(Repost from Fiverr) So You Want to Hire a Writer - Should You ask for Samples?

So, I was lurking on the Fiverr forum and found this post.

This is really well written and I like the content, so I thought I’d repost it here for those of you who may have missed it or :eyes: that may not be familiar with the other site.

You can find the original post here (So You Want to Hire a Writer - Should You ask for Samples? )

Let me guess. You have arrived here because you are looking to hire a writer on Fiverr, but some of the people you have been messaging won’t let you see examples of their work. Why is that? Are they ignorant? Untalented? Best to be avoided?

As a freelance writer, I get a lot of people asking to see samples of my work. Whether it is on Fiverr or elsewhere, everyone wants to try before they buy. As it stands, though, I politely refuse every request. When people ask why, I then end up repeating the same information over and over. In this case, I’ve decided to summarise all of my reasons here.

This post may also help some people start shopping a little smarter on Fiverr. I say this as many people whom I refuse to give samples, return days or weeks later to order anyway.

Why this happens is simple. Potential clients go on to message other sellers who do provide writing samples. However, after placing paid orders, some then find that sellers aren’t capable of delivering the kind of quality they expect. (Despite having been rigorously vetted beforehand.)

In short, reading this post in full could help you save precious time and money. :wink:

The Best Writers on Fiverr Do Not Provide Samples - Here’s Why

If you are looking for a writer on Fiverr, you might think that it is perfectly reasonable to ask for a writing sample before placing an order. As you see it, good writers will have completed lots of orders for past clients. They should, therefore, be able to send you some examples of their recent work. Alternatively, they should be able to link you to articles published online. However, it is important to think logically.

How Do You Know Samples are Genuine?

As a writer, I work with hundreds of different clients. In no case, though, do my clients have any obligation to credit me as the author of work I produce. This is thanks to the fact that Fiverr terms and conditions stipulate that as soon as an order is complete, all rights transfer to my clients.

What this means, is that when you ask for a sample, I could copy and paste absolutely any article from the Internet into an MS Word document. I could then send this to you (or send a link), and say that I am the original author of the article in question. You will never be able to prove otherwise.

Conversely, if you were to place a test order with a seller, you would be able to verify that delivered work is genuine. All you would need to do is use a free online plagiarism checker to check delivered content. An article curated only for you, will not already be published elsewhere online. Best of all, if you were to find that a piece of content has been ripped from the Internet, you can dispute an order and get your money back.

Sellers Who Give Samples, Don’t Care about Copyright or Client Confidentiality

In the past when I have presented the above argument to potential clients, some have rubbished the idea that sellers might resort to such tactics to fulfill writing sample requests. However, many buyers open themselves up to precisely this kind of skullduggery.

  • Typically, people who want writing samples want specific samples. However, the more specific a writing sample is, the more likely it is to have been ripped from online. It is far easier, after all, for a faux writer to plagiarise an article, than it is for a decent writer to sift through thousands of past articles in delivered work folders in search of a suitable sample.

  • Seasoned writers often have negative experiences working with people who ask for samples. More often than not, people who ask for samples are professional resellers who end up presenting samples as their own to their clients. Good writers rarely give free samples to anyone for this reason. People asking for samples, therefore, start gravitating toward lower quality writers who will oblige requests. (Which defeats the objective of asking in the first place)

Most importantly of all, sellers who provide samples of work created for past clients, break copyright rules and breach client confidentiality.

Let’s say that a client pays me to write a blog post about their hair salon. Now let’s assume that a different client comes along later, asking to see samples of blog content related to the haircare and cosmetics industry.

I don’t know who this person is. Nor do I know what their real intentions are. They might take the post which by rights belongs to my former client, and reuse it in some way. If they did this and the original client found out, I could be accused of plagiarism. Worse, even if the original client did not find out, their SEO ratings might suffer as a result of their content being reused.

There is No Such Thing as a Free Sample

When potential clients on Fiverr message me to request samples, I try to explain all of the above as succinctly as possible. In response, some people suggest that in this case, I should have a blog which I can direct them to.

At face value, such a request is reasonable. What is more, I do have a blog. I also have five published books on Amazon and the Apple iBookstore. However, as already mentioned, most people who ask for writing samples want specific writing samples.

Today, a writer might get asked for a beauty blog post sample. Tomorrow, the same writer might get asked for a writing sample related to the automotive industry. Writers, therefore, find themselves in Catch22-like situations, where they need to continually create new sample content for little (if any) return on investment.

To get around the above inconvenience, writers can include caveats in gigs, which state that they reserve the right to use delivered work in their portfolio. Sadly, this can deter people from ordering. From a data privacy perspective, all such articles would also need to have references to client brands and businesses redacted, before being provided to anyone else as samples.

In short, there is no such thing as a free writing sample. Good writers know this. They will, therefore, often invite new clients to place test orders. This way, writers don’t risk their professional integrity. At the same time, they can dedicate more time to already underway projects from paying customers.

But How Can I Asses the Quality of a Writer if I Can’t See Samples?

When I politely decline to offer free samples to prospective clients, I inevitably get the same response. A potential buyer will seem shocked. Often, they will also make some sarcastic comment along the lines of, "there are thousands of writers on Fiverr, your loss."

The question you need to ask yourself, though, is would you be happy with someone redistributing work you pay for to other people without a second thought?

As it stands, no purchase made online or in the real world is ever without risk. On Fiverr, you can mitigate risks involved with purchases by looking at seller reviews. You can also send sellers a message to ask if they would be happy to work on your project. Asking sellers for samples might seem like a logical way to reduce risk further. In reality, though, things simply aren’t as black and white as that.