July 18, 2016

Writer expands reach for business

ST. ALBANS — Gail Writes is a St. Albans-based business offering individualized copywriting and editing services to an international client base. Embracing the tagline, “Because words matter,” Gail Writes works with companies, organizations and individuals to present their business or ideas in clear and engaging ways.

Owner Gail Marlene Schwartz has been a professional writer for more than 20 years, with extensive experience as a freelancer. With a more recently launched website, and the addition of an associate, her business is expanding its reach.

Gail Marlene Schwartz is the founder of Gail Writes.

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Gail Marlene Schwartz is the founder of Gail Writes.

“Gail Writes is no longer just me and my laptop,” Schwartz said.

Why contract with a professional writer?

“There’s nobody else who can lead your business, but there are other people who can do your writing for you — and chances are, they can do it much better,” Schwartz said. “It’s one of those fabulous win-win situations.”

Gail Writes’ client list includes organizations and individuals, in fields as diverse as technology, health care, higher education, and theater, across the U.S. and Canada, and beyond. The menu of services Gail Writes offers is extensive, and includes website copy, social media, articles, newsletters, grant applications, press releases, reports, scripts, letters and speeches. For Schwartz, it is how those services are delivered — and the relationship built with clients — that sets her company apart.

“Working with Gail Writes is like having a collaborator, not a contractor,” Schwartz said. “We certainly add value to your business, like any good copywriting firm with strong skills, but we’re more than that. We understand our services as relationship tools, and we also understand the context in which your business exists.”

Potential clients do an initial phone intake with Gail Writes to clarify needs, context and time frame. Gail Writes does additional research and planning, and sends along an estimate. “If there’s a good fit, we ask for a 30-percent deposit, send a contract, and off we go,” Schwartz said.

The market for freelance commercial copywriters is at an all-time high, according to Schwartz. She noted that as our use of words increased with the advent of new technologies, the speed and sloppiness of usage also increased.

“I think this impacts our relationships profoundly,” Schwartz said. “How many people do you know who have gotten into hot water because of some kind of heated exchange over email or Facebook? So what I offer is actually a relationship tool. Any businessperson knows that you can’t have a successful business without successful relationships, whether that means happy clients, loyal staff, or a solid reputation in the community.”

Schwartz emphasized clients are always given choices — typically three options — about how to approach each project. She said her company insists upon, and grows from, honest feedback.

“The kind of client that will like working with me is someone who appreciates clarity, structure and organization,” she said. “Many freelance writers on the content mill sites are not so reliable. If you read my client testimonials, you’ll quickly see I’m a reliable professional adult, and this is worth something when you’re running a business.”

Schwartz said she has built her business on such testimonials.

“I sometimes get clients from advertising, but it’s nearly always word of mouth.”

Business was so good she found herself turning down contracts, leading her to bring an associate on board.

“I’m thrilled to have David LeBlanc join me as my new associate,” Schwartz said. “David brings a wealth of writing skills and creativity as well as extensive experience as a businessman to the table. But even more importantly, he knows and understands relationships. He’s developed sensitivity and listening skills that I believe are essential in this work. This is key for me, and the vision I have for my company.”

Schwartz teaches writing at the Community College of Vermont in St. Albans and holds an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College, a law degree from Northeastern University, and a bachelor’s degree in English, cum laude, from Tufts University. Originally from Rochester, New York, she said she initially moved to Vermont in 1992 and fell in love with the area. After eight years living in Montreal with her wife, Lucie, a Quebec native, Schwartz said she missed home, so they now split time between St. Albans and St-Armand, Quebec.

Schwartz has also found a home in her work. “ I love helping people bring their passions to life,” she said. “I am also a creative writer, but that’s much more solitary. The interactions with clients are what inspire me in my copywriting. When I can listen and understand somebody’s vision and find, in collaboration with them, the right words to communicate that vision, it’s like magic.”

Gail Writes may be reached by email at gail@gailwrites.net. The mailing address is P.O. Box 473, St. Albans, VT 05478, the phone number is +1-450-248-2975 and the website is www.gailwrites.net.

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