Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Avoiding Risk in Accepting Clients

So far, I have been very blessed in the clients who have come my way; only one situation has not worked out. Sooner or later, another client is going to come to my door expecting concessions that I am not prepared to make: lower rates, an unrealistic schedule, changes in payment timing, and such.

Happily, I have avoided such problems up to now largely by taking the advice of those who have a lot more experience in these matters. For example, many have said not to agree to any terms without seeing the entire manuscript first. So, I have insisted on that.

What I failed to do in one instance, however, was to determine whether the manuscript given to me needed copyediting (my marketed skill) or something more advanced (developmental editing or line editing). That led to an embarrassing conversation in which I explained to the author that her work would require a higher total cost than I had initially estimated. She understood, and paid for the work.

Another piece of editorial wisdom that I have followed is to have a written contract that sets expectations for both parties and avoids surprises. Doing that has proven to be helpful by surfacing a desire by one prospective client to change the payment schedule in a significant way. That was a bridge too far for me, and we have not agreed to any work so far.

What got me thinking about all this is an outstanding article by an experienced editor (Ruth E. Thaler-Carter) about difficult clients, which is available here:

Before you run into a difficult client, be sure to take counsel from Ruth.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Good Source on Editor-Author Contracts

Every freelance editor needs to work with their clients to set expectations and agree on how their relationship will be conducted. When you think about it, having a lot of this spelled out in writing can spare both you and your clients from misunderstandings. A smooth relationship has the best chance of producing a quality product and leading to further business together in the future. Having a contract is a great way to help all that happen.

What I post here is by no means an exhaustive search on this subject. When I needed a contract to use with my first client, I did not have time to hunt for all the best sources available. Happily, I think my brief search was quite successful. I recommend the following book (also available in Kindle format): The Paper It’s Written On: Defining your relationship with an editing client, Karin Cather and Dick Margulis (Scotts Valley, California: CreateSpace, 2018). [Before someone complains, I have capitalized the book’s title just like they have it on the book cover and on Amazon.] You can always search on Amazon by using the ISBN: 978-1726073295.

While The Paper It’s Written On weighs in at only eighty pages, those pages are packed with wise contract wording. Consider that statement not as legal advice—I am not a lawyer—but as a description of the many ways that an editing relationship can go south. Short descriptions of both authors may be found on the book’s webpage at Amazon. The price at this writing is $12:50 (paperback) or $6.99 (Kindle). While Cather offers a robust contract suitable for editing a book, Margulis gives us wording to cover editing, book design, cover design, and project management. Each has their own take, such as their different ways of handling termination of the agreement.

Barry's Editing & Proofing LLC. If you need my editing or proofing services, I can be reached at 214-558-9128 or barry.applewhite@gmail.com.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Now, I have to get clients fast!

Everyone beginning an editing business wonders how to get clients for their new business venture. When it comes to sharing information about editing, one of the most generous pillars of copyediting is Katharine O’Moore-Klopf (“KOK”). She has recently addressed ways for attracting clients in a post on her blog: <https://editor-mom.blogspot.com/2018/10/self-employed-editors-can-you-build.html>. I recommend her blog and her post for your careful attention.

At a later date, I will talk of KOK’s other big contribution: Copyediting-L.

Barry's Editing & Proofing LLC. If you need my editing or proofing services, I can be reached at 214-558-9128 or barry.applewhite@gmail.com.

Forming an LLC (Texas veterans only)

This post is aimed at editors who are military veterans living in Texas.
Effective from 1-1-2016 until 1-1-2020, Texas law (SB 1049) has eliminated any filing fee for creating an LLC that is wholly owned by a Texas military veteran having an honorable discharge. There is also an exemption from franchise taxes for five years, though you would have to make a lot of money to benefit from that. For anyone else, the filing fee would be $300.

Details may be found at the following link: <https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/franchise/veteran-business.php>.

Though I am not a lawyer and cannot offer any legal advice, I have read a very informative book written by a lawyer: Form Your Own Limited Liability Company: Create an LLC in any State, 10th Edition, Anthony Mancuso (Berkeley: Nolo, 2017). In many situations, doing business as an LLC offers protection of your personal assets from attack during litigation.

In addition, a single-member LLC is treated by the IRS exactly the same as a sole proprietorship. You file taxes for your LLC using Schedule C. So, I can keep on using TurboTax Home and Small Business software to do both my personal and business taxes.

I decided to take advantage of this situation by forming Barry's Editing & Proofing LLC. If you need my editing or proofing services, I can be reached at 214-558-9128 or barry.applewhite@gmail.com.