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I think I’ve set a new record for first nibble and rejection of the year!

I was on Craigslist the other day, trolling around to see if there were any interesting freelance writing projects. As I do every year, I’ve resolved to get more involved in submitting work (in 2011, I even saw publication of a few articles at http://www.dumblittleman.com. Unpaid, but incredibly encouraging). The writing gigs were the usual calls for erotica or lazy ghostwriting to the tune of “I have a lot of GRAET IDEAS and now olny need a telented writer to help me put pen to paper haha. No pay up front but youl;l get a portion of the AMAZING ROYALTIES that will surely come!!!!!” So I checked out creative gigs, and lo and behold, a new writer wanted someone to put together a cover for her forthcoming YA ebook. I’m not going to lie and tell you I’m an amazing designer, but since she was asking for someone who knew how to use photoshop, and since I’ve taken Book Design and E-Publishing courses at a graduate school level, I figure I’ve got some modest chops. So I emailed her.

The author told me a little about her story and said that unfortunately, she couldn’t afford to pay much for the design. To be fair, it’s Craigslist and I’m new, so I said her price was fine. I then told her what I’d offer for it: a cover design and minor revision (changing font/color/photo filters, but not redoing the entire design). That’s when things went downhill.

In her reply, the author said that the design process would have to be “trial and error” and that she could “make no promises” about how many revisions she would need. And at that point, I had to make a choice. If I’m interested in freelancing, I need to take on jobs, and there are plenty of stories from pros where they took whatever they could, whenever they could, for whatever price until they got to the top. If I cared about myself, though, I had to put more value on my time than promising to do whatever it took until the unspecified day when my client was happy.

In the end, I wrote her a response saying that freelancers work off of specific contracts, and promised her a cover and two revisions, with extra revisions at an additional price. She passed on my offer, I wished her well, and I find myself feeling better about this than if I could have written here saying I’d landed a freelance job. I may have been rejected, but I gained confidence in my ability to set my own standards for what I deserve and what I can offer in my work, and I’ve learned that I won’t compromise my sanity for some extra cash or a little experience.

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