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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, editorial features, blog posts, news articles and short fiction. When I say ‘copywriting’, I’m referring to content I develop for clients to meet their marketing needs: think sales brochures, website content, advertising slogans, direct mail-outs, press releases, brand identity, social media strategy, email campaigns and other brand collateral. My name doesn’t usually appear on anything I write as a copywriter, and it’s primarily used for the purposes of advertising and marketing. 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, correct and refine 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 anything else I might need from you to put together a quote. If you’re based in Melbourne, I might suggest we meet up for a coffee or propose a time to visit your office for a briefing.

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. Even if you just need someone to work in-house at your office for a few days to turn around an urgent project, 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 write for free?

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

Do you charge an hourly rate or a flat fee?

It depends on the project. If it’s a bigger project, such as a property campaign or a website build, I usually charge a flat fee to manage everyone’s expectations. I base this fee on how long I estimate the project will take and include two rounds of revisions. I’m pretty good at estimating how long a project will take me these days and find that this approach offers everyone a lot more certainty (it also ensures there are no nasty surprises at invoicing time). I also offer a regular day rate to clients who want me to work in-house. Sometimes I write for publications who pay all their contributors the same rate, and that’s fine too. I very rarely charge per word, 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 that contains 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. Some types of writing require more creative thinking whereas others involve more fact-checking and consultation. Tracking my hours also means I get to streamline my project admin with checklists and spreadsheets (glamorous, huh?) and makes my time more profitable for all concerned.

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 freelancer who will write for basically nothing, but hiring someone because they’re cheap is not a great way to ensure you 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 glowing testimonials. 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?

Yes, 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 wrong or the project getting cancelled. The remaining balance is payable two weeks after delivery of the first draft.

Do you write SEO copy? 

Yep! It’s a huge part of my work for clients like Digital360. As long as you can provide me with your targeted keywords, I can help you rank higher in Google’s search listings and create keyword-rich content to enhance your website’s performance.

I have a super tight deadline. How quickly can you turn around my project?

The answer is, it all depends on the amount and type of work in scope and how much groundwork has already been done. My work calendar gets booked in advance so it also depends what other projects I am juggling at the time. Get in touch, and I will provide you with a clear and definite timeframe for completion as soon as we’ve discussed what you need (and when). If it’s an absolutely urgent situation, I’m happy to help out by working outside office hours, but it will attract a rush fee.

Did you mention you run a Freelance Writers Support Group?

That’s right, I did. I created the group in January 2016 after becoming frustrated that there was no real online space to discuss freelance rates, work practices, tax returns and legal rights. It can be really hard to get paid on time as a freelancer and to balance the isolation of working from home with the networking to meet new clients. So I created the group, which has over 600 members.

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

That’s okay! Drop me a line 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 suggest someone who’s perfect for your project.

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