Why Are So Many Writers in Witness Protection?

Why are you hiding out and making it difficult to do business with you?

Shelly Fagan
2 min readAug 13, 2022


Photo by Ian Keefe on Unsplash

A few months ago, I landed a small freelance job from LinkedIn. With tens of thousands of writers on every social media platform on the planet, guess why the client chose me, and more importantly, didn’t choose you?

I wasn’t the best writer. I don’t have oodles of certifications or credentials. It wasn’t some esoteric niche that matched my skills.

The client hired me because I was the only writer who had a sample posted and responded to their request.

They received an immediate acknowledgement of their communication which included my contact information and my availability over the next few days to discuss their project.

That’s it, nothing more.

Why job ads ask for writing samples

This isn’t a one-off occurrence.

Recently, a client was looking for a work outside my skill set. As I often do, I offered to help find another writer. A long time ago, I learned that clients want you to solve their problem.

Since I have about 25,000 followers across many different platforms and most of them are writers, I thought it would be easy. Yes, it was stupid of me.

My search returned plenty of candidates, but most were rejected outright for the following reasons:

  1. No email address and only a contact form. Requiring a name, email and mobile number while providing none is sketchy as hell. I don’t give out my cell number to everyone. Why hide your email address? This is inexplicable when your website is your name — as if info@ or admin@ won’t work with CarlisleJonesWriter.com. The worst was the guy who apologized for the form and promised an immediate response and then ignored the request.
  2. You have a slick website with professional photos and zero writing samples. If you claim to be an expert on blockchain, shouldn’t you have a sample article demonstrating your writing skill on the subject? I could wax philosophical about the types of articles suitable for LinkedIn versus Twitter, and we could debate how many should be on your portfolio. I was amazed at the number of writers who didn’t post so much as a haiku anywhere. You know what my first thought is? You aren’t a writer, you have never written on the topic I need, or you are a scammer.
  3. You offer professional editing and proofreading services but have multiple grammar errors in the first paragraph of your website. I found an MFA guilty of this and didn’t bother to look deeper into their site.
  4. You write under an assumed or silly name. Do you really think a client is going to do business and send payments to FairyGodmotherEditor or BigJohnsonWords?

Y’all, get your act together. Professionals want to do business with other professionals.



Shelly Fagan

Complicated subjects made accessible. Politics, Basic Income, Philosophy. I follow back.