As freelance writers we’re often asked by editors or clients to make changes in our writing.
The Big Question: How Well Do You Respond?
First see how the guy in this 44-second vid deals with the question (F-bomb alert):
(Big shout out to Tom Chandler, copywriter extraordinaire and the brains and brawn at The Writer Underground, for finding this.)
Three Ways A Writer Can Respond to That Change Request
#1: Like the guy in the vid
That’s not gonna help your writing career. Your client is VERY unlikely to want to work with you in the future.
#2: Obediently make any change your client asks for
This is a common approach and will make many clients happy.
#3: Make reasonable changes, but also defend your work when necessary
This is what I do. If the client is actually right (hey, it happens), I’m happy to make the changes. Otherwise I explain why I wrote what I did, and then I’ll ask the client why it should be changed. With good communication we typically come to agree on what should be done, and we both learn along the way.
Ultimately it’s the client who decides, and as long as the requested changes fall within the scope of the contract, I’ll usually do them.
But What If The Editor/Client Wants Major Changes?
If the client is correct and you either didn’t fully understand what you were supposed to do (because you didn’t get clarification beforehand) or you turned in substandard writing, then you should make the changes, even if it takes a lot of time.
However, if the editor/client changes his mind about what he wants, then you need to point to the contract you signed and its clause about revisions and changes. (Make sure your contract covers these in detail.) Frequently you can negotiate more payment to implement the changes.
How do you react in these situations? Like the guy in the vid? Better? Worse?