Scammer freelance clients emphasize the “free” in freelance. One of the many scams currently doing the rounds is the “writing samples” scam. This is an old, old scam, but like the yo-yo and roller skates, it goes away for a while, and then comes back again.
The writing samples scam is just what it sounds like. A company is looking for writers, and wants to audition you, by having you write a part of their project, for free. You’ll find scammers trying their luck with this con on the outsourcing websites. You may even have been approached by one or two of them via your website.
Newbie writers tend to get all excited — someone wants them to write, for money. Um, no. They want you to write for free. Any talk about money is just that — talk.
If a company or publication is genuine, it will pay you for your sample.
This means that…
If you’re writing a sample, charge for it
Please be aware that any company which wants to find writers for a project, and asks writers to submit custom samples for the project, will pay those writers. Up front. You won’t even have to ask. They’ll ask for your payment details, and will pay you.
You don’t write anything until the money hits your bank account, or PayPal account.
That’s how you can tell the scammers from the genuine clients. Genuine clients pay you. I’ve long had this mantra: If it’s free, it’s for me. That means that any unpaid writing I do is either promotional, or pro bono, for a worthy cause, like a charity, or a school. I encourage you to develop a similar policy for your writing business.
Worried that a company which has contacted you is a scammer? Google them.
Google is your friend: Google anyone who approaches you to write
Everyone these days has a Web presence. You do. I do. Your clients do. Dogs and cats have Twitter and Facebook accounts, god help us. So if you Google a company, and they don’t seem to exist, it’s probably because they don’t. Some smartie is trying to get you to write for free.
Writers ask me what they should do if they believe that they’ve been contacted by a scammer. That’s simple. Delete the email message. If they call you, hang up.
And speaking of scams, read David Gaughran’s Author Solutions and Friends: The Inside Story. Be careful out there… 🙂
Closeouts: check out the bargains to help you to write more, and sell more
To meet my goals for 2015, I’m closing out some of our bestselling programs, so that I can focus on coaching and publishing. This means that you get special offerings on some of our current programs. When they close, they’ll close for good. And yes, you receive coaching with them too. 🙂 Enjoy.
How to profit from your writing: online store.