Some Thoughts on Turning Work Down...

Some Thoughts on Turning Work Down…

Last week I had to turn down a writing job I was offered.

I never enjoy doing this, but sometimes there is no alternative. So today I thought I would share a few thoughts about turning down work.

Of course, for those of you who are just setting off on your writing careers, turning down an offer of paid work might seem unimaginable. But soon enough you will find yourself in a position where you have to consider this.

One common scenario is when you already have lots of work on and another offer arrives. This has happened to me on various occasions, typically just after a period when work dried up! It’s frustrating, but there can be ways around it.

One thing I have sometimes done is subcontract the work (or part of it) to another writer. This is not something I do with any great enthusiasm, though.

For one thing, I know I will still have to edit that writer’s work carefully and possibly even rewrite it. Also, I will have to pay the writer out of the fee I am getting. By the time you allow for all the extra admin involved and the time spent editing their work, there will be very little money in it for me. If I do this nowadays, it is generally to avoid disappointing the client and try to ensure they don’t stop offering me work in future.

The other thing you can sometimes do is negotiate a longer timeframe. This is easier with regular clients who understand that as a solo freelance I have other jobs that need to be fitted in. With a new client a request for more time may not be so well received – but you can’t put a regular client on the back burner just to accommodate a new one.

The other situation that can occur is when you look at a job offer and realize it’s not something you feel confident or competent to take on. That was actually what happened last week. The job was for a regular client, although it came to me via a new contact there.

The clients in question are novelty publishers. While I can’t go into detail about what they wanted, essentially it involved coming up with a number of “challenges” for a book they were producing (pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time, and that sort of thing). I thought about it and my mind went totally blank. I tried a few online searches, but they produced very little I could use.

I quickly realized that this had the potential to be the job from hell. I might have been able to come up with some ideas eventually. But it would have taken me a long time and I couldn’t quote a fee that the client would have regarded as reasonable. So I had to reluctantly turn it down.

Since then I’ve heard nothing from the clients in question. That’s obviously disappointing and a bit worrying, as they have been good clients over the years. I just hope they found another writer who was able to take the job on. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that they come back to me with something else eventually!

To sum up, turning down work is never something to do lightly, but sometimes as a professional writer you have no alternative. If you can’t do the job to a good standard and in a timely way, it is better to decline the work, and maybe suggest another writer if you happen to know someone who might be suitable.

* Have you ever found yourself in this situation and had to turn down work – or conversely taken on a job and wished you hadn’t? I’d love to hear your views and experiences!

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Review: Planner Publishing Profits

Review: Planner Publishing Profits

Planner Publishing Profits is the latest writing guide to be launched by the prolific Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful Kindle author, and the publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…

As the name indicates, Planner Publishing Profits is a guide to making money by publishing planners (primarily printed, though downloadables are also discussed). The main guide is a 117-page PDF.

As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with pictures, screen captures (e.g. of Amazon sales pages) and examples.

The manual talks about the huge (and growing) market for planners, and reveals how self-publishers can capitalize on this. The content is organized into eleven chapters, as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Why Print Planners?
  3. Opportunities for Publishers
  4. Formats for Planners
  5. Niche and Audience Selection
  6. Planner Elements
  7. Designing Your Planner
  8. Publishing Your Planner
  9. Selling Your Planner
  10. Getting Sales
  11. Conclusion

Among other things, Planner Publishing Profits covers wedding planners, garden planners, diet and fitness planners, school-year planners, student planners, baby planners, Christmas planners, business planners, prayer and bible study planners, and many more. It also discusses related products such as bullet journals, which (I am told) are extremely popular right now.

An example planner (taken from the manual) is shown below. Clicking on the picture should take you to the Amazon sales page for this product at your own national Amazon store.

Bile Study Guide and Planner

Creating this type of product has a number of attractions for entrepreneurial writers and publishers. For one thing, much of the content is supplied by the user him- or herself – you just have to provide an attractive, well-designed backdrop for the user.

The product appeals to a broad (though predominantly female) audience which is constantly renewing itself, as by its nature you can only use a planner once.

And with self-publishing/print-on-demand services such as CreateSpace, you can design and upload your planner free of charge and then receive a fee from Amazon every time a sale is made.

Obviously if you haven’t done anything like this before there will be a learning curve, but Amy sets out a range of free and low-cost resources you can use to design and publish your work. Once you have completed your first one, you should be able to adapt it to create new planners on different topics quickly and easily.

As Amy points out, although you can sell these products as stand-alones, they can also make great add-ons or bonuses for other products (the bible study planner referred to above is an example of this).

The manual is particularly strong on methods for marketing and selling planners, including Amazon, social media, blogging, and so on. Apparently planners also sell very well using video. Who knew?

As well as the main guide, there are various bonuses. These include a 12-page companion guide which provides a concise, step-by-step checklist for publishing your first planner, from research to design, publishing to marketing. There are three training videos featuring Amy herself and two planner templates in Microsoft Word format. Other bonuses include a guide to using the online design platform Canva and another guide to marketing using Instagram.

In summary, Planner Publishing Profits is a comprehensive guide to making money as a self-publisher in the popular ‘planner’ niche. As is Amy’s usual practice it is currently on a launch special offer, after which the price will rise to $27. If you are an entrepreneurial writer/publisher looking to add another income stream to your portfolio, it is definitely worth checking out.

If you have any comments or questions about Planner Publishing Profits, as always, please do post them below.

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