Once upon a time (1993), I was a middling Television Producer with a quartet of Emmys and I earned about $100,000 a year. Taking out this and that and adding in that and this, it comes to about $400 a day on a Freelance basis. If you add in the cost of medical insurance, the 7.5% increase in Social Security, the lack of Workman’s Comp, the lack of disability insurance, the necessity of life insurance, and other sundries, a valid freelance equivalent would be $500 a day or, figuring a 10-hour day, $50 an hour.
In the past 25 years of freelancing, I can’t remember making $50 an hour ONCE.
And so we reach the subject of Perceived Value or how the value of work diminishes the instant that the client isn’t actually doing it.
Take a dog-walker. He or she takes on a contract to walk a dog twice a day and charges $40 a day. At this point, the client usually sees that as outrageous–after all, it’s something he or she does for free. However, figure 2 hours per walk with travel, twice a day, a good cardio exercise for about a mile, and you’re under minimum wage. Let’s not even discuss taxes, bonding insurance needed to even enter a client’s house, and business insurance (if you’re smart) for when that puppy bites someone, and you’re practically in debt.
Much more telling is the reaction to the payment on both sides”
The client sees a weekly charge of an outrageous $250 and a monstrous monthly charge of $1000. Time to fire this thief and hire the guy walking 10 dogs at once looking like a Chinese prison camp.
On the receiving end, the walker does a good half-day of work and gets less than the illegal immigrant who cleans the client’s house or the mechanic who fixes the Mercedes. Remove the third that goes to taxes, benefits, and insurance and Greeting at Walmart begins to look good.
The Perception of Value is the key. The client is, for the sake of argument, making $300 an hour as a PR flack which is why they can’t walk their own damn dog. They see that remuneration as perfectly reasonable and, probably, insufficient when they compare it to others in the company. In any case, their compensation goes directly into a bank and never seems enough to meet their reasonable costs of living. It’s invisible and theoretical.
However, the cost of Fluffy’s care consists of extremely real green paper that has to come out of their wallet and it simply seems far too high. Highway Robbery! Where does this scruffy person come off charging such an unbelievable fee. Isn’t the warmth and companionship of the aforesaid Fluffy enough?
Well, no, it isn’t.
Which brings me to book editing.
The Editorial Freelancers Association (www.the-EFA.org) puts out a range of prices for various types of editing; I generally do “developmental editing” which translates as really having to dig in and fix a book. Sometimes, it means re-writing or ghost-writing. It’s listed at $30 to $50 an hour.
Now let’s take an imaginary PR executive . They’ve written the next “American Psycho,” it’s a brilliant 100,000-words, and he or she asks what it will cost to brush it up. For one reason or another, ranging from a difficulty with dialog to complete illiteracy, it never needs a “brush-up,” it requires real effort.
I know my limits and, while I can only write 2,500 words a day on my own books, I can generally grind out 5,000 words a day on the first pass through someone else’s. (I’ve been told that that’s Stephen King speed if far from Stephen King quality.)
So, it just takes a bit of simple math. A 100,000 page manuscript is going to take 20 full 10 hour days. (I usually add up half-days to full days and I can’t work 7 days a week so it would take a month.)
Excuse me for being over-weening, but I would like to make a reasonable fraction of the money I made 25 years ago and that means $400 a day (let’s not worry about inflation and the full third that gets sent to Uncle Sam.)
20 days at $400 = $8000.
At this point, Perceived Value hits.
Eight Thousand Dollars?!
That would be a week in Europe or new deck on the house! They’ll just find another Editor. Sadly, because of the economy of the publishing industry, there will always be an Editor willing to undercut the bid.
Remember how much our putative Author is making. In one hour, they clear what it takes the editor 8 hours to earn, add in the one-third in hidden benefits and you get about an hour of their time to an Editor’s 10-hour day.
Any Editor knows that EVERY book needs editing and 5,000 words a day is a real bitch so it’s inevitable that there will be a couple of pro bono days. The fact that the book is going to need a second edit and a proof is kept a secret as is the cost of decent art on a front-and-back cover and laying out the type on InDesign.
The problem is the societal perception of value between a PR executive, an attorney, an accountant, etc, versus a freelance word-wrangler. Sure, $12,000 a week is the appropriate market value of a junior executive or a first year attorney at a low-rent law firm.
Is $2000 a week really unreasonable for an Editor good enough to bother hiring?
That’s a 6 to 1 ratio!
You DO get what you pay for.
The Conundrum for Editors:
- Do you hold to a living wage and lose every client?
- Do you buckle under and take half plus a meaningless promise of fuiure revenues?
- Do you just say the hell with it and go back to your own books?
Note that I have been more than fair in my examples–one client without a thought suggested seriously that a single day of his time was worth 100 days of mine. (I may still take that job, I like the guy. What can I say?)
What really hurts is the unanimous acceptance of Perceived Value. After 40 yeas in television and 25 as a writer, I no longer suggest to college students that they even consider Journalism. Banking, Business Administration, Law: those are the fields where the same amount of effort will bring in a multiple of the remuneration given to others.
Those guys are simply in a higher gear.
About the first thing a writer learns, after the tiny amount of money there really can be made by writing, is to never, ever, ever, respond to comments and reviews. The fact is, I simply can’t help but point this one out.
I have edited out the name and the online book store where this appeared, but I do hope that someone who knows this person recognizes the writing style (Idiotic) and has a nice long chat with him and or her.
It’s set in a time (1972) which is kind of new but doesn’t reflect the impact of computers or cell phones. Ok, not so bad and I did it with a book of my own. But it’s still a bit awkward.
One of the villains is this aged woman who has the ability to materialize right behind someone who is standing at high alert with numerous people surrounding him. It’s just not credible, plus, she should have been dealt with properly earlier and wasn’t.
But my major issue has to do with the main characters habit of flipping his Zippo lighter down his pants to open it and then up them to spark the wheel and light it. I bet he did that, by description, at least thirty times in the book. As a nonsmoker, I find it unpleasant enough that pretty much everybody smokes in this book, but this stupid “trick” became as unwelcome as a turd in the punch bowl after the third or fourth time and then entered the realm of the hyperannoying.
Just have the guy learn a few more tricks.
Many years ago, I found myself driving to Miami at 95 mph with Hunter Thompson in the passenger seat putting away a bottle of Pinch, 12 iced bottles of Heineken, and a fair amount of Peruvian Marching Powder. I had been told to place guests for this program in locations where they would feel comfortable so I had ordered a 6 man crew to set Hunter up in a bar. Ten minutes before we hit air, I was told by New York that it looked too much like a bar, so we changed everything. As soon as Gonzo had done his live shot, I ordered a limo to take him wherever he wanted to go, carefully cleaned my rental car, and disappeared. Mr. Thompson took the limo to Atlanta at a cost of $500 where someone else, I guess, wasn’t a “gutless weasel” and would restock his supply of nose candy.
The point is that, for 40 years, I worked in network TV news where our mantra was “failure is death.” No matter how strange, expensive, or difficult; there was always a way to get the job done.
When I wrote my first novel, I played the game—wrote perfect letters to agents, waited 2 years for my agent to find a publisher, waited 18 months to be published, wrote the sequel two years ahead of schedule, and created a massive social media marketing machine. Six weeks after my book “Courier” was published, the publisher, Exhibit A, was wiped out in a drive-by acquisition.
On New Years Day 2015, I did a self-evaluation: my name was gone from my agent’s website (which I took as a sign,) the company that now owned my book was planning to mulch the paperbacks, my eBook had simply vanished, two PR companies had provided very little at great expense, social media was less expensive but equally worthless, and I was staring into the abyss of the “self-published author.”
Oh, and I didn’t have a “day job.”
So, I became a publisher.
Learning was a familiar process from my TV days, one I used to describe as “figuring out the dimensions of a room by running around blindfolded and smashing into the walls.” I got a Kindle version of “Courier” up in 3 hours and replaced it with a readable version two days later. I bartered t-shirts for the rights to the cover art from the wonderful Brit who’d done the original. I slugged away at IngramSpark’s format requirements with the help of a friend from high school and had a paperback up in two weeks. I completed and published a fantasy/satire titled “Day of the Dragonking” by April Fools Day (which seemed appropriate,) and rewrote, re-edited and published “Warrior,” the sequel to Courier, on July first.
What I do best is write, so I’m writing as fast as I can: editing a wonderful non-fiction book by a Japanese film cameraman who was the best news shooter in Vietnam and have both a private eye series set in 1930’s Manila and a YA dystopian in the works.
I learned that most of what I knew about marketing was wrong. Advertising seldom works, mechanically plugging books on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs doesn’t work, and radio and online podcasts are fun but that’s about it. What works is getting readers to learn about an author, like the author, and tell their friends about the author so that means book giveaways, honest reviews, and real blogs. The Starred Review that PW gave my second book was fantastic because it not only bolstered my personal sense of worth as a writer but also raised our visibility in the eyes of other reviewers. On the other hand, I still need to learn the equivalent of an entire MBA about distribution and wholesale marketing.
To my surprise, my British PR guru has discovered that Westerns are a consistent seller so we have quite a few of those and are very excited about A. R. Arrington, our new-fangled old-fashioned success story. Along with A.R., we have a group of promising new authors whose work ranges from children’s books to Texas Romance, a global team of freelancers who can do just about anything, and Great Expectations of going into the black by New Year’s Day 2016.
–Don’t spend money you don’t have unless you really have to—like getting a great cover, for instance.
–Hire a bookkeeper. FAST. Fiverr has great people from all over the world
–Listen to readers and don’t mistake your own preferences for the desires of the market.
–Pay your subcontractors quickly and completely—the same goes for your authors’ royalties.
–Realize and remember that publishing right now is like William Goldman’s description of Hollywood,
“Nobody knows nothing.”
The Justice Department just restarted a controversial asset forfeiture program—in part to fund local police departments—which critics say unfairly targets poor people and minorities. Source: Justice Department Restarts Program That Allows Cops To Seize Assets From The Poor – The Daily Beast CJ CIARAMELLA SHERIFFS OF NOTTINGHAM 04.01.16 11:00 AM ET Justice Department Restarts Program […]
300 Words by Charlotte Chere Graham
All the news about school bullying got me to thinking about Mary. She sat behind me in second grade, and there was something about Mary that’s stayed with me for sixty years.
Back then you were on your own when it came to being bullied. No day in court to face your oppressors. No movie or book deal or Oprah interview as reward for abuse taken and overcome. You see, my classmates didn’t like Mary. “You have dirty blood, Mary. Stay away from us Dirty Blood.”
Mary was the picture of neglect. Every day she wore the same dress – stained and rumpled. Shoes bound to her feet with rubber bands. Even in the cold of January, Mary had no coat. No mother ever lovingly ran a brush through Mary’s ratted, drab hair. Instead, a pair of blunt scissors chopped into her matted and tangled curls to chase out the lice. At seven years old, Mary already had the haggard look of someone coming to the end of her days. Just living was an act of courage.
I admired Mary and envied her strength. She never complained about life at home or the abuse and shunning she took at school. Mary was as gentle and kind as she was neglected and bullied. When “Dirty Blood” was hurled at her, Mary silently stood and waited for her tormentors to stop.
I’m ashamed to say the ugliness hurled at Mary sometimes got to me, and I would cry and beg not to go to school because it was too hard to watch. But Mary was made of stronger stuff. She never missed a day of school.
Remembering Mary now, I can only think she was held close by the words of Psalm 121: My help comes from the Lord…
“I cannot remember much, I cannot feel much. Maybe erasure is necessary. Maybe the human spirit defends itself as the body does, attacking infection, enveloping and destroying those malignancies that would otherwise consume us.”
From a professional standpoint John Wade has hit rock bottom. His once promising political career is all but dead a mere six weeks after he was pretty much guaranteed to be elected as his party’s representative for the United States Senate. How could this happen? He had paid his dues and done everything right. He had gone to church once a week as per instructions, married a beautiful and charming woman named Kathleen, hired the best campaign manager money could buy and made his political platform truly about the people and built on making a difference. No lip service, only truth and honesty. How could they desert him like this?
The loss had crushed him, enraged…
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Terry Irving knows how to write a story so fast moving and gripping that the reader can’t stop. His first novel Courier is first of all a chase story featuring motorcycle rider Rick Putnam who repeatedly escapes the bad guys on a big bruising BMW or a sleek fast Kawasaki. But Courier is much more than that.
Irving recreates Washington D.C. in late 1972 when American B-52s were bombing Hanoi, the peace process to end the Vietnam War seemed stuck, and a robbery at a Washington D.C. apartment complex called the Watergate was something that no one seemed to care much about.
via Terry Irving.
Christy is the best.
Life moves fast, doesn’t it? It is a selection of seconds, moments, hours, days, and… You get the point. It is a blur some days and then suddenly a moment comes that makes you go, “Aha, I realize how short life is.” And then you breathe deeply and plant a foot in a world that brings you comfort. For me, today, it is the blogging world.
Thank you to everyone who has emailed me, left a comment on my blog (here or on When Women Inspire), sent me a note on a social media network or contacted me another way. I appreciate you all. I am grateful for you all.
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Match Stick Rocket
CONTRIBUTED BY: Steve Culivan, KSC
EDITED BY: Roger Storm, NASA Glenn Research Center
- 2 match book matches or wooden stick matches
- Small square of aluminum foil
- Paper clip
- Safety pin
- Take one match and wrap a small piece of aluminum foil around the match-head. Wrap the foil tightly.
- Make a small opening in the foil wrapped around the match head by inserting the point of a safety pin and bending upward slightly.
- Bend the paper clip to form a launch pad as shown in the diagrams. Erect the match stick rocket on the pad. Make sure the pad is set up on a surface that will not be damaged by the rocket’s exhaust such as a lab table. Several layers of foil on the lab table work well.
- Ignite the match by holding a second lighted match under the foil until its combustion temperature is reached.
Caution: Be sure the match rocket is pointed away from people or burnable materials. it is recommended to have water or some other fire extinguishant available. The foil head of the rocket will be very hot!
DISCUSSION: The match stick rocket demonstrates Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion as they relate to rocketry. Newton’s third law states that for every action, there is an opposite and
equal reaction. The exhaust of the fire products from the burning match (smoke and gas) is the “action” and the movement of the rocket in the other direction is the ‘reaction.’ The action thrust is produced when the match burns in an enclosed environment. The aluminum foil acts as a rocket combustion chamber. Because the opening in the foil is small, pressure builds up in the chamber that eventually escapes as a rapid stream of smoke and gas.
In an interesting variation of the experiment, try making holes of different diameters to let the combustion products out at different rates. A larger opening permits the smoke and gas to escape before it has time to build up much pressure. The escape of the products will be slower than produced by a match stick rocket with a smaller opening. Isaac Newton’s second law states that the force or thrust of a rocket is equal to the mass of the smoke and gas escaping the rocket times how fast it escapes. In this experiment, the mass of the smoke and gas is the same for both cases. The difference is in how fast it escapes. Compare the distance traveled with the two match stick rockets.
via Match Stick Rocket.
The child walks or skips, happily and with joy. With no particular intention, reveling in his own spring of inner joy. Where is this child going? Who will he become? When ignorantly he wanders away from that inner peace and joy and forgets the way he came, how will he try to return? How many paths will he try before he breaths a sigh of relief in returning home?
I am an insurance agent. You are a writer. She is a physical therapist. He is a stay-at-home dad.
We have jobs to perform. We have careers to build. We have schedules to adhere to and meetings to attend. We meet deadlines, make appointments, and multitask our way through the days.
We navigate the hustle and bustle of society. We ride out the ebbs and flows of the economic system. We create trends, and then we buck them in favor of the next latest, greatest thing.
Some struggle to wade through the mundane hours of their workday. Others strive to climb the ladder and achieve new heights of career elevation. The luckiest of us grab ahold of that thing that sparks our passion and find a way to make both a living and a life with it.
Source: The Most Important Job
Classic Mysteries · by Les Blatt · November 24, 2015
The Mystery Writers of America has announced the names of the recipients of three of the organization’s top Edgar Awards for 2016. Walter Mosley will be named a Grand Master, for his lifetime achievements as a mystery writer. Editor Margaret Kinsman and the national organization Sisters in Crime will each be receiving the Raven Award, which “recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.” And Janet Rudolph, the director of Mystery Readers International and editor of the Mystery Readers Journal, will receive The Ellery Queen Award, which honors “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.”
(Darn! They overlooked me again. But I’ll get them…..)
Date: April 27, 1966
Place: ABC News bureau on the 6th floor of the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon.
“How do you do, sir? I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Yasutsune Hirashiki—just arrived from Japan.”
Well, my initial greeting went very well. I shouldn’t have been surprised–after all I’d been practicing it for days.
The man with the mustache gave me a smile and a handshake. His name was Jack O’Grady, the bureau chief for ABC News Saigon. He wasn’t all that tall, just a bit taller than an average Japanese.
“Welcome to Vietnam! New York told me you were coming. They said you were a damn good cameraman.”
He went on to tell me that he’d screened the demo reel of film clips that I’d sent to New York weeks ago and that he was struck by the creativeness of my photography.
That sounded good.
“I’m ready to work, sir. When shall I start?” I said.
“Well, this week is very quiet, so why don’t you check with us next week?” He replied.
What? I hadn’t expected that. Did he just say that I didn’t have a job this week but I might have a job next week. But only if it was busy?
I was sure he was mistaken. I had a letter from Jack Bush, the executive in New York who hired camera crews around the world for ABC. He had very clearly said that I should quit my job at a Japanese local TV station and fly to Vietnam where a job was waiting for me.
This is what I’d wanted for years. I quit the news cameraman job where I’d spent the past ten years, packed up everything I owned, and came to Saigon to join ABC News–one of the mighty American News Networks.
Clearly, this O’Grady fellow hadn’t gotten the message.
I hadn’t practiced this speech but I believe my English was very clear. “Mr. O’ Grady, I was hired by New York as Saigon bureau cameraman. According to New York’s instructions, I quit my job at a Japanese TV station, and come here to work.” I said.
Mr. O’Grady patiently listened to my terrible English and said, “Show me the letter.”
I gave it to him. He read it, smiled, and said, “Look at this line.”
He then ran his finger along the line of incomprehensible English words as he carefully read them to me. “It says that you will have a chance if you go to Saigon but there the word ‘hired’ isn’t in here. We will give you a chance. Come back and check next week. If it’s busy and we need a cameraman, we’ll send you on an assignment and you’ll have a chance to show us your work.”
I was in shock. He was right! Being Japanese, I had translated the letter with a dictionary and only paid attention to what I thought was the important parts of the letter.
Quit. Go to Saigon. Have a chance.
Tony Hirashiki and Steve Bell in Cambodia. (Or is it properly Steve Bell and Tony Hirashiki?”
“The Charming Dictator”
Yes, this is based on a recent personal experience. Want the details? Keep reading!
How to litter your manuscript with typos
- Create a character with a short name that could easily be found in many longer words — i.e., “Kat”
- Write 40,000 words of a story
- Realize that you prefer an alternate spelling — i.e., “Cat”
- Do a “Search All” and “Replace All” to change the spelling — i.e., “Kat” > “Cat”
- Write another 10,000 words
- Realize you prefer the first spelling
- Do a “Search All” and “Replace All” to change the spelling back — i.e., “Cat” > “Kat”
- Casually reread the story and realize you’ve created 218 typos — i.e., “sKatter”, “reloKated”, unsKathed”, “mediKations”
UCLA professor Jean-Luc Margot has proposed a new, mathematical definition that would apply to bodies both inside and outside our solar system. By his calculations, detailed in a paper that has been accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal, our moon could qualify as a planet, as New Scientist reports.
The planet definition debate has been particularly controversial since 2006, when the International Astronomical Union came up with a set of criteria that stripped Pluto of its planet status.
Sorry, it’s too late.
Photo post by @amdobritt.
Source: Writing Quotes — Elmore Leonard
By now, Colleen has hopefully shaken off the long road trip, had time to stretch her legs, and started to put things in order. It’s an exciting time, starting a new adventure.
Source: Busted – A Short Story
The silence and the sea.
A Poem by Coyote Poetry
We need to listen to the sea, the wind and rebirth each day hopeful and ready.
The silence and the sea
Blessed is the man that knew regret and he learn from it.
Lucky is the man who loses the emotion of rage.
Learn to live in the splendor of celebrating each new day.
Old man baking in the hot sun by the Seaside beach.
Watching the glistening sea dance upon the morning shore.
Drinking coffee and waiting for a reason to write.
He watches a young man walking alone.
His head lowered, eyes detached to another place and time.
Roaming the beach looking for answered that can’ t be found.
Source: –The silence and the sea
This is truly frightening…