By Anne Vize-
Forging links with individuals who have an idea for a story but lack the writing skills to complete the task can be a lucrative income stream for writers. Personal writing support and advice is immensely satisfying and offers regular, immediate payments.
I’ve written for several clients who lacked the writing skills to complete important, highly personal writing projects. One was a hilarious woman who would have provided great scope for a fiction writer as the basis for a character in a chic lit novel. She’d been married twice and had stories of romance, mystery and intrigue that made my hair curl. As well as helping with paragraphing, sequencing of her story and considerable editing, I also advised her about laws to protect individuals from slander, and suggested she should be careful making unfounded and serious allegations about former partners, no matter how true they may have been! She paid me $45 per hour for around 20 hours work in total.
Another client wanted help to edit his already complete life story. We worked through several chapters at a leisurely pace, both enjoying the relaxed process of editing and discussing his story. He was happy to pay me $50 per hour for editing, consulting and formatting and layout advice. One day the phone rang. It was his son, telling me his father had been diagnosed with cancer and had only weeks to live. The race was on to get the story finished and fast! There was suddenly no time for planning and conferencing – the book had to be finished and printed – now. After several late night editing sessions, the book was done and delivered. He read through his life story book on the last day he was able to sit up alone, and enjoyed seeing his project completed. A deadline has never been quite so critical and a project has never felt quite so important as that one.
One client wanted help to adapt her African children’s stories for an English speaking audience. She paid me $50 per hour to suggest changes to her stories so they were readable for a young audience and appropriate for the age group. This called on my skills as a writer and also my experience as a teacher. I was able to suggest how to make the stories marketable for an educational audience as well as a general fiction one, and so increase her chances of publication.
Personal writing support for private clients is a three-step process. You need to advertise or seek out clients who want to engage your services. This could be through a small ad in a magazine such as ‘The Genealogist’ (Australian) or Family Tree magazine (USA) or in your local or regional paper. Offer a workshop in your local area about writing a life story and spin some free advertorial in the local paper from this. Workshops on life writing are also good sources for finding potential clients.
Next, meet with potential clients to discuss their needs and work out a writing plan. Explain your payment requirements, such as an hourly rate or flat fee for a project. Be clear that you will not be the author of the work but you will provide writing advice and consultation. Explain copyright and plagiarism rules and the importance of thinking carefully about anything they publish in a formal sense. Take care when meeting new clients and always consider your personal safety. Lastly, complete the project with regular updates on progress. Establish an easy invoicing arrangement that suits you both, such as direct payments into your bank account or through Paypal or similar.
Biography: Anne Vize is an Australian freelance author who writes for educational publishers as well as local and international magazines.