Monthly Archives: April 2012

Panel on how to write about tech at the ASJA Writers Conference

If you’re looking to earn a few dollars and enjoy playing with tech toys — and can write a coherent paragraph — it’s possible that you can become a tech writer. At least, that’s the theme of the panel I’ll be sitting on tomorrow — Saturday, April 28th — at the ASJA 2012 Writers Conference. It takes place at NYC’s Roosevelt Hotel; the panel starts at noon.

The name of the panel is You Don’t Have To Be a Geek to Write About Tech and it will be moderated by ASJA VP Minda Zetlin; I’ll be there with fellow panelists Jason Tanz of Wired and Lex Friedman of MacWorld. It should be interesting (and fun); if you’re a member of ASJA and looking for something to do around mid-day, stop by.


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Freelance Writer Tax Deductions – Business Insider

In Jill Krasny’s column for Business Insider, she cites some deductions that a freelance writer (a fiction writer, judging from some of her statements) would like to take, and adds the comments of an accountant named Ken Krasny. Some of these are so obvious that even I (who don’t have a lot of knowledge of accounting) can figure them out:


“Since I’m a writer who primarily works from home I have no co-workers… I believe loneliness in the work place is one of the many reasons writers often get cats. ” 

Krasny’s take: “A cat is not an individual. The cat is not a dependent, though it is in an economic and personal sense. It’s actually negligent and could cause a penalty since it’s a false deduction.” 

Still, you may want to check it out to see if any of these are helpful to your situation.

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Freelancing: How to Make it a Worthwhile Career Option – On Careers (

A terse but interesting article at US News on how to make freelancing a worthwhile career option??– according to the piece:

Freelancers are becoming a force to be reckoned with. According to the nonprofit organization Freelancers Union, there are 42 million independent workers (30 percent) in today's workforce.

It mentions that there are more options now for health insurance. I'm assuming that the writer is talking about the new health options available rather than simply about organizations like the Freelancers Union, which have been around for a while. But a bit more information on that side of it would have been helpful. Still, it's a nice piece.

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Independent work: Not a young person???s game?

When my Internet connection goes down (which doesn't happen frequently, thank the fates) and I have to run with my laptop to a nearby Starbucks in order to get my work done, there are usually a lot of under-30s there with laptops on their tables and smartphones to their ears. Apparently, the frequency of young workers in coffee shops have led many to assume that they were also the majority of independent workers — but that's not necessarily true, according to an article in GigaOM by Jessica Stillman.??

Quoting a report by MBO Partners, Jessica writes that:

Using a pair of surveys to study this sector, MBO uncovered some unexpected facts that show independent work is not just a young person???s game. Nearly five million Baby Boomers make up 30 percent of this workforce and, according to MBO, they???re thriving more than younger freelancers.

While I am not surprised by this information — having been an older freelancer myself, and being aware of quite a few others — it's interesting to have that impression confirmed by some real research.

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HuffPo writers lose first round

Remember when the Huffington Post was sold to AOL — and all the bloggers who had been writing for free got, well huffy? They said that because their contributions was part of the value of the product, they should get some of the proceeds. Unfortunately, the judge didn’t agree. According to an article in The Guardian:

John Koeltl, who presides over a US district court in New York, rejected the argument outright. He ruled that the bloggers had been fully aware that their work was to be unpaid when they signed up for it, and so any compensation would be to rewrite the terms of their engagement retrospectively.

via The Guardian

Much as I feel for all those disappointed writers, and sympathize with their feeling of betrayal, I can’t help but consider that they voluntarily worked for HuffPo without an expectation of payment. The moral of the story, I think, is that if you want to be paid for your work, make sure that it’s part of the deal in the beginning.


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