Tag Archives: news

Writer.ly Is Closing Down

Bye Bye Writerly sign
Image copyright (C) 2015 by Tony Held, all rights reserved.



I received the following e-mail yesterday concerning Writer.ly, a job site where freelancers could bid on book editing and related projects posted by authors seeking freelance help:

A Writer.ly Farewell

Three years ago, two passionate writers got together based on a common idea: to help writers find the freelancers they needed to get their work polished and published. Their idea turned into a website called Writer.ly, a site that became a wonderful resource to many. In the process, these two passionate writers went on an incredible ride. They learned the ins-and-outs of running a start-up, met many wonderfully talented writers, editors, designers and other publishing professionals, found 15 minutes of fame with Guy Kawasaki, Shawn Welch, Peg Fitzpatrick, Hugh Howey, and many other indie publishing rockstars, convinced an incredible group of equally passionate investors to join our parade, and found others willing to work hard despite our ability to provide a paycheck.

Like many start-ups based on a passion, the reality of finding a sustainable business model proved elusive and the day has come for the Writer.ly marketplace to shut it’s doors. We are sad to disappoint you, the freelancers and writers who made Writer.ly possible and helped us fulfill the dream of being a wonderful resource, but the future of indie publishing is bright and there are now many resources to help you through the sometimes overwhelming process of self-publishing a book.

We will keep Writer.ly’s marketplace available for the completion of any ongoing projects until April 26th and will then go offline. You will continue to be able to access PubChat at it’s new home: indiepubchat.com and can still find us on Twitter @writerlytweets.

Thank you for all your support for the past three years. Wishing you all great success in your publishing endeavors and hope you “Publish Happy.”

The e-mail was signed by Writer.ly’s C.E.O., Abigail Carter.  Today her message greets visitors to the site.

The loss of Writer.ly will affect only the handful of freelancers who were able to find consistent work via the site.  I and many other freelancers found getting work via Writer.ly to be quite arduous. For one thing, the competition was stiff, as the following exchange I once had with a job poster eloquently illustrates:


I recently bid on your short story collection job.
I normally do free sample edits for prospective clients so they can see how I work.
Would you be interested in a free sample edit from me? If so, please send me a three page excerpt from your manuscript.
Thank you.


Tony Held

Hello – Thanks a ton for your bid. I have received 11 bids on this job and I need some time to make my decision. Cheers, Archana

Eleven bids! This ensured mine was swamped by sheer numbers by default, no matter how carefully worded it was and how reasonable a price I offered.

The biggest stumbling block at Writer.ly was not the competition, however.  They are people who posted what I call “dead wood” job postings — that is, authors who joined Writer.ly, posted a job listing, and then proceeded to suffer “sticker shock” once the bids came in. I was frustrated to no end by such people.    I now believe that “dead wood” job posters doomed the site, for how could Writer.ly have earned consistent fees from job advertisements if the bulk of them had no bids accepted on them?

In the end, I won eight jobs via Writer.ly’s job listings plus a handful of others via their “Offers” section where freelancers could make their own offers to prospective clients.

One good thing I can say about Writer.ly is that, unlike Elance, which took a bite out of your bid, Writer.ly added their fee on top of yours. This meant I got paid in full.

And so the curtain has fallen across a unique website for authors and freelancers. I wish Writer.ly’s creators all the best in their future endeavors.


Goodbye Ghostwriting

closed sign
Image copyright (C) 2015 by Tony Held, all rights reserved.


I have done a number of ghostwriting projects since I began my full-time freelancing career.  They were mostly SEO-oriented articles, but I did write the first draft of a short story for a client (which I edited his draft of) as well as sweated out two book-length manuscripts.  I say “sweated out” because in both instances, despite working from detailed outlines, I kept battling raging cases of writer’s block.

I decided to put full-length ghostwrites on hold, but I was willing to do smaller ones, especially book blurbs-something I am very good at.

No new ghostwriting clients with smaller projects have appeared since I made that decision.  I have thus decided to close down the ghostwriting part of my freelance business.

I will still ghost in material as needed while doing major editing projects, but the next book-length projects I am going to concentrate on will be my own.

Come to think of it, the writer’s block I suffered while doing the book-length ghostwrites probably came from my lack of personal connection to the projects.  Ghostwriting may pay well, but it is a very impersonal experience for a writer.


“Don’t Say That About The Steamboat”

Photo by the author. Copyright (C) 2014 by Tony Held, all rights reserved.


Censorship crops up in the oddest places.  One such instance involved a museum newsletter I once was a volunteer editor for.

From 1999 to 2001 I served as an editor for a newsletter called “Steamboatin’ News” (later called “Steamboat and Trolley”).  This publication covered the Lake Minnetonka Division of the Minnesota Transportation Museum, which operated a historic steamboat named the Minnehaha and a streetcar line.

While drafting a news summary about the Minnehaha for an edition, I mentioned a minor accident the steamboat had suffered.  Shortly after that edition went to press, I was politely called on the carpet and informed, in essence “Don’t say that about the steamboat.”  The reason cited for this restriction was that copies of the newsletter were distributed to various local organizations such as chambers of commerce.  If bad news about the steamboat got out, it would make the museum look bad. Needless to say, when I next began compiling news about the Lake Minnetonka Division for the next edition, I did not include any news that was even remotely bad.

In retrospect, I’ve realized that the restriction was in place not just out of concern for the museum’s image but because local support for the museum would dry up if the organization looked unsafe.  Now that many museums posts copies of their newsletter online, I am sure a ban on reporting bad news is imposed on the editors of those publications lest those museums lose support too.

News: Mobashar Qureshi Adopts New Pen Name

Silent - Small
Image courtesy Mobashar Qureshi.


Some authors sometimes adopt a pen name from the word go while others do so after writing for a few years.

The latter has been the case with author Mobashar Qureshi.  He now pens his books under the pen name “Thomas Fincham,” the first of which is the fourth volume in his Hyder Ali mystery series, The Serial Reporter.

My best wishes to Mobashar/Thomas for continued success.


Also featuring Mobashar Qureshi:

Author Q&A