Craigslist ad for freelance gig from hell

February 17th, 2008

Who would answer this (sadly, quite real) Craiglist ad? WHO?

I need a ghost writer, someone to help me finish some stories and make them presentable to be published, I can’t pay for the time and effort, but an willing to give credit where credit is due. I currently have 5 stories, and you can choose which one(s) you want to work on. These are typed out COPIES, I have the originals and will keep them, looking for someone that will not tamper with the original idea, but add to the story to make publishable. I have all the ideas, just no time or patients for details, but it’s all in my head. Please let me know if your interested.

In other words, “Hi, I want to be a published writer, but I don’t want to write. Or learn how to spell. But trust me, I have the chops. It’s all in my head. I just don’t have time to type, or use my brain, or open a dictionary. And you should help me. For free. Because I said so.”

What this person doesn’t realize is that if a writer needs to do a couple freebies to beef up her skimpy portfolio, she’s going to write and publish her own dang articles (say for a cool indie women’s mag, or the newsletter of the women’s shelter down the street), not waste her time with this nonsense. Ads like this do a huge disservice to paid ghostwriting gigs offered by credible authors, business executives, and book publishers.

Promise me you will never answer such an ad. I’d sooner advise you to answer a listing on Craig’s like this.

(This rant made possible by my dear friend Diane, who sent me the CL ad in question.)

Entry Filed under: Coffee break,Overworked and underpaid,This freelance life

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dan  |  February 18th, 2008 at 12:23 am

    My favorite line: “It’ll be great exposure for you!”

    Right. Because nothing is more valuable than being associated with some no-name cheapskate begging for freebies on Craigslist.

    It’s one thing to volunteer your skills for a worthy cause, but I am really disgusted by the number of people who want to use my creative services for free in order to make money for them.

  • 2. Mir  |  February 18th, 2008 at 8:01 am

    You DO read the Craigslist Curmudgeon, right? All of the most ridiculous, demeaning jobs for writers you could ever want, right there in one place. ;)

  • 3. Michelle Goodman  |  February 18th, 2008 at 8:34 am

    oooh! i do now. i knew such ads were a dime a dozen (er, make that $.00 a dozen). i’ve even had clients, interview subjects for newspaper/magazine articles, and all sorts of people in my everyday life ask me to “ghostwrite” their novels/memoirs (usually for free). but to have a blog devoted to outing such “assery” is divine. thanks, mir.

  • 4. Star  |  February 18th, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Craigslist Curmudgeon is great. We post a Wrong of the Week on Writer’s Catablog. Come visit.


    Star Lawrence
    Our spokesdog Scribbles also blogs.
    We tried to stop him, but he is–in truth–poorly trained.

  • 5. Michelle Goodman  |  February 18th, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Star, I love your site(s) and have sent to a couple writer pals! FUN! Thanks for getting in touch.

  • 6. Diae Gordon  |  April 27th, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    What do you bet that somebody responded to this ad? And you get what you pay for! My fave part is saying he doesn’t have the “patients” to finish.

  • 7. The Anti 9-to-5 Guide &ra&hellip  |  April 6th, 2009 at 10:53 am

    [...] yourself. “Not writers, web designers, and software programmers.” But I beg to differ. (Seen Craigslist lately?¬†Or those useless “paid in promotion” — aka, PIE — [...]

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Who I am

Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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