I came across a post in a Facebook freelancing group. The person posted that he was seeking an editor. I responded with my usual direct message along the lines of: "I have over 30 years of professional editing experience and would be happy to discuss your project with you."
I received a response directing me to email my CV to another person's email address. Spidey senses tingling, I did so anyway. Next came an email message asking for my name (um ... that was in the Facebook communication) and address. The message further explained (in poor English) what the potential client expected of me and asked how much I charged "Per page of 28 pages of Magazine and Manuscript?" Next in the message came the request that I "Precisely Calculate" my estimated cost per day for eight hours, then to calculate my cost per week with a total estimated cost. Simple math could solve that problem.
Spidey senses still tingling, I responded with my agreement to edit for them for their top-of-budget $4,000 per month, stating that I would not guarantee them full-time availability. I'm freelance, you know. That means I have other clients whose projects receive the same care and attention and the time they need as I would give to his. As response came back to the effect that the client would mail me a check for 40% of the agreed-upon fee. Without a contract. Without discussing the project itself.
Now my spidey senses were really tingling!
Yesterday evening, my husband received a notice that someone had texted my business number. The poor English was a tip-off. I understand that one cannot tell whether a number is a landline or a mobile number just from the number. Shortly thereafter, he received another notice: whoever was texting wanted immediate acknowledgement.
This morning, I replied via email that the business number he texted was a landline that did not receive texts and that my cell phone number was personal. He responded immediately via email: "If your cell phone is personal how do you expect us to communicate?because I still don't understand you , Are you kidding on this project ?"
I replied that as we were communicating via email, that seemed to be a perfectly viable option. He also had the option to call me. The phone rang.
I enjoyed a short conversation with a gentleman who spoke English as a second or even third language. He demanded I give him my cell phone number. I refused. If he needed me right away, then he wanted a guarantee that I would respond immediately. I replied that I would respond to him within one business day. He said that wasn't good enough; he needed immediate access regardless of the time of day or what I was doing. What if I were out of the office, he asked? How could he get hold of me then if I did not give him my cell phone number? I replied that if I were out of the office, I would not be at my desk to answer and would get back to him the next business day.
We went aroud and around on that for a couple of minutes. He was not pleased. Of course, I don't think he's entitled to my attention whenever he demands it. No one anywhere is guraranteed an immediate reply; a response within one business day is standard. He apparently doesn't understand the concept of hiring a freelancer.
I ended the call, stating that I probably wasn't a good match for his expectations and thanking him for his consideration. A few minutes later, the phone rang again.
He still wants me to edit for him even though I declined the project. He agreed to my restictions on communication via email or phone call. I received another message. The check is on its way and would I alert him when I received it?
I've been through this before. The check will undoubtedly be fraudulent. When it arrives, I'll notify the issuing bank and the company which supposedly wrote the check.
I hope to hoist him with own his petard.
Thank you, William Shakespeare, for that lovely phrase.
Lately, I have spoken with a handful of people about writing and editing for them. Two represent companies rather than individual authors. It's interesting that these diverse parties have similar requests.
When it comes to completing and submitting applications, I'm one of those folks who won't submit an application unless I can claim to have most of the experience and/or qualifications listed in the job description. We all know that job descriptions are wish lists, just as we all know that corporations all want to hire 18-year-old kids with MBAs and 10 years of professional experience who will work 60 hours per week on a minimum wage salary without overtime pay.
Ain't gonna happen.
Besides, if I don't have every single criteria nailed, that just leaves me with something to learn, a new skill to acquire. That small gap offers growth instead of boredom.
But I digress.
One person to whom I submitted a proposal asked me for project samples. I'd already provided links to project samples in my website, but gave her the benefit of the doubt of likely having received dozens of proposals and not recalling which was specifically was mine. So, I responded with a concrete list, each item hyperlinked. Then that prospective customer asked me to send her samples of those clients' pre-edited work to show what I had done with those manuscripts.
I replied that I don't do that. I don't share clients' unedited content, because that's a violation my ethics and of their trust in me. They don't want their unedited content sent to all and sundry. Instead of breaking their trust (and my contracts with them), I offered to provide that prospective client with a sample edit. I haven't heard back and doubt I will.
I understand that a prospective client wants assurance that I won't butcher his or her work when editing it; however, that person also would not want his or her unedited work handed to other people, either. If you don't want me to do something like that with your manuscript, then don't ask me to do that with other people's manuscripts. Fair's fair.
A sample edit will demonstrate how I would treat your manuscript. There's no better test for editor-author compatibility.
Another potential client considering me as a ghostwriter mentioned asked to see writing samples. I directed that person to various URLs leading directly to my work. I showed my experience in the genre specified as well as other work. Then came the mention that I'd have to undergo a writing trial which sounded suspiciously like a request for me to write for free. Any professional writer who has been in the game for more than a year or two will tell you: professionals don't create custom content for free. That's what all those writing samples are for.
The first request to share a client's unedited content is, quite simply, unethical. I have no rights to that content. It is not mine to give away.
The second request, one ghostwriters often receive, is also unethical as well as exploitive. This comes under "getting something for nothing" without the security of a contract or the promise of a reward. One doesn't ask a painter to paint one wall of a house before deciding whether to hire that painter, or a chef to prepare a sample dish before the patron orders a meal.
A third prospective client engaged me in a conversation regarding editing a manuscript. I explained my service and directed him to my website where my rates and recent projects are listed. That person stated that full service wasn't needed and asked if I were willing and able to deliver an abbreviated version of that service. Of course, I could do that; the author controls the level of service rendered. The author asked for my rates. I provided the information. And ... crickets.
The freelance dance requires both patience and perseverance. Patience comes into play when explaining the same thing to many different people—and sometimes to the same people. What I do doesn't change, but to many folks, what I do is new to them. They don't comprehend it, and it's my job to make sure they do understand before we get to the point of signing on the dotted line. Patience also comes into play when a prospective client asks me to do something unethical. I try to give that person the benefit of the doubt: either he did not think the request through or she's just naive and uninformed. Again, it's my job to educate that person. Again patience comes into play when a client finally understands what an endeavor will require and how much it will cost. Not everyone is able to or is willing to afford my services. I understand that and, again, work to educate the prospective client on the expected cost of service.
Perseverance is required, because for every "yes" I receive, I get a lot of "no" responses. Just as a prospective client or employer needs to evaluate me as a vendor, I need to evaluate the client. If it's not a good fit, then it's best not to do business.
The Twin Moons Saga is the fantasy romance series that keeps on giving. One story sparks an idea for the next ... and I'm now five books into the series. Will there be a sixth? Probably.
The beauty of the Twin Moons Saga or any of the series I write is that each book can be read as a standalone novel complete unto itself. I detest cliffhangers and won't inflict them upon my readers.
Champion of the Twin Moons departs somewhat from my usual style. It focuses more intently upon the hero's journey, his trials and tribulations and spiraling descent into villainry. Characters from other books in the series pop into Chastian's story: Master Enders, the enigmatic Archivist; Uberon, the formidable Unseelie King; Ishjarta, former assassin and the new king of Fyrgia; and, of course, the dawn and midnight swifts, the powerful unicorns who serve as the fae realm's highest powers.
However, the story doesn't begin with Chastian; it begins with Rosalia, the former princess of Fyrgia, whose father was deposed (and decapitated). Now, at 12 years old and living with her mother (the former queen of Fyrgia) and her siblings as subjects of the Erlking, she receives an offer to study under the Archist's tutelage—an unprecedented opportunity. No dummy, she accepts.
But she doesn't know why the Archivist offered her that opportunity, especially since the fae haven't a particularly good opinion of humans anyway. What Rosalia doesn't know is that the Chastian, the Champion of the Seelie Court, recognizes her as his mate.
But she's a child and Chastian is honorable.
The story doesn't end there. The course of true love never did run smoothly, and fate has other plans for Chastian, including rejection. So, how does a fae male deal with rejection? Not well.
Embark on the rollercoaster ride of fate with Chastian and purchase your copy of Champion of the Twin Moons.