Why some so-called professional content writers make me want to cry

There are times when I really could throw in the towel and say, “why on earth are writers like me trying to make a living out there producing high quality text” when people like this are around?

Are there really businesses and individuals who would pay for someone to write material for them in English, to the sort of standards this individual uses? If so, I think maybe I should retire and go grow orchids.

But surely not – surely good sense prevails … somewhere? The following is the text of an unsolicited message I received on LinkedIn recently.

Dear Sir, (How many male Suzans do you know? And there were only about 10 of us on his email list, so it’s not that he was standardizing his mailout.)

Thank you for your reply! (I hadn’t communicated with this guy. Nice try.)

I am a (Indian city)-based content writer. Besides it, I am also a graphologist and photographer. I have a plan to start my own article service. So, I am searching for some interested people who can outsource me regular article assignments.

Right now, I am a sole writer. So, after my business stands on its foot, then I will engage more writers to help me. My current rate for per word is $0.007. I can write on any subject. I am in content writing for last 6 months. I have already written more than 1,00,000 words till today. If you are interested to help me in this regard, then please contact me at (email address.)

Have a good day!

Yours,

(Name)

Should we feel sorry for him?

I’m sorry, but I think the answer is no. If you’re going to offer your services as a writer of English, then at least learn how to write it properly.

It wouldn’t be quite so awful if he was trying to get English writing assignments from fellow E2L speakers who might not object to his un-English use of the English language. But this kiddie was after international business in English writing, presumably from many people and companies for whom English is their first language, and for whom reasonably accurate English writing is paramount.

Do you think he deserves to get it, because his “per word” price is so cheap? Or should someone go “stand on his foot” and tell him to perfect his English before trying to market it as a worthwhile commodity – especially to native English speakers? Do you think he actually deserves to get little or no business from this lame marketing attempt?

Let me know …

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Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. Good rant, and I also had a communication similar through LinkedIn…. What can I add? Not much really other than he’s unlikely to make inroads into the International market.

    • What’s even more alarming, Lynn, is that he probably will get work at that pittance he charges, so spreading even more English garbage content across the internet…it’s like an infectious disease…

  2. I feel your pain, I really do!
    If it’s any consolation I recently got an email offering to show me how to write presentations including things like ‘how many words per each bullet point’.

    Setting aside that you shouldn’t be using fixed numbers of words (or even bullet points, TBH) the English made me wince.

  3. In these economic times I suspect most people like to write their own content. If I was going to pay someone to write mine for me I’d need to know it would be significantly better than anything I might write. Otherwise it’s far worse than a waste of money – it’s throwing your reputation down the drain. Very hard to reclaim it afterwards.

    • Yes, Jane, and I suspect this guy might find he gets more business by offering an editing service for people who DIY their written content. I do this and it seems to be a very useful compromise between using a potentially expensive copywriter, and going it alone and risking errors (obviously editing is less expensive than total origination.)

  4. I don’t know if you’ve ever submitted any of your work to ezine sites, Suze, but I remember being incensed when one of my articles was held back from being published because of suspected plagiarism! 🙁

    Some foreign gentleman had lifted almost word for word a similar post I had on my own site from a couple of years before and submitted it as his own!

    Lame English or nicking someone else’s? I don’t know which is worse!

  5. I do feel mildly sorry for him because he’s so obviously clueless in thinking he has something to offer as a professional writer. I seriously doubt he’s going to get any business from pitches like that.

    • Well, Mary, I suspect the only business he might get is from clients who speak and write English as badly as – or worse than – he does, and so don’t know any better. As I said to Lynn, it’s like watching the spread of an infectious disease…

  6. I get quite a few of these requests through LinkedIn too, Suze, and always politely write back asking if they know anything about cancer biology (my area of expertise). Invariably, they do not respond and I quietly remove them from my contacts after a week or two.

  7. I see so many ‘courses’ on how to be an expert in … in about a day kind of thing??? Just can’t understand why anyone would think that was ok??? Everyone seems to be an ‘expert’ these days! With the negative impact on those who are actually qualified and have a wealth of experience behind them …

    • Very true Anita … what’s particularly unfortunate is that these “experts” are causing genuine experts to be questioned now, and allowing the phony ones to make money out of unsuspecting customers. Very worrying.

  8. While I see your point, It is also important that you not paint all writers from India or other Asian (or so called non-English speaking) countries with the same brush. There are good writers and bad writers, period.

    • True, Anish. But if you’re going to offer your services as a writer in English then you should at least speak and write it perfectly, and this particular person clearly does not. That strikes me as dishonest and could exploit the innocence of potential (E2L) customers who want to promote their businesses in English and don’t realize that his English isn’t very good.

      I know that the English spoken and written in India and other countries in Asia is more formal than that used in the UK and the USA, for example, and if anything it is grammatically more correct than the slangy English westerners use! However there is a big difference between this and the inferior text my subject here appears to think is acceptable, as I’m sure you can appreciate.

  9. I was reading this feeling a bit bewildered that someone could be so ignorant or lacking in shame, then I got to the bit about how the business would soon be ‘standing on it’s foot’ and I just cracked up. I can imagine the writer now standing on one leg, still telling more…. and more…

    • I have a funny feeling, Lisa, that “standing on one’s foot” might be the literal translation of a phrase in that writer’s first language which means “standing on your own two feet” in English. TIP: never write literal translations of metaphors and other figurative speech from one language to another!

Thoughts

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