Letters To The Editor For July 12th

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Pay Writers A Pittance

Dear Angela,

Star Lawrence’s article, Best Place to See Your Byline? On a Check! (June 28) hit home, but the story doesn’t stop at slave labor, a.k.a. no-pay “markets.” I’m equally dismayed by those who think it’s okay to pay writers a pittance…and by the writers who sell their stuff for chump change.

I subscribe to a lot of market ezines and am registered at most of the bid-for-work web sites…and lately I find virtually nothing of any value. Everyone knows that writing is legitimate, hard, creative work, but when you see the pay rates offered by some publications ($10-15 for an article, for example — yikes!), you’d think we could all subsist off of personal satisfaction or a wealthy spouse. Indeed, that must be the case. because on the auction-off-your-sweat-equity sites, people with many years of experience are offering to create entire websites for $100…and on Craig’s list, companies scouting for seasoned marketing writers are offering princely sums of $10-12 per hour. We could sneer that the cheapskates get what they pay for, but sadly, many talented professionals are selling their wares at these ridiculous rates.

I’m not exactly raking in the bucks with my writing–and no, I don’t have a trust fund, a wealthy partner or a reliable “day job”–but I can no longer bring myself to slave over a hot word processor for a measly handout. Those who do merely perpetuate the belief that writers are not professionals and that we don’t deserve to earn a living wage.

Carol L. Skolnick

Flat Fee vs. Hourly Rate

The hourly rate/flat fee argument is a constant one and clients prefer a flat fee which one can often quote or, if not, a maximum fee. But when doing this, specify the number of revisions it covers. I usually specify two. If I do a good job it means that the client can only ask for extra material to be included or for me to fix his or my oops caused by misunderstanding something. After than any revisions are definitely charged by the hour. This discourages a client from letting everyone in the company read and comment on the copy, adding bits, or worse, changing the grammar, usually wrongly.

Anne

Freelance Work Exchange

Good day, Angela!

I’ve been catching up on whispers and warnings and saw the bit about FWE. I specifically want to make a helpful comment to the writer, who was finally paid.

The writer stated the following:

“*RESPONSE FROM OUR FREELANCER:* Wanna hear something funny? He sent me an international money order for $25 and it costs $15 to cash it! I can’t win!”

My husband has family around the world. For our wedding, we received a check from relatives in Canada. We ran into the same problem as your reader – it would have cost us more to cash it than the gift was worth. So we never cashed it.

When I began querying international markets, I called around to some local banks. I found out Wells Fargo works regularly with international currency. They told me so long as I have an account with them, I can deposit foreign checks, currency, etc. for no fee. I have since moved my professional account to their institution.

While the writer may not have this bank available in their area, I would recommend picking a larger national bank that processes foreign currency regularly.

Regards,
Anna Matetic