No assholes, no fascists
One of the benefits of being a freelancer is that you can choose your clients, and they can choose you. If you’re mean-spirited or our values don’t align, we will not be a good fit.
Invoice early and often
I am transparent with clients. We establish our working relationship and sign a contract. Too often, writing and publishing are under-valued and underpaid, not seen as “real work.” Invoice early and often is a reminder that while ours is a supportive arrangement, it is also structured around intellectual and emotional labour, which demands to be compensated.
Work for the planet
No planet, no life, no work. I have always donated money to causes I believe in, and now I can structure my business around those causes. My work on environmental publications is one example of how my business works for the planet. In this commitment to work for the planet, I am inspired by Patagonia.
There is a spirit of generosity in publishing. In-house editors often offer writers and publishing students their best strategies for reshaping a manuscript or getting ahead in the industry. Now that I am freelance, I offer this information for free in my always-expanding resources section and on LinkedIn.
Keep it real
I live in a log house on a small island, and log houses require an extra level of care. In the winter, I am tending to the wood stove; in the summer, I am tending to the garden. I might show up for our calls in gardening clothes, or you might hear the wood stove clang in the background. The power goes out fairly often in the winter, so I work to be ahead of all deadlines. It’s life first, and work second. I’m delighted to work with clients who allow their own lives to flow into our calls: kids in the background, calls from sailboats, cats filling the Zoom screen.
Co-creation is key
Editors and writers work in tandem. Editors help writers shape their ideas into the best possible form. The end product is a result of co-creation, and this give-and-take is my preferred way of working.
I quit Penguin Random House and joined a hybrid publisher so I could learn about other approaches to publishing. I believe publishing, in all formats, should be accessible to all. As an author, if you have more information, you can make a better decision for yourself and your book. I am freelance so I can work with a range of independent writers who may want to publish traditionally, or who may want to self-publish.
There is enough for all of us
I am not in competition with other freelancers. I am in the business of supporting writers. I will never run down a fellow freelancer’s work, and I won’t work with authors who do. For the same reason, if I sit down in a new hairstylist’s chair and they say, “Ugh, who did this awful cut?” I get up and walk out.
Art will save us
I am an artist, and so are you. Years ago, I had a dream that concluded with a bold sign reading: “START WITH ART.” That dream caused me to sit upright and has guided every decision since. Art is not an option. It’s our way forward. It’s an expression of innovation and what photographer Freeman Patterson calls “sideways thinking.”