freelancing advice

darkempressinfinitemind asked: How did you get into freelance?

The short version? Accidentally!

Longer version? It started with a friend hiring me to ghost write their memoir (before either of us knew what ghost writing was. Also he apparently had this awesome life before he knew me and never bothered to mention it before the idea of writing a book came along. Who knew? Random happenstance). I became more confident in the idea of writing for others, and then was referred to the site by a friend of mine, who was trying to pick up freelancing.

I applied for my first job there, and it was literally months before I got any bites. My first bite ended up paying me $3 an hour. I was desperate, so I took it. It gave me a reference, and I got a better job, and a better job, and a better job, until I had enough references to apply for REALLY decent jobs. Fast forward, and here I am with my own Wordsmithing business.

But you want advice, don’t you?

  • Find a Freelancing Website

There’s Elance, PPH, and a wide range of others. Pick one that works for you (or multiple) and start drumming up your profile there. Get samples out so people can see your style of work.

  • Get Reviews at All Costs

Get people you know to write reviews. Take low paying jobs to get reviews. Take whatever jobs you can and get reviews, because they really are everything to a beginning freelancer. I started out with a GED (not even a high school diploma) and still got high paying jobs, because no one needs to see your credentials – they just need proof that real life people have given you a test run.

Degrees and all that? They’re to prove you know your stuff; that someone has tested you and written off on it. Reviews are the internet’s new degrees; be willing to invest some time and effort into them.

  • Take Any and As Much Work as You Can

Not only for the reviews, but for practice. There’s a new song and dance involved with freelancing that you won’t find anywhere else. Big companies are paying millions on Big Data to figure out what little nuances make customers happy. You don’t have Big Data, and you’re up against thousands of freelancers just like you – you have to figure out the key to standing out by hand.

Getting as many jobs as you can early on gives you a chance to test the waters and find your stride before you’re dealing with big clients that are less forgiving of your fumbles. You’ll learn something new from every job so you really ARE the top professional you claim to be.

  • Claim to Be a Professional

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I should give you advice about being honest and doing the leg work before you get started. But they say to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. So act like the professional you want to be, not the one you are.

If you’re 18 and this is your first freelancing job, make your profile and all your correspondences look like you’re 37 and have been freelancing for 10 years (don’t lie, just be indirect. Talk like you’re older. Say you’ve been freelancing for several years, even if you’ve only been freelancing for a few months. If you’re living at home with your parents and the topic of family comes up, just call them “family;” the client won’t know if you’re a married mother of five or are talking about your dad). People will look right over you if they THINK you’re not capable, without even giving you a chance to show what you can do. If you take away that first – sometimes incorrect – assumption, your foot’s in the door and you can prove yourself.

Then after you have 300 five-star reviews and a client list as long as your arms, you can reveal yourself as 20 with three years’ experience, and people will believe you’re a prodigy. Then you’ll get hired for being the talented young professional who IS their target audience, so you’re perfect to create a product FOR their target audience.  

  • Be Ready to Put in More Hours

Once you’ve been in the game a while and have established yourself, you can make your weekends sacred with no work stuff. But before then, you need to be on call all the time. What’s going to make you stand out against the rest in the beginning is timeliness.

If it’s a toss-up between you and someone just as qualified, the client will decide on whoever replies the fastest and most coherently. Reply to messages as soon as possible. Talk back and forth on the weekends. Offer as tight a deadline as you can for every project, and if you can deliver early, deliver early. Once you have your reputation and your reviews, then you can tone it back to the same level as any other job; you work on your work days, and you’re gone from the planet on your off days.

  • Follow Your Heart – But Follow the Money First

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I hate web copy. Detest it. A client can have the coolest website idea ever, but having to don my promotional hat and describe their services to a target audience is tedious and unfulfilling as all get out. What I enjoy is blog writing, where I get to explore a concept and tell it (sometimes) in my own voice. I love product descriptions even, where I get to sharpen my description skills to be later used in fiction. But guess what? Web copy writing pays well, because it is difficult and it’s in huge demand.

Here’s a quick insider look at the market: Today, every style of business in existence needs a website. That means web designers are the key holders in a world full of locked doors. They’re making a killing, but every website needs CONTENT. They’re cranking out 15 websites a month but they’re just blank pages without some writing to make them REAL. That’s where my industry comes in, the Tonto to their Lone Ranger, to make their home pages, their about pages, their service pages, etc. so their website is a real website. So long as online business booms, web designers are Sauron and copy writers are the one ring to rule them all.

That’s where the money is. So even if I really hate web copy, I’m good at it. That’s what pays the rent, grows my business, and keeps my employees’ checks signed – giving me the financial security I need to then ALSO do things I like. Ghost writing, book editing, blog writing, working on my own stuff.

If you want to make it in freelancing, you need money for bills. But you also need money to prove to your freelancing site that you’re worth promoting. Be willing to do jobs you’re not crazy about, so you can grow to the point of having enough income to afford doing what you really love.

  • Embrace the Uncertainty

One of the hardest things about freelancing is the irregularity. One month, you’re swimming in cash. The next, you scrape by. At the beginning of the month, you only have one project; at the end, you have 10. I’ve been at this for years, and I still have a mini panic during summer when I’m sure this is the year that my career finally ends. But it never has.

The upside to this uncertainty is you’re never sure when great things are going to happen. The security of a 9-to-5 lets you know exactly how much you will make, but robs you of the chance for those surprise miracles where a massive client falls in your lap and pays your rent for four months within two weeks. 

Take faith that a slow month is giving you a chance to rest up for when that tsunami of work comes in. Having a new client every week is giving you a chance to have fun before you have one client for an entire year (which can get boring at times). Freelancing can be a science, but you still need a little faith. It keeps you on your toes, it gives you unexpected bonuses none of your 9-to-5 friends can count on, and it gives you freedom.

Breaking into freelancing is slow going at first, but so long as you’re good at what you do, you will break in. There’s seriously never been a better time in living memory for it.

Hope this was helpful!

To all freelance artists or anyone who freelances anything

You have a union.

There you can learn some stuff about freelancing and even find medical and dental care. It is super important to know what you can get. Remember, being an artist IS a job! You are your own manager, so you have to treat yourself like one!!!

If you are freelance you qualify for a lot of things. This includes tax cuts on your rent… (if you work from home. You might qualify, you might not. Doesn’t hurt to check!!!!)

If you make over a certain amount of money a year as a freelancer, you have to pay taxes, but be sure to make sure you can get those deductions!!!

Other ways to get deductions is to donate! So be sure to go donate to Goodwill or something, old clothes/books/things… and get a receipt. Anything helps!!

I just wanted to be sure people know about this cause it is amazing.

If you do want to get started with freelance, there are a lot of books to help you get started.

Those are just a couple of books I like that help me. 

There will be a lot of naysayers who tell you this work doesn’t pay off. That they tried and it failed. MOST BUSINESSES FAIL IN TWO YEARS!!! If you honestly love your work, have a passion for it, and really REALLY FUCKING WORK HARD… You can do it.



But like anything anyone does, it will pay off.

Nothing worth having in life comes easy. 

Just remember that kiddos. I hope this post helps someone.

-Pigeon mod 

Pricing Commissioned Writing

I do a lot of commissioned writing (see me about details, eh? EH!? PLEASE!?) and how I base my pricing is really dependent on what I’m doing, writing wise..

Freelance writing rates are very good, and I think if you’re writing for business entities you should demand standard freelance rates! For fics and social-media type stuff, I get wanting a different price-point. Hourly minimum wage as a start is always a safe and awesome way to start (include research time for the love of god, please!)

Price Like an Artist?

But for fics, another great way to think about it is to look at how the artists are pricing things. Just like their art, your fics are gestural, and as you add more detail, it becomes more expensive.Think about it like:

Sketch = Drabble (800 words)
Line Art = One-shot (2000 words)
Color = 3500 words
Shading = 5500 words

Just like with artists, the more complicated the background of the story, the more characters, the more involved: the more money.

Complex Backgrounds, Extra Characters = Big Bang-ready fic (10k words)
Highly Realistic = Novella (25-30k words)
Oil on Canvas = Novel (50k)

Like artists do, consider what adds a lot of time to YOUR work, and maybe add price modifiers on for those things. Spitballling here, but maybe something like:

Complex Hair/Scars = Unique Character traits
Different Perspective = AU requiring extra research
Bust vs. Waist-up vs. Full body = Character Study vs. Romance vs. Ensemble cast

Some things to consider, because this method of pricing sure does have some caveats:

  • this system works best on the low word-count end, and once you get to that 10k words level, the amount of research and plotting REALLY skyrockets, so your prices here may start to be much higher than an artist at the ‘equivalent’ level. That’s fine!
  • You gotta loosen up a bit! If you’re writing a drabble, you can’t be worried about how the characters got in that room or that situation or whatever, just like an artist doing a sketch is not thinking about why their character is wearing a jacket or ‘that hat.’ Different sizes of story really take different levels of detailed planning. Don’t be afraid to skip some details if you’re just writing 3000 words!
  • Make sure you know how quickly you can produce each level, so you don’t get over-run!
  • Every artist has one of those niches that is really their bread-and-butter. If your thing is 2000 word one-shots, MAKE SURE YOU ARE CHARGING ENOUGH! That’s what people know you for, after all!

I like this method, despite the problems, because it allows people to compare with a broad range of talent. Commissioned authors can be hard to find, but commissioned artists are plentiful on tumblr, so you can compare with a lot of different people and find a pricing scheme that works for you!

It’s also really salient to the public who is used to seeing this sort of pricing scheme, and I’ve found makes them more likely to commission if they know they’re having a similar experience.

More than anything, I like how it refocuses your writing! What you do is like what artists do: use a little to convey a lot of character! The more detail, the more background, or the more scope that needs to be conveyed, the harder you work.

Commissioned writing can be fun and can really help improve your stuff, and yes, finding people who will comment on a fic, much less pay for one, is HARD. But please at least get a sense of the value of your work, even if you aren’t going to do commissions!! It can really help you realize “Holy crap, I am a good writer! I am also so generous!”

anonymous asked:

I don't know if this has been asked before but how/where do you get creative writing jobs?

I feel like I should give some warning first? When trying to get into freelance writing, they’re going to try to pay you absolute shit. And maybe you can do a job or two for .01 cents a word but that’s not sustainable. Know what your time is worth, what you’re comfortable with working for per hour and never never do work off the clock.

Industry standard is at minumum five times what they’ll try to pay you. Know how much you need to complete a job before applying for it and don’t go under that.

That being said, I use Upwork or Freelancer to find jobs! Upwork has been more successful for me. I get a client or two from previous clients that I worked for on there.

princessofbadassery  asked:

Hi, Barbie. Is there such a thing as being too persistent about asking when and how I'm going to get paid for my writing? I'm being polite on the phone and everything, but I've called a couple of times (the timeline I was told about was off and I haven't been paid for weeks after I was told I would be) and I'm afraid of damaging the relationship with this company. Am I just being paranoid?

Hey there! Thanks for the question. I didn’t anticipate how my nickname on here would be Barbie, but I’m unreasonably pleased about it, so score one to me. Onto the question:

There isn’t such a thing as being too persistent when it comes to getting paid – within reason.

If you’re messaging them every hour when the payment is only 24 hours overdo, that’s unreasonable.

If you’re messaging them every day when the payment is only a week overdo, you’re pushing it a little bit. If you know the company and trust them, give them a little leeway and don’t risk calling them cheats. If your working relationship with the client is brand new, then every other day is reasonable, but mix it up with excuses such as, “I’m afraid the site/email program has been glitchy. Have you received my most recent message?” Or, “I just want to confirm that you’ve received my payment request. If not, I can resend it.” This will get the attention of any reputable client.

When they’re weeks overdo? Enter Professional Terminator mode. The Terminator does not curse people out, it does not accuse them of things, it does not insult. It walks in, it makes its intentions clear with no sugar coating, and it gets what it wants.

If the company you’re working with is WEEKS overdo and isn’t giving you any updates on when the payment will be made, any reasonable explanation on why its delayed, and especially if they’ve cut contact altogether – they are not a good company. Don’t worry about hurting your relationship. Get your payment in Terminator fashion, and then run. If you can’t get payment, then put them on a blacklist, and then run.

On that note:

  • Make a Blacklist.

No matter how careful, professional, or experienced you are, if you do freelance, you will get stiffed on the bill by at least one client. Over several years of the job, you’ll get stiffed by at least a dozen. It happens. People suck.

But don’t ever forget it. Create a (black)list of their name, contact information, the project done, and what they stiffed you on (be it a payment or even a review). There may come a day when they crawl back and you’ve forgotten either them or the incident. You then unknowingly take up business with them again only to get stiffed a second time. Fool me once and all that.

With a blacklist, you can reference it to make sure that doesn’t happen. As a plus, if the new offer they make sounds good, you think they’ve improved, or there are new safeguards to protect you, you can demand the original payment (or review) you were stiffed on before you begin working with them. Then it all comes full circle.

One other point: As a freelancer, you’re rarely ever paranoid. You want to make money and get clients, so that irrational voice that usually exists is shut up by the rent being paid. If you are ‘paranoid,’ it’s your experience and skill as a professional giving you a warning.

If you get a weird vibe about a client’s voice, the way they compose an email, or the style of brief they give you, listen to that vibe and go in with eyes wide open. It could be the signal you need to put extra safeguards in place to make sure you don’t get scammed.

You are a professional, skilled and talented. That’s why people hire you. So trust yourself as much as they trust you – you know what you’re doing. Listen to your instincts.

nerdmigerd  asked:

How would you recommend a young writer to make a profit off of their work? I'm unemployed and want something to make an early living off of.

Okay, so, my answer may be quite disheartening, but instead of being discouraged by it I expect all y’all young writers looking to make some cash to decide this will only mean you will work harder and not ever give up. In this line of work, you have to hustle.

There are ways young writers can make money. But those ways are tough and discouraging and require a shit ton of work. If you’re smart, you will pursue just about every option there is.

1. Writing Competitions/Contests

There are approximately fifty zillion of these things, all with varying rewards (many of which actually aren’t monetary). All of them have different restrictions (must be a certain genre, the author must be living in a certain place/be of a certain age, the topic must be on something specific, etc). And the only ones that are easy to find, open to most people, and have a good monetary reward are pretty much always the ones that have an entry fee. Usually entry fees are between $5-50, most often around $20. There are a good number of free writing competitions, but those are the ones with the most restrictions on them.

Writing competitions are (usually) different from writing contests. “Contests” are usually the ones held by really selective literary magazines that p much no one reads, and they’re looking for only the snootiest, driest literature there is. Often these mags will pay you in publication/a number of copies of the issue where your story will be. They also probably want rights to your story until after Jesus comes.

Writing competitions are usually for genre stories. They’ll call for a specific genre, a specific word count, and those are pretty much the only restrictions. The rewards will vary from a few hundred dollars up to about $3,000 for popular publications like Writer’s Digest. (The ones that offer more than that are mostly grants, which are an entirely different beast I don’t know nearly enough about to speak on.) Unfortunately, they also have a huge number of applicants, so there’s a lot more competition.

Most of these contests/competitions are for short fiction, poetry, or short non-fiction (essays, basically), so if you only write novels or screenplays, you’re (mostly) out of luck.

BE CAREFUL. As many reputable contests are out there, there are twice as many scams. Be careful.

Resources on writing contests/competitions:

Writer’s Digest Competitions

Poet’s & Writer’s Grants and Awards list (a great resource for those super snooty litmags)

Poet’s & Writer’s Submission Calendar

PEN Literary Awards 

20 Tips for Winning Writing Contests

(NO ENTRY FEE) List of 27 Reputable, Free Writing Contests

(NO ENTRY FEE)’s Creative Writing Contest List

Another List


I’m not even half way down the first google page there are so many just look

2. Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is multi-faceted. It can refer to blogging, writing articles, writing for social media, copywriting, etc. Journalism kind of stuff. I have limited experience with this–not with doing those things, just with getting paid for it–but there may be more input from people in the notes, so make sure you check that out.

In a similar vein, you can also try freelance transcription, where you basically listen to/watch a recording and transcribe what’s said in the recording. This is more difficult than it sounds. But if you have a wpm of 80+ and great hearing (and a lot of patience), go for it.

Beware of scams–anything that wants you to pay to get a job is not a real job.


Paid Writing Gigs

Call for Submissions

Freelance Job Openings

Freelance Transcription Jobs

Transcribe Team

3. Self-Publication

This is one wild beast that should not be entered into lightly. If you publish something, it will always be in your publishing history. Even if you don’t sell anything. And with even more self-pub/e-pub stories out there than there are competitions, you really, really have to work your ass off to make decent money self-pubbing. 

It’s recommended that you only self-publish if you: have worked for an extended period of time on this piece (years), have had professional eyes look over it (more than once), have done your homework on which self-publishing sites you want to use, are prepared to do all the work necessary to see to the success of the piece (editing, formatting, design, promotion, etc), have a good reason for choosing to self-publish (i.e. not because you’re impatient, bitter at being rejected, unwilling to put the work in, etc.)

If you are sure you want to self-publish, here are some resources:

25 Things You Should Know Before Self-Publishing

Writer’s Digest Best 101 on Self-Publishing + Resources

52 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers

There’s this book called The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide

Also check out YouTube because a lot of self-pubbed authors go there to promote, and they have videos talking about their self-publishing journey, so you can learn from their mistakes/emulate their successes

4. Crowdsourcing

I’m mostly going to be talking about Patreon here because that’s really the only thing in this category I have experience with. As far as I’ve found, this is the most conducive site to crowdsourcing for writers who don’t necessarily want to publish a book. I don’t even think it’s technically crowdsourcing.

Patreon is a way for your supporters to support you. It can be for anything. You can write short stories, create art, make tutorials, etc etc. You actually don’t even have to do anything if you’ve got people willing to give you money for that. Set up rewards that your patrons will receive when they pledge a certain amount (exclusive content, physical rewards, etc).

There are two ways to find supporters: connecting with other creators on Patreon, and getting in touch with supporters you’ve already established (friends, family, fans). I don’t know much about connecting with people through Patreon because I just haven’t put much effort into it so far. 

As for reaching out to other supporters, a great way to do this is through social media. Network with fellow creators/consumers through sites like here on tumblr, fictionpress, wattpad/figment, fanfiction sites, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Also, if you can stand it, tell your family. No one wants to support you more than your sweet grandmother who is deep-pocketed, near-sighted, and technologically impaired.

Most importantly, establish yourself where your target audience gathers. Put out as much original content as possible. Make a name for yourself–which brings me to my next point.

5. Social Media and Writing-Adjacent Work

A lot of the sites I listed that you should establish yourself on have ways to make some change if your site gets some traffic. You can put ads on your tumblr blog (or on your fictionpress, I think), you can monetize youtube videos, and the like. You have to get a lot of traffic to make some decent money off of ads, but it’s something. And it’s always good to promote yourself anyway.

As for writing-adjacent work: on the internet, where many people live nowadays and where indie creators have the best chance of making some money, there is a lot vying for your audience’s attention. It’s good to have a shorter, more attention-grabbing service to offer that is relevant to your writing that will draw your audience to you. Basically anything that gives you authority as a creator and interests people that might also be interested in what you’re creating.

For example: create a writing advice blog, build your writerly “brand” on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, tumblr, offer freelance editing, and more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

Each of these things requires a great deal of work for a lot of initial rejection and not a lot of initial reward. However, if you pursue many or all of these things and really dedicate yourself to them, you will eventually get a payoff.


a thing i made senior year when i realized there’s no reason to be upset if you’re not super gung-ho over your art. if you take it too serious it’s not that cool anymore. and then u become like a boring person, who only does art and talks about art.

i’m kind of in a point in my life right now where i don’t think i’m as passionate about art as i was when i first came into it. i still love it, but i love all the other parts of my life too. for me, it’s not that fun when the only thing i do and am interested in is art (even tho it’s how i make money now but…). i remember in school we were always worried about how we would fall behind because all these other professionals were drawing their asses off 24/7, but i don’t regret all the times i didn’t draw to do something else fun in my life. like binge watch a tv show. play video games. talk with my friends. take a day off in little tokyo. shop for clothes and shit online. lie down and do nothing. basically, i made peace with it. i’m not the kind of artist who draws all the time, and that’s okay. it doesn’t make me any less of an artist. 

don’t get me wrong, i really respect the artists who really push themselves to draw every day and finish pieces (it’s a good practice). but i’m just not in the mood for that all the time, and i realized that’s fine. i’d get burnt out otherwise. 

When you start off, you have to deal with the problems of failure. You need to be thickskinned, to learn that not every project will survive. A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles, on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back.
—  Neil Gaiman on freelancing
Six Things Freelance Writing Taught Me

For cash-strapped writers – which, let’s be honest, is most of us – freelancing is a means of making ends meet while doing what we love most: writing. But more than that, working as a gun for hire also serves as an awesome tactic to learn the ropes and pick up things like:

1. How to sell a pitch. Landing a freelance writing gig is like submitting a novel. You have to stand out from the rabble – which means crafting a clever cover letter. Something tight and professional (but not boring, boredom is the Black Plague of queries) which showcases your writing savvy. After hundreds of hours trawling through online classifieds and shooting off queries, I’ve got the CV thing down to a freaking science. That said, the tweaking and tuning never ends.

2. How to research. Since freelancers write across fields and professions, research skills are a stamped, signed and sealed must. It can also be kind of fun. For instance, a while back, I landed a gig writing targeted Tweets for a floating real estate honcho. I ended up submerged in a crap ton of did-you-knows about aquatic living, and to this day, I know more about float homes than most people are ever exposed to.

3. How to keep it sharp. Most writing projects have a word limit. For instance, I shoot for 1000 words when it comes to newsletters, and about 500 for articles. For Tweets, it’s even less: 140 characters. That means making each sentence count. The flip side of this is that I’ve been kind of stunted. I can crank out short stories and novellas fine, but I struggle with length. So just be careful about that. Believe me. Nothing more frustrating than plotting out a 50k novel just to top out at 20k.

4. How to self-edit. Kind of obvious, but freelancers have to polish their own stuff. Sometimes, clients will make little changes, but the writer must know their way about the grammar-go-round. No one’s going to hire a freelancer if their writing sample is chock-full of more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese.

5. How to stick to a deadline. Deadlines are super important. Ever finished an assignment the night before it’s due? When there’s an immediate cut-off, there’s no time to wait for inspiration to beam down from the heavens. We don’t have a choice but to take matters into our own hands – and that’s when the magic happens.

6. How to treat writing like the serious profession it is. Like accountants, freelancers exist in the frame of mind where writing is our livelihood. Once that mental shift occurs, writing becomes a hell of a lot easier. It’s not just a catharsis. It’s a career. And that’s what it’s all about.

Okay, so I’m spending today preparing a talk for a college class on HOW TO NOT STARVE TO DEATH as a freelance illustrator, and I’m feeling to need to make a post about contracts and payment for you, dear tumblr. The following pointers are my opinions from ~3 years of freelance illustration and self publishing comics. They do not reflect the experience of every illustrator or artist.

How Much Do You Charge?

So, the biggest question in freelancing, after “How do I find jobs” is “How do I price my work?” Generally I price my work by determining an hourly rate, estimating how many hours it will take me to complete the project, and multiplying the rate by that estimate. I also write a detailed contract that protects me from a groundhog day of edits and misery, which I will talk about later. Hourly Rate X Estimated time + Materials

Things to consider when Determining What Hourly Rate To Charge: Charge different rates depending on what you can and can’t do with what you make under the contract. The following list is how I define copyright terms, and these terms vary from contract to contract:

  • Non-Exclusive with time limit: You hold the rights and license rights to client under time limit and limitations
  • Perpetual Non-Exclusive: You own the rights and license rights to client without a time limit.
  • Mutual Exclusive Rights: You own rights to what you make, and license rights to the client and only that client. You and the client can both do what you please with the work so long as you don’t sell rights to anyone else.
  • Work for Hire: Rights and licenses belong to the client and not you. Work for hire is a red flag because it means you will have NO OWNERSHIP of what you make under the contract and the client can do whatever they like with it without your input. If you have to do this, charge as much as you can.

It is also perfectly acceptable to consider how much money your client will be making off of your work when determining your hourly rate. In a perfect world we all get paid well and fairly no matter who we work for. Unfortunately sometimes it’s smart to take into account what your client is getting out of this financially, and what they can afford to pay. I have different rates for non-profits than I do for corporations. If someone is making a lot of money off of my work I feel that should apply to me too. If I’m doing a drawing for a volunteer run organization I believe strongly in I am inclined to offer them a lower rate. It’s also okay to consider how much of a pain in the ass a project is going to be when pricing. If you don’t want to do a job unless it pays enough to make it worth it, don’t do that job unless it pays enough to make it worth it.

Some Contract Tips

First of all, ALWAYS USE A CONTRACT. Not only does it protect you from being taken advantage of, but it is a clear written document that outlines what both parties expect from each other.

Be Very Detailed in Your Work Description: Describe exactly what you are creating for the client, including what you are not responsible for. Most people who hire you for art think what you are really doing is BLACK MAGIC. They have little comprehension of how much time it takes to do what you are doing, or the stages of doing it. Make a very specific timeline. Break it down into small increments, including when you expect to receive feedback from the client. Break down every part of what you are creating. How many images? Will they be in black and white or color? What size will they be? What file format will digital files be sent in? Is original art included in the contract? I could go on and on.

Be very Detailed in Your Copyright Agreement: Make sure your contract is very specific about rights and who can do what. You can customize the specific needs of the job.

  • Third parties: Can you sell the design to third parties? Can your client sell the design to third parties?
  • Portfolio use: Even if the client owns rights to the work, can you use it in your portfolio, website, and social media?
  • Can you use it later? If your contract is non-exclusive, define exactly what that means. What can each party do with the work? Is there a certain amount of time that must pass before you can do something with the work. Many publishers want “First printing rights” but allow you to regain rights to the work after a set amount of time.

Limit Your Number of Edits and Revisions, so that you don’t end up in revision hell. Include a fee system for extra edits and revisions beyond the contract. Make sure to define edits and revisions. I define them as follows:

  • Edits: Small changes such as changing wording in a sentence slightly, or changing a color of a font.
  • Revisions: Large changes such as a re-write on a script, or an panel being re-drawn.

Some people Say Get Paid Half up Front. Sometimes I do this and sometimes I don’t. @erinkwilson made a really a great comic about it though.

Also of note, this is not everything you need to know. It is a few pointers that I have stumbled over and learned from over time. I highly recommend checking out the Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines.

Freelance Advice! Self Promotion and Starting Your Own Brand

I was just sent an email that was asking me about how I got started as a freelance designer/illustrator/animator/x, and I think I’m just going to paste my answer here in case anyone gets something out of it.


Illustration is a career path I’ve always been obsessed with– in terms of work experience, the first job out of school I got was a paid internship at MIT creating a game from start to finish over the summer. From there I scoured Boston for similar jobs and finally landed on a game studio that hired me. Since then, all of my jobs have been through knowing a colleague who knows a director who knows someone else who needs an illustrator. Never take your network for granted!

I attended a design school that focused on self-marketing and I know there’s a lot of crossover in each department on how to get started. 

In my senior year I took a class that focused on portfolio building that was incredibly helpful. We: 

1. Trimmed and enhanced our bodies of work to create both an online and physical portfolio that best represented our artistic strengths and voices. 

2. Designed business cards (I recommend for sharp and well-priced cards!) and mailers (I’m not sure if graphic designers necessarily send out mailers, I think that might be more under the fine artist category).

3. Drafted up invoices and contracts for future use (which was just a matter of searching the internet for a standard freelance designer invoice/contract and recreating it in InDesign, tailored to our needs).

4. As an assignment, we reached out to 5 professional artists whose work we admired and asked them for a critique of our site. That one was nerve-wracking, but I was pleasantly surprised that some of my art heroes got right back to me with valuable suggestions.

I’d recommend spending a good chunk of time on all of these points. Having this as a foundation is incredibly helpful, and spending a few days re-tuning your site and resume every few months will have you fully prepared for any jobs that come at you. People will know you as someone who takes their work seriously, which is the best professional reputation you can have. 

Things that I’ve learned since graduating: DON’T miss out on online promotion! Creating a LinkedIn profile, starting a blog, a Twitter account, and having a Facebook page specifically for your work are all great ways to gain traction and get your name out there. People are always looking for designers and passing around links. You’d be surprised at the amount of work you can get through being the friend of a sister of someone’s cousin who happens to be launching a start up and needs a new website and logo.

I’ve found Twitter and Tumblr to be especially helpful for 1. Posting updates when you make new work and 2. Talking about yourself. Personally I’m kind of an over-sharer, but I’ve made a lot of professional connections just through being positive and chatting about stuff I enjoy.

anonymous asked:

I like the idea of freelancing and having your own flexible work schedule. currently I still have a full-time job as test engineer but I'm not confident enough to just quit and take the risk. while I do have some skill in art, design, and creative/technical writing, I don't think I'm good enough to make it for freelancing. so, any tips on how to start freelancing for dummies, especially for jack of all trade and master of none like me?

I started freelancing as a character animator/illustrator/graphic designer after working in a game studio for almost a year. My first client as a freelancer was an acquaintance of a coworker from the studio, and it started from there. I knew what kind of projects I wanted to take and I already knew people in that field, so it was a pretty smooth start.

I’d say, you do need to know what you want to do and have some network before you start freelancing. Do not quit your job if you don’t. Use your free time now to develop your skills and find people and resources in the area you want to freelance in. When you’re confident that you can live off freelance jobs alone, then you can quit.


Here are 6 things you need to get started with freelancing:

1. Master self-discipline. You’ll most likely be working alone in your room or at a coffee shop, but either way, it’s you who must motivate yourself to get work done. If you cannot work alone, prefer to have a supervisor, fixed schedules, or a corporate work environment, freelancing is not for you.

2. Find a good work space. I mostly work in my living room in my apartment. I don’t recommend working in the same room you sleep - that will either kill your productivity, give you insomnia, or both. If you cannot work at home, look for a co-working space near you. This is especially good if you’re an extravert and need feedback on ideas from people. Coffee shops are alright for a change, but there will be inconveniences like loud people, nowhere to plug your laptop cable, slow wifi, or tables are too small.

3. Manage your time. It’s your job to manage your time and your workload. I’m actually still not good at this. I tend to take too many projects at once because I don’t want to say no to good opportunities. However, it’s important to know your capacity and your schedule, so that you don’t kill your health doing allnighters constantly or lose your credibility because you can’t deliver on time. Know how long it takes you to complete a project, and accept jobs accordingly.

4. Apps are your assistant. There are a lot of productivity apps that will make your life easier, especially when you don’t have a manager or secretary to remind you of deadlines.

  • Calendar: I just use the iPhone’s default
  • To do lists: Any.Do
  • Task management: Trello
  • Writing down notes/ideas: Evernote
  • Managing projects/clients: Timely

5. Network a lot. I work with a lot of startups and entrepreneurs in tech. I go to tech/startup/entrepreneur events regularly, and each time I’d meet at least one potential client and more people who could introduce me to potential clients. Find events related to your field of work and go with the intention to get to know people. Meetups is a great place to start.

6. Market yourself on the internet. Find websites that gets a lot of traffic where you can upload your profile/resume and get contacted by potential clients. You may have heard of Linked In (although it’s rather useless for my artists). If you’re also an artist, I recommend Behance, CGsociety jobs board, and deviantart jobs board.

chiaramartinelliart  asked:

Hi! Someone recently commissioned me an animation. It has to last 2 minutes and a half, flat black and white, with simple background (like an element to show if it's outside/inside the house), two characters (a dog and a person). I was planning to do a frame by frame animation but I don't know how much this will cost to my client. Do you have any advice? (or maybe your mutuals). This is my first animation commission and I have no idea :/

First up, congratulations on scoring your first animation commission! :) That is great news,! 

Now, I haven’t done a freelancing animation gig myself (yet), but I just did some research (11 Second Club provided some nice advice in their forum here) that charging someone for animation at least $20-$25/hr is reasonable to start off with. 

That may seem expensive to a client, but the client has to understand too that animation does take time, and a lot of work. It takes 24 frames to get one second, and to have 60 seconds (1 minute) of animation, that’s 1440 frames altogether. 

Also, be sure there’s a contract signed by you and the client to agree of how you will be paid (after a certain amount of hours, no more work will be done until the current payment has been resolved and handed to the artist). 

But, this is an animation blog with other animators, so if anyone else would love to provide freelance charging advice too, please feel free. :) I hope this helps you, and that the commission is a success for you and your client. 

Side Hustle: 5 Ways to Score Freelance Gigs

Breaking in to a creative field, like photography, writing, or design, isn’t always easy. But if you want to make it happen, freelance work is a great way to get your foot in the door with potential employers—and earn some extra cash and experience while you’re at it.

1) Do it Pro-Bono – at First

- Doing work for free obviously isn’t a long-term strategy, but it is a great one if you’re just starting out and trying to make contacts.

2) Be Shameless on Social Media

- Update your site with every new project or piece of work you do, and post updates to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other sites you subscribe to.

3) Get Your Work In Their Hands

- Sending out tangible promotional materials (a postcard or piece of art showing your work) can be invaluable.

4) Don’t be Shy

- This means you have to network.  

5) Look Online

- The freelance job search isn’t always easy, but a little legwork can go a long way.

Cause and Effect (and how it works with Character Limits)

Characterization is making a fictional person as believable as a real person. Real people are complex psychological creatures, and the key to psychology is there’s a reason for everything. This leads you, are a writer, to explore Cause and Effect, which is a simple concept and ties in deeply with Character Limits.

Your character can kill a person without moral issue. That is the Effect. They can do it because they were brutalized all their life and have come to disassociate themselves with other human beings. That is the Cause.

Now that you know the Cause, you can try to find out what other effects it will have on your story and character. They disassociate themselves with people. So does that mean they wouldn’t hold casual conversation with a random store clerk? Does that mean they have no close family ties?

If they’re actually quite personable, then that is an Effect outside of this particular Cause.

What causes them to still be social while not connecting to any actual human beings?

They have trained themselves to interact with others, even if it’s against their instincts.

There’s a Cause. It’s also an Effect.

Why have they done this?

They realize it’s suspicious to be so distant, and they don’t want to attract attention.

Both a Cause and Effect.

What caused them to realize this?

They saw someone else be persecuted for that behavior.

You keep following this path until you run out of Effects that need explained. Now that you have a small collection of Causes and Effects for this character, you can see how two different Causes and Effects can both mix and conflict. The Effect of both a personable and reserved character conflicts, but if you know the Causes, you can pick out the variations and differences in the Effects.

For your plot, it could be the difference between a silent killer who is straight-faced as they commit their acts and one who interacts and enjoys the act. You have to explore more Causes to decide which what result would be most appropriate for them. This makes a character richer, since real life people have conflicting characteristics that can co-exist.

Character Limits work very closely with Cause and Effect. In fact, Limits are often an Effect, and some Cause drove the character to create that Limit.

For example: You have a character that would resort to cannibalism if pushed to the wall. There’s a Limit. So imagine two characters are trapped out in the icy tundra and are starving to death, with no hope of rescue.

Would your character kill the other person themselves or wait for them to die?

They would kill the person themselves.

There’s a Limit, and it’s also an Effect. Now for the Cause. The Cause could be a multitude of reasons. Being raised to always do what it takes to survive? Having a brush with death that convinced them they didn’t want to die?

For their personality, the Effect and the Limits tell you about their character. They have a very strong survival instinct. They will live, even if they have to take drastic, regrettable measures. They value themselves over other people’s lives. Maybe only when pushed to those limits, but the limits are indeed a present line in the sand.

So when you’re writing that character, you can always know in the back of your head that they value their own life above others when pushed to their limits. There is a Cause that can result in a million Effects. This may provoke them to lashing out physically when threatened. It may mean they’ll say something sharp and cruel in return if directly attacked verbally. You know what they’re willing to die for, and that in itself is the greatest limit.

Once you know your character Limits, you can explore the Causes that lead to that Effect. The more Causes you know, the more depth you know of your character and that allows you to predict how they would react in any situation. Instead of knowing they dislike baths, figure out it’s because they nearly drowned once, and that gives them a fear of any large body of water. So when they go to the beach, you’ll have a good idea of how they’ll react and your character’s personality will seem consistent.

Writing is like an expedition in the dark. Don’t be afraid to feel around.  

Happy writing!

“Specialization isn’t just key to evolution—it can help bring new focus to your work and encourage readers to learn from (and share!) your enthusiasm. In this panel from the 2016 Toronto Comic Arts Festival, join Lucy Bellwood/@lucybellwood​  (Baggywrinkles: a Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea), Erika Moen/@erikamoen​  (Oh Joy, Sex Toy), Lisa Hanawalt/@lisahanawalt​ (Hot Dog Taste Test, BoJack Horseman), and Kate Beaton/@beatonna​ (Hark, A Vagrant) as they discuss the benefits and perils of “having a niche” in comics.”

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