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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between writing, copywriting and editing, anyway?

Great question! Glad you asked. When I say ‘writing’, I’m referring to stuff that’s written specifically from my point of view. That means book reviews, feature articles, blog posts, news stories, short fiction and critical essays. When I say ‘copywriting’, I’m referring to content I develop from a brief to achieve commercial outcomes. Think website copy, sales brochures, advertising slogans, press releases, social media strategy, direct mail-outs and other brand collateral. My name doesn’t usually appear on anything I write as a copywriter, and its primary purpose is to provide effective creative solutions to clients’ strategic needs. As for what I mean when I say ‘editing’, obviously it plays a crucial role in any writing and copywriting I do because I’m a massive perfectionist. But I also offer editorial services: if you need someone to check and correct your work, I can help you.

What happens after I send you an email using this fancy contact form?

I’ll get back to you, usually within 24 hours, and respond to your query. If you haven’t provided much information, I’ll ask you for that. I’ll also let you know about my current availability and ask you about your goals so I have a good understanding of what you do.

Is my project too big or too small?

No! It’s unlikely to be too weird, either. I work on projects of all sizes for clients around the world so get in touch and we’ll chat. Whether you need someone to work in-house at your creative agency on a short-term contract basis or you simply need someone to come up with witty, engaging and shareable social media content for your brand, you can hire me to do that.

I have a really limited budget as I’m a small start-up/worthy charity/furry animal with four paws instead of a regular financial income and hey I will chase a tennis ball when you throw it. Will you work for free?

Sorry, no. Please don’t make things awkward by asking me.

Do you charge an hourly fee or a flat rate?

It depends on the job. If it’s a bigger project, I tend to charge a flat rate to manage everyone’s expectations. I base this fee on how many hours I estimate the project will take to complete and include two rounds of revisions plus all email correspondence and client meetings. I’m pretty accurate at calculating how long a particular job will take me and find that this approach offers everyone a lot more certainty (it also ensures there are no nasty surprises at invoicing time). Sometimes I write for websites or publications that offer contributors a standardised rate, and that’s fine too. I very rarely charge per word (I find this style of quoting is more common with American clients), and to be honest, I think reducing someone’s creative value to a matter of cents means you run the risk of ending up with copy containing lots of superfluous words like taradiddle, cattywampus and bumfuzzle.

Do you track your hours?

Sure do! It helps me understand how long it takes me to research, write, edit and do project admin. Have you ever told someone ‘I’ll be done in about 10 minutes’ only to be done two hours later? Same principle. Tracking my hours means I get to streamline my project admin with checklists and spreadsheets (glamorous, huh?) and makes my time more profitable for all concerned. It also means that when I’m calculating how long it will take me to complete a similar project further down the track, I have a ready-made reference point.

After you gave me a quote, I shopped around and found someone who will do the same job cheaper than you – will you lower your rates or price-match?

Sorry, no. The internet may have made it possible to find a meme for any occasion and a writer/copywriter/editor who will write for basically nothing, but hiring someone because they’re cheap is not the most effective way to get the results you’re after. Consider quality, consider ethics, and if you’re still unconvinced, consider experience. Writing isn’t just churning out words, it’s using them to accurately and effectively control how people respond to information. If you want professional work done, hire someone who has a great portfolio and a stack of lovely testimonials from previous clients. It’ll not only save you time in the long run, it’ll help you avoid the uncomfortable realisation that the person you hired was cheap because they’re crap.

How do I know you’re not crap?

Take a look at my portfolio or testimonials. Also, ask yourself if you enjoyed reading this. If you did, chances are we’ll get along and you’ll like my style.

I’m only reading this because I want my business to be featured on The Urban List.

Hmm. That’s not a question, but I’ll forgive you just this once. As I do not work fulltime in The Urban List’s office, you’d be far better off contacting someone in their marketing team or the current editor about your café, bar, restaurant, venue, event or product. Their details are available here.

Do you require a deposit?

Yep, I ask for a deposit of 50% before starting any new project. Think of it as a holding fee – it means I can schedule in the time to do the work without worrying about something going awry or the project getting cancelled. The remaining balance is payable two weeks after delivery of the first draft.

Did you say you run a Freelance Writers Support Group?

Yes, I did! I created the group in January 2016 after becoming frustrated that there was no dedicated online space to discuss freelance rates, work practices, tax returns, legal rights and client woes. It currently has 600+ members and I’m very proud of it.

 Umm, I have a question that isn’t listed here?

That’s okay! Drop me an email via my contact form and ask away. I’m always happy to receive new website enquiries, and even if we don’t end up working together, I might be able to refer someone to you who’s just perfect for your project.

Ready to get started? Fill out the contact form below or shoot me an email at simmonshilary@gmail.com.