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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 12-11-2014, 04:43 PM
HWMM's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 266

I don't like doing free samples either, but I did one for Consumer Search years ago and that turned into a four year job paying $350+ per report. Right now I am getting samples ready for a well-known company that pays $100 per short article. Although they want links to a few published articles, they also want a few unpublished samples as well. I realized that this is a way to see my writing before an editor gets hold of it. With published articles, a potential client has no way of knowing if your work was lightly or heavily edited. A fresh sample tells the client how good a writer you are before editing and revisions.

If a client has steady work paying over $100 an article, I don't mind doing free samples. However, I won't waste my time doing this for low paying jobs. In 10 years of freelancing, I have never been scammed because I stick with established companies and individuals who, on occasion, may request a free sample. So far, I have never regretted doing a free sample.

Last edited by HWMM; 12-11-2014 at 04:47 PM.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 12-19-2014, 10:41 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 2

In the beginning when I did not have any former work, I did writing samples. However, now that I have a portfolio to show my work, I do not do free samples. Most good clients, however, offer to pay for them.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 12-20-2014, 08:51 AM
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The difference, writermomtomax, is that you aren't going to do anything during that interview the prospective employer can turn around and make money from.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2014, 03:15 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 13
Thumbs up Thanks!

I applied for a writing job, and so far they haven't asked for a writing sample. I don't have any samples, because they were all on my other computer which fried on me. Thanks for the advice. I was wondering what to do if the prospective employer asked for one. Now I know not to supply a writing sample unless I get paid for it.

Last edited by [email protected]; 12-23-2014 at 03:17 PM. Reason: to follow advice of forum writer
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 12-24-2014, 07:01 AM
beanandpumpkin's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,809

Pauli, if you already have samples written, then those are fine to submit. Most places will want to see writing samples. The question is more about whether prospective clients want you to write a new, unpublished sample on a specific topic, usually one geared toward their industry.

You'll probably need some type of samples to submit. Many writers put up a blog or website with several samples in different categories, then they refer potential clients to that page.
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 12-29-2014, 01:51 PM
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Location: Upstate, South Carolina
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Usually, I don't do samples.

Occasionally, though, I will for shorter pieces. For instance, it seems to be pretty common for catalogs and eCommerce type gigs to require a short write-up to show you understand the products. Since there are so many products out there, and since I am often contacted about new products, I will write one or two descriptions of about 100 words each to make sure I have a handle on the specs. Most clients don't ask anymore, since I've done so much of that type of work.

I never do articles, though. Those take too much time and effort. And if the products in question are highly technical, I only do paid samples. It has to be something where I can really look at a picture and list of features and write something up really quickly for me to do it free.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 12-30-2014, 05:20 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 658

I've learned the hard way that you DO NOT want to write free samples. Most of the folks who request them aren't genuinely interested in working with you long term, but just want to scam you. The folks who are really professional would pay you for all your writing and would not request free samples.

They are of course exceptions to this. If you can verify a site is legit, you may consider writing in that specific instance, but those are few and far between. In general, you would not want to write free samples.

Last edited by Lori786; 12-30-2014 at 05:23 AM.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 01-02-2015, 10:15 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,129

Unfortunately, many requests for free samples on Craigslist are scams.

Here are several common scams...

Requesting you join a review site and write a sample so they get a feel for your reviews.
In this scenario they get an affiliate commission when you sign up plus they keep your review.

Requesting free samples of specific topics and not paying for the articles but using them.
You can Google part of your article and find it online and unpaid for.

Sadly many blackhatters boast about using these techniques to get free work.

To protect yourself...no new free samples on Craigslist. Just provide samples of work you have previously done.

Collect at least partial payment upfront.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 01-05-2015, 12:46 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 12

Thanks for the replies everyone. And @ WAHMBrenda -- posting the samples to your website instead of submitting them directly is an excellent idea. If the request happens to be a scam, at least the scammer will think the sample is already in use somewhere, so (hopefully) they'll be less likely to swipe it.

Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I don't have any samples, because they were all on my other computer which fried on me.
Get into Google drive (if you haven't already). I learned the same hard lesson you did, and now I keep everything in the cloud.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2015, 10:04 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Arizona
Posts: 23

Completely agree. There is absolutely no way I would write a "Free" sample article. If they are legit, they'll be willing to take the risk. Anyone who is willing to pay long-term won't try that.

My guess is that they're just trying to build a site from all the "Free samples".
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sample articles, scam awareness

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