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In this issue:

Successful Profiles
Changes to Services
Boycott of 'Academic Research' Assignment
Survey: Finding Clients

Successful Profiles

Advertising on the site continues to bring in a steady flow of work, with subscribers reporting considerable success from their 'Writerfind Profiles':

Fay Lougher of New Zealand ( writes:

"Oh, and more good news arising from my Writerfind profile—I was asked to do a digital camera review for Parkside Publishing's new D-Photo magazine, and they were so pleased with it that I have been given two more to review! I was also asked to do a book review for the Institute of Chartered Accountants—they were happy with it and plan on using my services again in the future. So, once again, thank you for providing such an excellent service that has always given me work and which is now really making a big difference to my career...

I am about to finish another article for a client who got my details from Writerfind, so that article alone pays my fees for a couple of years!"

And Katherine Ross of Australia ( writes:

"The work [I get from Writerfind] is quite varied. I have four magazines that I write for on a regular basis—subject matter: renewable energy, fashion, business topics, marketing. This is all good bread and butter income. I have done a number of guest spots on ABC radio around Australia—one of those led to a request to run an all day in-house workshop for an international company on writing to make an impact. That, in turn, has led to other workshops. Further afield, I have a client in New York—that's copywriting and editing. I have also had slots on CKNW radio in Vancouver (largest radio station in Canada). And I have had a couple of non-fiction editing jobs and am also currently ghosting a book for a Canadian publisher. All the above has come directly from the Profile."


Cambridge University Press has recently published Janet Mackenzie's The Editor's Companion. It describes editorial tasks for all kinds of print and screen 
publications, and is an essential tool for professional editors, media and publications officers, self-publishers and writers editing their own work. Order today AUD$39.95: , tel: +61 3 8671 1400

Changes to Services

Several changes to the services and focus of the site have been made over the past few months:

1/ Efforts are being made to stop a decline in pay rates for freelance work.

Pay rates for freelance writing work have apparently been declining, not only on the site, but also across the internet, with freelancers being asked to take very low paid jobs, and even being asked to work for free. 

We're now trying to reverse that trend on the site by being more selective about the work that comes through, and requesting that people either offer, or ask for, reasonable rates for professional writing and editing services.

This may mean fewer jobs get through to our mailing list, but those which are posted should offer better pay. 

For those who are not sure what constitutes 'reasonable rates', standard pay rates for various kinds of writing and editing are detailed on the Writers' Markets site at: 

2/ The search of freelance work on other sites is being phased out. 

For all new subscriptions (and renewals), assignments directly posted at will continue to be posted to those who subscribe to the mailing list 
service; however, we will no longer be posting email notification of jobs posted to other job sites on the internet.

Phasing out this service will free up resources for a more proactive effort to promote the site and generate work to be posted directly to the mailing list.

There's been a reduction in fee to reflect these changes to the freelance mailing list service. The fee for a mailing list subscription had been $30/quarter. It is now $30/year for those who order a Writerfind Profile in addition to subscription to the mailing list, or $60/year for those who subscribe to the mailing list alone.

3/ Fiction writing no longer be actively promoted on the site, and we will no longer be seeking fiction writing assignments (whether these be for print or for screen).

This move has been taken in order to focus more strongly on the site's forte—freelance writing for 'bread and butter' income (rather than more creative forms of writing).

Boycott of 'Academic Research' Assignment

A few weeks ago, a call for 'researchers' was posted to our mailing list. It looked like a good job—regular work and steady pay—until one of our subscribers who had applied for the work found out exactly what it entailed:

"Yesterday I emailed my resume and writing samples…in response to a job posting sent through by Writerfind. I realise that Writerfind can't vet the jobs that are posted, but I felt you ought to be aware of the work that they appear to do as I have considerable concerns about it. 

It seems, from the sample assignments that they have provided…that much of the work is student assignments and that students are paying to have someone else do research and writing for them that they will be assessed on.

I hate to sound overly moralistic, but having spent nine years at university and having done all my own research and writing for my assignments and Masters degree research, this strikes me as cheating. This sort of cheating not only deceives the university faculty but deprives the student of a real education, reduces the value of the degrees obtained by students who do all their own work and releases into the work force people not truly and adequately equipped to do the work for which they appear to be qualified.

I believe that for there to be any value in the qualifications awarded to people at either high school or university/college that students must do the work honestly and by themselves. In many professions—medicine, engineering, aviation, etc—there is actually considerable danger to the community in conferring qualifications on students who have not done the work and have an inferior knowledge or understanding of their chosen field.

As a university educated professional I could not undertake the research and provide written work on this basis…"

I agree—this kind of work, aiding and abetting students who are cheating—should never have got through to our mailing list. A notice explicitly prohibiting this kind of work has since been added to the site—this should prevent this kind of work, even 'in disguise' being posted in the future.

If work of this kind slips through again, please let us know.

Comments are welcome: 

Survey: Finding Clients

A survey recently asked visitors to the site how they find freelance work: which methods they regularly use, which they use most, and which are most successful:

The methods surveyed included:

* using the direct approach—'cold calls' made by email, phone, or postal mail 
* attending events
* using contacts (for instance, friends and acquaintances)
* participating in internet discussion forums
* responding to freelance assignments advertised on the internet
* responding to freelance assignments advertised in print.

Two types of 'freelance writing' were surveyed separately:

1/ Freelance journalism/authoring (eg writing articles for magazines and newspapers)
2/ Freelance commercial writing (eg writing annual reports, brochures, newsletters, technical documents for companies)

For the freelance journalists on the site, the most widely used way to find clients was response to assignments advertised on the internet (71%), followed by email (67%) and contacts (40%). Phone and postal mail were the least frequently used (phone 25%, postal mail, 22%).

The most effective way of finding clients was response to assignments advertised on the internet, and the second most effective was the use of contacts (friends, acquaintances, referrals). Postal mail and discussion forums were the least effective means of finding clients for freelance journalists.

For the freelance commercial writers on the site, the most widely used way to find clients was the use of contacts (66%), followed by response to assignments advertised on the internet (62%) and email (47%). Internet discussion forums were the least frequently used (10%). The most effective method was the use of contacts, and the second most effective, response to assignments advertised on the internet. Postal mail and discussion forums were the least effective means of finding clients for commercial writers.

So it looks as though freelance writers (or at least the ones that visit use the internet job ads, email, and their own contacts extensively to find work, and these are the most productive ways of getting new clients. 

Comments are welcome: 

=========================, 2004. 
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Last updated 2 Dec 2004 NZST