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Monday, May 30, 2016

Writers, beware of typos

Bloggers are advised to post a few times a week, or even one post every day. As such some bloggers wonder ... where do I find inspiration? My advice ... spend some time on Facebook, within no time you’ll have inspiration coming out of your ears.

For instance, yesterday I noticed a post “How much should an online article cost”. The writer, let’s call her Ann, gave as an example that a 600 word article should fetch $150. I nearly burst out laughing.

While I fully agree that writers should be paid a decent fee, Ann needs a dose of reality.

I have been a freelance writer for close to ten years and never in all this time have I been able to negotiate a fee. A client will post an assignment, mention a fee, and a writer can take it or leave it.

I’ve also been part of several writing groups and the conditions were the same. The project manager stated the remuneration and I could accept and be part of the project, or refuse.

What bothers me the most about Ann’s post is that she’s like so many other bloggers. She wants attention for her blog, so she directs herself to writers and picks a title that is guaranteed to get their attention ... How much should an online article cost? What writer can resist having a quick peek?

Unfortunately, Ann should read her posts before hitting the publish button. We had a conversation on Facebook about this and some of the things she writes are:

“I average go between $35-75 for 500 words.”
I average go between ... what kind of English is that? I take it she means ... I average between $35-75 for 500 words.

“I have hooked up a couple of people here with descent paying gigs.” Descent? She must mean decent.

“I only submitted 4 names so not to overwhelm the client - your's was, of course, one of them.” Your’s? It’s ‘yours’ Ann, not “your’s”.

That’s three mistakes in one short conversation. And this from a writer who claims to make $35 to $75 per article. If I was a client I wouldn’t pay her $5, more so, I wouldn’t hire her to begin with.

Ann also recommends that writers find their niche. Hm, another one of those overused pieces of advice. If you don’t know what to say to fellow writers, say that they have to find their niche. Personally, I know my niche, but if I had to limit myself to that particular subject, not only would I have very little to write or blog about, my readers might get bored.

For my blog, I write about things I like, funny things, scary things, things that happen in Toronto, or things that annoy me. As a freelance writer on the other hand, I write about all kinds of things. Over the past ten years I have written a variety of articles, guides and product descriptions about:
  • The fall of the Berlin wall
  • How the Eifel Tower was build
  • The best gloves for winter
  • A variety of makeup articles
  • Gardening tips
  • Household appliances
  • Furniture (and most recently)
  • Men’s and women’s sexy lingerie.
While it’s fine to have a niche, a freelance writer should be able to write about anything and everything.

Finally, Vicky (not her real name) put her two cents into the conversation and stated “I have posted plenty of opportunities for this group. I have also reached out to several of you via PM when I have located something that meets your genre or voice.”

Which is true, but then Vicky isn’t just any writer. She has years of experience, is highly skilled, and to tell you the truth ... the things she writes about I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole because I feel I’m not qualified to write to some suggested titles.

My advice to Ann ... if she wants to be considered a serious writer, she should hire an editor. I did. My blog posts I write, proofread and publish myself, but when I write for a client I send my work to Alex.

As my editor, Alex reads my articles with eagle eyes that pick up on even the tiniest of mistakes. Not only does she spot typos, she also improves on my grammar. In short, when I get my work back, I’m confident that it’s the best it can be.

As a final word to Ann ... nothing kills the reputation of a writer faster than typos.

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