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.

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