To Earn More, Get in Touch With Your Inner Writer Bitch

Carol Tice

After more than three years of helping writers grow their income, I’ve learned something: Lots of writers are just too nice. Too deferential. Too insecure and shy.

The problem? To earn well as a freelance writer, sometimes you need to get a little bitchy.

Not when you’re writing or pitching editors. Just when it comes to how you’re treated. Especially, when it involves how much and how quickly you’re paid.

Example:

I recently got an assignment to write an 800-word article for $800. It all went great…except for the part where I was made to substantially rewrite, re-report, and lengthen the piece until it hit nearly 1,400 words! Talk about your scope creep.

Now the meek-writer thing to do in this situation is to crawl away quietly and reflect later on how you kinda got screwed there.

But that’s not me.

Instead, I presented the situation to the client.

Hey, you commissioned 800 words but really wanted 1,400.

I think I should get paid more money. How about $300?

Pretty bitchy, huh?

But they countered with an offer of $200 more. Just for asking about it.

In this biz, sometimes you’ve got to stand up for yourself. Draw some boundaries. Make things happen.

And that takes a half-ounce of bitch.

For instance, an editor doesn’t mention sending a contract, so you have to bring it up and make sure one gets sent. Then, you negotiate to get paid on acceptance instead of publication.

Maybe it’s a little bit bitchy. But it needs to happen, so that you get paid, and not six months from now — or never.

I once made an extra $2,000 by simply responding to a client’s price offer with, “Hmmm…but it’s rush work?” They immediately increased their offer.

How to be a successful writer bitch

Of course, there’s a right way to be a writer-bitch and a wrong way.

Bad writer bitch attitude is disrespectful and rude. It burns bridges and ruins relationships. You’re seen as pushy and demanding.

Good writer bitch simply presents the situation in a factual, polite, professional way. It’s all business. Nothing personal. If your request gets turned down, you make a calm decision whether you’re willing to take the deal or you’re walking.

The irony is, when you stand up for yourself as a writer, my experience is that good clients will only respect you more. You’re a pro, out getting what you deserve. They do that too, so they get it.

Have you had to get bitchy with a client lately? Leave a comment and tell us how you handled it.

50 Comments

  1. Rhonda Grice

    I say instead of worrying about what words Carol used that we should just look at the lesson she was trying to teach us.

    I hate it when people try and pick something apart that was really meant to help. If you stop and think about it and you’ve been on this site before you know Carol is a smart, nice person.

    All I can say is grow up!

  2. Craig

    Just curious, is there such a thing as a average time frame to get a article done?

    • Carol Tice

      Sure there is…for each writer. The goals is the more you write, the faster you get, which hopefully makes your hourly rate go up.

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