Meet Michelle Goodman

29 11 2008

Meet Michelle, author of The Anti 9-to-5Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside The Cube and My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire

UCU- Can you tell our readers more about your book(s) in case they don’t already know about it?

MG– People have been asking me how I set my prices, deal with health insurance, and make sure I have enough money to pay my bills since I started working for myself as a freelancer 16 years ago. My first book, The Anti 9-to-5Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside The Cube, offers a variety of alternatives to the traditional 40 to 60 hour a week office gig, including temp, freelance, contract, telecommuting, flex time, part time, travel, and outdoor jobs, as well as starting your own nonprofit or small business.

My new book, My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire, answers as many questions about freelancing and self-employment as I could cram into 240 pages. Stuff like, How do you handle hell clients with grace? Negotiate copyrights without sounding like a greedy pig? Work at home without going insane? Besides my advice, I wove in the tips, tricks, and war stories of other seasoned writers, illustrators, designers, photographers, publicists, editors, web developers, financial gurus, and virtual assistants. Simply put, we made the mistakes so you don’t have to.

UCU- What advice do you have for crafters that are trying to survive these economic times?

MG- Hobnob your brains out on communities like Craftster, GetCrafty, and Biznik. Your fellow crafters are your best source of tips, resources, and moral support. Don’t just network online though; look for ways to meet crafters face to face. (If you can’t find a group in your neck of the woods, start one of your own.) There’s strength in numbers. So rather than organize a solo open house or web promotion, team up with a handful of like-minded crafters.


Finally, look for ways to parlay your craft skills and knowledge into supplemental income. Maybe you can offer classes to newbie crafters, pick up some bookkeeping work for other small businesses, or design blogs or web portfolios for writers (trust me, we desperately need help with this). Anything you find yourself repeatedly explaining to others or doing for your own business is a skill you can sell.

UCU- What are you looking forward to the most at Urban Craft Uprising?

MG- Shopping! I bought such a fabulous purse and skirt at the last UCU. I’d intended to buy holiday presents for everyone on my list, but, well, you know how that goes. It’s impossible to not splurge on yourself at a craftastic event like UCU. I’m especially looking forward to buying myself a new necklace and pair of earrings. So many pretty pieces to choose from.


UCU- Do you have any advice for someone that wants to publish a book?

MG– Tons. I’ve taught entire classes on that topic. For nonfiction books, it’s essential to build a platform so that agents and editors know you already have a built-in following. Blogging, tweeting, writing articles, posting YouTube videos, teaching classes, and sitting on panels are some ways you can cultivate a fan base and hone your expertise in a particular subject area.

Publishers want proof that you can garner an audience for your book — before they sign you. And since authors have to do a majority of their book’s promotion themselves, it’s in your best interest to build up some buzz long before your book hits shelves. Besides, writing an article or teaching a class is a great way to test out material you’re thinking of turning into a book and see how well it’s received.


UCU- Got any new year’s resolutions you would want to share with us?

MG– I wish I could say something significant, like save the polar bears, fix the economy, or develop a car that runs on compost. But my resolutions are more mundane: Take the dog to the beach more. Make a new soup or stew once a week. Sleep at least eight hours a night. Watch less TV and rent more movies. Go on a two- to four-week writing retreat. Write some really funny stuff.

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