August 07, 2013

How Much Would You Write For? By Angela Hoy | printable version

Last week, I featured a tense exchange I had with an editor who was low-balling writers.

Way back in 2007, I published an article titled How Much Would You Write For? I am re-running the article below, along with another call for responses from readers. Now, six long years later, how much would YOU write for? Please send your responses to me here at: angela@writersweekly.com

You can read responses to the 2007 article HERE.

Below is the original article, with some updated comments by me -

How Much Would You Write For?

There has been a lot of controversy lately (isn't there always?) about the crappy writing jobs posted online by people who will only pay around a buck or two for an article or blog posting. We've also been getting complaints about writers getting writing jobs, and then subbing those jobs out to other writers, unbeknownst to the publishers, for only a buck or two. It seems there is an increasing number of fast-food type writing jobs and, disturbingly, there seems to be no shortage of so-called writers who are willing to write for pennies on the hour.

Recently, I ran a link to a job that paid $9 per hour. I received a pretty scathing email from a reader. Here's what she said:

Why do you denigrate our profession by including low-paying gigs in your listings? My note was prompted by a $9/hour listing. It's hard enough to earn a living by providing creative services; giving these (individuals) publicity only encourages them to hold their fees at minimum-wage levels.

I appreciate (in every sense of the word) that you provide a free service, but you do us all a disservice by not discriminating against these bottom-feeders.

And here was my response:

While I agree $9/hour isn't anything to shout about, there are many people working for minimum wage (or lower, if they actually track their hours when working on a flat-fee basis) that would be very happy to earn $9/hour. In our town, $9 per hour would be a welcome wage as this is a low-income part of the country (our minimum wage is currently $7.79/hour in our new town - it was $6.50 where we lived when this article was first published). Many people are working really crappy jobs for minimum wage here and would warmly welcome a $9/hour, home-based job. But, the cost of living is lower here, too. In New York City, $9 can't even buy you parking while, here, you can buy yourself dinner for $9. So, you really have to consider the circumstances of the individual writer and their geographic location, as well as the work involved.

A job paying $9/hour at 40 hours a week means $1440/month. I don't run those $2 per blog post ads or those 1 cent per job listings, but $9/hour is an acceptable wage for many.

The reader never responded.

NOTE: We rarely see $9/hour job listings anymore. The ones we usually see now are $10/hour so that's what I'm using for the questions below.

So, readers, what would YOU write for? Is a steady, home-based gig paying $10 an hour something you would accept? What do you estimate you are currently earning per hour on your writing jobs? How much would you like to earn? We're also curious how the economy has affected your writing income over the past few years. I'll run your comments, anonymously of course, right here next week. Here's my email again: angela-at-writersweekly.com

Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print of Self Publishing, BookLocker.com is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."

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