Letters To The Editor For December 8th

~Great Advice Regarding Firms That Run Endless Job Ads!~


A quick note of advice to your readers: frequently recurring ads from people or firms looking for freelancers may indicate that either a) they have so much work they don’t know whom to assign it all too; or b) they’re having trouble paying their writers and consequently, going from writer to writer to writer as they run up bills and fail to pay.

I have personally experienced the problematic part b situation a few times. When I see those repeat ads, I’m figuring — hey — they must really need writers because they keep advertising! Then when I get hired, I discover what they really need is money to pay me!

I owned and operated a non-writing business for several years — an environmental laboratory. It was common for problem clients to switch labs all the time — run up a big bill with one lab, fail to pay, then send their lab samples to another unsuspecting sucker who was eager for the business. Eventually, these problem clients went through every lab in town and could no longer do business with any of us. But the freelance writer pool is much larger, and deadbeats can take a very long time to tap us all.

So a word to the wise: answer those recurring ads with caution. You might even do the unthinkable in this ultra-competitive business: check their credit, and don’t extend credit to anyone who balks at the idea. They may be preparing to give you “the business” instead of preparing to do business with you.

Best as always!
Mike Martin

~Blurring The Line Between Writer And Expert~

Your response to the website owner wanting free bloggers, teachers, writers, and toilet cleaners was brilliant, packed with power.

Not only did I find a number of website owners on a web design support bb discussing how they wouldn’t THINK of paying a…TUH…writer any more than $3 a page for web content, else they be fools…but I experienced this ignorant attitude in one website owner who wanted me to lead a forum, write articles, etc.. for–it turns out–nothing.

I negotiated with him to just write articles, and as agreed upon, sent the first as a starter piece (which he agreed to pay for before we went further). I spent five solid hours on an in-depth exploration of the contingencies of existentialism, sent the article, requested he pay by Paypal, and I never heard a slimy peep from him again.

I even wonder, from the format of your inquirer’s letter and based on the components of the person’s site, if this is not the same person.

But I know there are many more than one willing to benefit from our fresh, inventive, intelligent, and engaging work. I wonder if this isn’t a form of intellectual plagiarism. Hmmm.

Thank you again.
Roxanne McDonald

~More On Blurring The Line…~

Hello Angela,

I’m a long-time subscriber to WritersWeekly.com and, like many of your readers, I support your stand against writing for free. I applaud your response to the publisher seeking expert contributors to write for free.

Today, I responded to a call for “guest columnists.” When I emailed for more information, I discovered something even worse than being asked to write for free. This publisher was asking to get paid a fee from the writer for the privilege of providing content to her website and newsletter.

I responded to the publisher that what she was seeking was advertisers, not columnists, and should present the offer as an advertising opportunity, not an editorial submission request.

Perhaps the “pay for submission” policy is a ploy to make publishers who offer to publish your work for free look good!