BOREL OPINION COLUMN: ON WRITERS' RIGHTS
BOREL OPINION COLUMN: ON WRITERS’ RIGHTS
Against the Widespread Underpaying of Writers by Helen Borel
Fellow writers, I am stunned by the overwhelming number of editors, publishers, businessmen,professors, memoirists, lawyers, doctors, techies and a slew of assorted others – perhaps otherwise decent people (though I’ve reached the stage of doubting the latter) – who feel perfectly comfortable cheating writers out of our hard-won earnings! Using us like we grind our creativity out of a meat-chopping machine, then eating up our product but not paying for it. As though we have endless product but can survive on only air, water and rocks (as Mel Brooks’ Two Thousand Year Old Man did).
As an example of this outrageous sense of ENTITLEMENT these misusers-of-writers display, I will refer (below) to my experience at Craigslist.org where, from time to time, I’ve posted solicitations for writing work, freelance or otherwise, which always include my extensive expertise in certain specialties, my varied writing skills, my experience plus listings of my print-published works.
Hubpages Used as Source of Writing Samples for New Clients Also, I’ve referred potential clients, seeking my writing services, to my hubpages.com writings (so I can save time and paper and postage compared to the old-fashioned snail mail packages of published samples formerly required).
Craigslist Site Posts Egregious Number of Cheaters of Writers So...recently, I posted one of my WRITER ads on Craigslist which included several of the above-described elements. Would you believe, fellow writers, this is what I received in response (and note its indiscriminate nature, since it was sent to a variety of people with, I’m certain, entirely diverse writing credentials):
“From: mason rudolph email@example.com Sent: Aug 24, 2009 11:46 AM To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, IvyLeagueWriting@yahoo.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Hi Need A Writers (A Consistent $300 a Month
“Hi Need A Writer. I am a internet marketer promoting article marketing,list building, and traffic generation... 200 word artices 300 a month or $2 a article. I give you the content and you rewrite the bodies. truly is easy money!”
Do note the terrific presentation, spelling and grammar of this fool.(I am rarely this uncharitable with my observations; however, the gall of this rudolphian nudnick is mind-boggling.)
So, I decided to give him the only piece of my mind he deserves, a creative one. And, I cc’d my response to the other writers whose e-addresses he so thoughtlessly mass-sent to all of us.
Here goes. Enjoy!
“You know, sir, I'm baffled! If you carefully read my post on craigslist, you'd recognize my level of writing excellence, published work, expertise, skill, creativity and experience.
What is it with craigslist posters - seeking writers - who think we are up for mere internships? Or in your case, who think that writing for your online business, you are doing a talented, experienced, published writer like myself a favor by offering me $2.00 per article?
Are you crazy? Do you realize how miniscule that payment is? Do you not think writers have to put in a decent amount of time to produce valuable copy for you? To earn $300/month at that rate means producing 150 articles for you monthly.
To be generous and (say you have a speed writer), let's say that each of those articles takes only one hour to research, develop a position for, write it and edit it - a truly unrealistic tiny amount of time to accomplish this for the most talented, experienced writer in the world - that means you're asking me to donate to you 150 hours per month for a pittance!
And my math tells me this amounts to the same as working Five (5) thirty (30)-hour weeks for a mere $300 per month! You have to be insane to expect a writer to do this and to be able to pay rent, eat and subsist on less than the bare necessities.
And the testicular chutzpah of you not even realizing that this kind of excessive use of my time would preclude me from earning a living at anything else during those weeks, let alone have the time to do other writing for SERIOUS clients who understand that EVEN WRITERS HAVE TO EAT AND PAY RENT.
Shame on you! Don't solicit quality writers at those poverty rates and for that much misuse of our precious creative time. IF YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR BUSINESS GROW, YOU NEED TO INVEST IN IT. THAT MEANS, SINCE I AS A WRITER FOR YOU AM NOT YOUR PARTNER, YOU SHOULD NOT BE ASKING ME TO RISK MY FINANCIAL HEALTH IN A BUSINESS I HAVE NO SHARE IN. IF YOU WISH TO UTILIZE QUALITY TALENT, YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT. GET INVESTORS. PAY YOUR TALENT WELL, OR AT LEAST PROPERLY. THEN, AND ONLY THEN, WILL YOUR BUSINESS FLOURISH. Otherwise, the only "writers" you'll attract are inexperienced, unqualified scribblers to do the work you require to get your business going - but you'll fail because of the lack of quality and professionalism you'll get.
Also, you should be very suspicious of anyone who purports to be a writer who will accept such poor payment terms!!!” – Helen Borel, RN,PhD
Dear fellow Writers, I'm sure you agree we deserve much better treatment than Rudolph, the Greedy Advantage-Taker imagines he can get away with. Your comments are always welcome here.