How much can I get for a dollar?

By Katharine Swan On Thursday, March 08, 2007 At 4:17 PM

I really hate people who advertise low-paying writing gigs. No, guys, $1 is not a good rate. Not even for a beginner. No, we are not so desperate that we'll exchange a lousy dollar for the "pleasure" of seeing our work in print.

In my job search today, I responded to an ad that I thought sounded rather fishy. It was seeking "new" and "fresh" writers, and I thought it was probably low paying. Usually people who post ads looking for beginning writers have been told too many times that their payment rates are too low. I responded anyway, figuring if it was a good job, I'd be glad I applied, and if it wasn't, I'd give the poster a piece of my mind.

It wasn't a good job. It was actually a new ad for an old job that I saw a couple of weeks ago, where you write short "free writing" articles (they're not really free writing) for a dollar each. I wrote back, telling him his rates are too low. He sent me a dubious response, including the statement,

If you feel that you are so advance, why you searching for gig’s on Craigslist then?

Interesting.

I know I say this all the time, but I'm going to keep saying it until these slimeballs go away: don't take low-paying gigs! Don't work for a dollar! Just don't do it!

I'd also like to add to my mantra a request that others join me in this cause. When you see a low-paying gig advertised, tell the poster exactly what you think of them. There may not be a practical way to institute a writer's minimum wage, but at the very least we can do the virtual equivalent of tarring and feathering anyone who tries to take advantage of writers!

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Anonymous Anonymous Says:  

I'm curious if you've viewed this from the other side of the fence?
Just as you feel being paid $1 per page is insulting, we employers find it insulting when a writer just throws something together and collects a paycheck.
You have to prove yourself first, then get the rewards. It's true of any job.

If you approve this for posting,I will be impressed. if you decline it, that will add irony, in that a writer is violating my first amendment rights.

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

I don't mind approving your comment. What I do mind is you insulting me on my own blog. If you want to exercise your first amendment rights, set up your own blog.

What you said is not true. If I went out and got a full time job today, I would not be making $1. I would be making AT LEAST minimum wage. If you want to compare writing to any other job, then consider that writers also deserve what other jobs offer: a guaranteed living wage.

I don't just "throw something together." I put my heart into my work, and I expect to be paid accordingly.

 
 
Anonymous Anonymous Says:  

Its kinda simple, if your not willing to do it for $1 then don't. Im sure a lot of people who already have tons of content would be willing to sell pages for $1. That's really the bottom line, why waste so much time complaining about it? Just think you could have made about $100 bucks with the time wasted on this subject! Thanks.

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

It's interesting to me that you accuse me of wasting time, and yet you are obviously taking the time to check my blog and carry on the debate. Worry about your own time (and income), and I'll worry about mine.

Although it really is the writer's choice whether he or she wants to work for $1 per page, one of my missions on this blog is let writers know they have a right to expect a living wage. If you don't like how I do things, you don't have to read my blog. Now THAT'S what I call simple.

I won't be approving any more of your comments for posting on my blog. Your first amendment rights give you freedom of speech, not a right to harass.

 

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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