(Note: This post originally appeared on this blog back in 2012 and I removed it, using it instead as a writing sample. I’m republishing it since it’s relevant to the content I plan to provide in the future.)
As I look through potential projects, I’m continually shocked at the poor quality of the listings. Perhaps that’s the best they can do and that’s why they’re looking to hire a writer/editor. They say the first step towards solving a problem is admitting you have one! Today, I’ll share a few of my recent sightings.
You took the time to write out compensation but negotiable was too much effort? Or perhaps you’re hiding the fact that the offered compensation is not so much negotiable as it is negligible.
If you’re listing your project on a site that doesn’t ask you to specify a compensation range, I’d go ahead and tack that information on at the end anyways. It saves us both a lot of time dealing with responses that are outside of the budget.
“need 300 pages edited quickly – reply with a quote”
This ad leaves me with so many questions. What are the 300 pages about? What kind of editing do you need? Grammar/punctuation corrections to 300 pages of fiction is a lot different request than rewriting or fact-checking 300 pages of a technical publication. Without that information, I can’t provide a quote. And dare I ask what quickly means? It’s just as important to specify your time budget as your compensation budget.
“need 10 page paper on (some philosophy subject) because I hate philosophy and need to focus on my other classes”
This one is closely followed by:
“must rewrite text we copied from another site to appear as originals”
Both ads are paraphrased, but I’ve seen each in the wild. Maybe there are some who would feel this is a legitimate way to make money, but I’d hope those of us with any skill and dignity would pass by this sort of work. If someone wants to pay me to edit a college essay to improve their grade, I’m fine with that. But I’m not going to write it for them. And I’m also not going to help your business steal a competitor’s content. I often ask clients to provide me samples of sites or content they like – it’s a great way to get a feel for what they’d like to see from my work. But copy/paste/rewrite is not a line I’m willing to cross.
And, to end:
“free lance writer”
I see variations of this one often, and it always makes me chuckle. Who’s Lance? Who’s holding him hostage?
It’s important for project requests to include as much information as possible in order to receive the most qualified and accurate quotes from potential service providers. Sometimes, I think I spend more time responding to projects asking for more information than I actually spend providing quotes or doing work. By giving the facts up front (type of work, requested services, deadline and budget), it makes life easier on everyone involved.
What kind of gibberish have you come across while looking for projects?