Archive for the ‘Selling Articles Online’ Category

How Can I Tell if Comments are Spam?

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

I’ve got to admit, some spam comments are terribly creative, yet may target freelance writers and lead them astray.

Spam Definition Magnifier by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos~net

I was emptying my spam folder today, when a few comments made stop and scratch my head. Were they real? From readers who had actually visited my site, read the articles, and thought about them? I wondered, ‘How can I tell if comments are spam?

Some spam comments are cleverly written. They incorporate  (via computers, of course) key phrases found in my articles or in my post titles.

These pseudo-cyber-comments flatter me. Sometimes I like to pretend they are real, although when I’m called Sir, that to me is a dead giveaway that they aren’t. (Except that Laurie IS a male name in England. Hmm.)

Anyway, the following comment nearly tripped me up. It offered a resource for writers, so I thought I’d check it out. I do like to pass on good resources (although do know that the pay level referred to in this comment is measly for professional writers):

 “You’re an English major, right? I have always enjoyed your creative discussions… your style really reminds me of mine, all the way down to your transitions and readability. I am a free lance author and have had excellent success using this agent (insert name of website offering work for hire for writers) I am bringing in $50 – $75 writing articles …”

WordPress had put this in my spam folder, but out of curiosity  I Google-searched two sentences from this comment, encased in quote marks. Sure enough, an identical comment was on another site–for pregnant women.

This brought to mind that many writers would love a quick fix to get their words in print–anywhere-and may not mind earning peanuts to do so.  Some online sites do offer that (while also probably keeping all the rights to your writing). But fake (yet  sincere-looking) comments on author sites sure don’t make me trust any site those comments link to.

Instead, I always recommend that those of you who are serious about writing for publication and payment take time to learn your craft.  On this site you can explore Laurie’s Lessons (best if  read in order) to get you started. Learn to write well for magazines, and an article can earn you ten times what that spam comment suggested–and you keep the rights, meaning you can resell that article again.

Want to be sure your own legitimate comments are actually posted on sites, including this one? Praise is lovely, but avoid generic comments. Add to the conversation. I myself love genuine comments from real live people–so feel free to ask any questions you like related to magazine article writing or offer resources that nurture writers.


Laurie Winslow Sargent is the author of two nonfiction parenting books published by Tyndale House Publishers:The Power of Parent-Child Play, and Delight in Your Child’s Design and contributor to eight additional books, published by ZondervanMultnomah, HCI (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and others. (To see books Laurie has written/contributed to, click HERE.) Laurie has also enjoyed publication in 28 magazines, with circulations of  up to one million readers. Content on this site is based on her Sell Your Nonfiction workshops presented in workshops for writers.

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