Monday, January 29, 2007

Writers Working for Slave Wages

Before writing this, I struggled with whether I should tackle a subject that has been discussed to death many times before - discussed by writers who, no doubt, are far more experienced than I am and can more eloquently say what they need to say about the matter.

With that being said, I decided to post this anyway. Why? Well, for one -- I've always been vocal about writers who accept a pittance for their work and the people who get away with doling out slave wages to them. I don't like it, and I don't accept jobs that pay below my bottom line.

But there are writers who DO accept these jobs. There are a multitude of reasons why writers might accept these low-paying gigs. On one side, you have the writers who don't know any better; who think, "Okay, I want to be a writer and I have to start somewhere." They may believe these rates are normal.

On the flip side, you have those who I wouldn't call writers, personally, but who am I to judge what makes somebody a writer? What I'm talking about are the people who don't care to make writing a career and are in it for a quick buck. They can churn out keyword soaked articles in mere minutes. Unfortunately, these are the articles that usually lack any sort of good quality at all -- but some clients don't care.

Then, you have the middle group. These are writers who know they are being significantly underpaid for their work, but don't know what to do about it. Honestly, this group is what facilitated the Six Figure Challenge to begin with -- those writers that could actually benefit from learning there are other opportunities for their talent besides $2 articles.

So who is to blame for this? The writers, for choosing to accept these rates - or the clients who don't feel the need to pay writers what they are worth?

Let's put it this way - as long as there are writers willing to accept the kind of rates that would make any professional squirm, there will be clients who refuse to pay for quality writing. I'm not saying that I condone those $2-5 dollar article jobs or whatever, but let's not pretend that shady webmasters are the only people compounding the problem.

Please feel free to leave your comments below. I'm open to any and all feedback regarding this issue!

Denise

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6 Comments:

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Laura said...

I'm in absolute agreement. You teach people how to treat you. If they don't have the ethics to pay you fairly on principle, and you let them get away with underpayment, they'll do it again and again.

 
At 3:19 PM, Blogger Denise said...

Thank you for the comment Laura. I couldn't agree more. Writers who know they are worth more need to kick those low-paying clients to the curb, rather than be taken advantage of repeatedly.

 
At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Jenn said...

I'd say they're equally to blame, and equally uneducated... especially in the general webmaster marketplace for writers.

New writers go in thinking they've found a gold mind - a practically unlimited demand for Web content. They've never worked for more, webmasters tell them "here's the budget for 20 articles", and they see it enough that they believe it's somehow standard, whether they like it or not. Webmasters see new writers willing to work for nothing to build a few portfolio pieces, and so they then assume it's a standard as well, and they're not willing to pay for quality. In all honestly, many webmasters wouldn't know quality writing if it bit them on the ass. Many can't write well enough themselves, which is why they turn to writers. They assume if they're selling the service, they should know what they're doing. That's when they get screwed over with ripped content, and it can make them a bit less trusting or less willing to spend for a "real" writer.

They're all to blame. The fact is that there is a demand outside of the webmaster market. Some writers are too lazy to look for that demand. Quality writing can lead to more natural backlinks and repeat traffic, but some webmasters are too cheap to pay for it or won't put time into learning to do it for themselves. And for those two particular groups, I'm not all that sympathetic anymore.

 
At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Jenn said...

lol And I need to get into the habit of proofreading casual posts from now on. ;)

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Denise said...

I agree. Like I said, I'm not placing blame on one group or another. Writers and webmasters each perpetuate the problem.

 
At 7:42 AM, Anonymous alicia said...

I recently blogged about this very subject: http://writingspark.com/?p=301, as did Anne: http://www.thegoldenpencil.com/2007/01/29/getting-started-in-writing-often-means-lower-pay/

 

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