Monday, September 21, 2009

Low-pay, no-pay, cue the screaming

Angela Hoy is a book publisher and long-time advocate for writers. If you fancy the idea of segueing to freelance writing, read her site first…

Recently, she helpfully broke out some especially misleading code so-called “employers” of writers like to drop into ads. I just added a few comments.

“Paid per post.” This means the rate “per word” is so low, they know posting it will scare writers away. Those posts? Can be 600 words—and may pay $1 to $5. Yes, dollars, U.S., dollars, one US dollar…for intellectual property.You read it right.

“Looking for college student.” This means insultingly low pay. For some reason, the assumption is college students are mouth-breathing chumps. The same goes for Work-At-Home-Moms--they don't use currency, apparently, in the course of their domestic life.

“Percentage of gross sales.” You will never get your hands on our financials.

"No pay—-build your portfolio" or.."web exposure is high." If the exposure was so high, they’d have money to pay. Second, . . if someone does see your byline, they will think: “Cheap labor.”

“To see if you are a fit, send us a 500-word article on nice ways to break up with your boy friend.” Yup—they will use it and don’t hold your breath to get paid.

”Our budget allows $18 for 1,200 words. You will need to sign a non-compete, non-disclosure…” Bangladesh wages plus can’t work for anyone else? Rush right over.

“We pay $1 for every 10 blog posts when your balance reaches $100.” This is the worst since Topsey signed with Simon Legree.

“We pay up to $8.” Well, zero is “up to.”

“Compensation may be available in the very near future.” Or “May lead to more in depth assignments.” Or “I provide the articles, you rewrite.”

Ha-ha on the near future promise, harder work for pocket lint, and plagiarism. Gosh, isn’t this all grand? And the best part? The profession of writer is now hammered excrement and no one thinks they have to pay.

See that pix? Pucker up!


Kristine said...

I wish you would've written/I would've seen this post about 6 months ago when I started my professional, fulltime writing journey. I subscribed to a few boards of "freelance writing" and learned very quickly that despite a journalism degree and legitimate fulltime writing experience, they're going to try to offer you SQUAT. Worse, some of my fellow writers TAKE it, which means it's harder for me to get paid when the next guy's so desperate they're doing it for free. Some of these Craig's List ads for writers are KIDS who are trying to get a term paper written! Is this what it's come to?! THANK YOU for an enlightening-must-see TV read. I'm sending this to a few people!

Star Lawrence said...

Check out Angela's orig essay, too. I have been sole support of my family for 28 yrs doing this--have bought houses, cars, etc. The business has devolved into utter crap--I saw one ad for 1000 stories--so-called--for $1000. That is like typing six full-length novels, assuming no thinking is involved. I keep thinking, or hoping, this will fall of its own weight--this stupid AdSense thing or whatever it is...who knows, tho? I have now had the experience of the big boys--major trade magazines--cutting pay, saying they have seen the ads. One told me they no longer had to pay "New York prices." ACK!!! Yes, send people to Angela's or (thanks!) to mine. Appreciate it. I am persona non grata on at least one MAJOR aggregating site...She says she "can't" tell people what to charge...well, she could sure not circulate ridiculous, laughable garbage if she chose not to. But no--she does--and has now affiliated with one of the cockroaches of the Internet as I call Helium, Demand Studios, Ass Contents, Suite 101, Hub Pages, Allvoices, and the others.

Star Lawrence said...

Another good one from Angela:

Star Lawrence said...

Add Examiner and Internet Brands to my cockroach list. I need to write these down.