Back to oDesk.com » Love the way you work.

Welcome to the oDesk Community! Connect here with fellow clients, contractors, and oDesk staff. Please review our Usage Policy.

Client requesting full article as sample

How do you more experienced writers handle this?

I applied for a fixed price, long-term article writing position yesterday, at a rate of .03 per word (yes, I realize that some see this as "bottom feeder" pay, but I'm comfortable with the rate, and sometimes less, for simple work). The client got back with me today and requested that I write a 500 word article to show my quality and originality. I would, after being hired, write 20-25 articles each month.

I have a few issues with this. 1 - The client is verified and has paid other contractors, but only a total of a couple hundred dollars. 2 - I don't work for free, and don't see a reason that I would need to write a new article of the client's choosing in order to showcase my writing style. 3 - Of 39 applicants, the client is interviewing 20+.

Giving the client the benefit of the doubt is fine and dandy, but I'm not going to work for free. I would like to simply offer a sample that I have already written, or a link to some previously published content, but I'm unsure how to word my response so that it doesn't offend the client, just in case he is actually legitimate.

Any suggestions on carefully wording a response that states that I am interested in continuing the application process, but will not write a free article?

I have worked with clients in the past (here and elsewhere) who requested a sample, and it turned out to be a positive and long-term working relationship, so I'd really like to avoid shooting myself in the foot.

Thanks in advance for your input!

Vote Result

++++++++++
Score: 10.0, Votes: 1
NO!

Ashley Hudson wrote:
How do you more experienced writers handle this?

I applied for a fixed price, long-term article writing position yesterday, at a rate of .03 per word (yes, I realize that some see this as "bottom feeder" pay, but I'm comfortable with the rate, and sometimes less, for simple work). The client got back with me today and requested that I write a 500 word article to show my quality and originality. I would, after being hired, write 20-25 articles each month.

I have a few issues with this. 1 - The client is verified and has paid other contractors, but only a total of a couple hundred dollars. 2 - I don't work for free, and don't see a reason that I would need to write a new article of the client's choosing in order to showcase my writing style. 3 - Of 39 applicants, the client is interviewing 20+.

Giving the client the benefit of the doubt is fine and dandy, but I'm not going to work for free. I would like to simply offer a sample that I have already written, or a link to some previously published content, but I'm unsure how to word my response so that it doesn't offend the client, just in case he is actually legitimate.

Any suggestions on carefully wording a response that states that I am interested in continuing the application process, but will not write a free article?

I have worked with clients in the past (here and elsewhere) who requested a sample, and it turned out to be a positive and long-term working relationship, so I'd really like to avoid shooting myself in the foot.

Thanks in advance for your input!

Absolutly not! Sounds like a client who will take your work and not pay you, especially if you're not on contract and haven't got an upfront payment.

Send him a sample of something that you've already had published.

ETA: if everybody he's interviewing sends him a sample, he gets his job for free! DOH!

THIS is the perfect reason to stay away from the bottom feeder jobs. Why would you want to work harder for less money?

Yes, I already said that I

Yes, I already said that I will not write the article for free. I'm aware that he could be getting free work from many applicants, which is why I noted that the number of applicants he is interviewing is a red flag for me.

I was asking for suggestions on what wording to use in my response to the client... how to tell him that I am not willing to write a full article for free, without coming across as accusatory or offensive, in the event that he is a legitimate client.

this....

Ashley Hudson wrote:

I was asking for suggestions on what wording to use in my response to the client... how to tell him that I am not willing to write a full article for free, without coming across as accusatory or offensive, in the event that he is a legitimate client.

Legitimate clients don't ask for free work. They're willing to pay for it.

You're a writer. Say, "I'm not willing to send you free work. See my samples here (or in my proposal -- whichever you sent him). If you want a sample for this particular job, it will be ________ (whatever amount you want to put in.)"

I can guarantee you 2 things. He won't pay for your sample and he's getting his job done for free by people who are desperate enough -- or stupid enough -- to believe he's legit.

It's quite possible that he's

It's quite possible that he's leaching free work from unsuspecting, or inexperienced, writers. I tend to try to give the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, so long as that benefit doesn't involve me working for free.

I'd rather not say "I'm not willing to send you free work," as that comes across exactly the opposite of how I would like to present myself. I will be offering him some samples of previously published work, but would like to word it a little differently.

Thanks for your input, all the same.

How about.... ?

Ashley Hudson wrote:

I'd rather not say "I'm not willing to send you free work," as that comes across exactly the opposite of how I would like to present myself.

You could say something along the lines of "Dear Client, I would be more than happy to send you samples of my previous work, or I could write an article of your choosing at a rate of $ ... Which would you prefer?"

That was you are giving the client choices while still making it clear that you will not work for free.

Ahh, that is perfect. Thank

Ahh, that is perfect. Thank you, Petra, I appreciate your input.

HELL No!

Interviewing 20 people, getting 20 people to write an article each, and he has his 20 articles for January. All he has to do is play that game again next month, and in March, and in April.

*IF* you were that way inclined you "could" (and I am not saying that you should) write the article but send it as a screenshot or PDF, and make it clear that you are *owning* it unless / until it has been paid for. That was the client can not use it, or rather he "could" but it would be easy enough to find it and get something done about it if he did.

For this particular job, I

For this particular job, I will not be writing a new article just for the purpose of providing a sample. I don't know that I'd have a personal use for an article of this type.

I do love the suggestion of presenting as a PDF and making my ownership clear... that may be of benefit to me for some future project. Thanks for that!

If you do not want too write

If you do not want too write a free article. I would not write it as a PDF either,
as they can be copied. It is very easy for a client to take your PDF article and copy it

Your best bet is too only send them articles that you have had published.

Isn't it there is an OP doing

Isn't it there is an OP doing something similar on her topic? ummmm ahh my bad, it was not for free, she was paying $.01 per word IF your article is acceptable.... sowee....

Ah, yes, that hole that was

Ah, yes, that hole that was dug is looking deeper every day.

On a couple of occasions in

On a couple of occasions in the interview process i've been asked for samples, declined and then got the contract.

In the last I was asked for a mock up of the piece and replied:

"Hi,

The most time consuming and challenging part of an infographic job for me is actually coming up with the visual cues and approaches for visualizing the data. The actual execution after this is relatively easy and straightforward. There's no way I can do any kind of work on this or create any roughs or mock-ups without being taken on for the actual project. I have to focus on my current active clients and guaranteed projects and just can't take the risk of putting ideas out there without a job or contract. I hope you can appreciate my policy on this.

Sorry about that."

Shortly afterwards I was asked to do the job anyway. This happened a couple of times. I also link to my portfolio and say that if they can't get an idea of whether they want to hire me with the diversity shown there (or with past examples that I can provide) then they should probably consider someone else.

I'll never do free samples and have no problem whatsoever putting my foot down immediately (but politely). If things are slow i'd rather sit there and work on a personal piece or hone my skills until something legitimate comes in. I'll have more to show for it.

Pardon me if this was mentioned, but

Another good thing you can pay attention to is the amount of jobs they have posted, compared to the amount of jobs they have filled.

If they've posted 100 jobs and made 95 hires, IMO they are fairly trustworthy in the sense of he's not likely sourcing his jobs through free samples.

A huge ratio of posted jobs with hardly any hires is another statistic I look for when evaluating clients. Big red flag.

Splendid point. Added to

Splendid point. Added to 'warning signs' post.

Send article or part of the

Send article or part of the article as an image file.

Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Absolutely NOT!

Mahesh Walatara wrote:
Send article or part of the article as an image file.

Don't send anything relating to the job that the client can use for free....and don't listen to certain people who have no clue what they're talking about.