Friday, March 09, 2007

The Money is a Bonus

We are a baseball website covering all 30 MLB teams. The type of writer we're looking for is in the Bill Simmons/Deadspin/Chuck Klosterman vein, but we aren't looking for clones. We don't want traditional beat writers. We're looking for people with something original to say. Basically, we want someone who can make humorous and insightful observations that the average fan will find entertaining. Candidates should be prepared to post at least 2-3 times a week during the season. We work on an ad revenue share, meaning you will split ad revenue with the other 29 writers on the site. It'll take a while for cash to come in, so we're really looking for someone who wants to write because they enjoy it, the money, however large or small it is, should be kind of a bonus.

Another ad revenue sharing scheme that will most likely never materialize into that bonus cash.
Could someone explain to me why these scammers don't think writers need to pay their bills?

5 Comments:

Blogger Andrew DeWitt said...

Honest question: Do you post anything productive besides complaining about ads directed towards people who just want to write and not pay bills with it?

12:45 PM CST  
Blogger Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell said...

Well, Andrew, since I wouldn't give anything other than an honest answer - I do believe exposing the scammers in this industry is productive as do thousands of other professional freelancers who frequent my blog each month. These are not "ads." Job ads have two components - a request for professionals and an expectation of pay. And why is writing the only profession where people think it is ok to do the craft for absolutley nothing? The people who are answering these ads and writing for free are doing nothing but promoting the notion that writing is not a profession, but a hobby that anyone with a pen or a computer can accomplish. I suggest if you don't want to read complaints about ads directed at people who are helping drive wages down in my profession, then go find blogs not directed toward professional writers or those with respect for the profession.

1:22 PM CST  
Blogger Andrew DeWitt said...

See, as a freelancer myself, when I see these ads I don't take them as jobs. Everyone gets started somewhere.

And I don't think writing is the only position where they expect it for free. Internships all over the country do the same exact thing with college students in advertising, business..ect.

Writing is something anyone with a pen or computer can accomplish. But the professional writers job is to convince someone that their level of writing will earn their company money for your services. Too many writers don't do this. People have gained this idea from somewhere that "Why pay someone to do a job when I can get someone less qualified to do it for free?" The skill difference is not that much.

Maybe I just got the impression that the blog was about a lot more than sucky companies because there's a lot of good ones out there.

3:04 PM CST  
Blogger Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell said...

Andrew,

I would like to make another suggestion in that you check the archives for previous posts. The purpose of this blog is to show my perspective of the freelance writing life. I've offered many other writings about the life and on Mondays I post author Q&A's to help other writers see how authors completed their books. In that spirit, I also teach classes,mentor and volunteer my services as the national freelance chair of SPJ and with other organizations such as ASJA and the National Writers Union - all of which are dedicated to protecting the rights of independent writers and working with employers who treat professional writers with dignity and respect. At any rate, this blog is not dedicated soley to exposing scammers, Craigs List Curmudgeon and Screw You! do a pretty good job of that and there doesn't need to be three of us doing it full-time.
You're right, anyone who wants to write is a writer. I tell my students that all of the time. What I think we disagree upon is "the skill difference isn't that much" between hobbyists and professionals. It is these "ads" that have created the attitude that companies can get something for nothing and it is these ads that make aspiring writers who do have the skill level think that they have to write for nothing. I talk with students (you are a student at MU right?) and stay at home mom's everyday who have gotten this perception from these ads and it is that perception I hope to help break. It's obviously given you the notion that "everyone gets started somewhere." I'm living proof that writers do not have to ever write one word for free to start their clip file. That's not to say I don't donate my words to legitimate causes, I do.
And unless you're writing ad copy, which in itself is a needed and noble writing profession, it is not the writers job to earn the company money. It is a writers job to present news and information or to entertain. This whole notion that blurs the line between writing and ad revenue is revolting. As a business school graduate, I wasn't taught that you start a business based on a model that you don't pay your employees unless you are generating a profit. How many restaurant owners do you see advertising for waiters that say, "I'll pay you if you provide the level of service that generates me a profit." I was taught you don't start a business unless you are prepared to pay the professionals needed to operate it. Most respectable internships in this business do pay and if they do not, they are providing the level of clips that will earn the writer a real place in publishing, not "exposure" these fly-by-night, poorly financed operations are offering. As for other professions,
my sister in law just completed a 1-year student teaching gig in which she was not paid one dime. That is shameful for the educational system in this country, in my opinion, and probably the reason many people who would be good teachers do not do it. But I can only be an advocate for my profession, I can't take them all on.
Best of luck in your freelance career.

4:09 PM CST  
Blogger Irreverent Freelancer said...

Writers get started by writing...period. So if you're going to do it for free, why not just write for yourself? I might add that the skill difference IS that much. That's why some of us earn a nice living doing it and others of us can't pay the bills with it.

5:05 PM CST  

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