Freelance Writer Guide Forums – Come Visit!

I’m pleased to announce that The Freelance Writer Guide now has its very own freelance writer forums! You can make a free account by following the link or clicking the “Forums” tab at the top of this blog.

As some of you may be aware, MediaPiston recently dropped a bombshell on its writers by announcing it would be folding at the end of February. The MP forums have a fairly robust community, so I decided to give them a new place to roost when the site goes poof in two weeks.

I encourage you to go take a look, make suggestions, and poke around. I’m excited about this new step in connecting freelancers!

Freelance Writing Site Info: iWriter

Freelance Writer Guide Asks: Is iWriter legit or is iWriter a scam?

Update, 3/9/15: A fellow writer on one of my worksites had this to say when asked “Is the iWriter Fast Track Program a Scam?”
“$150 doesn’t quite do it either. I signed up when I first joined TB (Textbroker). I thought, okay I will give this a shot. I paid, nothing happened. After a month, I started raising hell about it being a scam. I got my money back, but only after going through 8 weeks of annoyances and yelling matches. Run away as fast as possible. FYI, the check I got in the mail for the returned money came from Egypt.”

My readers know that I will typically walk through every aspect of a writing site, detailing procedures like applying to write for pay online, the experience one can expect once approved, and even pay frequency – iWriter breaks the mold because I don’t feel they deserve that treatment. iWriter was pretty low on my totem pole for review, as the site is extremely sparse on jobs and much like the scam Write.com seemed to perpetuate, drew newbies in with the promise of high pay that wouldn’t manifest until several months of pittance-pay grunt work had been plowed through.

Essentially, the idea is that you start off as a beginner at iWriter.com, and you aren’t able to move up to the higher ranks (premium and elite, respectively) until you’ve cleared at least 30 jobs. Beginners make about half a cent per word, which is ridiculously low; so low that I’d immediately dismiss it as a possibility for my fledgling writers. I checked the site just before writing this and the only job available to beginning English writers was a 500 word piece on Indian Real Estate that paid a whopping $2.63 and came from a client with a 53% rejection rate track record. Um, no thanks.

Normally I’d just shrug this off as a bad site and move on, but iWriter lined themselves up in my sights with an appalling email. Actually, the iWriter email wasn’t so bad, it was the stomach-turning iWriter.com SCAM it led to. Here’s a screenshot of the email, with my comments in red (click to enlarge):

"This breaks down to a whopping 2.02 cpw at the highest level available on their site.

“This breaks down to a whopping 2.02 cpw at the highest level available on their site.”

Okay, I’ll bite. A special iWriter test that I have to take to get a higher rank, maybe? Let’s find out by logging into the iWriter.com site (click image to enlarge) –

Wow. Just...wow.

Wow. Just…wow.

So this iWriter.com scam expects newbie writers to not only fork over $147 (!!!) to prove that they’re “serious” about writing, they also want three free pieces of SEO content to prove your “worth”. Any freelance writing site that engages in these scam practices needs to be crossed off your roster, period. No legitimate site will EVER make you PAY to work for them on ANY level – that’s not how employment or freelancing works, it’s actually the polar opposite of how it’s supposed to work.

iWriter.com is a scam, iWriter.com is a waste of time, and they should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for attempting to take advantage of new writers like this. Avoid iWriter.com.

Connecting With Copywriting Clients: The Message

While I mentioned taking steps towards cementing client relations in the freelance writer guide, it’s important enough that it bears repeating. As a new or aspiring copywriter, you’ll be faced with many days – weeks, at times -where work is just plain slow. Whether it’s economic or time-based in nature, open order clients periodically tighten up their requests or stop requesting projects all together until business picks up. This is often only an appearance, however, with the bulk of available work simply earmarked out of the “public” eye on work sites. If you write for money online, you can either starve through the lean times or treat every project as an opportunity to open doors. I highly recommend the latter!

The first step is to craft a brief message, roughly 2 or 3 sentences, that communicates both gratitude and professional marketing of your skills. In addition, adding in the client’s name (where available) and referencing the article(s) you’ve just finished for them personalizes your message and makes it more likely to make an impact. Here’s an example, but be sure to craft one in your own voice:

“[Client Name], thank you for giving me the opportunity to work on your [Article Subject] article. I strive to deliver 5-star level work to my clients; if you agree that I’ve provided it, please rate me accordingly. If not, please let me know how we can get this piece to 5-star status for you. Thanks again, and I hope that we can work together in the future.”

With perks such as the ability to claim more than one piece of work at once, higher pay rates, and even access to more work, getting high site ratings when you write for pay online is a vital consideration. The stress on the level-5 rating will ensure you don’t suffer low ratings due to client misunderstanding or neglect, while the mention of future collaboration will inevitably land you on some exclusive team/favorite lists within each site.

Almost every content mill site – MediaPiston, TextBroker, Interact Media – has a method for contacting the client in some fashion. With some write for money sites, a digital wall or board is available within the article writing interface, with others messages may be sent to the client’s inbox directly. Send or post your message with every piece you write; I recommend typing it out manually each time to prevent a cut-and-paste snafu that references the wrong job or client -that will send the wrong message entirely. In the event that posting or messaging options aren’t made available on the site you use to write for money online, try working your message, minus the name and article subject, directly into your profile page text.