Want help with your freelance career and/or your manuscript?

This post was originally sent to my TinyLetter subscribers.

It’s CYBER MONDAY, and I cannot believe that I am sending this out on CYBORG MONDAY, but I wanted to let you know that I was recently invited to become a career and manuscript consultant at Seattle’s Hugo House.

Which means that if you are looking for something to purchase THROUGH THE INTERNET, you can buy sessions with me.

You already know that I give away a lot of my freelancing wisdom for free—you might have heard the most recent episode of the Writing & Money podcast, for example—and I’m not going to stop doing that. But if you are interested in setting up an hour or two to talk specifically about your freelance career goals and how to achieve them, I am here for you.

I am also here to offer editing, copyediting, and proofreading services on your manuscript. I am a VERY GOOD EDITOR who hasn’t misspelled CYBER MONEYDAY once.

I’ll just quote myself here:

As an editor, I focus on whether the writer is effectively communicating their story to their audience. Sometimes there are narrative gaps that need to be filled so that a reader can link one section of text to another; sometimes the text is unbalanced, with too much time spent on a certain story element (most commonly exposition).

I read very quickly and can complete a 90,000-word manuscript in 2–3 hours, though you’ll want to add in another hour for me to write up my feedback. I’ll send the first round of feedback via email, and we can have a follow-up conversation over the phone or online (via text or video chat)—whichever is most comfortable for the writer. If you just want my initial feedback on a draft, that’s great; we can also continue the conversation and I can provide additional written feedback on subsequent drafts.

If you’d like copyediting/line-editing/proofreading services, estimate 30 minutes for every 600 words.

If you’re a freelancer who is looking to build your career, we can set up an hour-long consultation. We could look at your pitching strategy, discuss how to expand your client base, or address any questions/concerns you have about freelancing.

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, my rates are $90/hr and you can sign up right here.



This Week in Self-Publishing: The Future of My Book

This Week

Books sold: 1 ebooks, 1 paperbacks

Money earned: $6.46 (No, I don’t know why this number is higher than last week’s, maybe a sale got recorded last week but the money didn’t arrive until this week?)

Money spent: $0


Books sold: 342 ebooks, 138 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,272.75

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $4,820.71

One of the benefits of self-publishing—in theory—is that you don’t have to worry about what will happen if your publisher shuts down.

But here I am, with Pronoun announcing that it’ll stop distributing books in January, trying to figure out what to do next.

I have a handful of options. I could send The Biographies of Ordinary People through another distributor, like Draft2Digital or Reedsy’s Blurb—and I did enjoy working with Reedsy on their weekly short story contest—or I could do all the distribution myself.

Or… I could submit Biographies to a hybrid publisher, and relaunch the book with the benefit of their marketing/distribution/publicity teams.

Since one of my big questions about Vol. 2 was whether I was going to hire an outside publicist, working with a hybrid might be one way to get that done. I know I could just hire a publicist directly, and that could still be an option if the hybrids turn me down—because you do have to submit, and they don’t take everybody.

My goal was always to get Biographies to the largest number of readers while earning the highest amount of royalties and maintaining as much creative control as possible. I mean, that was even my goal when I was querying agents and considering the trad pub route. (You might remember the conversation I had with an agent where she told me I could rewrite Biographies to make it more commercially marketable, or keep what I had and sell it as “an art book that would appeal to a select few.” I guess the choice I made kinda contradicted the whole “sell to the largest number of readers” goal, but also she said I had made art.)

So I’m going to submit Biographies to two hybrid publishers and… you know, see what they say. Let them make me an offer, assuming I pass the submission process. I’ll also ask about sales numbers; I’ve looked at some of their authors’ books online and taken note of their Amazon reviews and sales rankings, but that only shows part of the equation—and the part I’m interested in is whether I’ll earn back my investment.

And if that doesn’t work, I’ll sign up with another distributor and keep publishing. ❤️

Photo credit: amslerPIX, CC BY 2.0.

Writing & Money Episode 2: How to Write When You’re Busy

This episode is SO GOOD, y’all. It has all my best advice about getting your writing done even when you’re busy. But don’t just take MY word for it:

This Week in Self-Publishing: Pronoun Is Shutting Down

This Week

Books sold: 2 ebooks, 1 paperbacks

Money earned: $5.38

Money spent: $0


Books sold: 341 ebooks, 137 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,266.29

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $4,820.71

So I flew from Seattle to Cedar Rapids on Monday to spend the week apartment-hunting, and when I took my phone off airplane mode I had an email from Pronoun announcing that they were shutting down.

They shared the same text on their website:

While many challenges in indie publishing remain unsolved, Macmillan is unable to continue Pronoun’s operation in its current form. Every option was considered before making the very difficult decision to end the business.

As of today, it is no longer possible to create a new account or publish a new book. Pronoun will be winding down its distribution, with an anticipated end date of January 15, 2018.

This is hugely unfortunate, both because Pronoun was a great service—I got to meet the team in New York, and they were doing such good work—and because I’m going to have to find another way to distribute The Biographies of Ordinary People.

(I used to link to a Pronoun sales page every time I typed my book’s title. I’m going to have to re-do all those links.)

After I got the news, I put this on Twitter:

I thought maybe it’d work. But nobody contacted me, so I’m going to have to figure out the best next step on my own.

Last week I wrote that Biographies Vol. 1 was going to get a “new edition,” which is still true—I gotta go in and add all those section breaks to make the perspective shifts a little clearer.

But it makes me wonder if I should do a totally new edition, maybe with a hybrid publisher—I’d query small presses as well if I thought they’d accept me—and publish Vol. 2 that way as well.

(Which might delay Vol. 2‘s release. Ugh.)

Because the other option is to throw Biographies up on Amazon, and being Amazon-exclusive has its advantages, but… I don’t want to just be in the Amazon bucket.

Hmm. Hybrid publishing is not cheap. But you get their marketing and publicity team, which is also what I was hoping to pay for with Vol. 2[UPDATE: And then I remembered that I had spent nearly $5K self-publishing Vol. 1, so I could justify spending that much on Vol. 2 if I went the hybrid route.]

I need to make some calls and send some emails, is what needs to happen.

First I need to add those section breaks, so I can send the shiniest version of Vol. 1 out when I re-query.

And before that I need to fly back to Seattle from Cedar Rapids.

And during all of this I need to move to Cedar Rapids.

(And run a podcast, and edit The Billfold, and keep the rest of my freelance career going.)

It’ll all sort itself out, I’m sure.

But it’s going to take some work. ❤️

Photo credit: Mike Steele, CC BY 2.0.

This Week in Self-Publishing: Making Your Package As Great As Your Content

This Week

Books sold: 7 ebooks, 0 paperbacks

Money earned: $19.56

Money spent: $0


Books sold: 339 ebooks, 136 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,260.70

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $4,820.71

On Monday, I launched Writing & Money, a new podcast designed to help you earn more money from your writing. (Some eps are free; most are subscription-only. $1 per month.)

I launched this week because I had the idea and I knew I’d be good at it, and because I wanted a way to start the “teaching” phase of my career without having to invest in the video setup that I’d need to create online classes on a site like Teachable.

Plus, it doesn’t make sense to start planning video until I know what my new apartment in Cedar Rapids will be like.

But I can podcast from anywhere, right? GarageBand has a “podcast” setting, so I could just… record and go!


Here’s what I’ve learned after two episodes.

I’m a natural teacher. I already knew that, for the most part—I started teaching piano lessons when I was a teenager, and have earned a decent amount of cash teaching theater, music, and writing over the years.

I have an engaging podcast presence. Again: theater, music, lots of experience speaking (and singing) in public.

My podcast audio is, at best, 70 percent there. There are plosives, there’s some room noise, and although it doesn’t sound dreadful, it doesn’t sound professional either.

I might be able to get it to 85 percent on my own, by learning a little more about GarageBand and buying some extra tools like a pop filter.

Or I could hire out to someone who could get it to 100 percent.

When I published The Biographies of Ordinary People, I wanted it to look 100 percent, and I hired a designer to help me get it there. (Veronica Ewing—she’s so great!)

When I launched Writing & Money, I wanted to earn as much money as possible from podcast subscriptions, so I tried to do the entire thing myself.

I don’t know how many people listened to the first episode and decided not to subscribe because the audio was only at 70 percent. (I do know that 198 people viewed the first episode, whether or not they listened to it.)

But I know that before I release the next free episode in December, I need to get that audio a lot closer to 100 percent.

Because my podcast content is REALLY GOOD. I’ve had multiple people tell me so. Episode 0: How to Pitch is already helping people get better at pitching!

So my audio should be REALLY GOOD too.

You can extrapolate that into whatever aspect of your own work is currently at 70 percent, whether it’s a cover design that isn’t quite right or a character whose motivation you haven’t yet figured out.

Also… I’m still in teaching mode, aren’t I. ❤️