The Struggling Writer

The chronicles of a freelance writer as he tries to make a living.

Friday, March 16, 2007

There are good subcontractors out there

Yet another post I’ve had on my “blog about this” list was about subcontracting. It was directly in response to a post on another blog, but I can’t remember where it was so I can’t backlink.

This blogger was a writer who was overwhelmed with work and was debating about the merits of subcontracting. There were several comments from other writers who talked about how disappointed they had been when subcontracting their work. It is hard to find good, reliable writers. It is a problem when the primary writer spends as much time proofing the subcontractor’s work as it would take to write the article from scratch. And it’s frustrating to find a good writer then have that writer leave in three months to pursue an independent career.

Some writers, I suspect, are simply too controlling to subcontract their work effectively. When you subcontract, you are putting your name on someone else’s style. Some writers just can’t stand that, so spend all of their time massaging the contracted piece into their own personal style. Part of the art of successful subcontracting is learning to use a very light editing touch.

Personally, I love being a subcontractor. Before I started my writing, I subcontracted as a programmer for several years. It was great! This guy handled looking for new clients, collecting payments, and all the administrative nonsense. I just wrote code. Ultimately, though, it fell apart because he wasn’t very good at marketing. He was riding on a couple of big clients and when they both suffered major financial setbacks, he suddenly had very little work. We lost touch and I don’t even know if he’s still in business anymore.

I don’t want to do marketing. I don’t want to do collections. I just want to write. And I’m quite happy to let someone take a piece of the pie to handle those things.


Post a Comment

<< Home