3 Issues That May Drive Your Writer Away

Ever had difficulty finding the right writer to work with you? You’re not alone, but sometimes it’s not actually the writer’s fault. Sometimes even the most above-board clients can give writers mixed signals, resulting in a less than ideal client relationship. Look at sites like the World’s Longest Invoice and you can see why some writers run a mile. Here are some issues clients can handle to improve their relationship with writers.

3 Issues That May Drive Your Writer Away

1. Getting Writing Samples

Take the question of writing sample. As a client, you want to see what a writer can do before you make a hiring decision. There’s no problem with that, on the face of it. But many writers have been affected by unscrupulous people who ask dozens of writers for samples so they end up getting the whole job for free. It’s no wonder some writers are wary, which makes potential clients wary in turn.

To avoid this unhelpful spiral, offer writers the chance to do a paid sample of work. That way they know they will get paid and you know you will get the relationship off to a good start. Alternatively, check out writers’ portfolios and speak to the people they have worked with before to get reassurance about their credentials.

2. Paying Writers

As we’ve seen with the invoice above, the question of payment can be another red flag for both clients and writers. No client really wants to pay up front; no writer wants to wait till the end of a job for payment.

The reason? Almost every professional writer can tell you about the one that got away – the one client who got work out of them and then ended up not paying. I’ve got one of those stories myself, thanks to a formerly model client who fell down the rabbit hole after a teensy weensy drug problem and never came out again. He took $500 with him – and I never saw that money again.

That’s why many writers want a deposit before they start work as a sign of good faith. Fifty per cent is pretty standard, though some writers are happy to negotiate smaller, phased installments to work with your budget. And if you hire a writer through a third-party site, an escrow system protects both of you.

Finally, whatever arrangement you make, paying on time is the best guarantee of a good relationship with your chosen writer. A writer will accept late payment for only so long before searching for another client who can keep their part of the agreement.

3.Lack of Communication or Too Much of It

Another issue that can damage a client’s relationship with a writer is the lack of communication. Writers get a bit antsy when they can’t get hold of the client to ask crucial questions. And when that’s followed by a request to produce everything yesterday, writers can’t help feeling that they don’t have a mutually respectful relationship (which is what most professionals want). Specifying how to communicate and when you will be reachable is your part of making sure that writers can meet your deadlines.

At the other end of the scale, nitpicking on every little detail tells writers you don’t trust them, which is another warning sign. If you have done your homework, you should have hired a writer who can do the job and tell your story, so let them do what you are paying them for, so you can do other things. Micromanaging your writers won’t help either of you, and writers will soon go elsewhere.

Avoid these three trouble spots and you’re set for a mutually beneficial relationship with your writer.

Want to learn more about working with a professional writer? Check out my vision for working with clients.

This post is part of the Word Carnival. This month’s theme: Dirty Deeds and Due Diligence – what to watch out for in 2015! Check out the other articles on this link.


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