Doctor Joe: Agony Uncle, Cured or your money back*.
Dear Doctor Joe,
I have a feeling that my employer’s going to fire me. Not that I blame them, as I’m having a tough time. I write articles for an online marketing company. It’s in the forex niche, which is something I know almost nothing. So I’ve been working for them (freelance home-based basis) for a week, I then received a notification about them going through some development in their department. I was told not to send in any more articles through their site. It’s been 4-5 days. I emailed how long is it going to take but to no avail. I recently found out that they’re going to hire another writer. Am I being paranoid? I’ve been paid by them before, but right now the situation seems suspicious. Should i confront them?
Writing online about subjects which you have absolutely no expertise? That sounds awfully familiar. In fact I suspect that you are in the exact same field that I am in, namely the online bullshit peddling field. As you are well aware this is a tough game we are in, it can be hard to keep on making crap smell enough like roses to make them buy it. But I know a few tricks which I am going to tell you here.
Firstly; get yourself a title. Obviously ‘Doctor’ is the best one to get for sure but there a number of impressive sounding qualifications that can be acquired for a tiny amount of work and a modest fee. Your rantings will look better and command a higher fee if it is presented by A Amateur MA, B Eng, DSc, ABC, EIEIO and so on and so forth.
Secondly, learn one topic very well. You’d think to be an expert on everything you’d have to learn everything but this is far from the truth. You can in fact appear to be an expert just by directing the comments towards whatever you know. You see it with pundits and talking heads even yours truly. You can be amazed how far in-depth knowledge of the sexual practices of bottle-nosed dolphins can take you in a panel discussion of east Asian trade talks.
Thirdly, nobble the competition. You say there may be another writer starting soon. Well this is your gravy-train sunshine and you will have to defend it. The first step would be to subtly change your style to sound a little like the new guy if possible even do the same topics but different enough to avoid plagiarism charges. If you can write both like yourself and this interloper then when they are looking to cut costs they are more likely to cut loose your monotonous rival and keep you with your wide range of styles.
Fourthly, and most importantly, get something on the editors, either the company or better yet an individual high up in the decision making. It can be legal, personal, both preferably just as long as it is something that they would want hidden. You don’t then go and confront them.. no! That’s blackmail, and sloppy. What you do is hint at it in your correspondence like for completely random example inserting the words “much like a love-child with a Filipino maid” (Shut up Joe! Ed) into your cover letter. When the offending party reads it they’ll know that you know and that should smooth over acceptance and maybe even add a couple of bucks to your cheque.
I hope that is some help Amateur. If you follow the steps, and there is a little luck on your side you may even be like me and continue to hock the same old crap for years**.
The very best of luck,
*Editor’s note: Joe uses the widest and vaguest possible definition of ‘Cured’.
** But word to the wise, if you go into the Agony Uncle Business, I may have to kill you.
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