How NOT to Promote Your Services — I got a bizarre e-mail today from a self-proclaimed just-starting-out writer who pulled what I feel is an unacceptable move by titling his message as though he were interested in hiring me, but actually pimping his own services.

Excerpt from the message:

I am a copywriter who is just getting started. I am looking for more established writers that may be in need of a little extra help from time to time. I came across your site and wanted to see if I could be of service to you.

I have a degree in Print Journalism and a handful of samples that are available upon request. You will read on my bio/resume that my background encompasses many different areas. I have never struggled with any writing assignment and I am sure that you would be pleased with my work.

What followed was what I think was supposed to be some sort of resume that actually was more of a pointless rambling about his rockstar aspirations and did absolutely nothing to convince me that this person was worth a second thought.

So here are some tips:

  1. When you’re soliciting work, say that up front. Don’t pretend like you’re trying to help me out when really you’re just using me. I might not do it, but at least I’ll respect your honesty.
  2. Use correct punctuation. Seriously. Run-on sentences lacking basic elements of correct usage of those pesky little squiggles and specks we know as commas and periods are not exactly confidence inspiring.
  3. Stay on topic. It’s not cute or funny or otherwise endearing when you give me way too much personal information that has nothing to do with the [self-serving] reason you’re contacting me.

If you really want my help, this is how to do it:

Dear Kristen,

I’m a freelancer just starting out and I recently came across your site/blog. I would love the opportunity to learn from someone who’s already working in the field, and I wanted to see if you ever have any overflow work that I could help out with to get some more solid skills. Like I said, I don’t have a lot of experience, but I’m eager to learn. Attached is my resume, and here are links to some samples of my work. Please let me know if there’s anything I can help out with. I’d really appreciate any guidance you can offer.


Writer Who Knows How to Be Professional

I wish I could say that that message appeared in my inbox, but alas, I had to make it up because apparently none of the wannabe writers out there — at least the ones who’ve contacted me — have any manners or sense of professionalism. Shame… I’m not big on outsourcing, but that doesn’t mean I’d rule out an internship arrangement. And if that doesn’t work for you, my coaching services start at $100/hour in pre-paid blocks or $125/hour a la carte.

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

4 comments… add one
  • Amber Oct 31, 2007

    I get this kind of thing a lot too, and I find it so frustrating. How these people expect to get a writing job when they can barely even communicate is beyond me…

  • Star Nov 3, 2007

    I am not sure I would think someone wanting to help me to GET more solid skills was a helpful as someone who HAD solid skills…Am I missing something?

  • admin Nov 11, 2007

    No, Star, I don’t think you’re missing anything.

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