The New Plan – Operation Freelance!

After talking it over with a very smart friend I’ve decided to offer blog articles for £100 each, and £50 each for short ones.

I’m offering Ghostwriting and Co-Author services too. If you have a great story idea but don’t think that you could do it justice, then I can help. You may even have started writing it yourself and got stuck. You can hire me as a Ghostwriter, in which case the book has your name on it, and you get to keep the royalties, but you pay me for my time upfront. Or, you can let me take a Co-Author credit, both names are on the cover, we split the royalties 50-50, and it costs you nothing.

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I’m hoping to build up a client list as quickly as possible. I need to be a full-time writer. I’m going nuts. I’ve been trying to build my profile, and my reputation. Take my time. Do this right. Work wherever I can to survive while I make myself look great online. The problem is that the job I’m doing for money is taking all my time, energy and motivation.

I didn’t realize when I started working nights how lonely and depressing it would get. I needed some time to think, but now I’m ready to rejoin the world. I could just get another shitty job doing bar-work, retail or call centre customer service, but I really don’t want to have to. I want to write. It’s all I want to do, and I’m good at it.

I got my start as a blogger writing geek-culture articles for a WordPress-based website. The articles I’ve written for them seem to have gone, but I saved a few of my favourites and re-blogged them on Games ‘n’ Geekery. A geeky website of my own I created using all the skills I learned while working for them, and a few tricks I’ve picked up since.

They didn’t pay me anything, but the experience was invaluable. I learned how to use WordPress, how to make a good-looking blog article, and that I could churn out an original 500-1000 word article, including research, links, pictures and video, every single day.

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I used what they taught me to create this blog, and others. The Hermes925 serialized story that I’ve been posting to this website attracted the attention of Tod Foley, who recruited me for the UbiquiCity project. The writer team would video conference online to talk about our ideas and world-build together, then we each wrote a short story that fit into the world we created. My short story, and the others, are now available on Amazon as part of the UbiquiCity anthology. The accompanying RPG sourcebook will be out soon. It was a fun project. 🙂

I got the opportunity to ghost-write a story for someone, and that was fun too, but the client put the project on hold before I saw a penny for the work I did. I definitely learned a lesson there, but it put me off the idea of ghost-writing for a while.

I submitted a short story or two to contests and publications that offered a cash prize or payment if you were accepted, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that writing short stories for submission, especially if they don’t get accepted. Too much time and effort, for not enough guaranteed reward. If I write a good short story, I want some guarantee I’m going to get paid for it, and I certainly didn’t want to have to pay someone to publish it.

It’s about that time I got distracted by the Creative Writers group. It had only 32 members left, no admin at all. It occurred to me that I could test some of the things I’d learned about social media management and audience building, and also create the kind of supportive community I wanted to find. The group now has over seventeen thousand members.

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I even created an opportunity for group members. I’ve always been a ‘learn by doing’ kind of person. I learn best when it’s a necessary means to accomplish a desired outcome. In hindsight the Monolith project was probably a little too ambitious, but that was kind of the idea. Set the bar high and see if I could pull it off. I didn’t, but I learned a lot along the way.

The idea was to create a series of large anthologies, containing well-written stories, all conforming to the same theme. There would be no charge to submit and we would review the stories as they were submitted. That way we wouldn’t have to try and deal with a huge pile all at once after the submission deadline, and the writers would get feedback right away instead of having to wait. This also gave them an opportunity to try and improve their submission and try again.

We ended up with a lot of great stories, and a lot that could have been good if the writers had been willing to improve them. The project became a logistical nightmare, even with help from other admins in the group, and so the project was abandoned. However, I decided to test self-publishing anyway with one of the short-stories I had written. It sold pretty well for a short story, and I’m currently writing a longer story, hopefully a novel, inspired by the short story. It’s called The Haunted Story.

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It’s taking longer to write than I wanted though. I enjoy writing stories, but they’re harder than blog articles. I have several work-in-progress story-lines that I will to turn into books. A few of the ideas have already been mentioned in this blog. I know I can manage my time better, and be able to spend more time and energy writing my stories, if I can write full-time. The night porter job is an inefficient use of my time and wastes my creativity.

I could replace the hotel job by securing enough clients to write an article a day, just like I used to do. I’m a good writer, as you can see from this blog and my published stories. I’m more than happy to negotiate, especially if I can gain something else besides money, like cover-art, editing, or marketing.

I can do blogging, and it comes easily to me, but I’d prefer to write a book with you. I know from the previous experience that I write better and faster when I’m working for someone, and it gives me something to look forward to each day. Unlike my current job. At this point I’d welcome any opportunity to write for a living really.

So, want to write a book with me? If you don’t have any ideas, I can help with that too. I’m aware that some people just want to see a book on the shelves with their name on the cover. I can arrange that. I can also go to the opposite extreme and help you polish up and revise a story that you’ve mostly written already (and that wouldn’t cost as much). It’d be much more fun to bounce ideas off each other and come up with a great story together, but I’m flexible.

Please email me: antonym.copeland@gmail.com or leave me a comment if you have any questions, advice for new freelancers, or a project for me. Whether you’re a fellow writer with too much on your plate, a website manager that needs more content, or just someone that wants their name on a book, I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day 🙂

 

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Unexpected Hope

Today I was working a breakfast shift at the Whitewater Hotel. I grumble about having to work here from time to time, but I still like it. There are much worse places I could be working. We were waiting for the last of the guests to finish when one of them called me over.

“Young man? (instant ego boost) Do you have any toothpicks?” she asked

“I’m sure I can find you some,” I say, already knowing there are cocktail sticks in the kitchen. I’ve been working in customer service for most of my adult life, and read quite a bit too, to actively try and excel at it. I habitually under promise and over deliver now.

I returned with three cocktail sticks and asked: “Will these do?”

She accepted them gratefully, and I said, “I’m terrible, I always use the corner of a business card.” She replied that she refuses to admit to doing the same. I took the opening and pulled out one of my business cards saying, “I have one if you need it”.

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She looked at it. Read my name, and that it says ‘Author’, and asked me what I was writing. So, of course, I told her all about Hermes925, the Creative Writers group and the Monolith project. She held my gaze as she asked if I was published, so I told her excitedly,

“That’s part of the reason I’m doing the anthology. It will allow me to figure out how self-publishing works without risking my baby”. My ‘baby’ being Hermes925. She came up with a great idea.

“Then afterwards you could write about how to become self-published. There’s a huge market for that right now.” It turns out she’s retired from a corporate position in which she specialised in attitude-focused motivation. I’m sure my eyes lit up as I mentioned a project currently on the back-burner called “Levelling Up! A gamer’s guide to success“.

The book would compare gaining XP (experience points) to gain new skills in both tabletop and video RPGs to gaining real life experience and applying them to your life to develop real skills.

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She seemed very interested in the idea of applying game experience to real life and encouraging people to be more with what they already know. I loaded my tray with dirty plates and used breakfast items such as the jam tree and sugar bowl as we talked. We soon realised that we’d spent a long time talking and she promised to keep my card and email me. I went back to the.kitchen with the tray, invigorated and hopeful.

I was a little disappointed that she left my card behind, but not terribly surprised. If I bump into her again over the next couple of days, I’ll hand her another card as if she forgot. I may have been deliberate, and if it was it wouldn’t be the first time that someone in the corporate world promised me a great opportunity that never materialised.

It also reminded me that the only people I can rely on are my family. They’ve given so much to help me become a successful author. I want to return the favour and help them live they way they want to live. If I want to do that I need to work harder to make Creative Writers Press a reality, and put rest to the idea that some mysterious benefactor will simply give me what I want.

I’ll learn a lot more figuring this all out myself. I’ll be more than just someone who got lucky. I’ll be an expert, and I can use that expertise to compound that experience into more stories, projects and self-help books! I feel more confident in my ability to pull this off than ever.

I’ve been trying to crowdfund to support giving the administrators of the Creative Writers group a salary, so they have more time to work on this. There’s already a Patreon site, and I’m working on a Kickstarter site too. If that doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world. I just pointed out to someone today that my part-time job gives me a break from all the work I’m putting into this. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

However, I think I might be able to get myself a better income if I do this right. I can schedule breaks for myself. I can keep a standard work day again instead of fitting time in around my Whitewater shifts. Even if I’ll fail, I’ll be gaining experience and I’ll learn. When I try again I can use what I’ve learned and I’ll find a whole new set of hurdles, and I’ll learn from those too. I’ll keep practising what works until I have a whole new set of skills.

Those of you who play RPGs will know that at this point things start to get easier, but then you level up. This gives you new recognition, more renown, and tougher challenges. I can’t wait 🙂

Dawn of the Superbabies!

I was considering writing an article all about it now being legal in Britain to produce a child using the DNA of three parents. I was at work when I first heard the news and wanted desperately to jump online and write about it. However, I was at work. By the time I got home nearly 12 hours later the subject had been well covered, but I really liked the working title, so I kept it.

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We cannot use personal phones whilst at work, which is annoying since I not only use my phone to take notes, but I might also have been able to do some preliminary research via the internet. There are cameras everywhere, allowing the management and the owner to see what we’re doing, to make sure we’re keeping busy. I know that taking 5-15 minutes to scribble down my ideas, even on a traditional notepad, would be frowned upon.

Speaking of the owner, not my favourite person. He has the tendency to talk to me like I’m subhuman. He talks to us all like that. He has friends. All of them living very comfortably. I think he may only respect those who have worked hard to become wealthy, like himself. I’m certainly not going to please him by being a good employee. He ignores us when we do well, and berates us all if he thinks that any of us are doing something wrong.

I’m done being ordered around. It’s high time I found a way to make writing a financially viable career path. I’ve already thought about asking for donations, in fact this blog has many times included links to my Paypal (see what I did there). I’ve also thought about a GoFundMe campaign, but it doesn’t feel right.

I’m currently on the cusp of asking various local, national and international companies for sponsorship, in exchange I will help them sell their products. I’ll start with companies whose products I already enjoy, but I’d also love to showcase small business and start-ups. It also occurred to me that I could try to sell some of the business ideas I have from time to time.

For example, I wrote a document entitled “How To Sell More Food – Why ‘To-Go’ Boxes Are Awesome”. I posted a copy in my Writing Archive (follow the link if you’re curious). It’s aimed at restaurants and offers a step-by-step process to introduce the concept of taking leftovers, and even extra meals and desserts, home in a to-go container when you’ve finished your meal.

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This is something that is common in America, but is under-utilised here in the UK. The restaurant where I’m currently working will pack up your food if you ask, but makes no effort to inform customers that it’s an option. I was going to present a copy of this proposal to my boss today. I even rehearsed what I was going to say to him, however he didn’t make a point of coming to find me and tell me to sweep the leaves or not to poke the fire, so I brought it home again.

I have real trouble working for someone that I don’t like. The thought of doing anything to increase his wealth makes me nauseous, so I’m glad he didn’t get a chance to read my ideas. I honestly wouldn’t expect him to adopt my suggestions anyway, and certainly not to pay me for them. I have to find a better way to make money though. Working my arse off for minimum wage and receiving no respect or appreciation is not going to tolerated much longer.

I could find another job, but it would likely be the same old story. Good employers aren’t hiring. They don’t have to. Their workers stay. Anywhere that is hiring is likely to have a high turnover due to the job being rubbish, the pay being crap, the boss/ owner being awful or a combination of the above.

I want to work for myself. Until that’s possible, I’d at least like to be writing for a living. Writing product reviews, ghostwriting, blogging (for someone that pays), interviewing authors to create their biography (which was an actual opportunity I’ve found and applied to already) or something like that.

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If you happen to be rich and are willing to pay me $200 a week to write you unique stories for your kids (or yourself) about a bear named Frank that goes on adventures, I will do that! I’ll be your own personal author, write anything you want and no-one else will be allowed to read it except you and your kids (and me of course). I’d love the challenge.

Anyway, it’s now midnight. I have more writing I’d like to get more writing done tomorrow before my shift starts at 3pm. If by some miracle, you happen to be a wealthy individual or corporation willing to hire me to write for you then please contact me. It’s all I want for Christmas! I’m going to go to bed now and hope there’ll be something nice in my inbox when I wake.

Goodnight, and have a great day 🙂

Leveling Up

I feel like I don’t write enough lately. At least not in anyway that people can easily track. The life-work balance is, as predicted, tricky. I find that when I have a day off, I don’t want to write. As much as I love it, writing is work, and I just want to relax. Let my muscles recover from the hard week. Zone out while watching tv shows. Hang out with friends. Blow off steam.

In my last roughly written article “Your Own Personal Facebook” I mentioned an idea I had regarding writing a self-help book of some kind. It’s not really a new idea. I had thought about writing a self-help book a while back called “Leveling Up” intended to put advice like how to go about finding yourself, navigating social interactions, and reaching your career potential in terms that gamers would understand.

The slogan for the book, website and social media presence was going to be something like, ‘you can’t level up without gaining experience’. The idea that failure allows you to learn more than getting it right the first time was going to be a recurring theme. In many role-playing gaming systems, your character gains experience points during the adventure. When you have enough points you can level up, gain new permanent skills and bonuses.

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I love this analogy for life, as imperfect as it is. In real life we don’t suddenly find ourselves able to understand animals because we killed enough goblins. We can suddenly find ourselves able to use a computer system easily after having struggled with it for weeks though. There are other examples in which something that was once hard suddenly becomes easy. The first few weeks of working behind a bar again would leave me so tired and sore that I thought I’d do permanent injury to myself. Now it’s easier. It doesn’t wreck me like it did.

I’m definitely going to write this book, or something very like it. I’m so eager to do so that I didn’t want to go to work today. Except I still want to save up enough capital to self-publish if I have to. Plus I was hoping to bump into someone again. A professional ghostwriter. I was hoping to ask him about how he got into it. There’s lots of stuff online about becoming a ghostwriter, but most of it seems to be trying to sell you something. I would like to hear from someone who has successfully made a career out of writing, how they did it. I’ll let you know more if it ever comes to anything.

I did go to work. The front door to the pub was closed when I got there, so I went in through the kitchen. I told the first fellow member off staff I saw that the door was still locked. Then I proceeded to remove my coat and hoodie, clock in, find my fob, and head down to the bar. The door was still locked, but I checked behind the bar to see if anything needed taking care of there first. That’s when the owner came downstairs and saw the door was still locked.

He was not happy. Now bear in mind it was 11am. He’d been there since 6:30am, and yet it was my fault the door was still locked. He admitted that he had forgotten, but he expects anything that gets missed my him to be done by the person coming in at 11. If the door isn’t open then we can’t get customers, without customers we don’t stay in business. He told me that he didn’t understand why people don’t care that the pub stays in business, and expressed that he doesn’t want to pay people that don’t care about the business.

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I understand perfectly why he cares so deeply. This is his passion, his love. He has dedicated his life to making The Brown Cow Inn successful, and I admire him for that. I didn’t tell him that I would’ve gotten to the door myself. I have no way of proving it. I also didn’t tell him that I’m only there to earn a wage. I’ll do what needs to be done, but minimum wage isn’t enough to make me care. If the pub went bankrupt tomorrow, I would find another job.

There’s got to be a smarter way to earn money that isn’t so physically demanding and exhausting. At least I don’t feel like I’m doing anything unethical. I don’t need to lie to my customers, or convince them to pay for anything they can’t afford. I have done both those things for past employers.

If I can sacrifice a bit of my leisure time I can get Levelling Up written. I can use the money from selling it to keep me afloat while I write what I really want to write. The Hermes-Branchpoint series. Speaking of which, I think Hermes 911 will explore the legal system of the N•Viron centric society of earth, not follow around futuristic cops in the Alpha Prime colony.

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I’ve written some of Hermes 360 and some more of Hermes 925 too, I just haven’t published it digitally yet. I’m going to try and get that done this week. I’m also going to try and avoid feeling guilty if I end up doing something else. I haven’t spoken to my co-admin William about our Games and Geekery blog for weeks. It’s in dire need of new articles and a little TLC.

Anyway, I think I’ve been talking about writing long enough. I need to get it done. Or go to bed, because it’s midnight and I have to do another 11am-9pm shift tomorrow. I get an hour off from 4-5pm, but I probably won’t actually get to leave until after 10pm. It gets to be a long day.