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editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Scruffy

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I am new to freelance writing and a friend of mine suggested E-lance which is now called Upworks. I also saw freelancer.com which wants a credit card number. I didn't give them that info, but it really makes me wonder. What job sites are legit and what sites are scams?
 

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Most of those sites are part of a race to the bottom, price-wise. I look through them to see what kind of jobs are being posted, but I don't bid there anymore. Freelancer is mainly interested in getting money from you rather than for you.
 

TheCuriousOne

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I agree with Veinglory. I used to be on both sites when I was translating, and got a few jobs from Elance, but very little from Freelancer because everyone charges the minimum fee of $30 for even the biggest jobs, and when one does things by the book and quotes the real price they would charge, they don't even get a second look. When I found more interesting and high-standard translation platforms and got enough regular clients/agencies to work for, I gave up on those. I went back on the sites a while later, more out of curiosity than anything, and Elance looked like it had turned into Freelancer v2.0. And it's not just the fact that most people undercut your prices, I think people tend to expect a lot for little payment (e.g. 20x 500-word articles about XYZ that must be entirely original for $20 - it'd take you quite some time to research and write, for a payment that represents a couple of hours at minimum wage). There was also the fact that a couple of times, I got contacted on Freelancer to edit translations that had been made, after looking into the client's history of jobs posted, by an agency that was undercutting me on every job I applied for, and they were pretty much Google translations (I can't remember what it is now, but there was a very common term that Google could never get right and it made Google translations easy to spot). At that point, I felt that I wouldn't stand much of a chance because if I went by the rather good feedback for that agency, people were obviously not really interested in accurate translations (or didn't know any better). And that lowered the standard to a standard I wasn't willing to be likened to.


It's still worth having a look and trying, because when freelancing, every platform is worth looking into and may provide job opportunities, but if you have avenues that are a better investment for your time (as in you're more likely to get picked for a job) I'd recommend you focus on those first.

For what it's worth, I think I must have registered my details with the Freelancer website, because I received a payment through it once (or maybe it was paid via Paypal, I'm not sure, it was a few years ago now) and I've never witnessed foul play. Same with Elance (that one was definitely paid via Paypal).

I can't say for freelance writing, because I was a translator, but we also had websites that weren't for all kinds of freelance jobs but for translations specifically. Those had a higher standard, payment was fairer, and it's mostly from there that I got picked up by agencies that kept me over the longer term. For some applications you had to pay to apply (something like one dollar, or you could pay for a one-year membership), for others you didn't have to, but I felt that it was money better invested than spending hours applying for jobs I was never going to get. Time is money after all.

That said, last year, in France, there was an article on a legit news site about a girl who was making a very decent wage from translations on Elance, so maybe things have changed. I haven't been on there for quite a while, so I couldn't say.
 

Scruffy

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Are there any job sites that you would suggest?
 

Angie

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In my experience, job sites in general are poor places to find quality clients. You might find a gem now and then, but you have to do a lot of searching.

I recommend looking for "real" clients on your own. Most good clients don't advertise on job boards. There are books that might help you figure out who and how to pitch - I recommend the Renegade Writer, or the Step by Step guide from Make a Living Writing. The Well-Fed Writer is good, too, if you're interested in copywriting rather than article/magazine writing.
 

Winfred

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Hi! I decided not to go through AW for beta readers for my 102,000 word novel. There is a lot of "I'll read yours if you read mine" kind of setting that's not for me. I decided it would be more expedient and know more of my reader's qualifications if I searched for a paid beta reader.

I came upon Upworks. I'm very glad to find this thread as I don't, as a writer seeking freelancer beta readers, find much when keyword searching "Upworks" at AW. I wonder why the company kept changing names. Is that a red flag? After reading this 16 month old thread it seems they changed their names from "Freelancer" to "Elance", then to presently, "Upworks Inc". Maybe since this thread was posted they changed their freelancer profile requirements. I find that the freelancers can post a kind of rating through their scores on several editor type of test results like, "Creative Writing Test - Fiction (UK version)", "US English Basic Skills Test", "US English Sentence Structure Test", "US Word Usage Test", "US English Chicago Style Editing Skills", English Vocabulary Test (US Version), "English Spelling Test US Version". It seems everyone scores well on the tests, from "1st Place" to 10% down to no lower than 30%, so maybe they are easy. They also include a "Score Out of Five" that translates the test score into a 1 through 5 rating. They also post how much money the freelancer has made so far. Some don't take any qualifying tests, or maybe just one or two tests, and I don't consider their profiles further. There are testimonials with a one through five star rating but for some reason they are anonymous. Is that a red flag? They also post how much an hour they expect to be paid.

It seems the new owners of UpWorks have tried to make it more accurate for someone like me to find a qualified freelancer. I figure that since a beta read goes more quickly than editing etc. then I could keep my cost down, still pay them fairly (not starvation "minimum wage" although I'm not a big budget person -- but fair), and have a well qualified freelancer. Maybe I'm wrong and others here can let me know about hidden tricks. It seems if I register with Upworks seeking a freelancer that I can do so for free yet haven't looked to what extent they want your private information. With the features in aiding ones decision for the best possible freelancer for their budget, is UpWorks an improvement over the past? What would the pros and cons be? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I found AuthorsXP a beta reader matching site to be a flop for me. For $30 they say they will find 3 beta readers for you and owner stated she'd find 5 for me for the same price. I paid them their fee of $30 on 12-31-16 and it is now 4-29-17 and only one reader, after two rounds of readers saying they will read soon followed by the waiting game, has done a preliminary read and likes my story very much. She kept me posted and noted present delays for medical reasons before she starts on her final crit read. Also two were nice enough to email they were just dropping out finding my story isn't for them, and another stating I needed an editor first before considering a beta reader. Most said they would read but never did it, and when I much later wrote to them they didn't respond. I try to explain things to the owner, but she only blames it all on me stating she can't get me any more, "It's been close to twenty people now." when originally she said she had something like 8,000 readers. I don't know how for $30 she can get 3 readers. In my case after 4 months it's one read for story flow with no feedback yet, a poor average, which I don't advise AuthorXP to anyone. Any leads in finding qualified paid beta readers or reputable beta readers matching site, would be much appreciated.
Kindest Regards,
Winfred
 
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cornflake

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Beta readers are, by their nature, not paid.

However, that you were paying for them (basically) and had two quit reading and one say you needed an editor before it could be read further, and what seem like others who looked but decided not to read it, I don't understand what it is you're hoping to get out of getting other people to read it at this point in time.

Beta reading is meant to be a final step for what you believe to be a highly-polished ms. If yours is not, why are you spending months looking for people to read it, and what is it you hope to get out of the process?
 

Winfred

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Hi!

No, the beta readers that quit were only taking a first look before fully committing to read. The fee is $30 for 3 readers at AuthorsXP. I don't know how they can do it at that rate. I think maybe behind the scenes they get a finder's percentage if they discover that diamond in the rough -- just my guess. I think they also like shorter novels too. I have looked at AW resource for Beta Readers which is great, but so many of them are over loaded with requests etc. After many hours of reading many pages I saw all kinds of levels of writing referred to in the AW Beta Readers sections. Before I decided to seek Beta Readers I was only going by what I gathered in time about what level one's writing should be at.

I decided to browse the internet for paid beta readers, like considering maybe UpWorks Global Inc. and AuthorsXP. My writing is not at all a first draft. The few Beta Readers I had of much earlier drafts, about two or three, none of them told me that my story was not ready for beta reading and had found very few grammar errors. A kind lady from AW just yesterday read about the first 15 pages and was very helpful in regard to my word choice and advised I bogged my story down with far too much description, a bad habit of mine. I also like far too many flashbacks (it happens that way at first in my beginning) that she pointed out and quit reading, another bad habit. I only had very few, maybe three, quasi-grammar errors. I also tend to have sentences that are too long, not grammatically incorrect, but too long. It's funny as a lady prior gradually beta read my whole novel last summer 2016 besides her 40 hr work week and life in the whirlwinds of Tokyo. She basically told me I had to slow down and give the readers a picture of things internally and externally as I didn't have enough description. I feel there are so many subjective variables, and that overall things are of one person's opinion and go by that too. My manuscript went to 113,000. On my own I put it away and reproached it and trimmed it down to my present 102,000. Her crit was of invaluable influence too. I was very grateful to all who take their precious time for me. Writing is a grand learning process. "To write is to rewrite". Seek balance.

Top of the Day!
Winfred
 
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RightHoJeeves

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In my experience, job sites in general are poor places to find quality clients. You might find a gem now and then, but you have to do a lot of searching.

I recommend looking for "real" clients on your own. Most good clients don't advertise on job boards. There are books that might help you figure out who and how to pitch - I recommend the Renegade Writer, or the Step by Step guide from Make a Living Writing. The Well-Fed Writer is good, too, if you're interested in copywriting rather than article/magazine writing.

I think UpWorks generally is pretty bad, but on a lark a few weeks ago I signed up to this Australian-based job site. A lot of Aussie freelancers hate sites like UpWork or 99designs because it's a race to the bottom, etc. But with this one, you need an Australian Business Number to write for them (which is to say you have to be Australian) and you don't bid an amount for jobs (the jobs just have a flat rate). I believe their whole pitch to clients is "UpWork etc is cheap but it's poor quality. We cost more but we're great".

I was pretty dubious about it, but I put my hand up for a job today and got it. It is beefing up 500 words of copy to 1000, and they're paying me over 400 bucks for it.

So maybe this is the beginning of more curated job sites that actively avoid the "race to the bottom" for clients who actually care about quality and are fine paying for it.
 

_lvbl

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Craigslist...? Lots of writing gigs.
 

Painter

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I personally still have an account with Textbroker and I agree with a bit of the advice here. Generally job sites and content mills usually kinda suck. In fact, I'm very picky about who I work for on textbroker for the very reason that I've run into cases where people will take my work, then reject my work so I don't get paid and then, later on, I find out that they used my work anyway. This is usually people who have a very high revision or rejection rate.

It's cool to work there if you're just starting out (or if you have financial troubles like me lol) but otherwise not the best place to really grow your career and I'm not even sure I'd say it's something you could use for the best experience either. On top of that all of these sites have the same problem for me. Too much work for too little pay. Textbroker assignments often have me doing so much research they chew up most of my day for like $3.50 for that one assignment. It's why I just sort of cashed out and moved on only going backk there every once and a while. Not to mention I hate the assignments they give me to work on and the majority of them are coming from the same person too.

I was on upwork for a while too but never managed to get a single job. At the time I assumed it was because I lacked the credentials which is why I moved onto other things. I thought maybe if I had a degree or something I could use as proof of experience I could get it all to work for me.
 

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One thing that helps in getting writing gigs is to have some writing to show, even if it's on your own blog or Website. If you have clips, post or link to them, or at least have a .pdf file you can send if they were published in print.

Content mills aren't great, and there's an awful lot of exploitation out there, but you've got to put food on the table.
 

WeaselFire

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A million years ago, in internet terms at least, I got a few programming/web page jobs through eLance. They paid poorly but I got to build my skills that way, as well as have a track record of clients. I've now been on UpWork for a while and have never gotten a nibble. For any job category. Too many people who will work for five bucks out of the Ukraine or Malaysia. For work that ranges from simply sub standard to absolute crap. I read one medical blog that used paid content where everything read like it was written by a Nigerian Prince trying to transfer his family's money out of the country.

FWIW, TextBroker is one of the worst, I'd make more money by not driving to the store for one trip than by working for them 40 hours a week for six months. AuthorsXP might be a little better, but I'm still not sure I'd trust a beta read through them.

The best way to find legitimate work for the OP is to first figure out what you're good at. You should be blogging about something already, maybe writing, old cars, canning, candle making, yurt building, squirrel recipes, raising a child, working at an animal shelter or anything else you're interested in. Use that as a way to build both a writing resume and to hone your skills for online writing or freelance work. Contact every company you have ever heard of and see if they need content written for their site. Clubs, organizations, civic groups and so on all need cheap or free help. A regular 300 word column in the local Penny Saver about household medical remedies is a great lead in to writing content for medical sites and practices.

Somebody somewhere always needs something written. If you can write it, they will often pay you for it. 20% of the work is writing, 80% is finding the client to write for.

Good luck.

Jeff
 

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