ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The truth about cheap rates for writers

Updated on July 12, 2013
Source

Writers trying to make a living will be all too well aware of the peanuts they are paid for a lot of hard work. There's a reason behind this, and it’s as banal as you could ever wish to see. As usual, the office boys and girls are being "clever" and winning brownie points in the process.

It's a very simple methodology:

  • Start with a budget figure.
  • Try to get all your product as cheaply as possible.
  • Go to your management meeting and tell everybody how brilliant you are.

It's an interesting set of priorities. Without content, there is no product. Without materials worth reading, there is no product. The various forms of publishing equate to a many-multibillion dollar industry. Without content, there is no industry. Everybody, it seems, makes money but writers.

This simply isn't good enough. Writers have bills too, some of us like to live inside buildings, and food doesn't buy itself. The bottom line can be 16 hour days, working for people who make 10 times as much as you do simply for looking at spreadsheets.

Consider the various options available for writers online:

Elance: Elance is one of the better sites, but it is by definition very much in the bandwidth of low-pitch budgets. I've done some work for Elance, but there is no doubt that there are better rates available elsewhere. The bidding approach tends to reduce rates as writers compete, further reducing returns.


Freelancer.com: Another bidding site, the rates are abysmal and the site's been sending me spam ever since I simply looked at it. Advertisers for writers appear to be illiterate themselves, not much of a recommendation.


Craigslist.org: Craigslist is one of the primary sources of writing jobs online, and it does have a few things going for it in terms of ease of use and global exposure. That said, the rates are still lousy, and there appears to be the same El Cheapo approach to hiring writers.


The Guardian: The Guardian does pay for materials, and seems to be pretty friendly to writers at least in terms of payment, although their rates are well short of magazine rates.


Publishers: Ironically, many publishers aren't too bad. Particularly the magazine publishers, who at least have the decency to offer decent rates. The problem is that these higher-return outlets are naturally saturated with submissions all the time, meaning that actually getting published and paid is far more difficult.


The economics of writing and publishing

There's a lesson to be learned here. Apparently some publishers can afford to pay decent rates, and it's only the middlemen preventing writers from earning a living. This situation has to change. It's not in the interests of the publishers, particularly web publishers, to be considered not worth writing for. That's the net effect of the cheapskate approach. Publishing is a very competitive business, and publishing garbage is a surefire way to the scrapheap.

For writers, the economics are simple – You write for the people who pay the most. You prefer not to be insulted while writing, you get enough of that anyway with illiterate editors, and you prefer your bank account to be comprised of whole numbers.

The various surges of interest in new paid writing sites are good indicators of the realities of the situation. There is no such thing as a writer loyalty when you're being paid patronizing amounts of money. Publishers who fall for the cheapskate process will naturally lose all their good writers who will either leave in disgust or simply move on when they find a better paying deal.

This is actually a cultural thing, too. Business is business, production is production. Business is supposed to be looking at the business, not interfering with production and certainly not interfering with product quality à la Hollywood. It's quite typical for business people to know absolutely nothing about their products, and the quality of the products naturally goes downhill as the priority shifts from quality to mere business bureaucracy, office politics and money shuffling.

Publishers, particularly web publishers, would be well advised to use a choke chain on their business people. The situation at the moment is appalling, and there is no sign that publishers have woken up to this rort. Okay the cheapskates “save” money buying garbage, but where does that money go? Does it go into the business, or does it go into somebody's pocket? One of the primary rules of business is "trust nobody", and maybe it's time publishers learned that lesson.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)