate a lot of potential across a few business functions into something really positive for the whole company. And, of course, the really open and friendly culture!
What are you reading right now? A couple of things: a biography of Elizabeth of York, Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and the first-ever English translation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales (first edition)—minus their later heavy editing for content.
What’s your favorite word or phrase? I have always been very partial to the word “elusive” because I think it sounds exactly like what it means. I also love the phrase “a murder of crows,” probably because it appeals to the Edgar Allan Poe in me.
Why did you join Women of Words? I was referred by another member at an SEO event. It seemed like my kind of group (being a wordy woman and all), so I went—and I am obviously very glad I kept coming.
Check out Amanda’s profile/portfolio: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amandalpolewski
The best time to curl up with a book is in the dead of winter, when it’s too chilly to be outdoors and you can camp out guilt-free with a warm drink, a fuzzy blanket, and a good book. Here are some content-related books we recommend for your winter reading list.
- The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
In this exploration of how the Internet is changing us and the way we read, Carr takes readers down a fascinating rabbit hole of the neurological impact of our changing technological landscape. Full of interesting tidbits and some surprising conclusions, The Shallows is a great choice for contemplating the future of reading.
- Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do, edited by Gerald Gross
The third edition of this collection, published in 1994, is the most recent edition we have, but that doesn’t mean the thoughts and opinions of the editors who contributed to the collected are irrelevant or antiquated. Rather, the book is a timeless and fascinating look at the editor’s role throughout the nooks and crannies of the publishing industry. Editors on Editing is truly enjoyable from start to finish.
- Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century by John B. Thompson
Another book about the publishing industry, Merchants of Culture takes readers through the history of the industry, up to present day practices and concerns, and then takes a look at the future of books. This book explores all facets of the industry, but is neither overwhelming nor dry.
- Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students by Ellen Lupton
We believe it’s important to not only know about your own profession, but also those that are closely related. Thinking with Type is a definitive and accessible book about typography that was most certainly made for more than designers, and we think it offers valuable insight as to why the design of a piece of text can be as important as the meaning.
- The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics by John Pollack
Finally, we have a book that is sheer fun for word nerds. Pollack’s book takes readers on an immensely clever pun-filled journey as he explores the different kinds of puns, how our brains process puns, and how they’ve proven to be more than groan-worthy humor. Written by a winner of the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, The Pun Also Rises is sure to cheer up any dreary winter day.
We’d been looking for a networking group for months to no avail. We were hoping to build our personal networks of like-minded professional women whom we could turn to both for future opportunities and for advice about issues that continue to plague women in the workforce. Though there were groups for people in the advertising industry, people in business, people simply looking to socialize, we could find no networking groups for professional writers, editors, and other content producers.
So we finally decided that if this was something we really wanted, well, we’d have to do it ourselves. We came up with our mission, and from that, our name. We worked with our company’s COO, who is interested in hosting recruiting and networking events, for event hosting and funding so that we can make meetings free to members. We reached out to a local designer/developer to help us create branding and an online presence. We tapped our networks to let them know what we were planning, and to ask them to spread the word in turn.
And now we’re ready for our launch party. We hope that the vision we have for this organization and for our meetings will fill a void in Dallas-Fort Worth’s networking scene. Ultimately, we’re just excited for an opportunity, finally, to chat with and learn from other professional women and content producers in DFW.
About Women of Words Meetings
Women of Words meetings will be held the first Thursday of each month from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc., located near Spring Valley and the Dallas North Tollway in Dallas. Snacks and drinks will be provided during the first hour of each meeting while members mix and mingle. The second hour will be for the meeting’s planned discussion or presentation.