22 June 2006

Hedging my bets

The book on hedge funds arrived late last Friday. I planned to start editing it on Monday but when Monday arrived, I found 101 other things to do that seemed infinitely more interesting. I think I got as far as editing about half the contents pages.

A flick through the 155 pages showed it needs a huge amount of work. In addition, there are 60-odd excel graphics to edit, another 10 or so graphics in Word and 22 pages of references. Far bigger than I had been led to expect.

I am way behind. I had hoped to finish it by the end of today, but I'll be lucky to finish it by the end of tomorrow. And I've decided to sub-contract the editing of the reference pages. Unfortunately, my style guide for the publisher contains no guidance on references and my e-mail requesting it has gone unanswered so far.

Sigh... that means a chaser phone call.

Hedge funds are not exactly riveting, either. And the whole book is badly written and badly structured. I'm finding this job very tedious and only getting through it by thinking about the big, fat cheque at the end.

Meanwhile, I seem to be flavour of the month with people who need my help. A removal specialist in London plucked my name off a freelance database and rang to ask for a quote to revamp his website, write a flyer and create an e-mail advertising shot. I know he's calling around (as indeed he should), but if he offers me this job I plan to sub-contract it to a colleague who is just starting out in copywriting and needs experience.

Someone else I know vaguely through a business networking forum asked for a quote to redo his website. I gave him a rough quote but have heard nothing back yet. This means he's unlikely to use me, but I don't see how I am going to squeeze it in anyway. Another person also contacted me through the same forum asking for a website revamp quote; he's still thinking about it.

I've learned that people often seem quite shocked when they discover how much it will cost for quality copywriting. They will happily spend a couple of grand paying someone to design a decent website then baulk at paying out a few hundred for serviceable, attractive copy to put on it.

I also pitched for a job turning conference speech transcripts into book form - the client likes my quote but I gather needs authorisation from higher up. To sweeten the deal, I offered to negotiate a discount for editing all 15 speeches, having given a fixed quote per speech. I'd like to do this job - having seen a sample speech, it will be an interesting challenge. Again, it's financial work, one of my specialisms.

And last night, a colleague I know in my local business community e-mailed me and my graphic designer as he has referred us both to one of his own clients. This person needs a website and copy and our mutual colleague thought of us first.

Quite a few potential jobs lined up, but I need them to translate into solid bookings. Some of them, anyway. I won't have the time to do all of them, unless some of them are prepared to wait a few weeks.

Right, time to crack on with hedge funds...

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