Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hiring a Professional Editor or Designer? Read This First

Quanie Miller writes some of the  most insightful, interesting blogs on the topic of writing that I've seen. If you don't already follow her, do it now. I'll wait...



Yesterday, Quanie posted a blog titled Why You Should Never Pay an Editor or Book Cover Designer Upfront. The blog covered an issue I know all too well...because I've been on both sides of it. 

No, I'm not a cover designer. I'm not an editor, either.



I'm a freelance writer. But regardless of our medium, freelancers all face the same risk. A certain amount of trust is required from time to time. We work and hope the client will be honest enough to pay us.



In the instance Quanie referenced in her blog, an editor accepted payment in full up front to edit a writer's manuscript. Partway through the job, the editor decided she couldn't complete the work and simply returned the manuscript, unedited, and kept the money.



Since this is an issue many of us will encounter from time to time, here are a few things to keep in mind when you hire someone, whether it's to design your cover or to edit your book.


Tip #1: Never pay up front. As Quanie suggested, pay in installments, with final payment not arriving until the work is complete.

Tip #2: Use a protected platform. I work two ways: through Elance or through referrals from other clients. With Elance, the client puts the money in "escrow," only to be released when payment is complete.

Tip #3: Sign contracts. Samples like this one can get you started. Be sure to outline the compensation and what will be expected in exchange for that payment.

Tip #4: Most importantly, whether you're hiring a freelancer or planning to work as one, listen to your instincts. If something doesn't seem right, end it before you get too far in to back out.

54 comments:

  1. I'm sure it's easy to get screwed. I bet illustrators say don't complete the work unless paid in full though.

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  2. It's too bad there are dishonest people like that editor... unfortunately we have to protect ourselves ;-)

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  3. You wouldn't pay a plumber in advance either.

    good advice

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  4. I know it's difficult for both. I have a friend who is a designer and sometimes it's tricky when she needs to be paid.

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  5. Good information. I'll have to check out her blog.

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  6. Contracts are important when doing any kind of business.

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  7. yep, pay when the job is done. I think all writers should use professional designers because 90% of the covers we see around the blogosphere during blogtours are awful and badly done... most of them needs a professional touch... says Dezzy the Design expert :)

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  8. Advice from the experienced freelancer carried more weight!

    Referrals are always helpful. Thanks, Stephanie!

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  9. It's frightening that actually happens. I'm one of those naive and trusting people, and would likely get the short end of that stick if it did happen to me. Thankfully, it hasn't yet. These are good tips to make sure it doesn't.

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  10. It's sad when stuff like that happens though, you can't work on trust anymore. :(

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  11. folks who take advantage of others' trust should be smacked. :)

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  12. Some people have no work ethics at all. Shame on them for agreeing to do something, then not do it and then spend all your hard earned money.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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  13. So many things you have to think about when putting a book together! Great informative post Stephanie! ;)

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  14. I hired a graphic designer to do my blog header, twitter & facebook cover images and she invoices. So I already have my graphics and am waiting for my bill. :)

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  15. One can get screwed over quick, had a few I felt would screw me over so stayed far away

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  16. Wow, that's pretty scary. Most people I work with don't charge me until the work is done, and I'm the same way with my freelance business.

    I've never been screwed, but I've certainly had to fight for payment before.

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  17. It's getting more and more difficult to trust strangers now a day where money is concerned. I'm sure that you do your homework before trusting your manuscripts for editing but it still can happen unfortunately.

    Hugs,
    JB

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  18. Great advice! I used a professional editor about five years ago. She was fabulous and received her payment through PayPal installments. We were both happy!

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  19. YES. I loved Quanie's post, and this is a perfect addition to it. I didn't know about Elance, and it sounds like a great way to deal with the payment issues. Thanks so much for all of these tips, Stephanie.

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  20. Thanks so much for the intro to Quannie. I needed a good chuckle. It is a good idea to ask some friends and hire people other people trust.

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  21. Good tips. Unfortunately, there are dishonest people out there. And they do take advantage.

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  22. I think #4 is the hardest one, because we never want to back out on our commitments, but we really do have to. I worked with one editor early on who really wasn't the right fit, and after some stumbling, we both figured that out, THANK GOODNESS. I cannot even imagine what would have happened to my baby if we'd continued working together. Think Frankenstein's monster, in book format. =)

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  23. Crystal, I usually only commit to short-term work at first to make sure the relationship is going to work out. One article--I write and provide it and they pay. If that goes well, I proceed. But I still have had a few clients get mad because they think when they hire you for one, they're getting a commitment to work with them until they get tired of you. I think the first job should be a short job to make sure it's a good fit for both the client and the freelancer.

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  24. I'd say ask for references too, and ask other writers for recommendations. It's always a good idea to be vigilant!

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  25. Excellent tips. And my alarm bells go off when someone wants to be paid up front in full for ANYTHING.

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  26. Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for the shout-out! You give some really great advice here, especially about contracts. It's unfortunate that we even have to have this conversation, but there are, unfortunately, many shady people out there!

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  27. You bring up a great point and give great advice that, I believe, is for any service you are asking for. I love that you mention-"If it doesn't feel right...". This is a big indicator and one must go with the instincts. If they pressure you, walk. Great tips!

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  28. Seems like very sensible advice. Anyone doing freelance anything should keep such considerations in mind.

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  29. That is great advice given. I know my husband is going to start giving guitar lessons at the local rec center. He'll start in October, but won't get pain until halfway through the program (due to end in December) because previous instructors have gotten paid at the beginning of the program and then were never heard of again. Sad that people operate business like this, isn't it?

    betty

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  30. REALLY good advice! Making sure the scope of the project is clearly defined helps, too!

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  31. Ah yeah, I LOVE scope creep Grandma Kc. I see that all the time. "This article is great but could you add another 200 words?" People tend not to read even if you do state up front what you're providing. Then you end up having to cancel the project when they realize they aren't getting an unlimited amount of work for that money!

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  32. Thanks for the tips! I've been thinking about editors here lately, as I would like to self-publish one day. It seems like it would be scary choosing the best one for you and your work. Guess that's when recs from writer friends would come in handy!

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  33. Great tips!

    I also work through Elance (ghostwriting mainly) and Fiverr. When I'm hiring though, especially outside of those channels, I do instalments and through Paypal, and usually use someone through referral or who I 'know' online.

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  34. Appears editing would be a tedious job. But there would a lot of new learning. Thanks.

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  35. Sounds like great advice-I am going to reread this!

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  36. This is actually really good advice, especially for people not used to these kind of things. I've always wanted to hire someone to redesign my blog, but personally I thought it'd be better just to learn HTML and figure it out myself haha!

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  37. Preethi--I use Wix for my website. You pay them and use their templates but YOU are in control!

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  38. I ghostwrite on Fiverr and while it's not ELance there are ways to protect yourself from being tricked and getting your money back. It is important to trust your instincts and I love the In God....quote Stephanie.

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  39. Great advice! I am both a writer and editor, so this all rings true for me. Thanks for helping us protect ourselves from flakes.

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  40. Good to know. I have also been screwed over with this. It's all fun and games till the money's gone grr.

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  41. I am still working on my first manuscript. These are very useful tips, especially knowing that it is ok to pay in installments rather than upfront.

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  42. Excellent advice! I think the installment idea is great. It is too bad there are people out there who will take your money- but it is best to try to safeguard it. :)

    Thanks for the great tips!

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  43. Really great topic and good tips here Stephanie :)

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  44. Great advice. I'll keep this in mind if I ever hire anyone. Installments make sense.

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  45. I've been on both sides of this, as editor and writer. I've written commissioned articles that have subsequently been dropped without payment, which is irritating, but at least I can rework them and sell elsewhere. Editorially, I ALWAYS invoice at the end of each month regardless of whether or not the job is finished. If they haven't paid the first bill by the time the second is due, alarm bells ring.

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  46. I'm an editor and I charge once the edit is completed but before I send the editorial letter and edited manuscript to the client. I find that keeps us both safe. They know the work is finished and once I'm paid, I send it along. Everyone is happy then. :)

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  47. This is fantastic advice! Just like getting hired for a regular job you do not get paid if the work isnt done!

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  48. great advice! sometimes desperation takes over and people don't listen to their gut!

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  49. Online marketing is one of the jobs pacing up well in this digital era. Now is the time when everything seems to be going online and this calls for an online strategist, who can plan the way ahead for a brand. Hire a Freelancer

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