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How do you deal with requests for samples or examples?

The last post I found regarding this topic was from a few years ago.

As a financial writer, I always get requests to see examples and/or of my previous work, just see my writing style, which is understandable. I typically send a paragraph or two about finance or economics that I wrote just for these situations and buyers are happy with this.

But yesterday, a buyer took the cake.

He asked for several examples regarding accounting, economics and finance. I send him a paragraph from each topic (which is more than usual to begin with) and then said, his client is looking for long articles and posts that are at least 1,500 words and to send several of them as examples…

I mean, at this point, would you like me to send you everything I wrote since the 6th grade?

I told him I respect my clients copyright and Confidentiality.

What would you have done?

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If I were you I would have done same thing as you did. I can send prospective client paragraphs or portions form earlier work but it is unacceptable to send them full article.

Just do not give samples EVER.

People who ask for samples are NEVER people worth working with. They are all re-sellers looking to outsource work for their own clients. Most of the time, they don’t even want a sample from you to show a client. Instead, they want a sample that they can add as their own to their own portfolio.

If you really want to give samples, send samples as image files with a fat unmissable watermark plastered across them. You will quickly find that people asking make all kinds of excuses concerning why they need a Word document version.

Re-sellers who ask for samples are also usually as pleasant to work with as Satan himself.

Either they assume you live in a mud hut in developing part of the world where people will sell their mother for $5, or they have no ability themselves to communicate what their client wants or asses the quality of your work.

Whenever I get asked for a sample, I simply point out that I could copy and paste any article from online into a Word document and say I wrote it. In this case, asking for samples is pointless. This also works as a troublesome buyer litmus test.

A genuine buyer will think "golly, he’s right, I appreciate that honesty," and place an order for a test article.

By comparison, the average reseller will reply with "but how wud I no how gud u rite?"


Thanks for your valuable advice.

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Yeah, that send me your best 10 articles on the 10 Best Ways To Get The 10 Best screams scam to me.
Expect to see those re-posted elsewhere with another by-line.


Absolutely. I consider that like when you go to a store and ask for a sample of cheese, which is a small piece, not the whole entire block of cheese.


Just to add to what other said earlier, these kind of people are also one of those who ask for refund after they have got the work and say the client did not like it.


Thanks for your valuable advice.

Very true. I have noticed the ones that want to see work are also the ones that want revision and revision, nit picking every single thing.

You did the right thing. Only paragraph is better then sending a complete article. Sometimes scammers take your ideas and disappear. So don’t become a victim. Good luck

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I deal with them very simply - I don’t do it. I’ll send my portfolio, which shows past work I’ve done. I’ll never create something specific for that prospect.

There are exceptions to every rule, however. If Apple or Coca Cola or Nike contact me and want to spend 100k in a video and ask me for a sample, of course I’ll do it, even if just to say I worked for them once. But of course that won’t happen.

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