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8 Freelance Writing Job Ads I Won’t Post

noAlthough I no longer insist the pay per article be a specific amount or more, there are ads I won’t post. You shouldn’t respond to them either. For example:

  1. Send me the articles and I’ll send you a check. It’s reasonable to ask for credits, tear sheets and links to articles. It might be reasonable to ask for a single sample, although I doubt it. It’s a total scam to ask for a significant body of work on spec. The except, of course, is well established magazines and, I suppose now websites, but not some stranger on Craigslist.
  2. Must have 10 articles by tomorrow morning! Rarely do these ads offer to pay a premium for speed. For work due tomorrow I’d charge at least double, maybe triple or more.
  3. Articles written by female only! I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ad that asks for males only… maybe I just don’t notice. But sexism is sexism in any form and likely, in my opinion, to be a scam. Once in a great while I’ve published ads that have a good rationale for wanting women writers, but rarely.
  4. 15 articles – okay to almost plagerize. It’s not okay to “almost plagerize” whatever that means. And assigning a percentage of “new stuff” doesn’t make sense. Copyright law is far more squishy… this is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Writers do not need to participate in such iffy ventures.
  5. Any ad that says ‘do my homework for me‘ one way or another, including academic papers. Okay, not everyone agrees, but I think kids and college students should do their own homework. You will see ads asking for help editing academic papers – that’s a whole different kind of request and totally legit in my opinion.

  6. Writing for porn sites, horror sites or anything that smacks of gratuitous gore and violence. Personal preference here – I dont’ want to do anything to promote these – since this is my site I get to choose.
  7. Any ad that smacks of scam – like promises of huge money. An ad that promised $20,000 a month for example.
  8. Jobs that offer only credit for pay. Credit is not pay any way you slice it.

What kinds of job ads do you ignore?


{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Because of sites like Anne’s and Freelancewritinggigs, it’s actually possible to get the “best of Craigslist.” I’ve been very happy with a lot of the gigs I’ve gotten through Craigslist, most of which are legit multi-thousand-dollar opportunities with educational publishers and non-profits. I wouldn’t avoid Craigslist in general!


  • Lol, guess that takes off 90 percent of work from those sites like Freelancer.com and stuff.
    Roy Daniel DSilva recently posted..How to get the best out of Contextual Advertising for your BlogMy Profile

    • Hi Ron, freelancer dot com makes me crazy… their ads are soooo misleading.

  • A small part of my business is editing academic papers. I don’t write or rewrite the papers for students, but I do point out mistakes and provide suggestions and comments on how students can improve their papers specifically and their writing in general. When it comes to students, I consider myself an editor/tutor. Unfortunatly, there are many students who want all of the work done for them and businesses willing to do it.

    • Hi Mike, yes, editing academic papers is something I’ve done, although I’m not good at it. The kind of detail required is not my forte.

  • I tend to look askance at all Craigslist ads — they have to be from a real, identified company that seems long-established for me to bite. There are real gigs in there, but they’re so few and far between that an ad has to really knock me out on Craigslist for me to be interested. Would have to mention some specific expertise I have and many don’t to make me take the time to apply, since you just know 200 other people will be applying, too.
    Carol Tice recently posted..How One Query Letter Got 6-000 in AssignmentsMy Profile

    • Craigslist is certainly a mixed bag. Writers who have established their reputation and/or client base probably have little need for it. Newbies may have more reason to look.

  • Nazvi – NO, the world doesn’t undervalue writing in general, and there are many organizations that pay well for a wide range of different sorts of writing. What HAS happened is that Internet advertisers value sites that produce huge quantities of “content.”

    “Content,” therefore, has superceded news stories, features, and so forth – and unlike articles, “content pieces” are rarely well-reviewed or edited. Their purpose is to fill a particular keyword niche.

    In short, content is a different animal. I can write content, but I make my living developing a wide range of other materials such as grant proposals, marketing material, educational curricula, articles, trade books, and so forth.


  • I often wonder if any students actually do their own writing anymore. And if an ad doesn’t state outright “no pay” but yet doesn’t state any pay most likely they are looking to sneak past you on the money part. Oh and the other one that I love to stay clear of – “must be native English speaker”.

  • I avoid ads that give too little info to let you know what’s really wanted. For example, “Content writer for new website launch.” What kind of content? What kind of website? If I don’t know anything about your field, I’m the wrong person for your needs. And if you don’t want to share info about your business, I’ve got a lot of questions about you!


  • Good criteria Anne! The homework one has always been a big pet peeve of mine. As much as I consider it unethical for students to even seek these services, I consider it doubly so for “professionals” to offer them in the first place. While I understand there will always be a supply if there’s a demand, I can’t have any professional respect for writers who sink to that low of a level. While I’m not crazy about it either, even writing pornographic material for adults is more respectable than knowingly helping students break the rules and ultimately hurting them when they’re not held accountable for their actions and able to truly learn. There is no excuse good enough to justify it.

    But okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now….

  • I avoid jobs that say:

    “Perfect job for students or stay-at-home-moms” yet is posted under Writing Jobs listings. They’ve just insulted three layers of society, and they don’t intend to pay any of them much, if anything.

    “Gain valuable experience and clips” or “increase your exposure” – euphamisms for “we aren’t paying you at all.”

    “It’s a very easy job” – translation: We are going to expect the world out of you and nitpick everything. Also, don’t expect us to approve one of your projects, which means you’re not getting anything but grief out of us.

    “I don’t have a big budget” – In other words, “I expect a freebie.”

    “You MUST be available by phone/IM/email at all times.” They’re expecting a slave, not a freelance contractor. No one has the right to control your hours.
    Lori recently posted..Monthly Assessment- January 2011My Profile

  • Nazvi Careem

    I left freelance journalism 3 years ago to get a decent full-time job because I noticed how the market was coming down and people were willing to charge $6 or $7 for a single article when it used to be $10 to $15 about a year prior. Having tired of 9-5 routine and returning to the fold, I’m shocked to see people charing $2 or $3 for 500-word articles! What’s happening? Who bids for such pay? Is the written word so cheap these days? Sigh.

  • Anne, thank you for not posting these ads and helping us all maintain our integrity (as well as keeping us safe). I absolutely agree on all of them. And, as an adjunct professor teaching a technical communications course, a special thank you on number 5. (I also refuse to “help” high school seniors with their college essays.)

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