There is, of course, an easy way to answer that question. It involves replying to an email. There is also a hard way. I'm choosing the latter, due to my desire to fill some space and amuse myself.
I received an email today from someone calling themselves Imogen Gray. First off, nice name. With a name like that, you have to become a writer, a porn star, the editor of an underground blog about your favorite aboveground parking lot band (it's like a garage band, only you've probably never heard of it because you're old), or take on an alter-ego as a supervillain intent on destroying the world. Note: I'm going to refer to this person as a woman in the rest of this piece because it gets all awkward otherwise.
Here's the text of the email from firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject "Professional Copywriting for The Blognostifier".
Hope you had a great weekend! I'm just getting in touch to ask if you're in need of any freelance writing at The Blognostifier - if so, it'd be an honor to help out and I would love to get involved if you have any need for me.
I'm 29 have been working full-time as a professional writer and researcher for five years now; in that time there isn't a lot I haven't already covered (there are a few samples below for you to check out). Anything I send over would be written with the site's readership in mind - as long as you're happy with the resulting material, you'd be welcome to publish it as you see fit and the content will be owned by you entirely (in that I won't send it to anyone else, either before or after publication).
The good news is that I'd be able to offer my services at no charge; the only thing I would ask in return is that I'm able to include a link to a site within the article - nothing shady or unethical, just one of the professional businesses I freelance on behalf of. Otherwise I'd be happy to chat about alternative arrangements.Do let me know if you're interested, and if so I can get something written for you over the course of the next few days. Needless to say, the offer is open to any other sites you might own as well as blognostifier.
blogspot.com. I appreciate that this kind of offer is not for everyone however, so if I don't hear from you I won't trouble you again.
Some samples for your delectation:
She has a fairly good grasp of grammar and spelling. Sure, it's not exactly how I would word it, but the fact that she used the correct possessive form is practically stunning. I was beginning to feel like she knew me, that she'd actually taken the time to read my blog. And that's when my eyes got all squinty (due to suspicion instead of Asian), my eyebrow went up like it does when I'm about to question something or when My Lovely Wife steps out of the shower, and I thought "waaaaaait, something doesn't seem quite right."
I looked up her name first. If all 29 year old professional writers look like this, someone needs to update the career information that my high school guidance counselor had. In the interest of science, I perused some of these pictures hoping that I might see some action shots (of her writing something). After a solid 30 minutes of photographic research, I decided that perhaps Imogen-the-Writer was not the same person as Imogen-Who-Forgot-To-Wear-Most-Of-Her-Clothes. Sad, but true.
So I checked out the email address. That took me to another blog called Slidebar. Horror of horrors, I was not the only person to receive this email!
I was hurt and betrayed. After all, it's not often that a lingerie model with literary aspirations contacts me out of the blue. And then to find out that she has been in touch with other bloggers? Using the same pick up line? I felt dirty. I considered taking a shower, but decided to go pick up My Lovely Wife from her evening with the Brownies instead (I do it for the cookies).
Upon my return, I went right back into detective mode. I used a computer in a different room than the one My Lovely Wife was in, just in case she should look over and get the wrong idea as to why I was scrutinizing these pictures of a primarily undressed woman. There was a chance that I may have been too hasty in judging the woman in the pictures as not looking to make her living as a writer, and I felt it was my moral obligation to keep on checking to keep my prejudices in line.
Eventually, I checked out the other links that I found, including some of the ones sent in the email.
And that's when I LOL'd. I LOL'd so much, I was in danger of LOLling myself out of my chair and ROFLing.
In an article for blackpresence, which seems to be a website dedicated to profiling the experience of European Blacks (I decided I can say Blacks because it's not called colouredpresence). I skimmed through an article about Josephine Baker attributed to Imogen and the style of writing could best be described as somewhere around Junior High. For example, this is the opening line:
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of the dancer Josephine Baker in the annals of European Black History in this century.I think I started most of the essays I wrote in grade 8 the same way.
It would be impossible to say that the character of Shylock in William Shakespeare's play "The Merchant of Venice" has no redeeming qualities.Okay, I didn't actually write that in grade 8. I didn't study Merchant until Grade 10, but if I had written a paper on it back then, that's totally how I would have written it to get to my required word count. Interesting note: Imogen's article is 1062 words long. I'm willing to bet that when she did the word count, she was probably filled with a sense of a job well done for coming in over target.
But of course, back then I didn't have wikipedia. Lucky for Imogen, she does. Unluckily for Imogen, the majority of people that write entries for wikipedia aren't all journalism majors. Or English majors. Or English. It didn't take very long to determine that Imogen might be lifting a little bit from other sources and changing the words enough so it's not outright plagiarism, but not enough that it isn't.
The best part? That part about including a link in the text? She really means it. Imogen, using keywords and adwords is one thing... but this takes the cake.
So who was Josephine Baker, and how did it all begin? She was born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Carrie McDonald. Carrie had been adopted by Richard and Elvira McDonald, both of whom had worked as slaves and were of African and Native American descent. There were no 0% overdraft options in those days, and so they lived in poverty.Why, it's written so seamlessly you can hardly notice where the advertisement is!
Imogen, if you are reading this, you are absolutely welcome to submit work to me, and I will ENTHUSIASTICALLY post it on my site. I do, however, reserve the right to use the copy in whatever form I choose including, but not limited to, making fun of it in whatever capacity I deem fit.
Did you notice my use of caps lock and bold in that last paragraph? I was using that for subtle emphasis.
Happy Leap Year Day everyone!