In Which I Discover That I Am Terrifying
I was chatting with James on the IM the other day and he told me that he occasionally gets emails from people who want to hire me. This bewildered me no little bit, since I rarely get emails of this sort, and I’m pretty sure that only snail mail gets delivered to the wrong address.
“Well, then, why don’t they tell ME they want to hire me?” I said, all bewildered. There are clients out there chatting with the Men about me? David Tennant on a cracker, what are they doing way the hell over there when they could be in the pub chatting me up?
“They’re scared of you,” says James.
“Scared of me? Innocent little me? Me who buys the drinks and slings the sass and ‘fesses the terrible errors she’s made? Me who is delightful and charming and loves to talk to people about their dope businesses and the kind of writing that would best promote those businesses? Me who has the most delightful customer manner ever? QUOI?” said I, though I may have abbreviated that thought process to “What the hell?”
“You’re a better writer,” says Jamie. (He meant better than the potential client, not better than him. I believe it will be a frosty summer noontide in the Iraqi desert before James ever says I am a better writer than he is. Which is how we know the stars are all in their correct spheres.) “It intimidates people.”
“Funky,” say I. “This is like boy-logic. ‘You’re too good for me, I couldn’t possibly go out with you.’ And then no one ever asks me out and I stay at home weeping into my wineglass.”
“Yep,” Jamie says. “Sucks to be you.” (James is a very sympathetic man. Tender, you might say. Sensitive.)
Email ME, you guys. Screw James. James, though generally delightful, has the unfortunate habit of not being ME.
For which we pity him, but seriously, the man gets more than his fair share of emails already. I want emails! I love emails! All you quiet people out there who want some fun, sassy copywriting – or some artistic, poetic copywriting – or some compelling marketing copywriting – jeez almighty, hire me already. I love being hired by people who read my blog. They tend to think I’m awesome already. Also, they tend to be small business entrepreneurs, and they’re some of my favorite people to write for.
I can’t figure out where this comes from. Sure I have a sword, but I only use it in defense of the English language and the last chocolate truffle (I saw you eyeing it). I cuss a lot, but so do a lot of people, most of my clients among them. Some of them are very polite and therefore only cuss into a handkerchief, but we all do it. I am quick with the wit, but last I checked all of that works in your favor.
So what’s freaking everyone out?
No, seriously, I want to know. I don’t want to be the scary one. That would suck. Then no one would talk to me at parties, and even if I tap-danced with Gene Wilder on stage, they would still be afraid of me, and I’d have to go off and elope with Madeline Kahn. And they won’t let me do that in most states yet, so we’d have a big falling out over gay marriage policies in the United States and I’d be alone again for the townspeople with pitchforks to find me.
I don’t want the pitchforking townspeople to get me. Save me from the pitchforking townspeople. Fire bad! Pitchforks worse!
And so, to reassure everyone that horrible things do not befall those who contact me to hire me for copywriting, I give you the following case studies. Hopefully these will show that I am not fearsome – indeed, quite to the contrary, I am gay and joyous and occasionally sip tea with my pinky finger crooked. Also, I’m pretty good at this writing thing. But I’ll let them tell you.
Reassuring Tales From Those Who Braved the Rogue, or, Shameless Self-Promotion
These are a couple of people who hired me directly from the blog. They are, both of them, one-woman shops, entrepreneurs, and delightful people, and I have not harmed or damaged any of them in any way while providing them with copy. One initially feared me, the other did not. These are their stories. (Cue dramatic music.)
Steph Vandermeulen of the recently-launched EditQuest
Steph was apparently one of the ones who was too freaked out to hire me. I did not know that. Here’s why SHE said she was all scared to get in touch in the first place.
“I think I was afraid you might be one of the too-cool mean girls while I was one of the slavering, pathetic nerds. Meeting you one on one was a pleasant surprise; while as competent as I expected, especially in nailing what concept I wanted and my voice, you were actually softer and, er, warmer than I anctipated.”
Now, anyone who went to high school with me will tell you that I was totally not one of the cool girls. The cool girls, in fact, tended to nicely pity me, as if they longed to take me in hand, give me a makeover, and show me how popular I could be if only I tried. I kept waiting for one of them to actually get an Emma-inspired (though most of them would have thought it was Clueless-inspired) plotline going, and then I’d get to fall in love with some hot-but-idiotic jock guy and dump him for a sweet indie dude, and wouldn’t that have been great? But no, it never happened, and I wound up being a writer with an inordinate knowledge of Lord of the Rings.
Steph discovered for herself that I am an equally slavering, pathetic nerd, as evidenced by the debate she and I had over whether Frodo’s ring was too controversial to appear in the text of her website (she edits fantasy fiction, it was on-topic). It was the dorkiest debate ever in the history of copywriting, but I am pretty sure Steph is assured that she is not the nerd talking to the cool kid anymore. Also, that working with me is fun, as evidenced by this quote, which she wrote me in response to her first draft:
“I actually snorted aloud. I laughed. Hooray! As sloppy and generic as this word is, and as much as you might hate to hear your writing is ‘great’, it’s great. Seriously. Thank you.”
Let this be a lesson to you all. Fear only keeps you from debates about fantasy symbolism, and (peripherally) kick-ass copy.
Now, Kerrie, being an artist, is clearly hip to my sensitive, tender and loving side, and had no fears at all about contacting me.
“Generally, I tend to be easily intimidated, but you seemed very approachable. Your writing seems expert without taking away the real person-ness. And I like your sassy attitude.”
See? Kerrie gets me. She really gets me. Oh, Kerrie. You’re so awesome. Why doesn’t everyone else think like you do? Why are they scared of me, Kerrie?
Kerrie got into this fantastic habit of telling me how cool I was every time I turned around, which started to get a little embarrassing in the awesome way, like when a friend of yours keeps chatting you up to a potential love interest. She liked my process of asking lots of questions up front:
“I wanted to say that these questions helped me organize my thoughts a lot. When I started writing, I didn’t believe my art was special and I didn’t feel like it had that mystique I long for so badly. But by the time I got to the end of it, I started seeing my art (and myself as an artist) differently. And I see the recurring themes in my work now. Maybe I’m more artsy than I realized. Which is cool.”
I LOVE stuff like this. If I can do this for every client, I’m a happy camper. And then she sealed my love for her forever with this exuberant response to her first draft:
“I HAD to email you IMMEDIATELY and tell you how amazingly amazing it is. I’m seriously at a loss for words and I called my mom right away and told her “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, I have to read this to you!” You captured my thoughts perfectly. So perfectly! I sound like such a dork right now, I know.”
Apparently my target demographic is dorks. I’m totally thrilled about that notion, actually. May I have dorks for clients forevermore. Kerrie also gave me one of the best compliments of my writing career, which was poetic and sweet in the way that she is, and pretty much captured what I’d always like to do for my clients.
“I give you muddy water and you make it clear.”
It’s clients like this that make me want to go the extra mile for them, which is what wound up happening for Kerrie. She happened to be designing a new line of jewelry, as yet unnamed, which she sent me pictures of. In the process of doing the writing for her, I stumbled over a word that seemed to encapsulate what she wanted those jewelry pieces to be about, and I suggested it to her as a name for the line, free of charge. She loved it and she’s going to use it, for which I am deeply honored.
Back to Being Humble.
Now, I wouldn’t normally toot my horn quite like this on the blog, because marketing is supposed to be more savvy than this. But it’s devastating to hear that there are awesome folk out there who would like to hire me but are too afraid. I’m definitely stumbling around through the freelance world and my general response to uncertainty is to be quippy and sassy, which makes for fun blog entries and embarrassing anecdotes, all of which I’m happy to share with you. Please don’t let that keep you from getting in touch, though.
I love small businesses, small business owners, and people who dream about being small business owners one day. I love to talk about them, I love to brainstorm, I love to hear what you’re up to. I’ve been chatting with one of my readers for months now about her small business. She’d like to hire me and can’t afford to just now, which is fine by me, since I know that if and when she decides that fresh copywriting will be worth the investment, she’ll probably consider me. And if she never needs me, that’s also cool, because now I have a new friend who’s also struggling with entrepreneurship, and we can bitch and moan to each other about it.
Be not afraid, denizens. Come talk with me. I just updated my ‘About‘ section to include links to the website, my IM addresses, my Twitter feed, and my email, so you’ve got no excuse whatsoever. Tell me about you, tell me about your business, even if you don’t need a copywriter right now and just want to shoot the shit.
I love shooting the shit. It’s way more fun than shooting anything else. Or so I’m told.
Subscribe. Fear not the Rogue, for she has nothing but love for you.