The Ten Commandments Of Freelance Writing

People get scammed every day. Don’t be one of them.

Alice C. Minium

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Courtesy of Flamankamp

I am 26 years old and I write for a living. Google knows this, and my targeted ads reflect it. They are forever recommending that I enlist my soul to massive content farms clearly hungry to suck me in, as if Google is some kind of twisted, unconscionable madame for scams of industry.

This is the most targeted ad I have ever received:

The ad pitches a platform called Contenta, which functions to connect freelancers with people who will pay for their content. Except, surprise surprise: it costs $500 to sign up.

These kinds of scams and for-profit schemes are everywhere, ready to prey on the avid creative energy of eager young professionals, and ready to prey on the desperation borne of that creative energy sadly juxtaposed with a society that has no place for it. Your writing matters. So, PSA to my fellow freelancers.

1. You should never have to pay to get your writing published.

Submission fees for a literary journal are one thing, but for an online platform? Especially one which plans to monetize your content, and promises you things in non-concrete ways? They are not making you money, they are making money off of you. There are innumerable business models trying to capitalize on the inexperienced writer’s overconfidence about the value of her own work.

Good, sustainable platforms are created, and borne naturally from a content’s worth and relevance to its audience. You can’t buy that kind of readership, that kind of experience, and that kind of respect. And no quality publisher would ever ask you to.

Your writing is work. It is an economic good. Ask yourself, what is the economic good in this transaction? If it’s not the quality of your writing- watch out.

2. Separate ‘Writing for Money’ from your own personal creative work.

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Alice C. Minium

Richmond-based writer, investigative researcher, and police abolitionist. Contact me at alice@openoversightva.org.