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Where should I look for a good writer? What do I pay? And most importantly: how do I attract the right people that will know how to address my mostly 'newbie' audience?
I believe that if you start looking around the $0.02 - 0.03 / word range, you can get some decent articles. Any cheaper and it's people writing who are not native english speakers and often the article are garbage .. and plaigerized / copied-pasted as well.
I would recommend Rentacoder and Scriptlance (haven't tried elance) if you follow your "due diligence" rules.
Tech stuff may be a bit more expensive.
Copywriters .. that's an entirely different ballgame. ($$$)
In one case when the writer delivered terrible content, they tried to negotiate and when I wouldn't deal, they wanted to cancel the project to avoid a poor feedback rating.
Another problem is a provider that farms out their work. That's a real crap shoot.