Tag Archives: copywriting

Copy editing article posted on Edit Edge Solutions, LLC

Edit Edge Solutions, LLC launched their website yesterday – and featured an article by yours truly.

Check out 6 Reasons Your Site Needs a Copy Editor for my take on why it’s vital that every business use a copy professional when constructing their website and marketing materials.

Edit Edge Solutions is a company that specializes in helping political candidates and small businesses improve their online presence, and is headed up by Elizabeth Dagostino, who’s spent over 15 years working on political campaigns at all levels of government.

(And as always, a shout-out to my mom, who regularly copy edits my blog. As always, I appreciate when people point out my typos!)

Versatile Blogger Awards (Part 1: Blog Recommendations)

IMG_20131017_213750On Saturday, I found out that Christina Zarrella had awarded me a Versatile Blogger Award! Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyways), I’m so flattered that she thought of me when selecting her nominees! Christina’s blog, Turbulence in the Veins, talks about her journey from homeless teen to Yale grad, offering some incredible insight into the struggles she faced and overcame on the way and talking about issues faced by those in similar situations to hers. To be honored by such a blogger was immensely flattering, and I hope you’ll all check out her writing. She has a memoir, of the same title, on the way. Thank you so much, Christina, for your kind words about I Wrote This:

Rachel Lynn Brody’s blog is always informative – whether on tech/blogging/writing topics and tips: http://rlbrody.com

Part one of winning a Versatile Blogger award is nominating another 15 blogs – so here are my nominations (in no particular order)!

  1. Sare Liz Gordy (Inspiration, One Day At A Time) www.sareliz.com – Sare and I have known each other for years; her blog, which she updates with regularity, is always a window into her attempts to view her world with clarity and self-knowledge. Whether she’s posting about migraines, Feng Shui or finding enlightenment, her blogs are always a focused reflection of the world around her.
  2. Tony Noland (Landless) http://www.tonynoland.com/ – A Twitter acquaintance who I’ve known for a while now, Tony’s blog is a combination of his self-publishing exploits, flash fiction and the occasional DIY project. His sense of humor is always evident in his takes on everyday life.
  3. Jamie Broadnax (Black Girl Nerds) http://blackgirlnerds.com/ – Jamie and I have been chatting on Twitter for some time now, and her blog is a phenomenal resource for all things nerdy. She runs a weekly podcast of the same name, and both outlets dig into comics, culture and more. Through Black Girl Nerds, she’s built a phenomenal community that’s well worth checking out.
  4. C.D. Reimer http://www.cdreimer.com/ – This is actually a combination of three blogs, where C.D. posts about writing, Silicon Valley and poetry. His writing blog is incredibly informative and often offers helpful insights into the process of self-publishing.
  5. Johann Thorsson (On Books & Writing) http://jthorsson.com/blog/ – Icelandic author Johann Thorsson writes short stories and novels (mostly in English). His blog is a collection of book reviews, photographs and excerpts from his essays for megasite Book Riot. As an added bonus, those who follow him on Twitter often get to see, via photo, how jealous we should all be that we don’t live in Iceland.
  6. JC Rosen (Girl Meets Words) http://jessrosen.wordpress.com/ – Jess runs a few different book- and writing-related discussions on Twitter. She’s always supportive of writers and willing to chat about their work, and always able to give an encouraging word. Her blog includes flash fiction on diverse topics and write-ups of the different things she’s reading.
  7. Emily Suess (Suess’ Pieces) http://emilysuess.wordpress.com/ – One of my first Twitter acquaintances, Emily also runs a copywriting business – and when I met her, had taken on the beheamouth of online vanity publishing services to try and help new writers avoid unethical treatment. Seuss’ Pieces has been retired and archived to this URL, but still contains plenty of advice for beginning writers.
  8. Melanie Ardentdelirium (Lovely Like Beestings) http://lovelylikebeestings.wordpress.com – Mels is a Twitter acquaintance whose blog tackles issues of both mental health and Roller Derby. Her topics cover everything from broken bones to sick cats, all with a frank edge that gives you a real taste of her personality.
  9. Jo Clifford (Teatro do Mundo) http://www.teatrodomundo.com/  – Jo, my former MFA supervisor, is also a well-regarded, talented and prolific playwright in Scotland. Her blog is both a resource for understanding what it means to be a playwright in today’s world as well as a rich collection of ruminations on personal experience.
  10. Sarah Hartley (StoryGirlSarah.com) http://storygirlsarah.com/ – Sarah is a New York fashionista in the truest sense of the word, with her signature mod/vintage look stamped across her fashion and design work. (Did I mention she’s responsible for the cover of Hot Mess?) Follow her blog and on Instagram to get the full impact of her creative and clear-headed style.
  11. E.M. Thurmond (Count My Stars) http://countmystars.wordpress.com/ – While it hasn’t been updated in some time, E.M. Thurmond’s blog tells the story of an aspiring TV writer in Hollywood. From interviews with women writers to accounts of her own experiences developing her career, it’s a place where readers can find insight in the crazy maze of trying to make it as a screenwriter while staying true to your goals and ideals.
  12. Vossbrink and Kukurovaca (Hairy Beast) http://hairybeast.net/ – These two twitter acquaintances are quick-witted on Twitter, and the depth of analysis on this blog dealing with photography and culture will change the way you look at pictures. Well worth checking it out, but carve out enough time to really immerse yourself in the subject matter. You won’t regret it.
  13. Debbie Vega (Moon in Gemini) http://debravega.wordpress.com/ – Another blogger I found through #MondayBlogs, Debbie covers writing and pop culture. She participates in a lot of themed blog events, like “The Great Villain Blogathon,” and offers anything from advice on how writers can improve their craft to her perspective on popular films.
  14. NYPinTA (Talking to the Moon) http://www.nypinta.com/blog/ – Film, music, theater, travel and television all get their chance in the spotlight on NYPinTA’s blog. Her clear and direct writing style lets you enjoy her experiences as if you’d been there.
  15. Hugh C. Howey http://www.hughhowey.com/ – I read Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga last year, and was blown away by his intriguing dystopian vision. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with him once or twice on Twitter, and the thing I love about his blog is how generous he is with his advice for aspiring indie authors. As someone whose self-published stories went from blog entries to Kindle novels to being picked up by a major publisher, he’s walked the road many indie writers want to follow on, and he offers a lot of insight along the way.

Honorable Mention:

Maybe it’s cheating to bring up a blog I help contribute to, but this list wouldn’t be complete without including Calming Brits & Irishmen. My friend @aboleyn started this Tumblr as a way to cheer me up after my back injury, and since then it’s gained nearly 4,000 followers and turned into a sort of Post Secret for Anglophiles. In addition to the meme-like photographs with calming sayings that we started out posting, we now answer anywhere between 3-15 “asks” a day – many anonymous – from followers dealing with upsetting issues from studying for exams to dealing with breakups, mental health issues and the deaths of family and friends — all through the medium of animated gifs of some of our favorite British and Irish personalities. Apparently the brings a smile to many peoples’ days, and if you’re looking for versatility, the topics it covers run the gamut of human experience.

There’s a second part of the Versatile Blogger Awards – sharing seven things about yourself – but as this blog is already topping 1000+ words, I’ll save that for a second part. Stay tuned tomorrow to learn more about me.

I’m currently seeking beta readers/advance reviewers for my upcoming collection of sci-fi and speculative fiction stories, SHORT FRICTIONS. If you’re interested, please click here to find out more. 

Please Bear This In Mind When Submitting Your Bid

© Kineticimagery | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Kineticimagery | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

The other day I was cruising one-off writing gig listings and came across an ad that hacked me off to no end. Here’s the part that got me riled up:

“This job should be easy for a professional writer, please bear this in mind when submitting your bid.”

I’m going to try this the next time I walk into my dentist. “This root canal should be easy for a professional dentist, please bear this in mind when sending your bill. Now that’s out of the way, dose me up on that laughing gas!” Bet we’ll both have a good giggle, don’t you think?

The prospective client who posted this ad either doesn’t care about quality content, or – I very much hope – is unintentionally doing themselves a great disservice.

Professional writers are professional for a reason. They’ve put thousands of hours into perfecting their craft, and they are the ones who are qualified to determine what their time is worth. They’re also the ones who are qualified to decide how “easy” a job is, and how much skill and time it will take to complete. For a client to assume they know the full extent of the effort a copywriting  job will take tells a writer they’re likely to be difficult to work with and overly demanding, and may even try to evade payment once the job is complete – under the cover of belittling the professional work and effort put forth in good faith. Not what any professional, in any field, looks for in a client.

If a client is sure that a job is so “easy,” surely they have a sister or niece or an unpaid intern happy to do it? Whatever the content, writing even a few hundred words takes time, and that’s time a professional writer is using to give their client the best possible chance at making a splash with potential customers. It’s also time during which they are not getting paid more by another client, or time that comes out of the non-work portion of their schedule. Does any genuinely professional small business want to come off as hackneyed and corner-cutting when it comes time to make an impression on their customers?

Furthermore, do they want their customers to walk in and insist that if their business is “professional,” they’ll give a cut rate for their services?

Businesses who imply that they’re entitled to the best professional efforts of others without fair payment give the impression that aren’t looking to provide quality, they’re looking to increase their bottom line. At any expense. By (intentionally or unintentionally) insulting the professional integrity of the best writers out there, these businesses shrink the pool of people who will even consider submitting a bid.

Which brings me to my next question: why even bother putting this requirement on an open job? For those unfamiliar with services like oDesk and Elance, these online clearinghouses allow clients to post the equivalent of a classified ad, outlining a writing job and opening it to bids. If a client doesn’t want to accept a high bid, all they need to do is skip it in favor of a bid by a writer working at a lower rate. No explanation or justification is required for turning down jobs that don’t fit a project’s budget. So why alienate writers who might pick up the job to fill time between other commitments instead of just letting the open market work its magic? And if, upon receiving all the bids, there are none that fit a client’s planned budgetary specifications…maybe it’s time to reevaluate the plan.

The moral of the story? Don’t expect to get the best writers to compete for your job by rolling out a condescending advertisement. If you really don’t want to deal with bids from professional writers whose time is worth more than your company can afford, be direct and place a ceiling on what you’ll accept – a simple “due to budget constraints, bids over $15/hr will not be considered” does the job nicely, and without the not-so-subtle implication that anyone asking for more than that is trying to pull a fast one or is less than professional. Meanwhile, writers who charge rates more in line with professional standards will still steer clear, but without the bad will. Instead, you’ll wind up with writers happy to work for what you’re willing to pay, whether that’s their usual rate or they’ve decided upon review of your advertisement that the job really is simple enough to warrant charging less. If their work isn’t up to snuff…it’s another indication that maybe your plan needs to be modified. (Moreover, since the economics of these sites often require newly-registered writers to build a portfolio of reviews to get higher-paying jobs, you may still get a bargain.)

I’d love to hear from those who’ve used these services as clients, regarding how they list jobs and what sort of rates they feel are reasonable, how they select their writers, and what might prompt a well-meaning business owner to post this kind of ad. Is it simply a case of a non-writer being unable to convey their intentions clearly? Or do you think it’s an intentional effort to belittle and bully a writer into accepting an otherwise unacceptable rate?

Similarly, copywriters – what’s your reaction to this sort of ad? Do you submit a bid anyways and see what happens, or scroll past the listing in favor of jobs without implied pay restrictions?

Looking forward to hearing what people think.