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A lot of questions have been raised over the past few months, so it's probably time to send out another issue of our occasional newsletter.
In this issue:
NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
So, to the FAQs...
Vetting Overseas Clients/Getting Paid—FAQs
Q: How do I know if I can trust an unknown new client who lives across the other side of the world? How can make sure that they actually pay me for the work I have done?
A: When you work with people who live in your country it's generally easier to check them out then it is to check out people who live in other parts of the world. It is also easier to get the payments once the work has been done—you (or your debt collector) can go bang on their door, or, if need be, call on a legal system or claims process which is familiar in your own country. This may not be the case when your client lives in another country—thus you may need to take a few more precautions before your begin working for an 'unknown' who lives overseas.
Here are a few tips—thanks to the suggestions of many people who have used the Writerfind.com site to obtain work from outside their own countries:
1. Get alternative contact details before working on a project.
Many job advertisers provide email addresses only for initial contact. Some say they don't want to be flooded with phone calls. Whatever their reasons for withholding this information initially— once your clients have actually undertaken to hire you, they should be willing to provide some alternative contact details, such as address or phone number, and you should definitely ask for this information before you begin working with them. If they are unwilling to provide this information at all, you have good reason to be wary.
2. Begin with small projects only until trust is built.
3. Create a contract before doing work.
Boilerplate from the sites below may be useful as a guide to creating your own contract:
The National Writers' Union Standard Journalism contract: http://www.nwu.org/journ/jsjcfile.htm
(Intended to "set out a working relationship between writer and publisher that is both reasonable and fair".)
Standard Freelance Editorial Agreement (Editors Association of Canada): http://www.editors.ca/pubs/contract.htm
(Spells "out editorial responsibilities; specifies the agreed fees, reimbursements, and deadlines; and states what terms shall apply if either party terminates the contract before completion".)
4. Obtain a percentage of your fee before undertaking the work.
Not always easy. Tips on how to negotiate an advance can be found at http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art20436.asp
('How To Get 50% of Your Freelance Fee Up Front— And a Whole Lot More!'—Chris Marlow)
5. Compare notes with other freelance writers and editors.
If you're unsure about a person or a company, try sending out a query to a writers' discussion list or forum.
One very lively discussion list is "WorkForWriters": http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WorkForWriters/
Another, which warns freelancers about possibly 'dicey' publishers and companies on the internet, is the "Writers Weekly Warnings" forum: http://www.writersweekly.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=14
6. Have a procedure for dealing with late payments.
Again, not always easy. Procedures for negotiating and collecting late payments can be found at http://freelancewrite.about.com/cs/negotiating/a/collecting.htm
("Handling Slow and No-Pay Clients"—Anne Wayman)
Posting Work on the Site—FAQs
Q: I note that this is a site for 'freelance' and 'telecommuting' work. Can I post on-site work here? What about full-time permanent work?
A: The site is intended for freelancers who are seeking work that can be done from their own homes or offices. Many of them also need be in a position to work on more than one project at once. For this reason, permanent full-time work is generally not suitable. On-site work is OK, as long as the commitment is part-time.
Q: Can I post work which does not pay in money if it offers other advantages to the writer (for instance, the chance to gain experience)?
A: The answer here is a definite "no". Please do not post non-paying work, or work which offers very low pay. The site is intended for professional freelancers—ie freelancers who need to make a living wage from their freelance writing or editing. It's also intended for established writers—ie writers who already have enough experience. Many of them feel (justifiably) insulted by requests to work for no pay (or very low pay).
Q: How much information about my company should I include with job postings?
A: When posting, please include some information about yourself or your company along with your job posting—and preferably also your phone number and address.
There may sometimes be good reasons for posting work anonymously, but it's much better to avoid anonymous postings if you can. Freelancers are becoming more wary of applying for jobs posted anonymously, and some have written in to say that they will not even look at such work anymore.
NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Writerfind Profiles bring in local work
Writerfind.com is an international site, and much of the work posted to our mailing list can be done from anywhere in the world. However, the site is also bringing in local work, according to recent feedback.
Martha Collins, for instance, writes:
"You may be interested to know that in the two years I've subscribed to Writerfind, most of the new clients who have found me via my listing [http://www.writerfind.com/mcollins.htm] are organizations right here in Austin, Texas."
For more feedback on how the Writerfind Profile is working for some of our subscribers, visit this page:
Full-time jobs losing out to freelancing?
Apparently a growing number of employers in the US are putting projects to bid out on the internet instead of hiring full-time staff. Read more about it here:
(Delaware Online, 14 March 2004)
A note regarding email.
Contact email addresses for Writerfind.com have been changed recently in an effort to control spam. (The old email addresses had been in use for over five years and were created long before spam became the scourge that it is now.)
Current contact email addresses (now in graphic format) may be found online at http://www.writerfind.com/aboutus.htm
(There is also a link to this page from our home page—www.writerfind.com—so it should be fairly easy to find.)
© Writerfind.com, 2004.
To subscribe: http://www.writerfind.com/subscribenews.htm
Last updated 28 Oct 2004 NZST