Snappy responses to your burning questions.
Q: What’s your niche?
A: I specialize in copy for creative agencies and green businesses. I’ve also done a lot of writing about industrial manufacturing, finance, technology, and toys, which have more in common than you might think.
Q: How much do you charge?
A: How much copy do you want?
Q: No, really, how much do you charge?
A: If you’re looking for clean, effective writing, tell me what you have in mind and I’ll give you a reasonable quote. If you want copy from the lowest bidder, thanks for visiting.
Q: Do you charge by the hour or by the project?
A: I tend to work fast, so I prefer to charge by the project. Project rates include two rounds of editorial revisions, after that I start tacking on additional fees.
Q: What’s your turnaround time?
A: I prefer to have 1–2 weeks for short projects, small brochures, or articles; 3–6 weeks for a web site, direct marketing package, or larger brochure; and 3–6 months for book-length projects. I serve a growing number of regular clients, so I encourage you to reach out early to ensure that we have time to do your project right.
Q: What if I need it yesterday?
A: I’ll be happy to drop everything and devote my time selflessly to your project for an additional rush fee of 30 percent (assuming my wife doesn’t have something scheduled).
Q: I sent you an email message this morning, but haven’t heard back from you for several hours. What’s up?
A: I’ve discovered — much to my dismay — that my most productive writing time is in the morning, so I turn my email off during that time. I’ll respond to you promptly later today. If you have an emergency, feel free to call me.
Q: Do you work for clients outside the United States?
A: Yes, I write for a variety of international clients. Unfortunately I’m only fluent in English.
Q: Do you work on weekends?
A: No. Mrs. Tumbusch gets my undivided attention on weekends.
Q: I have a burning desire to write a book and sell a gazillion copies in bookstores everywhere. I have no money. Do you have any advice?
A: Sell the book first, then write it. The best guide to the basics I’ve found is the latest edition of Writer’s Market, which will give you a good rundown on what publishers are looking for and how to contact them. If you don’t want to buy your own copy, you should be able to find the most current edition at your local library.
Q: Will you write my proposal and book now and let me pay you later when I’m rich and famous?
A: No. (Don’t laugh. People really do ask me this.)
Q: What’s your opinion on serial commas prior to conjunctions?
A: I write for partisans in both the Chicago and AP camps — just tell me which stylebook you prefer. My personal feelings about this polarizing issue are private.
Q: As a professional writer, I’m assuming you would never, not even in a million years, end a sentence with a preposition?
A: It depends who I’m writing for. I might think twice when crafting an essay for a high school Language Arts teacher, but marketing copy works best when it matches how real people talk. For the record, prepositions are regularly left dangling in Chaucer, Milton, Shakespeare, and even the Bible. But I won’t be judgmental if you’re squeamish about it.
Q: Why do you capitalize “Internet” in some of your blog posts but write it lowercase as “internet” in others?
A: The AP Stylebook changed the official standard to the lowercase “internet” on June 1, 2016. Blog posts written prior to this date treat it as a proper noun, while later posts follow the updated usage. Perhaps someday I’ll go back and update it in all the old posts, robbing them of their vintage charm, but wouldn’t you rather have me spend my time meeting your current deadline? (Note: Just because I’ve sided with AP on this one doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve let slip a clue to my true feelings about serial commas.)
Q: I need more than just copy. Do you know any good graphic designers, web programmers, or other creative professionals?
A: Yes! I regularly partner with other creative pros. I’ll be happy to put you in touch or to organize a custom team for your project. If you’re a manufacturer or have some other industrial business, check out Better Industrial Brands, my industrial marketing partnership with Víctor Frances. For other markets, start with my Partners page or contact me for additional recommendations.
Q: You’ve never met me, but I’d like you to pay me lots of money to be your SEO guru. Interested?
A: Thanks for your kind offer, but I’m very happy with my current SEO solution. Should that ever change, I’ll be contacting other potential SEO partners in the order their cold calls and unsolicited emails were received. You are currently fabulous SEO Company #7,165,283. So it might be a while.
Q: You’ve never met me, but I’d like to post a thinly-veiled advertisement for my fabulous product as a “guest blog” on your site. Interested?
A: Not particularly.
Q: You’ve never met me, but I’d like to connect with you on HipSocialMediaSite.com. Interested?
A: Please don’t be offended, but I only connect on social media with people I actually know. Terribly old-fashioned of me, I know.
Q: What’s my action figure / Mickey Mouse watch / Captain Midnight decoder ring worth?
A: You’re looking for a different Tom Tumbusch, the late founder of Tomart Corporation (yeah, he was my dad). I can tell you the first Mickey Mouse watch was produced in such great quantities that its collectible value is a lot lower than you might think. And there never was a Captain Midnight decoder ring.