WANTED: Freelance writer (or best offer)

A fellow freelancer forwarded me a Craigslist ad the other day. I thought it might be for a pair of skis or that used barbeque I’ve been meaning to get. But it wasn’t. It was a publisher on the hunt for a freelance editor. Compensation to be decided based on the submitted quote, it said. I quickly deleted it, but then I got to wondering: Is this what the publishing world has come to that companies in search of freelance writers must resort to Craigslist?

Sure, you won’t find many big-name publishers trolling for talent in the online classifieds, but it seems some smaller players are giving it a shot.

From video game companies in search of proofreaders to content aggregators looking for cheap (or free) content, there are (apparently) freelance gigs to be had. But would anyone really want them? Some claim to pay a percentage of sales (read: never see a penny). Another called for a writer “with or without experience.” I guess that means anyone can apply. Others appeared more legit, like this one from a Montreal film studio. Very few are journalistic gigs. Most are in search of copywriters like this one purportedly from a Montreal custom-kitchen manufacturer.

But has anyone actually scored a decent-paying gig off Craigslist? Writer Rick Paulus decided to give it a shot and lived (just barely) to tell the tale in this post on The Awl. That experience was a scam.

Then I found a clue. Amidst the freelance writing gigs, I spotted an ad posted by a “Thirtysomething Media Executive” in search of a “foodie” for a “relationship job.” If this is where “media executives” are looking for their mates, I suppose it’s not surprising that they’re turning to the online classifieds for their content, too.

Here’s a word of advice: there are plenty of better places to find top-notch freelancers. Most organizations that represent freelance writers and editors will put you in touch with who you’re looking for. Both the Canadian Media Guild and Canadian Writers Group house online profiles of top freelance writers and broadcasters.

Now I’ve got to get back to Craigslist and find that barbeque.

Posted on August 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm by editor · · Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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