Resolution: Spot the Red Flags

Resolution: Spot the Red Flags

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Call this another resolution: This year, I’m going to spot the red flags.

21 red flags that signal bad projects, and the pitfalls they warn you of; today, in my How To column at These are those little things that make you cringe and hold your breath. “Is this going to be one of those projects?” you hear your little voice say. “Those projects that turn from ‘Wee!’ to WEEE?” (Worst editing experience ever, as Arlene Prunkl put it.)

Is this going to be one of those projects that turn from ‘Wee!’ to WEEE?

A few more came to me, but they would wreck my 21-gun-salut allusion:

22. Client refuses to remedy plagiarism, copyright violations, or libel.

23. Topic is reprehensible or might endanger lives.

24. Another editor rejected the job. Or worse, several other editors. Perhaps this is your foot in the door, and perhaps you can become their favourite saviour, but you could just as easily be in for the WEEE and every time they hear your name they will associated it with the pain of that project.

25. Client calls you by the wrong name, repeatedly. Especially wavy flag if it’s a different wrong name each time. Attention to detail, anyone? Too rushed? Doesn’t care? Who is the cheque going to be written out to? And also signals flags #5, 7, 18, and possibly 19.

Next week we’ll talk about words you can use to address the red flags. screening and other things you can do to spot those flags early on. Do the work while several of these flags flap, and I will send you for remediation.
row of red flags fluttering

Need more of a pep talk? Try this post from the Freelancer’s Union and this podcast from the International Freelancer’s Academy.

Also watch for an upcoming podcast, where I’ll look at red flags and screening for editorial clients in greater detail. And don’t forget the other resolutions; this is going to be your best year yet.

Photo by Rutger van Waveren, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

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