Freelance Writer Wanted

November 10th, 2010 by abbe diaz



I am searching for a freelance writer to help with some research for my upcoming second book, PX Me – The Sequel to PX This (How I Became a Published Author, Got "Micro-Famous," and Married a Millionaire).
And I gotta tell ya— it’s not exactly been the easiest feat.

I thought I finally found somebody; I’d been following this recent viral/internet-meme whatever story, maybe you’ve heard of it? The one about the Apple Pie Plagiarist (faaascinating). I’d stumbled upon this one writer/blogger, and I was so impressed with how diligently he covered multiple aspects of the account that I was practically elated when I discovered he’s a writer-for-hire as well.
(I mean, if it were me covering that story for example, I probably would have simply reported that alleged plagiarist woman in East Bumheck Wherever "is a total moron" and left it at that.)

In any case, it didn’t work out. And I have neither the time, energy, nor inclination to go through all this rigmarole again an indefinite number of times. So please, read the following e-mail exchange for a precise summary of my requirements.

If, unlike the aforementioned scribe, you do not maintain such puritanical standards as wanting to write only about "recent news," and/or you possess a tad more coherence, feel free to forward your pay requirements to me at:
(Any proposals on how you think you might uniquely tackle this challenge are welcome as well.)


from: px this <>
date: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 12:58 PM
subject: Apple Pie Plagiarism and… hiring you for my wedding?

Just kidding about the wedding.

Hi Edward Champion,

To make a kinda interminable story long, I found you through the whole Apple Pie Plagiarist saga.

Okay yah, I’m being a wee bit sarcastic. Although I loved some of the comments your article elicited (as well as your article, obviously). It really rankled my nerves all right.

In any case, I was wondering what you would charge to do some light investigative reporting for me (regarding a somewhat similar situation)? I am currently writing my second book, and intend to use whatever information is discovered therein. I imagine the work would entail, at the very least, a few inquisitive phone calls and/or perhaps e-mails. I would not require a lengthy, exhaustive, profound, and/or florid literary piece, but wholeheartedly welcome your opinions/commentary as well as the answers to my burrrning questions.

Please forgive me for not taking the time to summarize my situation for you personally, but I’m just… really really tired of summarizing my situation.

A general overview of my predicament is here –>

Information about my book is here –>

The answers I’d like for you to try and find are:

1) How did the article in question (see first hyperlink please. sorry!) make it into The New York Times

2) Why exactly did former Gawker managing editor (current The Awl managing editor) Choire Sicha behave in such a manner?

3) How would Gawker (currently) justify their overall treatment of me?

4) How did the article in question come to be included in The Kings of Non-Fiction?

5) Is Coco Henson Scales really as stupid as I think she is?

I’m pretty new at this [writer-hiring stuff], so please try and bear with my bluntness. I would be happy to answer any/all questions you have.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you irrespective of your decision.

Warm regards,
abbe diaz



from: Edward Champion <>
to: px this <>
date: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 1:26 PM
subject: Re: Apple Pie Plagiarism and…hiring you for my wedding?

Thanks for your email. I’ve taken a quick look at this, and I don’t really feel that there’s much here that would warrant an intensive investigation. For one thing, this concerns events that transpired six years ago. I am more interested in recent news. Second, Choire’s Gawker post ( does contain the following proviso: "Of course, we’re a little concerned that Coco is totally without Google results. That’s a little odd, right? Suggestive of a pseudonym?" The update is reported from "a fairly reliable source," but does not necessarily negate Choire’s skepticism. Third, there isn’t any apparent evidence to suggest that the article would be placed within the New York Times due to Frank Bruni’s influence. And the specious connection between some sleazy probing or confirmation into Choire’s private life and whether that would have any bearing on his unwillingness to offer another update (when he presents himself legitimately in the clear by offering the initial skepticism) rings more of sleazy tabloid journalism than anything hard and substantial.

In short, this isn’t my line. But I do wish you the best of luck in your pursuits.

All best,




from: px this <>
to: Edward Champion <>
date: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 3:05 PM
subject: Re: Apple Pie Plagiarism and…hiring you for my wedding?

Thanks for your prompt response, Edward Champion.

However, I did just want to clarify (if by some chance you might reconsider):

1) Yes, these are events that transpired 6 years ago. However, a portion of my upcoming book is dedicated to the topics of how my diary became published and how I "Got Micro-Famous." So those events as they transpired are a necessary addition to that book.

2) Oh yes, I’m fully aware of Choire Sicha’s "proviso." I’m not questioning why he suggested/exalted the article. I’m questioning why he failed to publicly acknowledge in any way the existence of an entire book (released just weeks prior to that article) addressing the same topic as the story on his "required reading syllabus." Again, his answer is something that needs to be included in my (rather timely, if I dare say) dissertation about Publishing, Marketing, Advertising, and PR in general. (I would also require a definition of his terminology, "The People’s Hero.")
Included therein should also be Gawker’s justification of their refusal to update/retract an erroneous article they wrote about me, despite their hypothesis having been disproved by New York magazine.
(Similarly, I would like an official explanation of Gawker’s banning of my commenting privileges, despite it being contrary to their rules regarding any of their subjects.)

3) I was not asking for you to delve into Sicha’s private life. The information I seek is how, and under what circumstances, the semi-fictional article came to appear in The New York Times as a non-fictional essay and then included in The Kings of Non-Fiction. Period.

4) I would hardly have thought this required "intensive investigation." I sincerely thought it would require 2 or 3 phone calls (and/or e-mails) at best.

Frankly, I don’t see how my perfectly legitimate questions can be mistaken for "sleazy tabloid journalism."

Thank you,
-abbe diaz

p.s. I actually don’t really expect you to change your mind, so you needn’t respond if it doesn’t suit you. Thanks again.



I thought I finally found somebody… In any case, it didn’t work out. And I have neither the time, energy, nor inclination to go through all this rigmarole again an indefinite number of times. So please, read the following e-mail exchange for a precise summary of my requirements.

If, unlike the hereunder scribe, you do not possess a bizarrely fickle disposition as to accept an assignment only to be NEVER HEARD FROM AGAIN following the response to your simple inquiries, please feel free to forward your solicitation and/or examples of your work to me at:
(Any proposals on how you think you might uniquely tackle this challenge are welcome as well.)



from: Harmon Leon
date: Friday, Nov 12, 2010 at 6:15 PM
subject: Freelance Writer Wanted (NYC)
I’ve written for Esquire, Salon, Wired, Maxim, Gawker, Details, National Geographic, and a host of other fine publications. You can read my columns on the Huffington Post, at the S.F. Chronicle, and on AOL’s Asylum.
I’m also the author of 6 books.
My video/TV producing credits includes Current TV, Strike TV, Fox Family Channel, National Lampoon, FX, and VH1.
I also works with Lotus PR covering the North American/European Poker Tours and promoting My specialty is writing/web producing. Your job position sounds great. When can I start?
Harmon Leon
BLOGS: Huffington Post – ; AOL Asylum – ; SF Chronicle – ; AOL Real Estate –


from: px this
to: Harmon Leon
date: Saturday, Nov 13, 2010 at 3:41 PM
subject: Re: Freelance Writer Wanted (NYC)


Nice work, Harmon Leon.
PEA SOUP. I have no words…

But, before you start Monday, you might want to consider these things first:

– I’m offering 10 cents per word, 2000 words maximum. Bonus up to DOUBLE for any particularly substantial and/or additional pertinent information discovered.

– How do you think you might handle your inquiries to Gawker? Seeing as I pretty much expect them to: a) hang up on you if you phone, b) refuse to answer your e-mails, c) lie, and deny knowing/remembering anything about me.

– Do you actually think you can elicit information form The New York Times? It’s a serious question. I’ve never tried calling a big scary important newspaper before, do they take inquiries from random strangers off the street?

– How do you think you might handle your inquiries to The Awl managing editor Choire Sicha? Seeing as I pretty much expect him to: a) hang up on you if you phone, b) refuse to answer your e-mails, c) lie, and deny knowing/remembering anything about me.

– How difficult do you think it will be to find/contact Coco Henson Scales? And if you somehow manage that, how do you expect to determine if she is indeed as stupid as I think she is? Give her a Mensa test? Hand her a bag of M&M’s and tell her to pick out the W’s?

I knooow, it’s a lot to consider. By my calculations, an article consisting of: "They said, ‘No Comment.’" is only going to earn you about 40 cents.

I really really truly welcome any/all brilliantly bright ideas you can muster.
Crossing my fingers you got some and we can work together,

p.s. Why do all blogger journo-media whatever dudes sign off all their correspondence with "Best,"? By my personal experience, it’s such a crock of shit.
p.p.s. I have been telling people for decades not to buy into that sunscreen SPF garbage. Those bastards.



from: Harmon Leon
to: px this <>
date: Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 11:21 AM
subject: Re: Freelance Writer Wanted (NYC)
Hi Abbe-
Good to hear from you. I’m sure all of the below could be managed. What exactly are you looking
for in terms of content?


from: px this
to: Harmon Leon <>
date: Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 2:41 PM
subject: Re: Freelance Writer Wanted (NYC)

Do your best to answer my questions, but be yourself. I welcome your opinions and commentary.

What I’d like to see is you describing the process by which you attempt to garner this information, what you’re thinking while you delve into whatever background you decide you need to digest in order to tackle this stuff, your personal account while it’s all happening, and of course, the answers to all my questions as best as you can determine.
If, at any time, you pick up on anything shady [ahahahahaa *snort* ahem sorry, reflex reaction] I want to hear allll about it.

You can definitely feel free to bring the funny. But, seeing as you would be credited in the final novel, try not to be funnier than me.
Just kidding. (Since I’m just going to edit/steal anything anything of yours that’s funnier than mine anyway. Kidding again.)

I sorta anticipate that when you contact Gawker, they will blame everything that occurred on the people directly responsible, namely–

– former managing editor, Choire Sicha (currently with The Awl)

– (next) former managing editor, Gabriel Snyder (currently with Newsweek online?)

– former full-time blogger, Joshua David Stein (freelancer?)

— none of whom are currently employed by Gawker any longer. In which case, I would still like some kind of explanation as to why they think everything transpired in the way it did, as "officially" as they can muster, or whatever their justification is…

but I would also like you try and contact those three people directly.

It’s too bad you’re on the wrong coast. I would have liked to see you try to conduct the inquiries in person, at Gawker HQ, dressed in drag.

There are other things I expect they may all use as excuses for their behavior. They will be lying. So you would need to briefed on all that first, unless you have some kind of insatiable voracity for this subject— in which case, you can feel free to go wading through pages and pages and more pages of my book (I could send you a full PDF), website, and discussion board "forum," to arm yourself against their glaringly unscrupulous bullshit.

Does all this with an early February 2011 deadline sound doable?

Thank you,


Yeah, this is the point where I never heard from him again.
And please, don’t even get me started on the third writer I tried to hire, which was a long and arduous teeth-pulling nine-week process of payment negotiations and waiting while he dealt with family issues until I finally just gave up. DON’T DO THAT.



Compensation: $1000.00

All research inquiries during the execution of this job MUST BE VIDEOTAPED.
(Webcam and/or low-def OK; you MAY crop out your head/face if desired.)

ANY SUBMISSIONS ON SPEC ARE AT YOUR OWN RISK. However, I must admit that receiving a complete, exhaustive-yet-concise, well-written, humorous, qualifying essay while still in the midst of poring through an extensive list of potential candidates— wouldn’t be such a bad thing and pretty darned expedient. [i.e., If I like it, I’ll pay.]


More information is at: “re: Journalists’ Ethics”



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5 Responses to “Freelance Writer Wanted”

  1. Dick Johnson Says:


    One word of advice:

    You don’t want to hire a writer who lacks Reading Comprehension.

  2. abbe Says:


    this is what i get for wanting a “fresh objective perspective.”

  3. Inkslinger Says:


    I was just thinking that! lol

    What a weird response. Methinks he doth protest too much?

  4. MILFweed Says:

    @ DJ

    Or more generally never hire a so-called professional that doesn’t know how to be a professional.

    That response was not only unfounded it was rude. Way to turn down a gig even if you don’t want it. Sure opens the doors for any other possible job opportunities.

    Oh wait let me guess. He’s part of the pathetic and pretentious bloggers-who-wish-they-were-real-journalists Circle Jerk Club?

  5. Dick Johnson Says:

    Nice update.


    Diaz, I have one word to describe that Harmon Leon guy.


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