At some point in your freelance career, you will experience the following scenario: you are hired as a blog ghostwriter, and the client gives you free reign to create a piece that will attract readers and foster trust. You put your all into it, submit it and receive glowing praise from your client. A few weeks later you find your piece on the client’s blog and to your amazement, that perfectly crafted piece has been completely butchered. You have been re-edited.
After you pick up your jaw from the floor and take a closer look, you may even find grammar mistakes and syntax errors that are enough to make the polished writer’s head spin. As hard as it is to see your stunning piece of prose turned into a heap of split infinitives and dangling modifiers, how can you address this without losing your professional edge? Here are some suggestions.
1. Ignore it
Yep, that’s right. Sometimes, the best thing to do is ignore it. You were paid for the piece, and the rights to it, so take your money and run. If your name is not attached to the piece, and as a blog ghostwriter chances are it isn’t, you can simply walk away. The client chose to put his reputation on the line by adding to or taking from the piece you already wrote, and inserting those errors, so grit your teeth and leave it alone.
2. Ask for your name to be removed
If your name is attached to the piece, it’s not just your client’s reputation on the line – it’s also yours. In this case you may need to ask for your name to be removed. To do so professionally, you could say something like this, “I noticed you made some changes to the piece I wrote for you. Since these changes have altered the voice of the piece, would you kindly remove my name from it?
3. Reach out to the client
“The customer is always right” may be the mantra of retail businesses, but when it comes to writing, there is a reason your client hired you. Chances are he couldn’t tell a run-on from a fragment, and he likely doesn’t want an error-ridden piece that looks like something out of seventh grade English class on his blog either. If you have an amicable relationship with the client, reach out and suggest a few edits. You may not have a difficult client that you cannot please in this situation. You might simply be working with the type of client who is not totally sure what he wants.
In the end, you will have to decide how crucial it is for the piece to be fixed. Weigh your relationship with the client, consider whether the work has your name on it and determine if you are better off just walking away. Make the right decision, and you will likely see more work come your way from your highly satisfied, albeit somewhat grammatically challenged client.
Nicole H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.