The Basics of Academic Writing and Research
Academic writing is the neglected step-child of the freelance writing industry. The entire field is thought of in a generally unflattering light, in fact, and companies that offer model paper services to clients are known as term paper mills – places that enable students to cheat on their homework. Naturally, writers who work for such companies tend to be painted with the same unfortunate brush, and so they tend to keep it quiet or else avoid such employment altogether.
However, there is another side to this story. Academic writing companies provide model papers of all kinds to students who otherwise don’t have a clue about how to write them. Yes, a small number of students may hand them in and thus are cheating; no one can work for this industry and pretend otherwise. But many students truly do use these as model papers. They need samples to guide their own work, and that’s exactly what they commission academic writers to do.
A (Very Brief) History of the Academic Writing Industry
Who came up with this idea in the first place? According to Dickerson (2007, p. 26), the first academic writing companies were started in the 1960s as brick-and-mortar establishments, and shifted to online businesses when it became more difficult to operate in physical locations. At present, there are thousands of internet-based academic writing companies in existence, all around the world, and one would be hard-pressed to find a brick-and-mortar version.
How Can I Get Started?
If you’re a freelance writer, you know this opportunity exists. Perhaps you’ve avoided it for years, believing there is something wrong with providing model papers to students. Perhaps you’ve been on the fence, and have needed a push in the right direction. Possibly this is something you’ve always wanted to do, but just haven’t known how. You’ve come to the right place.
First, make sure you have the right stuff. You need at least a BA, ideally an advanced degree, because you’re going to be doing a lot of research and need to know how. If the only thing you’ve written all your life is poetry, you might want to do some practice with papers before investing much time finding a place to work. You should also be fairly well-rounded, intellectually-speaking, because you will need to be able to write in many fields if you want to make a reasonable living as an academic writer. For example, you might have a BA in English and an MA in Psychology. If you’re also not afraid of business topics and understand educational jargon, and maintain an interest in a wide variety of topics, that’s an excellent start.
Next, be sure you have at least two or three papers to send as samples of your work. You might also want to review APA and MLA style (the Purdue University Online Writing Lab, or OWL, will become your best friend). Make sure the papers are well-written, free of fluff and filler, and cover topics that the reviewer will be able to understand.
Now you need a company or two. Your best bet is to either visit EssayDirectory.com or Google such terms as ‘custom term paper company,’ ‘model essay,’ ‘academic freelance writers,’ or ‘academic writing company.’ Systematically check out the companies that result from your search, and write down the names of those companies that appear reputable. How can you tell? Look for indicators of non-native English; examine the whole site to see how professional it is, and how well it flows from page to page; and most importantly, check out the prices, because if a page only costs ten bucks, you have to know you’re only going to see a certain percentage of that amount.
Once you have a list, you may visit EssayScam.org and see what’s been said about your selected companies, particularly by the writers who post there. Get rid of any companies that don’t fit, and send emails of inquiry to those that do. And for heaven’s sake, when you write letters of inquiry, be absolutely sure they are free of error. The last thing you want to do is present yourself as a writer with a letter that contains grammatical errors.