Oh people, people, people.
Yes, I should have known better. Of course, I’ve been at this for a good while, read all the blogs about how to conduct business, etc. etc. Consider myself a reasonably bright person, up front in all my dealings, and figure I’ll get back what I give, right?
Not so much.
I will plead a certain distraction the past couple of weeks, what with surgery, financial and family stress up the wahoo, a grandson in the hospital (who has since recovered completely after scaring the beejeebuz out of his fan base, little buggah) and Momma’s anniversary. I will freely admit I haven’t been as sharp as I should have been, but I’ll also state right here this is all my own fault for not doing the proper research before accepting an assignment.
I troll for work constantly. It’s one of my least favorite things to do as a freelancer, but it’s necessary. No matter how many eggs you have in the basket, you must always be on the prowl. Right now the basket is eggless, so that adds a certain urgency. Fortunately for me, I have a small network of friends in the same boat, and we share links when we find them. It’s up to the individual writer to research them, of course, and if there’s anything hinky, we pass that along as well.
Let me pass this along to you, my poppets.
I received a link that looked promising. Sent my info, and heard back right away. The Person In Charge wanted to know if I could take on an urgent editing project for an E-book with a 24 hour deadline. The fee was nominal, but at this point, I need the work. I took a look at the material, and it looked as if four other people had their fingers in the pie. Since my slate was open, I decided to go for it and neglected to do any research on the company in question. DON’T DO THIS. EVER.
I signed a writer’s agreement (which was mostly about Non-Disclosure about the material) and set to work. I was in constant contact with the PIC, who was very antsy about getting this project completed on time. I know how it feels to have your balls against the wall, so I was cooperative. It’s my job — my nature.
So, I finished the work on the actual material, six hours ahead of deadline, and had some questions about the TOC (Table Of Contents). I was up front from the beginning that formatting is not my strong suit, but this I could handle if a couple of questions were answered. I emailed the completed material, and asked questions about the TOC. No answer.
Finally, three hours later, I received an email that said the PIC had been out of the office on client meetings, but she would review everything and get back to me. By the way, could I take on another project in the meantime?
I review the instructions for the new project, and decided it wasn’t worth the money and not really my bag. I respectfully declined the project. (Probably the smartest thing I’ve done in this whole clusterfark.)
Uh. That was four days ago.
On day Two, I sent an invoice via PayPal and said, since I haven’t heard back, I’m assuming the work was satisfactory and I’ve taken the liberty of sending you an invoice, thank you and keep me in mind for future projects.
Sent a reminder invoice.
Sent a friendly email, and — you guessed it — no response.
At this point, I figured I made a really big mistake, and I have only myself to blame. NOW I do the research, because better late than never, right?
Writershire.com does come up in the search engines, but the only listing besides their own was a posting on the Absolute Write’s message board from 2005. The comments are not complimentary, but no overt scam was documented.
Whois shows their IP address as listed in Los Angeles, and their website is listed as inactive. Their working address, according to the paperwork I received, is in Delaware. Weird.
Their website is an out-of-the-box WordPress site. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — mine is too, until I hit the Big Time and can afford a designer. But for a company billing itself as a professional writing service, this is a little odd.
At any rate, I’ve been screwed like a pooch. But I ain’t mad. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
Moral of the story: No matter how much you may need the gig, if it smells like dead fish, it’s most likely a dead fish. Do your research, my lovelies. It’s not the first time I’ve given people the benefit of the doubt and have had to eat that dead fish, and it probably won’t be the last. However, I plan on evening the odds in my favor in the future.
Research your prospective employer.
Require a deposit up front before any work is begun.
Dead fish doesn’t taste any better with a dose of bitter lemon, trust me. You can cover your ass all you want, but there will be times you’ll just have to eat it. Learn and move on. Spread the word.
My word is: beware of Writershire.com.
Just received an email from the PIC. They don’t work Sundays, and their client just got back to them today with revisions that need to be done. They will be sending them to me within the hour. The fact that today is Tuesday has escaped them. Still no answers to the questions regarding the TOC.
I’ll keep you posted.
Short form: I didn’t hear back within the hour. Four hours later, I received an email with a request for a revision. It wasn’t a revision, it was a request to write new material for three sub-categories. Since I was hired to edit and no mention of writing new material was included in the original instructions, I respectfully declined.
No other contact has been made, and no payment has been made.
Again – beware Writershire.com.
Oh, you thought it was The End? So did I. Boy, were we wrong. Check out what happened next.