Three Valuable Books for the Freelance Indexer
By Laura A. Ewald
Starting your indexing business? Been around for a few years? Wherever you are in your indexing life, the following three books are valuable resources for the freelancer.
Goodman, Michelle. My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2008.
Michelle Goodman provides the kind of gained-by-firsthand- experience advice we generally look to get from our closest friends, and her engaging, chatty style makes it easy to swallow. A freelance writer, she provides anecdotes from creative people in many fields—writers, photographers, event planners, actors—which allow the reader to feel at home in the conversation no matter what their freelance career of choice.
In Part 1, “You Fled the Cube—Now What?,” Goodman covers business plans, finances, working spaces, professionalism, web portfolios, and pricing. Part 2, “Sell, Baby, Sell,” discusses finding and landing clients, sales, project negotiations, and contracts. Part 3, “Your So- Called Freelance Life,” deals with keeping clients happy, managing your cash flow, managing your time, and having a master plan.
Throughout the book are scattered “freelance tips” and lots of examples of don’t-be-stupid-and-do-what-I-did stories from her early career that are both eye-opening and somehow comforting—comforting in that they come from someone with the same fears and aspirations you have who made lots of mistakes along the way but still managed to make it work. As Goodman admits, “When I left my day job in the dust at age twenty-four, I had the business sense of a beagle, the paltriest of portfolios, only one client to my name, and no money saved.” Trial and error were her tutors, and she has “packed as much of [her] freelance know-how as would fit into this book.” Includes a list of Goodman’s favorite freelance resources: books, web communities, professional associations, artist retreats, etc. Highly insightful, highly entertaining, and highly recommended for all current and want-to-be freelancers.
D’Agnese, Joseph, & Denise Kiernan. The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-timers, and the Self-Employed: The Only Personal Finance System for People with Not-So- Regular Jobs. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2010.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then financial disaster is the father of a how-to book on personal finance. Authors D’Agnese and Kiernan, faced with such a disaster, transformed themselves into “personal-finance geeks” and quickly learned that most resources were geared toward the assumption that the reader is employed in a traditional job. Thus began their odyssey, which culminated in this book, a resource for those of us who don’t have a regular paycheck, a benefits packet, or an employer- provided health insurance plan.
The authors present a system for earning, spending, saving, and surviving as a freelancer. Organized into three parts, Part I helps the reader to evaluate where she is now. Part II introduces the basics of the Freelance Finance system, including key accounts and techniques that will build the foundation for a new “financial game plan.” Part III expands the plan to incorporate new successes and shows how to adjust the plan and build prosperity. Throughout the book are charts and graphs, interviews with financial experts, anecdotes from real people in the self-employed boat, and task lists for assessment and implementation.
One of the big messages in this book is you are not alone: “According to the Freelancers Union, an advocacy group for America’s independent workforce, freelancers, part-timers, consultants, and the like constitute more than 30 percent of the nation’s workforce.” So, if they can all do it, why can’t I? That’s the message, here, and D’Agnese and Kiernan provide a highly functional tool to not only get started but also to grow and succeed over time.
Leach, Anne (ed.). Marketing Your Indexing Services, 3rd ed. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2011.
Finally, after a dozen years, there is a new edition of this valuable book of practical marketing advice for the new millennium. Twelve experienced indexers provide an updated look at what is, to most of us I think, the hardest part of our profession: marketing our services.
As everyone should know, being a top-of-the-line indexer doesn’t mean a thing unless you can get and keep clients, and with the world around us changing as quickly as it is, this third edition (the second was published in 1998) is both timely and critical for success, especially among those of us who are just getting started professionally.
From the need for “an improved public perception of our profession” among writers, publishers, and readers (Anne Leach’s “Index Ignorance—A Sorry Fact”) to practical marketing strategies (Susan Danzi Hernandez’s “A Marketing Action Plan” and “Getting Started: Résumé Strategies for the New Indexer”; Anne Leach’s “How to Market Your Indexing Services”; Matthew Spence’s “How to Get Clients”; and Carol Roberts’ “50, Count ‘Em, 50” and “Schmoozing 101, or Marketing by Word of Mouth”) to using new, electronic tools successfully (Enid L. Zafran’s “The ASI Indexer Locator”; Mary Harper’s “Your Website: How to Build It and Market With It”; Ted Janusz’s “Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace Demystified”; and Seth Maislin’s “Social Networking Strategy”) to one of the most important perpetual concerns of “Keeping Editors Happy” (Sylvia Coates), this slender volume has something for everyone, experienced and newbie alike. So whether you are attempting to jumpstart your business, or just looking for something new for your marketing portfolio, Marketing your Indexing Services, 3rd edition will have what you need.
© 2011 by Heartland Chapter of ASI. All rights reserved.