I never aspired to become a writer or wanted to have my own tiny professional writing service where I am the employer and employee both. In the past 17 years, I have transformed immensely gaining all the work and life experiences. Yes, I lost my parents at a very early stage, but what kept me going was the morals and ethics they taught me. Small lessons on human behavior, which I then incorporated accordingly in my life, dealing with people around me. I also learned a few things from people around me. Maybe my parents were pretty old-school and that’s why a lot of my thinking is a bit old-school, but I have adapted well, through the trial and error process. Back then, I wanted to be in Navy, but eventually I’ve become a professional freelance writer, ghostwriter, and a blogger and I am quite happy with it.
While I think that writing is a really good profession, which gives you an exposure to the worldly knowledge, and things happening around, it is certainly not as easy as many of my close friends and colleagues think it is. Like my father used to say – “Every job has its own challenges, son. It is our skills and talent that make it look easy. Even a job like sweeping the floor requires some amount of talent”, he used to say that. Anyway, this post is not about the skills we have or don’t have. It is about unreliable and untrustworthy writers or the so-called ‘Fly-by-Night’ writers.
I have 7 years of professional freelance writing & ghostwriting experience and in all these years, I have come to known some of the inside facts of the professional writing world, both from writer’s and client’s perspective. For writers like me, the hardest part is to impress the client and to get the contract, especially clients from a different country altogether. For the clients, the biggest challenge is to find a good writer – reliable, trustworthy and the one who understands client’s requirements and business. With tons of freelance writers already available online, how is it possible to segregate a good writer from a fly-by-night writer.
Well, here are some questions that can give you hints on what kind of writer you’re dealing with; a good content writer or a fly-by-night con-tent writer.
How many articles can you write for me per day?
Most clients do ask this, but in case, if you’re hunting for a writer for the first time, don’t miss out on this question. I have come across many writers that claim they write 40 to 50 articles per day. Whoa! that’s a lot huh. The answer can certainly make you feel that you’ve found your writer and that he/she can churn out so much content for you on a daily basis, but the fact is that the content will be very low quality. These writers make use of spinning software to deliver so many articles in a short time. So, what basically happens is, the writer searches for a similar topic online, copies it and paste it into the software. Click the ‘Spin’ button and the software automatically generates a new content based on the article the writer copy-pasted. The software simply replaces every word of the original content with a synonym to create a new content. This content is not SEO-friendly and the search engines easily recognize such content as copied, eventually bringing down the page ranking of the website. Good content writers usually stick to 5-6 high-quality articles per day, because it takes a lot of research and understanding before the writer actually begins to create a unique content for you.
How much do you charge per article?
Clients usually hunt for freelance writers available at the lowest possible price. There are millions of writers and writing service companies across Asia that charge insanely low price just to bag more and more orders. These writers not just harm the clients’ business, but other freelance writers as well. With their extremely low prices (I won’t even call it competitive rates), they eat up the business of good writers who deliver high quality, original and SEO-friendly content at a bit higher rate. So, next time when you approach a writer you need to keep a close watch on the rates. Some writers charge as low as $1 or even 50 cents per 500 word article which certainly rings the bell that there is something fishy about it. Native writers charge around $10 and above for the same length of an article. While it may seem like you’ve got the right deal, you might be upset when you see the quality of content you’ve received. Genuine content writers do charge you more which might seem unfair to you initially, but it is certainly worth the deal for the unique, copy-scape-passed and SEO-friendly articles you get to boost your business or personal website or blog. They charge you for the time they spend researching on the content and their writing talent (which obviously spinners don’t have).
Will you provide me with a sample of your work?
Unreliable and untrustworthy writers generally never share any samples upfront. Why? because they’re no writers at all. These guys are basically ‘spinners’ who pick content online, spin them and deliver it. Of course, we can argue that the writer is new to the business and does not have enough content to show-off, but genuine writers have talent to write. They’re passionate about their work and that’s what separates them from fly-by-night writers. So, even a new genuine content writer can write a sample article for you afresh that can help you gauge his writing skills and talent. Professionals writers who are in the business do have samples that they prefer to show before they get hired, so you don’t need to tell them. They also provide you with testimonials and information about their previous clients, in case you want to contact them and get a second opinion.
Can we have a conversation or an email on what kind of content I am looking for?
Fly-by-night writers are not really interested in your business, they’re more interested in your money. Most of these writers hide behind the virtual veil and never come upfront with a conversation because they fear that they might be exposed. They usually say – “I understand what you want. Don’t worry, I will research and give you the right content”. They’re not really interested in listening to you because for them you’re just ‘another assignment’ that they need to wrap up ‘ASAP’. On the other hand, genuine freelance writers know that their business is based on long-term relationships and mutual understanding. They either email or Skype, but they get in touch with their clients, ask questions, understand what the client really wants, know the target audience and talk about the keywords that they will incorporate in the content.
Can I get in touch with you, in case I want you to edit the content?
Well, fly-by-night writers are really busy. Why? because they are bagging too many contracts with their insanely low rates and therefore they do not have the time or intent to do the edits for you, especially once they have your money. I am not saying all fly-by-night writers are like that because there are some who re-spin the same article once again and walk away, which again is no good to the client. Professional content writers are ready to help and edit the content the way the client wants it. They also discuss on certain aspects that clients might not be able to comprehend and since genuine writers are in the business based on their long-term business relationships they never run away. They reply at the earliest and give realistic deadlines on how quickly they can rework on the content and deliver it.
To conclude, I will say that fly-by-night writers are there because there is a certain section of clients who want content fast and cheap, which I think is not really possible. Writing is a creative process which demands a certain amount of discipline, dedication, patience and skills and genuine writers charge their clients for all this. Genuine writers understand the value of work they do, the amount of time they spend and the quality of content they deliver. Just like Warren Buffet says, “Money is what you pay, value is what you get”.
I also would like to give credit to Dan Antion, blogger of No Facilities, who has written on Avoiding Fly-by-Night Contractors and who inspired me to write this post. I would recommend that you do check out his blog for some exceptional blog posts. Thank you, Dan, for being there and for being an inspiration to me and many other aspiring bloggers.