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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Freelance Guest Post

I should be back shortly with a new batch of Screw You!s. In the meantime, enjoy this (rather hysterical) guest post.


“Lateness Excuses from Freelance Writers: as Funny as It Can Get”

Imagination is one of the defining qualities of a professional and successful freelance writer. However, a successful freelancer should also incorporate other professional qualities: education, articulateness, punctuality, etc. This list includes some freelance writers who only got the “imagination” part right. These folks’ lateness excuses are, to put it mildly, quite creative.

I merely looked through the list of deactivated writers with Custom-Writing.org project whose orders were routinely late, and always had a unique excuse to go along with the lateness. Therefore, I'm fairly confident that most of these explanations were simply made up. If not, then these folks make a dandy list of the most unfortunate people on the planet.

These are just in random order, so you can pick your “leaders”. The quotes here represent their messages to the support team. They are slightly edited to remove some personal information and make them more understandable apart from their context. OK, here we go:

“Usually before I go to bed, I have a glass of warm milk. I usually finish with the milk and leave it next to my lamp on the drawer. But this time I didn't feel like finishing the glass, and left it half full on the drawer. I left my laptop right next to my slippers, on the floor. It turned out that during the night, I probably moved the glass with my hand. So it fell to the floor, spilling the milk all over the laptop. Now it’s not working, I have to take it to the repair shop and it might take more than couple of days to get it back. I have all of the work saved there and so now I can't finish the assignment. Begging for an extension!” At least for him, the glass is half-full.

“I had to travel to Dubuque to visit my cousin. His girlfriend dumped him just a couple of days prior to my arrival. So he was really depressed. Plus his PC went down, leaving him without his favorite pastime – online games. I felt really sorry for him, so I left him my laptop, because I knew, I'll be coming back within a couple of weeks, and can take it back then. What I didn't realize is that my home computer did not contain the files I used for the work on the project. They were also gone from my inbox, although you sent me them to my address. So if you could just please provide an extension and send the files all over again, I'll have the order completed in no time!” Additional comments: he only responded with the tale of his PC when we contacted him regarding the lateness.

“I lost my car keys after a birthday party of my friend. I don't know why – but I walked home and fell asleep, in the morning I realized that I had to finish up the paper. The flash drive with the work was in the car. So I was determined to break the window to get it out of the glove compartment. When I went to my friends house to get the car, it turned out that he got it into his garage, because he actually had my keys. But I only was able to find that out when he came back from the mall, and told me everything. I waited for him on his porch for a couple of hours until he arrived. I wasn't able to get him to answer my calls, because while he was at the mall, he left the phone in the car, because he didn't want to be bothered after last night. Anyway, that's how I wasted almost 12 hours out of the deadline and I would appreciate an extension, if possible, to have this whole thing done and avoid any penalties.” I don't even know what to comment about this one. She would have been better off just saying that she's sick and needs more time.

Just a couple of short ones as a dessert:
“I was backpacking in the mountains; my laptop was struck by lightning...” OK...stop...just...Wow! I won't even type the rest; it gets even crazier from there.

“My PC was hacked in, now I can't open anything on it and can't even use it. It has to be repaired and I'm writing to you from my iPhone.” This one is also brilliant because we initiated an investigation determined to shut down his account because all of the latenesses. Moreover, the IT department determined that the IP address of the sender was the same as usual and the browser version he used wasn't a mobile edition. This means, he was using his PC, to inform us that his PC was disabled.

I hope that if you work in the freelance writing business or are going to order something from a freelance writer, you won’t find be like one of these folks, or get partnered with one of them! :)

Have a great day, and good luck with your career.

James Whitaker,editor at Custom-Writing.org

Visit him at his Twitter account: CusWriting.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Freelance Writers' Worth Week

While I'm on a short break from blogging, I encourage you to stop by Lori Widmer's blog for Writers' Worth Week. Lori's a year-round advocate for demanding one's worth in this profession, but her efforts this week are particularly tireless. You'll find not only daily posts from her, but also links to guests posts on external sites and to other writers who are participating in this very worthy cause. Definitely plenty to keep you busy until I'm back with my Screw Yous!

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Inside A Real-Life Freelance Job Interview Exchange

I recently got an email from a freelancer copywriter (who shall remain anonymous) I look up to for advice, insight and how to play the professional payment game. This individual easily commands top rates, so I was rather surprised to discover s/he even has to contend with this type of situation. Sadly, it seems, we all do.

THE INCITING SCENARIO

The aforementioned copywriter receives a message from someone who as been referred to her/him and who is looking for a "suitable copywriter." Said copywriter is amenable to offering up some names but wants to know more. This is where s/he asks for a ballpark payment figure. The inquirer writes back with the offer of around $15 for 400 words "maybe more" if research is involved. BAD move!

THE COMMUNICATION DETERIORATES

The copywriter and her/his contact exchange in a back-and-forth debate about how ridiculous (or not, depending on the perspective) that offer is, with the emailer resorting to the good old: "I wouldn't have thought it would take much longer than 15 minutes to write a 400 word article, at $20 an article, that is still $80/hr, which works out at something around $200k/yr, isn't that still quite good pay?"

When the copywriter breaks down the numbers, pointing out the error of the emailer's ways, the emailer counters with, "I meant no offense, it's just that's how much my current copy writer charges me who is based in the US."

THE TAKEAWAY

The copywriter is, deservedly, angry but quickly realizes it's not entirely the inquirer's fault for harboring such sentiments. The final sentiment s/he wanted to get across to both the emailer and fellow copywriters is this: "The only reason many of these people offer such low rates is because all the writers willing to work for such rates have trained them to expect it. So, in that case, can you blame them?"

Precisely! As a prospective client said to me the other day, if you don't believe in yourself (and your worth), who will?

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Monday, May 02, 2011

The Ultimate Get-a-Clue Freelance Request for the Week of May 2, 2011

This week's Middle Finger Award comes from a high school pal of mine and fellow freelance writer/editor, Melissa.


Project Description: News Writer Needed

Specific Project Request: Hello,

I run several news websites and I am in need of a writer. This work can be done from home.

I need a writer that can provide 5-10 news articles per day that are about 200 words each.

** Most of these news articles will be business related in nature**

Each article must meet these requirements:
* 200 or more words
* Most of these articles will be rewrites but must pass copyscape
* No Spelling or grammar mistakes
* I will need the articles as early as possible in the day (before noon would be great)

I will pay $2 per 200 word news article - So if you did 10 per day - I would pay $20 per day

I need a writer that can provide a minimum of 5 articles per day.

If you are interested in this job please respond to this ad. I will explain more to people that respond.

Thanks John



So here we have the oh-so-typical one cent (or less) per word content rate with the usual laundry list of requirements. But this one has the added bonus of an "early as possible" daily deadline. As I told Melissa, "Oh boy! Just what I want to do is get up at 6:00 in the morning to earn $20 a day. Yippee!" And Screw THAT indeed!

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

AOL Joining the Free Freelancer Bandwagon

AOL to Movie Writers: You’re Fired, But We’d Love It If You Write for Free.

Seriously? According to CNET News, AOL had revenue of $596 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. Granted, that figure was "down 26 percent year over year," but you make over half a million dollars and you ask your writers to work for free?

Is it just me, or, the grand scheme of things, is such a request worse than those that come from startups?

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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Ultimate Get-a-Clue Freelance Request for the Week of April 25, 2011

Peter Bowerman recently brought this week's Middle Finger Award winner to my attention. In particularly, he pointed out how many people were jumping at the chance to bid on it: "...puts a human face on all this willingness to work for nada..."

Indeed, seventeen people placed bids before the project was cancelled. I'd say said cancellation was the best thing that could have happened to them. Unfortunately, the project poster has completed 64 similar cheapskate projects, all but three to rave reviews. Both of the one-star raters complained that the buyer was "rude" and asks for more work than the project calls for. (Big surprise!)

I particularly loved this comment, though: "Stay away from this guy, he gets the price right down using newbies, and then treats you like a donkey." It takes a Screw You! A$$ to know one, I guess.


Project Description: I am looking for a writer to write me sale letter for SEO service web site.

Specific Project Request:

- All articles must be written in perfect UK English.
- 100% manually written . No software allowed.
- Articles should be delivered by email.
- Articles will be 500+ words each depending on my requirements(excluding article title).
- Articles must be written in perfect English (native English speakers only).
- Correct spelling or grammatical errors.
- Articles must be written manually, sound natural, and be easy to read.
- I will own the full copyright once I purchase articles from you. (you may not reuse them!)
- Each and every article MUST PASS COPYSCAPE and dupefreepro
I am looking for a writer to write me sale letter for SEO service web site.


- All articles must be written in perfect UK English.
- 100% manually written . No software allowed.
- Articles should be delivered by email.
- Articles will be 500+ words each depending on my requirements(excluding article title).
- Articles must be written in perfect English (native English speakers only).
- Correct spelling or grammatical errors.
- Articles must be written manually, sound natural, and be easy to read.
- I will own the full copyright once I purchase articles from you. (you may not reuse them!)
- Each and every article MUST PASS COPYSCAPE and dupefreepro

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My New Freelance Diversion: Chart Porn

Maybe it's the math geek in me, but I find Chart Porn almost as addicting as Clients from Hell. I dare you to click through to either and not get sucked in.

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