Monday, February 25, 2008

Desperately Trying Not to Have a Problem With...

Writing a book for $86.

After reading about how one freelance writer made over $1000 per month doing freelance work listed on a job website, I thought I'd check out the site. I registered for free, and sure enough, found many projects that I'm qualified to work on. The catch? It's not unusual for the job posters to ask for 50, 100, 350 articles, and to need them completed within a few days. Still, that's possible, and I'm not opposed to working hard...but for $100? Or $80, which was what I saw one writer offer to do the work for. Don't get me wrong--I'd write for free, just for the exposure and clips. But these job posters don't offer bylines and most say that writers get no credit or rights for their work.

Here are some other gems I found on the site:

*I need 40 unique articles 400-500 words, in 4 different niches 10 articles per niche,keywords supplied, with a 2-4% density, easy project for someone that knows what they are doing. Required within three days after successful bid. (Pay: "not sure")

*We are looking to write an Ebook about our local real estate market. It will serve as a must read before people find and agent or even start looking at homes on the internet. Looking for 70-90 pages or so including some graphs, charts, and pictures. We can provide an outline of the content needed. Looking to have this project done within a week if possible. (Pay: less than $500 - writers bid)

Forgive me for ranting for a moment. What I really love is the "easy project for someone that knows what they are doing" clause, which appears in many of these outrageous requests. As if it's okay to pay a writer practically nothing for an unreasonable workload, because they "know what they're doing." Don't you usually pay someone who knows what they're doing MORE than you would an amateur? I know one writer working off the site and know for a fact that she's a professional. I just can't figure out why she's selling her soul for $50, $80 per project.

I know that I should be glad for the writing work and money, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to do work like this. Ironically, in the writer's newsletter I received today, someone asked how much a writer typically gets for an e-book. (Remember, the website poster offered less than $500 for a 70-90 page e-book) A novelist/editor gave her a general idea. It's:

Number of Pages / Price Estimate
1-5 Pages / $900-$2900
5-15 Pages / $1900-$5525
25 Page Booklet / $4000-$9700
250 Page Book / $25000-$65000

For now I think I'll stick with submitting submissions to fair, professional publications and businesses, thank you very much.


ACW said...

Great post, Colleen! I love your blog.

It's true, one could get swayed just to put their stuff (or talent) anywhere to acquire a quantity of clips -- which is important -- but they should be selective about where the work is and, yes, what they're getting paid.

I pay careful attention to the markets -- and those publications that are legitimate or have positive reputations. There's too many ways to waste time and effort, and I agree that there's no such thing as free money!

"The Eclectic Writer"

Colleen said...

I've done some research since posting this, and there's definitely controversy over the ethics of these sites. It's heartening to know that I'm not the only one thinking this way!