When she let me know the book is about to be published I quickly setup an interview with her – online via email. Here are the results:
What inspired you to create such a book?
Well actually, I was approached by an editor from Adams Media to do the project. She said she ran across my freelance writing website (InkwellEditorial.com) and was impressed with my bio and thought I “might be interested” in working with them.
Even though I’ve written and self-published tons of material on freelance writing — over 50 ebooks, hundreds of articles, and hundreds of blog posts – undertaking an extensive, all-inclusive book like this was nowhere on my radar, believe me.
But once I was approached to do it, I knew it was something that I was tailor made for, so I leaped at the chance.
What was the most fun doing the project?
There are actually two parts to this. One was interacting with other freelancers. I reached out to freelancers via my newsletter for input. I told them I’d been contracted to write the book and asked what they’d like to know.
I got some really good input. So that was eye-opening on several levels. I’ve been freelancing for a long time (since 1993), so some things I just automatically forget I know that newbies might now. So again, that was really eye-opening – from a book and future blogging perspective.
The second part was working with a traditional publisher. As I mentioned above, I’ve self-published many books (over 90, when I include my fiction books). As a self-publisher, you are everything (editor, copy editor, cover designer, etc.) and your deadlines are the ones you set for yourself.
Being held to someone else’s deadlines, expectations, input, etc., was interesting. I loved the support I got from the editors (editorial team) at Adams Media. I worked with an Acquisitions Editor and a Developmental Editor. A copy editor went over my work at the end.
So again, that was fun because all I had to do was basically write – and someone else “purtied up my words;” caught places where I could be clearer; and all around made me look like a genius!
It’s something you don’t get when you self-publish for the most part. I worked in trade publishing in New York City years ago (it’s where I started my career). I’d forgotten what working with a “team” was like. J
The most frustrating?
Definitely the research and deciding what to leave out. The book could have easily been twice as long. I tend to be a long-winded writer anyway because when someone purchases one of my books, I want them to feel like they got real value and that it lived up to the title.
And when you put a word like “Ultimate” in the title, it had darned well better be thorough. So deciding what to leave out was sheer torture.
Thank goodness for my developmental editor, Peter. He was a doll to work with and really helpful with this.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned?
I learned a lot about branding yourself as a freelancer. As a freelance writer, I’ve long believed in being a niche writer, and the research I conducted for the book really hit this message home.
I write primarily web (SEO) content, which means I tend to write on all kinds of topics. I’m kind of known on the web as a SEO expert, so I guess you could say that is my niche, even though I could ostensibly niche it even further, eg, Legal SEO content, Real Estate SEO content, etc.
I’m established though, so will stay general, but for newbies, I’d advise starting out in a niche – and marketing yourself to the hilt in that niche. Create a brand, really hone in on what your target market wants and needs. If you choose the right one (eg, a high paying one like tech writing, medical writing, etc.), you can become a six-figure freelancer in no time.
What’s the biggest challenge you faced getting it done?
Adhering to the deadlines. I finished two+ weeks early, but there were incremental deadlines within the big one that made it challenging sometimes, especially when I was tackling complex subjects like healthcare insurance.
For example, I dug into the intricacies of Obamacare and faith-based healthcare programs and came away with an understanding that I hadn’t had before. I got to understand the laws and offerings so well that I actually considered creating a website around healthcare for freelancers!
What else would you like to tell me?
The main thing is that the book is for anyone who wants to start ANY KIND of freelance career – not just freelance writing. The title (The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook) underscores this. So although here I’m referencing freelance writing, the book is for all aspiring freelancers.
Although this is a book I thought I could “write in my sleep,” because I have so much experience as a freelancer, it really required a ton of research. I knew a lot, but I also knew that I had to back up what I said with hard facts, figures, stats and quotes.
I was drained at the end, but felt very proud of the finished product because I knew the book gave anyone who’s thinking about starting a freelance career a ton of information they could use to chart their career and leave their 9-to-5 behind feeling pretty confident in their ability to make a successful go of it as a full-time freelancer.
Not so by the way: Yuwanda Black is making a special offer of Bonus Content to anyone who pre-orders the book by Sept. 1, 2016. Find out how to get your Bonus material almost at the bottom of: http://inkwelleditorial.com/how-to-freelance-advice-from-7-successful-freelancers
That page also has more info on the book.
Write well and often,