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Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Worth of a Writer

In a perfect world, every worker would receive what he or she is worth. But as we know, the world is less than perfect, and what someone is paid isn't always equivalent to the quality of their output. Some are obscenely overcompensated while others barely get two dimes to rub together. In the real world, few writers get paid the worth of a word, let alone the sweat equity required in putting words together to tell a story, paint a scene or just provide information in a context that won't put you to sleep. There's really a misperception out there that since everyone can put pen to paper, writing isn't really that much of a skill. Well, here's to the misinformed: writing IS a skill and not everyone can do it well, no matter how articulate they are or how many degrees they hold.

For those of us trying to make a living freelancing, it is more than discouraging to see ads requesting assignments where the pay is .01 a word or less. Imagine getting $10 for a 1,000 word article. That's insulting. And more than a few ads actually offer issues in lieu of actual money for payment, sometimes citing exposure as a lure. You all know what you can do with your "exposure." Don't get me wrong, exposure is fine, but it doesn't pay the bills.

And some of these same solicitors would probably complain that they just don't have the budget to pay writers what they are worth. Well here's a word to those folks - if you can't afford to pay them, don't advertise for their services. I can't think of any other profession where someone would request that a professional work for pennies or gratis. Hell, when I was editing my ezine in the late 90s, I could barely afford rent and yet I was paying freelancers about $250 - $300 an article - and we're talking less than 500 words. I know now that I overpaid in many cases and I don't expect that type of compensation now. But there has to be a happy medium somewhere in between. Personally I feel $100 for a 1,000 word article is fair compensation, and that is with or without "exposure."

Author Harlan Ellison speaks on this subject with more eloquence than I can. I snatched the vid from The Copywriter Underground.


Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 11/25/2007 07:02:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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