Monthly Archives: September 2012

International Freelancers Day – Free Online Conference

If you want to do some online networking, you may want to check out an event that its organizers are calling International Freelancers Day. It is an online conference with presenters and, according to the site, the opportunity to network with other freelancers via chat.

The basic descriptions runs as follows:

Join us on September 21, 2012 for a special online conference like no other. You'll learn from 13 of the world's most respected professionals and thought leaders in the areas of freelancing, marketing, social media and personal development. They'll reveal proven and actionable business-building ideas, insights, tactics and strategies that will help take your "business of one" to the next level.

Sessions include topics such as: "How to Be Amazing When You Suck at Selling," "Anatomy of a Winning Proposal," and "Don???t Leave Money on the Table! 13 Negotiation Tips to Earn More."

The conference itself is free if you register. It will stream in real time, so that you can pick it up in progress if you come in mid-stream; if you miss anything, or want to hear it again, you will need to purchase a presentation replay for $49.


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From Gawker: An interesting discussion about freelance pay rates

I found an interesting exchange between Cord Jefferson of Gawker and some of his readers. His article ridicules an ad for a music site called Prefix that, after requesting a variety of proofs of professionalism, offers to pay $2 per 200-word post:

The kicker: Anyone lucky enough to get hired will be expected to write at least three 200-plus-word posts a day, for which they will be compensated $2 per post. Think of it, recent J-school grads: All you'd need to do is write 10,000 words a week and you're looking at a cool $100.

In the comments section, "davepark," who identifies himself a representative of Prefix, returns fire:

Not claiming to be the place where you'll be making tons of money, but we are a good place to get your name out at this point. Hopefully we can do well enough to get an office down the line.

Another commenter, "verbicidemag," who says he's from a similar site, also make the case for the extremely low freelancer pay rate:

You might wonder, why can't Prefix — or other small sites who pay similar wages (or nothing at all) — pay more? Because they don't make much money at all. Online advertising pays very little, and it generally takes at least 350,000 to 500,000 or more monthly uniques just to pull down a couple grand. Prefix, like many other small sites, is likely scraping by.

However, at least one other commenter, "SteveDoor," makes a good point:

…the relationship between a publication and a writer is almost always much better if that writer is writing for a byline than for a terrible paycheque. "We can't afford to pay you" is a much better message for a writer than "we think your writing is next to worthless."

It's an interesting discussion. On the one hand, it is true that writers just out of college need entry-level places to sell their initial work in order to start up the ladder. On the other hand, if most sites pay ridiculously low rates, where will they go to get better?

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Content Writers Freelancers Rights – some good advice

If you've ever had to sign a contract or agreement for a freelance assignment — and you should have, if you're any kind of professional freelancer — this is something you should read. It's an excellent rundown of what freelance writers need to know about signing away their electronic rights and the problems this could make for them unless they are aware exactly what they are giving up. If you are a freelancer, you should definitely take a minute or two to read this; if you've got a bit more time, go to the full article at that offers a blow-by-blow of what you should look for in a freelance contract.

Writers groups around the world are working on unified positions to deal with the attempt by publishers to establish an industry standard whereby they get all electronic rights. You must resist this trend or you will be saddled with it permanently. Sometimes, that will mean walking away from an assignment. If so, walk! You owe it to yourself and to your colleagues.

Thanks to tech writer Pam Baker for pointing to these links.

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How to Find (and Hire) Quality Freelancers to Write Content & Linkable Assets – Search Engine Watch

In this article??from Search Engine Watch??directed toward sites who want to hire content creators, the author suggests that they have a "contest" to determine which writer they may want to hire. I guess he calls it a contest for his audience; certainly, professional writers (which is the assumption here) are used to being offered "trial runs" or probationary periods; they don't need to be told it's a contest. But that's just a matter of nomenclature; we'll pass that by.

On the whole, though, the advice here is actually not bad — as long as the would-be hirer reads the entire article. One crucial section:

After you've narrowed down your short list of top candidates, give them writing assignments as part of the "contest." Have each of them write a blog post or an article.??


You can either choose to have them do it for free or pay them. We like to pay because not paying and expecting to get free content starts things off on the wrong foot.

Since what follows is an explanation of the requirements of the content — which includes not only writing the article, but uploading into the content management system and promoting it online — I would think that payment would be a necessity. Any freelancer who would not only write an entire article, but also post it to a company's CMS and promote it without any kind of recompense is really desperate — and ready to be taken advantage of. Unfortunately, while the write of this particular piece gives good advice about payment, there are too many content sites whose management will pass over the "payment" part of the equation.

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SFWA Blog Post: 7 Freelance Writing Scams and How to Fight Them

SFWA (the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) has an excellent service called Writer Beware, which educates writers about less-than-honest agents and publishers, and other nasty tricks and traps. It's got a useful article up about how to spot and avoid seven freelance writing scams; it's definitely worth a look.

Here's a short quote:

Scammers come in many flavors: unscrupulous clients, shysters selling bogus/worthless services, and thieves who want to steal your money/information. All of them are counting on you being too eager to work to ignore the warning signs.

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