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I learned yesterday that I will be losing my job in the next month or two. I wish my book sales were enough to pay the bills, but right now that isn't the case. I've been racking my brain on what I can do to substitute the loss of income. I formatted my last two novels and and several short stories.

I'm wondering, has anyone else had any success fending off the wolves by formatting other writers' books? Are there any writers out there looking for someone to format their novels and short stories for them for a decent price?

I'm just worried that I won't be able to keep enough steady clients. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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I don't know about the formatting thing, but I did want to say, sorry about your job news. That sucks. :( Hope the next thing for you shows up soon. As they say--When one door closes, another door opens. But it's hell in the hallways.
 

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Apply for unemployment benefits and food stamps immediately. Reduce your expenses immediately. Forget about making much formatting- look for any real kind of honest job. Sell possessions, borrow money, etc. You can live in a shelter, if you can find an opening. Welcome to the new economy. Good luck!  :)

At least you will have plenty of company soon, when the real recession begins. :'(
 

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I have formatted and been paid for it (through Paypal). Make sure you understand customizing meta-data, and you will need to produce epub, mobi, and probably createspace. Make sure you keep up to date on any bugs (such as the Kindle Paperwhite font bug) and that you know how to resolve them. After you are sure you can provide these services flawlessly, then do a bit of research into what other formatters are charging, make a post here in Writer's Cafe with your website address, and follow the WC rules for bumping your post. Make sure your website is error free (grammar and functionality), looks professional, and that the contact form functions. You can absolutely do this, but you need to have a quick turn around and stay on top of your responsibilities. (Because it is a big responsibility -- these are other authors' livelihoods you are working with.)

If you have any design skills, you might want to look into premade cover creation as well. That in itself requires a lot of specialized awareness of stock copyright/usage, font licensing, and image software, as well as the important design principles and genre expectations.

Good luck.
 

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I'm sorry to hear about your job :(

I've been formatting books for a few years now, and I can say that the income isn't steady. But then again, I don't really advertise my services, either. This has been more of a side job for me, not something I intended to live off of, so I get work from people either finding my website or word of mouth (or both). I enjoy formatting because I am a computer programmer by day, so I'm around some form of code almost 24/7.

There will always be someone in need of formatting, so you really shouldn't have trouble finding work. Just put a link to your services in the forum's Yellow Pages. If you do book covers too, that would be even better. Since you are planning to do this for a living, I would go to every writing forum you know besides kboards and advertise your services. Look at the NaNoWriMo forums, Fiverr.com, CritiqueCircle.com, absolutewrite.com just to name a few.
 
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Well, I hope you're not serious. 

First of all, do you have a platform to start from?  Do you have a website already offering services?  Because I don't see a lot of sales coming in for you in the first few months, and if I understand it correctly, you probably don't have that much cash to pay the rent during the time it'll take you to get going.

I started freelance writing in January and do formatting sometimes, but certainly not enough by itself to pay the bills.  By the time I quit/lost/got fired from my job in April I already had a firm base to work with so I was able to transition nicely.  Do you have that?
 

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Gabriel Beyers said:
I learned yesterday that I will be losing my job in the next month or two. I wish my book sales were enough to pay the bills, but right now that isn't the case. I've been racking my brain on what I can do to substitute the loss of income. I formatted my last two novels and and several short stories.

I'm wondering, has anyone else had any success fending off the wolves by formatting other writers' books? Are there any writers out there looking for someone to format their novels and short stories for them for a decent price?

I'm just worried that I won't be able to keep enough steady clients. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
I believe you can find clients if you will advertise your offer everywhere and if your prices will be low, but everything takes time. You should gradually build your business, offer also editing services, create covers, and everything you can, but without depending on this business.

In the beginning you won't make money because there is fierce competition online. Later you may find ways to have a regular income. Right now, you should look for a job and work in your online business whenever you can.

I also suggest the Warrior Forum if you want to learn how to make money online. Many people here don't like this forum because there are also many dishonest marketers there, but in this forum you find valuable lessons about internet marketing.

Of course, there are many marketers making ridiculous attempts to make money somehow. You have to be selective and study the posts, especially in the main internet marketing discussion forum. I learned a lot when I started paying attention to the lessons of the best internet marketers. Some of them are real experts.
 

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Oh, that sucks. :( Will you get any sort of payout when your work ends? I was made redundant last month, and over here mandatory redundancy laws (for permanent employees) require a payout of at least 6 weeks pay. Thanks to some lenient tax laws, I've ended up with almost 4 months' pay... so I plan to write my heart out for the next couple of months, then go nuts on the jobhunting front if my sales don't magically climb enough for me to live off them. :D

Good luck. And good on you for having some sort of plan, too. I know things are tough globally, but I think potential (good) employers have a lot of respect for someone who's shown initiative and drive while unemployed.
 

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Man, that sucks. Sorry. :(

I would suggest you find a job with a steady paycheck first, then build any biz like formatting on the side. Quit the day only once you have a solid income, and preferably a strong savings cushion.
 

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VydorScope said:
Man, that sucks. Sorry. :(

I would suggest you find a job with a steady paycheck first, then build any biz like formatting on the side. Quit the day only once you have a solid income, and preferably a strong savings cushion.
^ Wisdom.

ETA: I'm so sorry you've lost your job. It's tough over here in Canada (Toronto), too. A few years ago, dropping one job and getting a new one the next day was fact. Now? Not so much. Still, I completely agree with VydorScope that you seek a stable income (and savings) first before throwing yourself into a business.
 

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VydorScope said:
Man, that sucks. Sorry. :(

I would suggest you find a job with a steady paycheck first, then build any biz like formatting on the side. Quit the day only once you have a solid income, and preferably a strong savings cushion.
Got to agree with this one, too. Any steady paycheck is better than trying to build a freelance business from scratch. Once you have a cushion and an idea of how to find new clients you can consider quitting, but freelancing is a feast or starve business, and the starvation months will break you if you are not prepared.
 

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@phildukephd
The next recession? We are still in that 2008 recession in a majority of areas around the Nation and probably many many places throughout the World.
Next time might be the real deal, another Great Depression, only this time much worse because so many people live populated together.

@the poster who is unemployed soon. I'm sorry for you and hope everything works out. I have been there and experienced it firsthand. I remember when I received the pink slip from my job in 2008. I was a Production Manager but sales turned south drastically. Here came the bad news a few  months later.

Being fortunate enough to have cash reserves, and a house paid for helped. I applied elsewhere and was hired. I decided not to take that job, and it turned out to be a good decision because things continued declining everywhere.

I haved worked in construction, carpentry and roofing during the teens and early twenties. Then I decided to go back to school. After that, I broke into management. I have had jobs as a human resource manager, plant manager and production management.

Since 2008, I have made less money but I learned that no matter how much money you make, it is never enough if you don't use it wisely. I do well since those first recession days. I make money online from micro-stock photography and a little from ebooks under names. I do some freelance work online for customers that know me. I make a little better from them because I get the work done quickly so its like a little extra tip money added on top.

I do computer repair part-time for a shop. I earn enough there to pay the utilities and bank the rest. I bank most of what I earn online. Sometimes, I buy things from others to turn over a profit but it depends on if I find an item or have the time to shop around.

Whatever money I earn either goes in the bank or pays the bills, groceries,other,fun,etc.

Plenty of opportunity is out there in the world and online to make money. You have to hustle once you become unemployed from a steady week job.

Would I go back to the slave trade of daytime labor? "Nope!" Once you can get out of the rutroll of the ratpack ,"I owe,I owe, off to work I go," routine, and learn to make your own money but use that money wisely, you may never look back.

Once you get cut loose from work, apply elsewhere, go back to school or learn to survive in the "New Economy."

If I was out there today, giving my time for a check from another? I would be saving some of that money before the Shtf(S*it hits the fan). It is surely coming and nobody can stop that locomotive traveling down those tracks.


BM
 
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Book Master said:
Would I go back to the slave trade of daytime labor? "Nope!" Once you can get out of the rutroll of the ratpack ,"I owe,I owe, off to work I go," routine, and learn to make your own money but use that money wisely, you may never look back.

BM
I hope never to experience that sham-of-a-life again.
 

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Sorry about your upcoming job loss. Have you started putting out applications yet? You should get ahead of the game, and apply everywhere you can now. Try to save up some money, get as much food in the house as you can to carry you over, pay up any bills that you can.

You can probably start doing formatting now, and try to build up a business before you're let go from your current job. I don't know how easy/hard doing formatting would be, but you've gotten some good advice from folks doing it.

Good luck!
 

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That sucks about your job, Gabriel.

I lost my full-time job 4 years ago. I don't know if formatting provides any sort of steady income, but can I make a suggestion? In addition to applying for unemployment as Phil said, sign up with one or two temp agencies. That's what I've been doing since I was let go in 2009. (I've come close to getting a full-time job, but no cigar. Oh well.) Anyway, when I was let go was the worst possible time, because it was during the beginning of the recession. I sent out 3 resumes a week for 8 months, got 2 calls (and was berated by noe of the hiring managers because I couldn't remember what I did on a job I had 20 years ago. Really? ::)), then in July 2010, I got a call from one of two agencies I'd signed with. That assignment didn't have steady work, so I waited to see what the other agency had - they recruited me, which was nice - and they came thru with a decent assignment.

And it's thru that 2nd agency that I have this current assignment. Here's the thing: If you go this route, you'll have to give up your unemployment. But you'll make more as a temp worker than being on unemployment. You just won't make as much as you did when you were working full time.

Maybe you can look into formatting as a side business, to bring in extra income, like RM does.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks everyone for the kind words and advice.

I'll still have my job for at least another month. I don't have any plans to drop out of the workforce. I'm already putting the feelers out for other jobs. I'm just worried that I'll end up with a job that pays less or is part time. I was just mulling over formatting as a way to make up some lost income. I'm still not sure of anything yet.

Thanks again. I appreciate it.
 

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Two money savers:
Dump the contract phone if possible and get a trac fone and pay for minutes
In the long run it'll save you up to 50 to 60 bucks a month
Look into Skype- its online and free.
If you have to keep the landline get rid of the long distance option ( and call waiting and caller ID)

Drop cable tv too--

There's many popular shows you can watch online soon after they appear on the channels and many libraries off boxed sets of popular tv series
Plus for movies there's always:
Hulu
You Tube
Redbox
Amazon streaming
or even the local library ( many libraries are now carrying blu rays!)

Those two things will immediately save you 100 bucks if not more per month- depending on when your phone contract is up or how much your cable/phone "bundle" is worth and they agree to let you out of it
Don't bend or give in if they offer you a deal on a bundle you already have..... if the new deal is so swell why weren't you already paying the lesser amount.

Why keep paying premium prices for cable when in reality you barely watch more than a dozen of the two hundred channels they offer anyway?

So, anyway, my two cents
 

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I do think "author services" is a growth industry.  Even though, as people said, it is a crowded market -- there are definitely opportunities. (Cheats and vanity presses still manage to make a lot of money overcharging the ignorant.)

But, as with anything, it can take time to find your audience and your niche.

Right now I've started getting subcontracting work doing full covers (back and spine) for books with already designed ebook covers.  I haven't been at it long enough to know how regular it will be... but I know I get the work partly because I have advanced skills at it.  (Many artists can do a neat ebook cover -- they can't all do a spiffy job of turning it into a regular book cover.)

If I were you, I'd start by learning more about it.  Haunt "how to" blogs and learn about options so that you have more skills.  Just remember that the people who need you most are the people who mess up their manuscripts. (They have a mix of styles, sometimes use tab for paragraph indents and sometimes not, etc.) It takes experience dealing with the millions of mistakes people can make to learn how to efficiently fix them.

And yes, editing and proofing is a great way to learn about how much a person can screw up a manuscript.  However, that takes aptitude and experience as well.

BTW, I like subcontracting (that is, doing jobs for a company that is hired to do the job) because you get some guidance and feedback, and someone else deals with the client.  You might look at companies which do this, and find out if you can do some freelance work for them, or maybe even "intern" in return for feedback on your performance.

Camille
 
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