These are posts in which I discuss old writing jobs of mine. The name “SEO” is a bit misleading, as I’m mainly talking about content marketing, or writing internet content for people. Sometimes I have books and editing work too, so that’s discussed.
I want to be clear – I’ve worked for hundreds of people and most of them are great. It’s the few ‘interesting’ ones that you tend to remember. Those are usually the ones where you don’t get paid, or don’t get paid everything you should. I have no qualms about discussing those projects, and have done so before.
Wow, right away there was a real humdinger! Let’s not waste anymore time, and just get right on into it, huh?
The Candida Book
Candida is a kind of yeast fungus that can cause problems in the body. It often causes thrush in the mouth, and if you’re doing a lot of drugs and engaging in a lot of unprotected sex, it could spread into a form that’s like an STD.
That was the kind a guy in Thailand wanted me to write about. See, he’d lived that kind of life for many years, came down with Candida, and then decided to clean his act up. He somehow got into the business of selling body cleansing products and other ‘gimmicks’ to get people back in shape.
Now, I’d like to make it clear right from the get-go that I was only paid for half of this job, and that’s because the employer was not happy with my work. Actually, I think it’s because they were not a happy person, which having a terrible infection like Candida might cause. In also can’t help but think that dealing with me caused him an outbreak.
Nonetheless, I did the work. It was an editing job for a book he already had, one with lots of images and everything else. It was a pretty good book, with good ideas and helpful tips. If you had Candida, it would interest you.
So that’s why I took the job on – it had potential. I knew that this book would help him sell his products while also giving quality information to his target audience.
Unfortunately, the book was a mess when it came to the writing. I had to go through it line by line and change all kinds of stuff. Mostly this is grammar, and changing past tense to progressive tense, or turning long run on sentences into shorter sentences, often by taking out ‘and’ or ‘but’ and adding a period. It’s stuff you notice easily when you do this a lot. The thing is, sometimes people that don’t write don’t think that this is correct, or that you’re doing anything. This is even when you have red text in your document, called Track Changes, to make things clear.
The guy of course had his edited book, and he could put that on Amazon. He said he needed more editing, though I don’t remember him ever posting another project – at that point, freelancers were notified when previous employers posted new projects.
Alas, I lost out, and perhaps I was partly to blame. If you can’t get paid for work done, you should at least learn from it. Smile and nod and tell them what they want to hear, even if it’ll cost them sales or hurt them down the road. That’s the lesson I learned with jobs like this and others. Lie to them, especially when that’s what they want to hear. When you get paid, then you can tell them what you really think. I find at that point you just want to be done with them and never talk to them again.
Hey, the alternative is what I did on this job – telling the employer what I thought so they’d have a good product, and then suffering the consequences because of it.
The African Airplane Guy
He was from the US…at least that’s what his profile said. Every user on freelancer.com has a little flag next to their profile image, so people know what country they’re in. Sometimes people get around this with VPNs or other tricky devices. Other times the person is really in that country, but a foreigner.
That was the case with this guy – he was from Nigeria or someplace and working in America trying to buy used airplanes so he could ship them back to Africa to sell at a profit.
Yeah, kind of weird, but he was paying and knew what he wanted, and that was a short newsletter-type piece of content. I went ahead and wrote that up for him, but then something went wrong. I honestly cannot remember what happened on this job, but the person said the work was not what they wanted and refused to pay me.
Maybe they’re good at business, if ‘good at business’ is trying to find everything wrong with something so that you don’t have to pay. Oftentimes there won’t be anything wrong, but gosh darn, that won’t save you money, now will it?
So that’s what happened with this job – the guy said the content was not good and refused to pay me. There was little I could do at that point but get into a dispute, which I again lost. Anytime an employer claims there’s a problem, you as a freelancer get fucked. That’s just how it goes when there’s a middleman involved, one dependent upon keeping up a façade for other would-be employers.
The Drinking Game Book
That was the idea one enterprising your college student had, and he had a project posted for just that – a book on Asshole. Now, if you’re not familiar with Asshole, I suggest you talk with a young person. They’ll know what it is, and that’s a game you play to drink more with the aim of getting laid. Or drunk, or maybe sick as shit and passed out in the stairwell.
That’s what happens a lot of the time when you play this, and I immediately knew that this book was a good idea. I took it on – it was just editing and cleaning up previously written articles the author had taken from the internet, changing them in such a way that they were ‘original’ – and I’m glad I did.
Yeah, this guy paid me. But I have to say…I was mighty unfulfilled with this job. The reason was that it never got done.
Remember when I said that it’s best to just say, “alright, whatever you want,” and not argue? That’s what I did, and I went ahead and gave them the cover they wanted. Then I tried like hell to get this person to open up their Amazon account so I could upload this book. I wanted to get it to market in time for the next semester, so college kids could buy it on their Kindle, and maybe later iPads…if the person would ever open that account.
No accounts were ever opened and the book never got loaded up. I was disappointed, because aside from getting paid, I like to get things done. This job did not get done…
…until a year later. Yeah, the guy contacted me out of the blue about a year later asking if I’d help him finally get the book up on Amazon. I was happy to – he was paying me more, after all – and we got it up there.
So this job was a success, in many ways, even though we did lose out on a year’s worth of sales. Hey, I got paid, and I had a good attitude which resulted in more work later on. That’s how most of my jobs go, and it’s why I’ve been able to call myself a professional writer for more than two years now.
Well, there was one more, but that guy threatened to sue me, never did, but made it a point that we’d had a confidentiality agreement, so I won’t write about that one.
Like I said, it’s been awhile since the last of these posts, but hopefully it won’t be too long before another. After all, we’re only up to mid-summer, 2014 – there’s a lot still to ‘bitch’ about.