By Lori Widmer
Dear Cheap Startup, Viral Marketer, and Anyone Wanting Writing for Nothing:
I keep seeing your ads all over the Internet. I’d like to bring up a few points with you. Going forward, I hope you understand that the following points are ones upon which I will not budge:
I will not be moved by your exclamation point overload. Even one sends up a red flag. Two sends chills up my spine. Three to 30? That sends you right into the Spam folder.
I will not partake of your offer of free exposure. I have a weblog. I have a website. I have all the free exposure I need, thank you. I know it’s a spin put on your ad to divert from the obvious – you’re not paying. Go away now.
Your labor of love means nothing to me. Seriously. Do you care that my business is a labor of love? No? Then why on earth should I care about yours? It’s just another ploy to get someone to buy into your dream without you having to invest in it yourself.
I really don’t believe it when you say if I do this for a few bucks now, you’ll compensate me better later on. Call me crazy, but I believe that business people should not start a business if they don’t have adequate funding for that business. Also, your lack of planning does not mean I’m itching to make sacrifices for you. Here’s a thought – how about you sacrifice something and pay me my standard fee? A weak business model like yours won’t make it too far into the future, and I want my compensation now, thanks.
I won’t be available 24/7 via email, IM, or any other method. You aren’t paying me enough to own my every minute, so listing such silly requirements in your job ad is pointless unless you’re truly interested in paying employee benefits to me. Requirements that are that strict changes the definition of our relationship from client-contractor to employer-employee. Laws exist that make it your job to pick up my healthcare bill the minute you put such strict parameters around my time.
I’m not revising or rewriting anything that didn’t originate from you or me. Let me clarify – if you didn’t create the copy you want me to revise or if I didn’t write it for you specifically, it’s called theft. It’s plagiarism, copyright infringement, and it’s illegal, not to mention sleazy. Pay people decently to create original copy for you and you can avoid ugly lawsuits.
I won’t work for you if I don’t know where you are. Please. Addresses from PO boxes are so last year’s scam artist tactics. Man up and get a real address. If your goal is to con people into doing work for you and then not paying, we’re on to you. No address, no work.
If it’s perfect for the stay-at-home mom or the college student, then don’t expect a real writer. You’re hysterical. You require industry expertise, college degrees, and references. But for what? One dollar articles? Either target people who aren’t real writers or pay more for professionals. Otherwise, stop annoying the hell out of everyone.
I won’t engage in a bidding war with you or anyone else. Here’s my rate. If you ask nicely and give me sound reasons why, I may consider a one-time price break. If you’re shopping around for the cheapest writer, you’re not serious enough about quality.
No free samples. Ever. I have enough experience and enough clips to show you my writing ability. If you want something more targeted to your industry, that comes with a fee. To expect a “writing test” upon application is absurd, especially if the writers are experienced. From what I’ve seen in your ad, you don’t have the editorial background to be able to tell anything from those samples. Rely instead on track record and client recommendations. Stop wasting everyone’s time and please stop trying to trick us into giving you free copy through these “tests.” Do you honestly think we hadn’t figured that out yet?
So take these to heart, cheapskates. Professional writers aren’t fooled by the empty promises. You’ll attract the the uninformed, unskilled, and the dabblers who aren’t savvy enough about writing or negotiations to stand up for themselves. But that’s changing. I’m doing my best to help them recognize a bad deal when they see it.
A Professional Writer
What do you want to add to the list?
Lori Widmer has been slaying virtual dragons long enough to spot a bad deal two miles out. She offers advice and support to writers at all levels on her blog, Words on the Page.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu