You Get What You Pay For

I’ve noticed a really nasty side-effect of this recession/depression/economic ruination (the label changes depending on who you talk to). Words are cheap. Literally, words are cents on the dollar. I for one, am really, really mad about it. Really mad.

Thanks to computers, everyone thinks they are a writer these days, which makes it tough sometimes for those of us who do it for a living. As a result, writing has become a commodity. A cheap one. If Walmart could sell Writing they would. If India could export writing—-wait a second, they already do. Just ask all the freelancers on some of the freelance sites who are bidding against overseas writers. They are being outbid by people willing to take on a job for a penny a word.

I am so sick of bad writers parading around as professionals, especially because they have cheapened the market. If a company wants to bid $5 to write a blog post or $13 an hour to write all the copy for an entire website, they feel justified in doing so because there are “writers” out there who will take it. My fees are pretty affordable. Seriously. Prior to the recession, I was still charging under $100 an hour for my writing services. Now, I negotiate. I’m flexible. I’m not $13 an hour flexible, but I know I have to be realistic. That’s the key: be realistic in what you charge and if you are the hiring company, be realistic in what you will offer.

Right now, there is a job on Craigslist LA for a medical spa in Beverly Hills that wants to hire a writer to do press releases and articles. They will pay up to $30 per piece. I don’t know who owns this spa, but I think he or she may have injected Botox into his or her brains. This person’s thought process must be paralyzed by cow poison. What other reason could there be to offer that little for writing a press release? Hopefully, no one will apply, but in this job market, I’m sure the spa is already inundated with responses. Writing a press release may not be a time-consuming process, but why not have a per-job minimum for what should take at least, at least, three hours of work? What about all the rewrites that go into a press release to get the message right? And, I distribute all the press releases I write for clients—is my media list not worth anything? It’s sure worth more than 30 measly bucks!

The printed word has become the town tramp. It’s easy to get, and good for a cheap turn. The writing profession, once honorable, is now a playground littered with hacks-for-hire. Get out of my sandbox, hacks. Or if you are going to stay in, at least pretend to have some dignity in your profession and stop whoring yourself out with cheap fees. Words are precious. Charge accordingly.

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3 responses to “You Get What You Pay For

  1. Most of the writers who bite at these ridiculously low fees are either: (1) non-native speakers of English; or (2) below-average writers. They get the gigs because, unfortunately, the people who hire them don’t know the difference between good writing and bad.

    I remember that when I was a legal secretary, the attorneys who were good writers valued my editing and writing skills. However, the bad writers among them became angry when even small grammar and usage errors were corrected.

    That was 15 years ago, and the situation is even more pronounced now.

    I am not sure what the answer is. Some days I feel like a total dinosaur in trying to uphold high standards. And some days, I succumb to “Oh well. It’s good enough.” The depressing part is that I suspect that no one notices the difference.

  2. Pingback: Lifestyle of an Aesthetic Addict » You get what you pay for…

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this, because it’s everything I always wanted to say, inserting “interior design/er” and “interior design” where you have “writer” and “writing”. And I am SURE that we interviewed the same spa. I actually went there – we must compare notes.

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