Ladies & Gents:
Happy Friday! I want to thank you all again for buying Notes From a Hired Pen: How I Made $135,000 in One Year of Freelancing. Really, I am honored. If you bought it and loved it and want to give it a 5-star review, I will not fight you! If you haven't bought it yet, what are you waiting for?
For this edition of the newsletter, we've got reader mail!
Dear Jen: A publication said they were interested in a pitch and asked my price. I told them a higher price than I have ever gotten, but shoot your shot. They said 'sorry that's out of our range.' And that's all they said. I countered and asked what their pay is and said I would be interested in working with them. They haven't replied at all. Do publications reject you just because you dared to ask for more than they can give, even if you are willing to work with them? It seems wrong.
Hello Brave Freelancer! First, congrats for asking for what you deserve. It's not easy. I still struggle with it sometimes. But doing so is an important step in building a financially successful freelance career.
Second, you did nothing wrong. Let me repeat that: You did nothing wrong. You know your worth, and it's not your fault they can't afford you. You weren't wrong in asking if they could meet you in the middle, either. I do this often, especially if it's something I really want to write. And you can't help that they gave you the could shoulder. Between that and a low fee, they don't seem to respect writers, and they're probably not someone you want to be working with anyway.
I had a bit of back and forth with Brave Freelancer, and know that she is both trying to break out of the cycle of writing for low-paying publications, and that she really believes in this story. I pointed her in the direction of a publication that I know pays well and could be interested in this topic. I wish her luck.
Related to this tale, if you have trouble saying no to low-paying work, give a listen to the most recent edition of the Emerging Form podcast, which is about the power of no. They're mostly referring to turning down offers that came to them versus those that they pitched, but the lessons still apply. You do not owe anyone your labor at a discount. Say no, and find someone who can pay you what you're worth.
Do you have a question? Reply to this email and ask away. Also, since my little ebook has been so successful, I hope to write a series of them. What do you want me to tackle next? This newsletter is staying free, so this would be something I could write 5,000 to 10,000 words about (and charge $5 to $10).
Before I get on with the regular show, I have a new website. Check it out!
"Great Running Spots Across America" for The New York Times
"How to Trust Tech Vendors" for CIO Dive
"How Johnson & Johnson Fills Its Procurement Talent Pipeline" for Supply Chain Dive
"How Smart Water Makes Cities More Transparent" for StateTech
What I'm Reading
- Vitamania by Catherine Price. I heard Price on The Dream podcast, which you should absolutely listen to. I'm glad it lead me to this book. I get pitches from vitamin and supplement companies all the time. Want to know why I reject them? Read this book (and please take care when taking supplements because they sure aren't tested by the FDA before going to market).
- The Late Show by Michael Connelly. It's only taken three years for me to read almost all of his books. I have two more to go, and I hope to get to them before the next book comes out this spring (or I get an advance copy, because I might!)
- The Art of Sleeping Alone by Sophie Fontanel. Phew, this book. I may have more to say later, but that's enough for now.
- A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh. I normally like her books, but this one was about 100 pages too long (or the story didn't quite fill the required page length).
- Some Like It Hot. This is about a perfect moving as you can get.
- The Great Train Robbery. This did not age well. I put it on in the background while working and didn't even finish it. It also suffers from what I call the Funny Girl problem: it's historical but you can absolutely tell what era the movie was made in. We don't see such terrible historical recreations today.
- The Good Fight. I am now caught up! This show is WILD.
- Outlander. Sam Heughan aka Jamie Frasier aka the hot Scottish guy on Outlander show is running the New York City Marathon. This news reminded me that maybe I should catch up on Outlander. I'd read the first four books, then watched the first three seasons of the show. Then I tweaked an old running injury and needed something to watch while on the couch, so I re-watched half of season three (Netflix) and all of four (bought it on Amazon). Absolutely related, I just booked a long weekend in Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains this spring. And yes I'm going to try to interview him for my running column. Because why not?
Until next time!
Jen A. Miller