Diary of a freelance writer: 14 September 2016

Wahey! I made it in on time again! 😀

I’ve not done much actual writing this past week, but I have done a lot of organising and arranging and getting back into the swing of things. And I’ve been busy the whole time, no malingering or skiving.

Wednesday 7 September 2016
On Wednesday I thought about rebooting my study work. I have so many courses I’ve not finished, and so many jobs – if I want them – seem to want a degree now, which I don’t have. I’ve paid out money for these courses, or had money spent on them for me, and I think I’d like to complete at least one of them, if not all of them.

So, on Wednesday I contacted the Open University to see what I need to do to complete my degree with them. I started a BA (Honours) in Art and Humanities, but that was back in 2000. I financed the first 70 points myself, and the company I worked for also financed a further 60 points. But as the degree I initially signed up for comes to an end next year. I needed to see if those existing 130 credits counted towards what it’s been replaced with. I set the ball in motion and awaited their replies.

I also continued with an edit for lovely-retainer-boss.

Thursday 8 September 2016
On Thursday I wrote last Wednesday’s blog post and pretended it was the day before. That netted me 603 words towards the monthly word-count target. I also did gig list admin and remembered to schedule the Monday morning post this time.

Friday 9 September 2016
On Friday I finished the current edit for lovely-retainer-boss and invoiced for that one and one I finished earlier in the week too. (Hurrah!)

Weekend
At the weekend we did some running around with/for parents, and Saturday evening Monkey Dust had a particularly bostin gig in Doncaster. The poet also spent time emptying a couple of boxes and organising my office supplies in a cupboard.

Monday 12 September 2016
On Monday morning, I received the first confirmation from the OU that they were going to look at transferring my existing qualifications to the new version degree. I wrote a quick 278 words for the lifestyle blog and I rebooted 3 of my writing courses:

  • The British College of Journalism, Professional Freelance Journalism Course (BCJ)
  • Writers Bureau, Fiction Writing Course (WB)
  • 5 in 10: Create Five Short Stories in Ten Weeks by Devon Ellington (5 in 10)

I went to find an empty ring binder to keep the BCJ and 5 in 10 courses together, but although I found a nice shocking pink one, it soon became clear that this wouldn’t be big enough. I printed off the first BCJ tutorial for revision, wrote 430 words, revised “week 1” of 5 in 10, and I studied module 8 of the WB course. I printed off Tutorial 2 of the BCJ course for study tomorrow.

Monday was very much a “me” day with me not doing any editing work for anyone else.

Tuesday 13 September 2016
By yesterday I was “back in the saddle” for the freelance writing, catching up with date work and writing a massive 132 words of notes! I picked up Tales From Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book Two and started to edit it in preparation for its republication on CreateSpace. I’ve decided to use Lulu for hard-backed books, CreateSpace for paperbacks, and Kindle and Smashwords for ebooks. Hard-backed large-print will be with Lulu, paperback large-print will be with CreateSpace.

In the afternoon, I completed module 9 of the WB course and Tutorial 2 of the BCJ course, writing 75 words for the latter. I printed off Tutorial 3 of the BCJ course for study tomorrow.

I started a new edit for lovely-retainer-boss.

Yesterday evening, we went shopping, and I bought a shiny new lever-arch folder for the BCJ course, shocking pink again. I was going to buy some subject dividers too, but during his clear-out at the weekend, the poet had found some unused subject dividers. So I utilised those instead.

Homework w/c 14 September 2016
It’s a busy week ahead for me, then, with 3 writing courses to continue with and a book to finish preparing for republication.

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 10 August 2016

So it’s been 3 weeks since my last diary post! What on earth have I been up to in all that time?

For a start, I’ve been publishing on Kindle and planning the book-writing/publishing schedule. Then I got offered a full-time job. And then we went on holiday.

The Kindle books you know about, as I was able to sneak in an extra post here.

The job … went into negotiation, as I really do like to be self-employed and do my own thing when I want to. But it was an offer I had to consider very carefully and, well, we agreed on a compromise, and one that will be quite flexible and revisited once we get into a regular flow.

One of my lovely editing clients has taken me on via a monthly retainer. They’re not getting all of my hours, but they’re getting more than half of them – around 20 hours per week. But I get the retainer whether I do more hours or fewer. We still have to iron out the details, but, well, I already have 5 books in from them, so it looks as thought they’re serious.

This means that I no longer have to trawl for another editing job, which is very good news and frees me up to do more of my own work. And I know I’ve said and done this before, but sometimes, when the work is quiet, I do still go and have a look to see what’s on offer. But I’ll still do any other work that comes in from other existing or previous clients as well.

It also means that I should get more of my own work done as it removes any financial pressure.

I’m delighted, and hope that it works.

The holiday will be detailed over on the lifestyle blog.

Wednesday 20 July 2016
On the first Wednesday of this very long period, I wrote 870 words for a blog post. I completed Module 7 of my fiction writing course. I updated and marketed the Facebook pages. And I applied part of my next study assignment to Scrivener.

Thursday 21 July 2016
The following day I started to update this Words Worth Writing blog, which included a new page, Current Projects. On this page you can see all of the books I’m currently working on in one form or another. The covers are all “working graphics”, unless they already exist. These working graphics don’t necessarily reflect how they will look when they are done, but they provide a nice visual prompt/motivation for me to get on with them.

I updated the Buy My Books and the Buy P&S Books pages.

I also continued to edit a book for lovely-already-boss.

Friday 22 July 2016
Friday was the day I published TWEE TALES on Kindle and NIGHT CRAWLER: A MARCIE CRAIG MYSTERY on CreateSpace. This took up much of the day, but I also managed more editing on the book for lovely-already-boss.

Weekend
That weekend, Monkey Dust played a charity festival over in Castleford on the Saturday, and we split the Sunday between parents in Doncaster and Birmingham.

Monday 25 July 2016
This Monday was the first attempt for me at doing “my work” in the morning, and editing work in the afternoon. I’d moved all of my daily competitions and daily surveys to either never or just once a week, and a lot of the other daily chores went too.

Quite successfully, I managed to publish NIGHT CRAWLER: A MARCIE CRAIG MYSTERY on Kindle, and I wrote the blog about it – in the morning.

And in the afternoon I moved into editing, but was still finishing the job for lovely-already boss.

Tuesday 26 July 2016
Because I’d spent quite a lot of time on my own work just recently, I felt able to give over the whole of this Tuesday morning to finishing the job for lovely-already-boss. I sent the book back to the author, but didn’t get around to raising the invoice yet …

The afternoon section was starting a new edit for lovely-retainer-boss, and his first ever rush-job. He even asked me to delay starting a book I’d already received and to crack on with this one. I’d warned him we were off on our holidays at the end of this week, but I’d do what I could before then.

Wednesday 27 July 2016 – Saturday 30 July 2016
And this was when I seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth …

For the next 3½ days I worked solidly on the rush-job. I managed a full hard-copy edit before we went off on holiday for a week, and also 265 pages of the electronic edit, of 336 pages. Aside from spending half a day arguing with Barnsley Council, who had failed to come for a single recycled bin of ours since 20 May, all of my time was spent trying to get this job done. And because of that, and because I had warned him that we were going away, I didn’t feel guilty about only sending him what I’d done so far. But I did feel guilty about leaving most of the holiday packing and shopping to the poor poet – although I did break off to help a couple of times.

And then we went on holiday.

Saturday 30 July 2016 – Saturday 6 August 2016
The dog came with us but the cats stayed behind with my sister and my dad, who had come up to see the house and to look after the animals while we were away. We went camping in Dorset and came home on the following Saturday morning, arriving back by teatime.

Sunday 7 August 2016 – Tuesday 9 August 2016
We had intended on having 2 weeks holiday but instead, for reasons that may become clear when you read this week’s “homework”, we just had until yesterday, and the poet went back to work today.

Homework w/c 10 August 2016
Today, then, I start as I mean to go on, doing my work in the mornings and lovely-retainer-boss’s work in the afternoons. If I don’t have any work outstanding from him, I’ll carry on with my own work. Other editing jobs will come under my own work from now on.

I have to create my tracker spreadsheet for August and I have to write the diary for the next 7 days. Once this is done, I’ll have more of an idea of my own workload.

My brother and his family are coming over for a 3-week visit from Canada, though, and the diary may be subject to change – as were our holidays. He’s spending some time with our parents in Birmingham, some time in Ireland with family, and some time in Wales. If they get chance, they’ll be coming to see us in the new house, which is why we decided to save a few of our holiday days until then.

From this afternoon, however, I carry on with work on the retainer, finishing the book I started before we went away. I’ll also let him have a schedule of work, as I already have 4 more books from him waiting for my attention.

What are you up to this week?

Two books now available on Kindle

lulu cover
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I’m delighted to announce that not one but TWO of my re-branded, re-packaged and re-published books are now available in the Kindle store on Amazon.

This is one (or two!) of the things I’ve been working on recently.

NIGHT CRAWLER: A MARCIE CRAIG MYSTERY and TWEE TALES are now available, on Kindle, for £2.99 and £1.99 respectively. If you click on the covers, you’ll be taken directly to the Kindle store. But if you’re in a different country, still follow the links and then follow the link on the books’ pages to your own country’s Amazon – it’s usually in the top right of your screen if viewing on a desktop or laptop, and I think there’s a clickable link on other devices too.

I’ve not had much luck selling ebooks on other platforms and I can’t really afford the time to re-format them at the moment. But if you prefer to buy your ebooks on Kobo or Nook or whatever, do let me know and I’ll make it a priority. For the next 90 days, however, they’ll be exclusive to Kindle. I want to see how the KDP Select thing works out before making them available elsewhere as well.

These Kindle versions can no longer be bought with the Diane Parkin byline. However, I’m trialling giving the Kindle versions of the new books away FREE to anyone who buys the paperbacks … I’m just not sure how they work with each other yet, so won’t promise anything until I know it’s working … watch this space for that.

My other decision (as well as the Kobo/Nook/etc) is to only publish hardback books via Lulu in future, then publish the paperback and the ebook on Amazon. The CreateSpace is so much easier to use and there are lots of different styles of cover to manipulate too. (See my “current projects” page for examples – I’ve been working on that as well.)

You can see from the illustrations, on this page and on the “current projects” page, the difference in cover size. Also, my raw Word files didn’t need half as much re-formatting to get them to work as they used to. In fact, they didn’t need any. Perhaps this is something Amazon has worked on.

If you buy any of the books, or if you already have older versions, it would be great if you could leave a review – if Amazon will let you. Thank you in advance.