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What to include in a writer's invoice: Editor's Notes #331
January 20, 2021

Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.
—Ellen Goodman

In this issue:

1. What to include on an invoice
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt
5. My Covid-19 offer to you

1.What to include on an invoice
Writers need to write invoices, too.

You may have to invoice for freelance writing. You may have to invoice for books you self-publish. You may have to invoice for magazine articles. Whatever you charge someone for, you need to know what to include on an invoice.
  • Identify yourself. If you have a business name, use it. If you have a logo, use it. If you have neither, it’s fine to use simply your own name. Whatever you use, put it at the top. Your name or the business name should be in larger font than the rest of your invoice, and it should be in bold. Colour is fine, but not necessary.
  • Some people put their own contact information next. I put my contact information in a footer or left-aligned at the end or the invoice. The placement doesn’t matter, but the content does. Include all that apply: Business name, your name, mailing address, phone number, fax number, email address, Web site URL.
  • Identify the client using whatever contact information you have regardless of how you send the invoice. You may need to chase down your money, and having the contact information on the invoice means you have it at hand when you need to remind a client about payment.
  • You need an invoice number. You can make it anything you like, but it should be unique to a specific invoice, and it helps if the numbers are consecutive. I use different numbers for different types of work because that simplifies my bookkeeping. I use letters to signify the type of work I’m invoicing.
  • Date. This is the date you prepare the invoice.
  • List services and fees. If you do more than one thing for a client, each service gets its own line. If you have to collect taxes, be sure to include that. Total the services and taxes and make clear the amount due.
  • State your terms. How will you accept payment? If you take cheques, make the payee clear. If you use PayPal or direct deposit, explain what the client has to do. If you accept partial payment, make clear how much is due in each instalment and when payment is due. State when late fees kick in and state what those will be. Look at invoices you receive regularly for an idea about how much late fees should be in your area.
  • If you have to collect taxes, you also probably have to include your business tax number. Check with an accountant in your area for information about how to do this.

If you send your invoice digitally, send a pdf so it cannot be changed. I suggest you keep a file named Invoices where you keep your invoices. That can be hard copies or digital copies.

I use a template I created in Word. You can do that, too, or write an invoice by hand, or use an invoice generator. No matter how you create the invoice, including all the information shows you are serious about your writing business and makes it more likely that you will be paid in a timely manner.

2.Tickled my funny bone
My doctor gave me six months to live, but when I couldn't pay the bill he gave me six months more. -- attributed to Walter Matthau

3. Interesting Web site
Here are some free sample invoices. They need some massaging, but they give you a starting point.

4. Writing prompt
Use the words owe and own in a short piece. I’d love to see your result.

5. My Covid-19 offer to you
The pace of writers submitting work for the special Covid-19 price is picking up. The good news is that this offer is not limited by number. There is, however, a limit, a time limit. When the overwhelming threat of Covid-19 is over, the prices go back to normal. Don’t wait too long. If you could use a deeply discounted edit, read on to learn how to get yours.

What follows is a copy and paste from issue number 309. It’s still in force for you and anyone you choose to tell about it.

Along with the health threat hanging over the world, we are facing a huge financial hit. I’ve decided one thing I can do is to make quality editing less expensive during this trying time.

For subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends, I am suspending the fee for the sample edit to anyone using the code EN19 until I cancel this offer. I intend to keep this offer open as long as the world is in crisis with Covid-19 and its aftermath, so watch this space. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer. You can submit your writing sample at Be sure to click the link below the heading "Promotion Code" to get to the special form for a free sample edit. If you find yourself at a form before clicking the special link, scroll slowly back up the page, and you should see the link for the code (EN19).

But it gets better…

When I return an edited writing sample, I include quotes for the full range of my editing services. Until further notice, I will give a true quote, but I will not charge writers the full amount. I am discounting my services 50% for subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer.

Feel free to pass this offer along to any writing friends you think may be interested. As long as anyone uses the code, I’ll honour the offer.

This is what I can offer you in this time of crisis. I hope it encourages you as you face possible illness and financial uncertainty.

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