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.
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.