Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 21 February 2009

Hot topic: spec work

I was approached by a potential new client (an agency) a few weeks ago to rewrite a product catalogue for a client of theirs. The agency couldn’t remember where they’d got my details but understood that I am a heavyweight freelance copywriter.

It was all sounding good until they mentioned that they were approaching a number of writers and getting each to submit a copy test – a short paragraph which had to be rewritten in a specific style. And we wouldn’t be paid for it. Now, I don’t have a problem with a client getting CVs and estimates from more than one supplier – but asking those suppliers to do work for free in the hope that they’ll secure the contract is wrong.

This prompted me to write two articles for BizCommunity, which explore why this, and other forms of spec work are wrong and how I propose spec work can be avoided, as it can be hugely detrimental to the creative industry.Here are the links to my articles:

Do you ever submit work on spec? Do you think there’s value in online design competitions, where only one winner gets anything out of it? I’d love to hear your opinion.


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