Posts filed under 'Book'

Did I mention I’m having a party?

life10a.jpgIn case I haven’t said as much in the last 24 hours, here are the deets on my book launch party in Seattle. Tonight!

Book launch party – Thursday, October 16
When: 6 to 10 p.m.
What: Reading and Q&A at 7 p.m. Plus: Schmoozing/boozing before and after. As well as: Prizes! Snacks! Book signing! And of course, meeting of like-minded freelance minds!
Where: Office Nomads, a fabulous coworking space @ 1617 Boylston Ave, Second Floor, Seattle [map]
Co-sponsors: University Book Store and Office Nomads. This event is held in conjunction with Office Nomads’ Fall Open House.

“Local author Michelle Goodman has done what so many of us are terrified to do (and may all be forced to do in our looming recession economy): cut the strings for a completely freelance existence. Luckily, she made all the mistakes first, then compiled her wisdom in My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire (Seal Press, $15.95). It’s a well organized how-to book about overcoming all those fears that keep us clinging desperately to our cubes. Turns out, getting a business license isn’t as hard as it sounds. And health insurance doesn’t have to be something you’ll just learn to live without. How much are your services worth? Goodman helps you evaluate your rates, along with advice on pitching, contracts, and learning when and how to say no. Freelancing isn’t easy, As Goodman readily admits. But at tonight’s book launch she’ll answer questions and possibly allay anxieties about your bedroom-to-living room commute. At the very least, it’ll be a great opportunity to network your ass off.”
Seattle Weekly

2 comments October 16th, 2008

Ask the cubicle expat: How can I lick procrastination once and for all?

photo-from-tara-swords.jpgIn honor of My So-Called Freelance Life “officially” publishing today, I thought I’d post a short excerpt from a great Q&A that fellow freelancer Susan Johnston did with me on the fantastic webzine Women on Writing. It’s on my favorite topic: procrastination. You don’t have to be a writer to appreciate the sentiment.

But first (heh — geddit?), I’d like to thank Tara Swords for taking the day-making photo above, Toni Martin for rocking my world with the book’s first Amazon review, and the Feminist Review’s Brittany Shoot for her kickass write-up of the book.

Okay, back to the question at hand….

Susan/WOW asks: A lot of writers (including yours truly) find themselves procrastinating online when they ought to be working. How do you stay disciplined when you have a deadline coming up?

I answer: As you’ll probably glean from the book, I still fall prey to the dreaded P-word from time to time. (Damn you, YouTube!) When a deadline is dire, I’ll have to shut off the phone and unplug the modem. Otherwise, finishing the project just doesn’t happen, or at least, it doesn’t happen without involving an additional six hours of emailing and IM’ing friends about nothing of consequence.

This probably goes without saying, but if you don’t work, you don’t eat, so there’s always that motivation. I’m single and bootstrapping it all the way, so it’s not like I have anyone to pay my bills for me. Besides, the more deadlines you have on the calendar, the more you learn to just motor through the pile of articles or projects on your plate. When you’re mistress of your own schedule, it doesn’t take long to realize that if you have three 1,000-word articles due in a week — articles that require locating and interviewing sources — you need to start now, not the day before they’re due.

Licking procrastination is all about playing mind games with yourself. These days, I’m loving the piecemeal approach to writing articles (write the intro one day, the middle the next, and the ending the day after that) while I research and edit other articles on my plate. So, instead of having to write 1,000 words in one four- to eight-hour sitting, I may only have to write 300 words over the course of an hour or two. Much easier to face.

Bonus answer: In both my books, I talk about some of the tricks we freelancers have to play on ourselves to lick procrastination. The Pretend You Have To Be Somewhere At 6:00 P.M. approach is currently my favorite. Anyone who’s ever made plans with me during the past, oh, decade knows that, as weird as it may sound, I tend to get stressed if I have too many evening outings scheduled during the workweek (and by “too many” I mean, “more than one”). But that doesn’t mean I can’t pretend I need to leave my office by 5 P.M., a tactic that miraculously lights a five-alarm fire of productivity under my butt. Who knew that kicking the I Don’t Need to Crank Today — After All, I’m Here Till Midnight mentality could be as simple as telling yourself a bunch of lies?

11 comments October 1st, 2008

The wait is over! My So-Called Freelance Life is now shipping!

This all happened so fast that I have not even seen a printed copy of my own book yet. But you can. Amazon is now shipping My So-Called Freelance Life, a week before the actual pub date. (In a later post, I’ll tell you more about the publishing process and how it is that I have a book about to hit bookstore shelves just four months after I finished writing it.)

Meanwhile, if you’re in Seattle and want me to add you to the evite for the book launch party on October 16, drop me a line. Or leave a comment on this post. I’ll send the evite out today or tomorrow (finally).

7 comments September 22nd, 2008

Your input: How to update this site to reflect that fact that I’m now pimping two books

Hi there. It’s 4:30 a.m. and I am doing that awful “not sleeping” thing that I’ve become so good at these past couple of years. And I’m thinking about the fact that I desperately needed to update this site two months ago to reflect the fact that I am now whoring two anti-cubicle books. In other words, I need to make room in the nursery for baby #2.

Here are a few of my favorite author websites:

While I don’t have Mary Roach‘s budget, Miranda July‘s dry-erase-tastic stove, or Ariel Meadow Stallings‘ drive to scour the web for the most gorgeous photos ever and Ning-ify the whole beautiful thing, I do have some ideas about small features and static pages I’d like to add to this site. As well as a WordPress coder who’s willing to help me.

But I’m stumped on the header art. The site will continue to be called “The Anti 9-to-5 Guide” (which is also the name of my first book) because that’s what everyone knows it as. But I think the header art needs to change so it doesn’t look just like the first book. Maybe just a cute font or something. Possibly even with a new image (me in bunny slippers?). What do you kids think?

I’m also torn about whether to give each book its own “about the book” and “stuff the media has said about me” page or lump both books together on those respective pages. I really like how Mary Roach’s site — though not a blog — devotes a few static pages to each book: brief synopsis (+ a bevy of “buy now!” buttons), media raves, excerpts, and tables of contents. I’d love to do a slightly less extensive variation on this approach, but I worry about having too many static pages on a blog. Is there such a thing? Or maybe it’s okay to have as many static pages as I want, as long as I don’t have a dozen different tabs at the top of the site and limit it to a simple few. Would love to know what you all think.

Finally, I’m not sure I should keep — and have my coder tweak — the WordPress theme I have now (Blix) to make room for these new pages, or start fresh with a new theme. Maybe the flexibility of the code in the template will dictate that. But if anyone has any experience with one way being better than the other, I’d love to hear it.

I’m also curious to know if people prefer one sidebar or two, one flanking each side of the page. I’m torn. Sometimes I think two sidebars is too dang busy looking. Then again, it’s a great way to fit in more fun links. Maybe I just need to go back to bed.

UPDATE on 10/1: Just want to say thanks again to everyone who emailed and commented with input and kickass ideas. I kind of have a plan now (better late than never, eh?) but don’t want to bore you with all the details, as this isn’t a Design 101 blog. But I did want to say that I found another author site I love: HeyMarci, the site of writer Marci Alboher. I love how well it integrates all the different facets of her work: her career book, her New York Times column and blog, and the teaching, speaking, and mentoring she does. Plus, I love the site name. Fun.

12 comments September 14th, 2008

Ask the cubicle expat: Is your new book for guys, too?

Bart Motes writes: I am not a woman. Can I still benefit from your book? Why should work advice be gendered anyway? Also, don’t tell people to go to law school. It sucks. (Former law review editor here.)

I answer: Bart, I would never tell people to go to law school. (Okay, maybe I sort of would, but only if they really wanted to become a lawyer.)

As for your great questions, no, of course you don’t have to be a woman. There are about two out of 225 pages in My So-Called Freelance Life that speak directly to women (pep talk for getting paid what you’re worth and not feeling “guilty” for asking for it). But men can benefit from that message too.

The reason the book is gendered is because my publisher‘s niche is “books for women.” But I wrote My So-Called Freelance Life for everyone because I think it’s silly to cut out half the audience, especially when the advice is the same for all. Lots of men read The Anti 9-to-5 Guide and said it was really helpful to them.

Add comment September 12th, 2008

Another book, another Facebook account

Join me in Distractionland: My So-Called Freelance Life on Facebook!

2 comments September 8th, 2008

New book! New freelancing tips! New book launch party! New reason to use lots of exclamation points!!!

My So-Called Freelance LifeSeems like only yesterday I was writing the epilogue of this puppy. And now it’s almost ready to head out into the world. My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire, published by Seal Press, is due in stores at the beginning of October. (!) But if you don’t want to wait that long to get 220 pages of freelancing tips by yours truly, you can pre-order your copy now.

If you’d like to help me celebrate, ask me a question in the flesh, or just say hello, here are some Seattle dates to add to your calendar (more events TBD):

Book launch party – October 16
6 to 10 pm on a Thursday
What: Reading and Q&A at 7 pm; schmoozing/boozing before and after
Where: Office Nomads, 1617 Boylston Ave, Second Floor, Seattle [map]
Co-sponsors: Office Nomads and University Book Store

Reading and book signing – October 25
2 pm on a Saturday
What: Me, you, podium, chairs, questions, answers, handshakes, hugs, signed copies of the book
Where: Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 South Main Street, Seattle

Write on the Sound Conference – October 4
9:15 am on a Saturday
What: “Pitching Nonfiction Articles that Sell,” 75-minute workshop at weekend writers’ conference
Where: 700 Main Street, Edmonds, WA
Registration: Write on the Sound; $69 Sat or Sun, $109 both days

If you join me at any of these events, don’t be shy — be sure to say hello! And if you’d like me to talk to your creative, freelance, or professional group, send me an email. If I can’t come in person, maybe we can arrange a group phone or web chat.

17 comments August 29th, 2008

The cat’s out of the bag

My So-Called Freelance LifeI told myself I wasn’t going to post the cover of my new book on the site until I’d put the sucker to bed. The manuscript’s not even due till next week. But then Kristen Fischer kindly did this infomercial about me Q&A with me on Freelance Switch, which means the 22,000+ people who subscribe to the mother of all freelancing blogs now have the link to my new book (not that I mind). So I thought it was high time I let the cat out of the bag here too. In addition, I’d like to mention five things you probably didn’t know about my new book:

1. It’s called My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire, and it’s due out this fall from Seal Press.

2. I interviewed several of the working class heroes I mentioned yesterday for it.

3. Kate Basart, the fab designer who’s responsible for The Anti 9-to-5 Guide’s good looks, did my new cover too. (Clicking the image at the top of this post will make it bigger, in case you were wondering.) Note the recurring post-it motif! Also, note that those are not my feet, though I do own a pair of pink flip-flops.

4. Just a hunch, but I suspect publishers like to announce their books on Amazon as early as possible so their authors can’t weasel out of their deadlines.

5. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon. I’m just saying…

23 comments March 24th, 2008

My new book + your biggest baddest burningest questions about freelancing

And while I’m on the subject of this new book I’m working on (for some reason, I’m too superstitious to even put the title here, but you can probably Google it somewhere), I have a question for you:

What do you want to know about freelancing as a creative professional more than anything else? In other words, what topic do you absolutely positively want to see covered in this book? How to make a webfolio? How to negotiate your rate like nobody’s business? How to stop procrastinating? Email me specifics and generalities alike.

Because I’m being all secretive-like, I’d rather you email me your suggestions than put them in the comments. But you’re of course welcome to tell me to get back to work in the comments. Thanks again.

3 comments February 21st, 2008

My new book = less blog posts till early April

You may have caught me alluding to the new book I’m working on last week. It’s essentially a follow-up to The Anti 9-to-5 Guide, on what to do once you’ve fled the cube for freelance pastures. It covers things like how to hustle, haggle, and basically have enough money to eat. Seal Press will be publishing it at the end of the year, and I’m currently putting the finishing touches on it.

Since my deadline’s looming fast and I really need to focus (read: catch up) during the next few weeks, you’re going to see less posts from me until early April. More like two a week. In fact, if you see me posting, say, four times a week between now and April, you have my permission to type in all caps, “Michelle, WTF are you doing blogging again? You still have chapters to finish!”

Yeah, just like that. Only in ALL CAPS. Thanks.

3 comments February 21st, 2008

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Who I am

Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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