It is amazing what you can find out there in freelance land. I’ve found some pretty nice leads including a greeting card company looking for writers, a PR company that I have written a lot of projects for recently, anthologies looking for submissions, and some legitimate ghostwriting and editing gigs.

Notice I said legitimate.

I also found a few other companies/individuals who, while they might have working checkbooks, should be avoided at all costs. The question atthis point for many fledgling (and some not so fledgling) writers is “How do I tell the good stuff from the content mills and other jobs not worth my time?”

Here are some phrases that are a dead giveaway:

  • While I’m not in a position to provide desirable compensation, I am prepared to pay a small amount each week (negotiable) and am prepared to sign an I OWE YOU for a very attractive sum once the project is successful (large project that expands beyond just a book).
  • I am willing to compensate $5. Most of my articles will need to be around 500 words
  • We are looking for well-researched articles with minimal spelling and grammar mistakes. No experience needed!
  • This position would be unpaid; however, writers would have a chance to have their work published online. I would also be providing writers with their own byline/author biography, and potentially press credentials.
  • Pay is $4 each around 500 words, I have a lot of ongoing work.
  • Articles range from 200 -600 words, pay is $2 – $6 each.

A few rules of thumb apply here:

  • Never write a project that pays roughly the same as your favorite concoction at Starbucks.
  • If a company/individual can’t afford to pay you at all, having your name in print online is no big deal. You can do that on your own blog.
  • If I have to warn you about the dangers of accepting an I.O.U, go ahead and take the job. Then remember the resulting lesson.
  • Always do a little research and verify that the writing job you’re looking at is legitimate. There area lot of good scam artists out there.

We all learn some lessons the hard way. But let’s all try to bypass the ones with such obvious warning signs.

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Comments
  1. Peter says:

    Thanks for letting us learn from your experience. Certain things that jump out to you with years of knowledge could be stubling block to others. Since I have my resume up at several places and it includes some of my wrting too, I have been contacted a couple of times (probably by automatic programs) by content mills.
    All very helpful. I like the Starbucks tip.

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