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PostPosted: January 5th, 2005, 1:47 pm 
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Joined: June 4th, 2003, 12:56 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Missouri
I realize that we are not all living in the same circumstances, but I would like to know how others feel about the rates being offered today.

For instance, why would any publication offer $.03 -.05 per word? Would anyone actually give a serious effort for this compensation? I know I wouldn't.

Most of my published writing is in the areas of IT technical and management issues/essays.

I've been looking over some of last year's invoices, (tax time, you know) and note that I've billed from $.40 to 1.00 per word. The $.40 seemed unrealistically low, but there was a fairly large amount of repeat business.

The point I'm trying to make is that in my current circumstance, I would not write for less that $.40 per word. I might make an occasional exception where there is a high-visibility clip involved.

How can a publication who pays the extremely low rates seriously expect to attract high quality submissions? Maybe the editor expects mediocre material that they can fix up, rather than high quality manuscripts that require minimal editing. Is this how the low-ball editor "justifies" themselves to the management?

(Cheap raw material + the editor's time = low cost copy for publication)

I don't want to demean anyone. We must do what we must to pay the bills, but I wonder why the per-word rates seem to never be adjusted to reflect the realities of the economy that we all must live in. I guess that there is a large surplus of writers who will work for little, or for free that it's just the free market depressing the price of our labor.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?


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PostPosted: January 5th, 2005, 5:53 pm 
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Joined: August 25th, 2004, 3:39 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Winooski, VT
I've done work for some publications that pay very small amounts (and some I've done for free as a favor to an editor). None of these were because I was jonesing for a check to buy a cup of coffee with.

A lot of time, these are small-budget magazines that want to make the gesture to their writers but honestly can't pay any more than that. (I doubt there are many publications that can afford to pay more that are paying pennies a word.)

It's obviously not the place you're going to make enough to pay the phone bill, but it's also a large part of the market and often an opportunity to write pieces that you probably couldn't get published elsewhere, either because of topic, length, etc.

I don't think it ends up depressing the market for writers. If anything, it's the result of market forces keeping independent publications in a difficult financial situation. On the up side on that end, though, a lot of the independent publications are working together in groups like the Independent Press Association.

And the success of those smaller magazines translates into more paying writing jobs.

jen


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 Post subject: pennies on the dollar
PostPosted: January 5th, 2005, 6:04 pm 
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Joined: November 7th, 2003, 2:33 pm
Posts: 143
Location: Philadelphia Suburbs
OK, I admit to having written for 3 cents per word.A lot, actually. However...in my own defense...it was a fairly regularand easy gig and I was sorta thinking of it as being paid for my morning papers, if you know what I mean. It was just practice for the real world.

Now, I won't stoop below 10 cents a word. I guess I am coming up in the world. LOL

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PostPosted: January 5th, 2005, 9:33 pm 
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Joined: July 15th, 2004, 8:00 am
Posts: 721
Location: Forward OP, Willow's Mountain
Don't ask how loww Kruppy has gone (particularly for clips and to break into a market), because he will probably have to lie, dodge the question and kick you in the shins.


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PostPosted: January 5th, 2005, 10:49 pm 
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Joined: April 29th, 2004, 8:49 pm
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Location: God's country
Krupp 'how low will you go' doesnt refer to shooting people, just low cost magazine articles. They dont need to know what you REALLY did about magazine articles...

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PostPosted: January 5th, 2005, 11:11 pm 
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Joined: July 14th, 2004, 8:45 pm
Posts: 2399
Location: australia
Some magazines don't live in the real world, or maybe they post their rates on the internet to see if any Wally actually takes them seriously.
Just recently I saw a reputable e-zine (not going to say who as don't want to be sued) which advertised for articles (800 - 1000 words) and offered the princely sum of US$10 per article!!! They actually seemed proud of it.
I HAVE been known to write book reviews (150 words) for free, but that's all. Ok, I admit the very first thing I had published was for a complimentary copy of the mag, but I didn't know any better and it's never happened again. Except for the book reviews, so sue me.


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PostPosted: January 6th, 2005, 7:13 am 
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Joined: October 9th, 2003, 1:39 pm
Posts: 225
Because I'm just starting out and have learned my lesson about writing for free, I take on lots of small projects. None for magazines, mostly for the web and newspapers. These are usually things that don't take much time and are passed over by the more experienced people.

Accepting low payments worked to my benefit because not only have I gotten my name out there, but I have lots of job and steady money. Plus some of the low payers have even given me a raise. For instance, my weekly newspaper column. The editor wanted me to write for the glory and I refused. She offered me $10 which I accepted because it only took me about 20 minutes to write. After the first few weeks the column was so well received that I was given a raise, with the promise of another one in six months.

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PostPosted: January 6th, 2005, 7:59 am 
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Joined: February 5th, 2004, 10:17 pm
Posts: 1185
Location: US
As I am still more or less in the new stage, building a portfolio and learning the business, I don't much care how low the pay is. I have written for free (once), and gained a nice clip, but I doubt I'll do that again unless it's a piece that's been passed over by other markets. Low pay rates don't bother me, but I'll admit that my writing isn't the primary income for our household so it's not as much of an issue. Like Deb mentioned, low paying markets are providing plenty of opportunities, and those little paychecks do add up.


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PostPosted: January 6th, 2005, 1:51 pm 
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Joined: January 8th, 2004, 7:55 pm
Posts: 1855
Location: okanagan valley, british columbia
This isn't a cut and dry question. It has been suggested that, in a perfect world, all magazines would pay the magic $1 per word or higher. Okay, let's say that was true. Let's also say you have had 5,000 magazine articles published, have written several books and Larry King regularly interviews you. You write an article and you get paid $1 per word.

What about the 19-year-old who writes his first article for a local magazine with a circulation of 3,500? Should he also be paid the $1 per word? What if he can't spell very good and his grammar sucks? $1 per word?

Would I stoop to 5 cents per word? I would not 'stoop', but I might accept it. Maybe I have an article that I originally sold for 25 cents per word, resold it six months later at 15 cents per word and, for 10 minutes work, could resell it again at 5 cents per word. Now that article has made 45 cents per word, in total.

Just a thought or two.

writerdave

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2005, 3:21 am 
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Joined: October 15th, 2004, 1:26 am
Posts: 95
It sometimes depends on how busy I am. If I've got a lot to do, I'll stand my ground (rate-wise). If I'm bored and itching for work, on the other hand, I'll write for less just to keep producing and getting paid.


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2005, 5:15 am 
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Joined: July 14th, 2004, 8:45 pm
Posts: 2399
Location: australia
I work mainly for low rates, because I don't do the sort of writing that provides negotiated contracts and I'm glad to get the money. I've been paid AUS$50 for a 1500 word article and I've been paid AUS$600 for a 1400 word story. BUT I do think expecting someone from Australia, or Africa or Japan will seriously consider writing a 1000 word article and sending it by snail mail to a magazine in the US for $10 is just plain loopy. Not this chicky-babe!


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2005, 5:37 am 
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Joined: December 18th, 2004, 9:46 am
Posts: 1971
Location: Central Virginia
wendy wrote:
Some magazines don't live in the real world, or maybe they post their rates on the internet to see if any Wally actually takes them seriously.
Just recently I saw a reputable e-zine (not going to say who as don't want to be sued) which advertised for articles (800 - 1000 words) and offered the princely sum of US$10 per article!!! They actually seemed proud of it.
I HAVE been known to write book reviews (150 words) for free, but that's all. Ok, I admit the very first thing I had published was for a complimentary copy of the mag, but I didn't know any better and it's never happened again. Except for the book reviews, so sue me.


The ones that crack me up are the listings for a nickel a word, or less, that present a page or a page and a half of requirements, including background research concepts that are out of place at a half a buck a word. And the presentation demands perfect grammar, spelling, general quality, while being written in English that sounds as if it was first translated into German, then Swedish, back through Mandarin, and, finally, into English, all by non-native speakers.

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2005, 7:14 am 
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Joined: January 11th, 2004, 11:58 am
Posts: 435
Location: Tennessee
I have to throw my 2 cents into this one.

I will write for very little but it depends on what it is and who it is for. I have recently stopped writing for WriteForCash as the last article that I submitted was accepted for only $10.00 and their pool is not exactly teeming with topics I can just pound out without good research. I may begin again but I will have to wait and see.

I would absolutely love the opp to write at $1 per word or even $0.40 per word! However, in my area of knowledge and interest I do not quite see that happening. I will write for what I can get to a degree...but even I have my limitations. 8)

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2005, 7:39 am 
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Joined: December 18th, 2004, 9:46 am
Posts: 1971
Location: Central Virginia
bwhite wrote:
I have to throw my 2 cents into this one.

I will write for very little but it depends on what it is and who it is for. I have recently stopped writing for WriteForCash as the last article that I submitted was accepted for only $10.00 and their pool is not exactly teeming with topics I can just pound out without good research. I may begin again but I will have to wait and see.

I would absolutely love the opp to write at $1 per word or even $0.40 per word! However, in my area of knowledge and interest I do not quite see that happening. I will write for what I can get to a degree...but even I have my limitations. 8)


Research is the key. If I can write something off the top of my head, 25 or 35 cents a word works because I am a quick and reasonably accurate writer. But that is limited to specific fields and specific subjects in those fields. If I want to eat decently, I need a half a buck a word for work that requires research, and that is a bare minimum. It is also why I like to shoot photos myself for some of my work. Many magazines pay extra for included photos (I just picked up an extra $700 on one check for the article photos). Photography has its own costs, of course, but they do get amortized quickly.

I guess I'd have to say my base minimum is about $500 for a 1000 word article, though I do have one editor paying $500 for whom I do almost monthly 1500 word pieces. I've been working for her for a decade, and will continue to do so. I know the subjects needed reasonably well, and tend not to have to agonize over queries. Any research is in areas where I have, or can quickly get, good contacts, so that saves time and effort.

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2005, 8:34 am 
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Joined: January 5th, 2005, 5:54 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Ontario
I have been a member of a local writing circle for about 3 years. There are about 200-300 members, so it's a fairly big organization. I have been beaten over the head by people telling me to demand more (Or even 'some' in some cases) for my writing." When we write for free or peanuts we are doing a disservice to other writers." If I got paid 5 cents for every time I heard those words in the last couple years I wouldn't have to write! Accepting gigs without pay hurts everyone...or so I'm told!


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