Thursday, May 7, 2009

General Rules for Spotting a Scam

Sometimes writers become complacent and make the classic mistake of 'putting all their eggs in one basket.'

As a freelancer, an important rule of thumb is that nothing is permanent. Easily something can happen to the longevity of any assignment, whether through a change of management or a complete shut down.

This is not the time to panic, but carefully seek out other writing options as discussed in Hack Writers´ Guild. Even though you may be out of your comfort zone applying for new assignments; the good new is many editors are seeking fresh talent.

At times like these, it is easy to become more trusting and develop a "take a chance" attitude. The economic downturn breeds a feeding frenzy of scams geared towards writers. Many writers can easily become ripe for scams and cons out of sheer desperation. Now is the time you should be even more vigilant of who you are doing business with.

Don’t get caught in such webs of deceit.

Request free samples:

Unpaid writing samples are often a way for unscrupulous website owners to get free content. Almost any client should be happy to review previously published work as samples of your talent. If they request a short sample of thirty words to see if you meet their style in a particular subject matter, that is fine. Anything more requested is working for nothing.

Asking for money to set you up:

The basic principle of any job is that the employer pays the employee, not the other way around.
The potential employer’s websites can not be found:

Check the validity of their contact details and/or website. If the information given to you does not exist, it is certain neither does a legitimate job.

Will not discuss rates upfront and wants to negotiate:

This is not a Middle Eastern Bazaar: Get a firm offer and contract.

An ad states that a book publisher is seeking to publish first-time authors:

Established and legitimate publishers rarely take manuscripts from novices or unknowns. Many work through literary agents only. All though self publishing companies do accept unpublished authors, you may be responsible for printing costs and additional expenses. In other words, know all the details before signing any contracts.

If your intuition suggests something is amiss; just decline the offer:

With experience, you will be able to distinguish between the legit and scam offers. But even if everything seems on the up and up, you can still be taken advantage of with low payers. Know you worth. 1000 words for $2.00 is not the way to go with your experience.


  1. Sound advice here! One never knows what they are getting into when they lack the first hand experience of being a Freelance Writer.

    It never hurts to cross all the T's and dot all the I's when it comes to your work.

    Great post.

  2. "Listen to your intuition," is always good advice. In our eagerness to succeed, human nature often overrides judgment.

    Another good post.

  3. As always, Veronica swoops in and saves my behind on a busy week! WONDERFUL post, Veronica, and thank you!

    I intend to do the last month recap this weekend, and bump a few topics up to the top so we can keep discussing them.

    In the meantime I am forcing myself into Firefox mode - I admit it is fast, but I still get confused...

    Me no likee change!

  4. Amen on everything! SG--Firefox is fantastic. :)