Monday, July 24, 2006

Putting the FREE into Freelance; Fame & The Opportunity to Pay Us to Write

Here are our contestants for the exposure contest this week. Professional writers know that people die of exposure and so do writing businesses that don’t insist on a fair wage. We can only hope that these businesses that insist on not paying a fair wage will too. (Disclaimer: These partial ads in quotes were taken as they were posted on online job sites, including grammar and spelling mistakes.) Go to comments to vote for your favorite!

1). “We are hiring columnists for the interviewing Columnists will also be able to do celebrity interview features. First published piece will be freelance then $25 per article and $50 per feature.”

2). “Company is seeking people to write advertisments for can do it when you're bored online. Pays commission...if the ad you write makes a sale, then you make the cash!! You generally make about $30 per advertisment that creates a sale. Probably not a full time job, but hey, i guess if you sell enough you can make it....”

3). “We need stories, editorials, photos, and research, and in exchange we offer you fame and publication (and $10) if we publish you. If you give us exclusive rights to publish the work for one year, and we publish it, we'll give you $10.”

4). “I am in need of a couple of dependable article writers IMMEDIATELY. The pay on these articles is $3 each. Listen, I need dependable writers, not those who will take a large chunk of work and then dump it back on me a day before the deadline.”

And my personal favorite this week:

5). “We publish erotic literature with a continental twist! There’s a reading fee and we only respond and accept writers (both up-and-coming and established), who are serious about writing and are willing to market their work. This is a start-up venture with potential as awesome as you are!”

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

And a Response to a Greedy, Money Hungry Writer

I couldn't resist sending a message to the job lister who wanted writers to work for free for one month. My message was simple - "Could you explain, exactly, how working for free for one month is high paying? You should be posting in the low-paying to no-paying category."

I received this response from one Tim Allen of

"Even the most money hungry writer knows that sometimes there will be periods
of famine before the feast. After the one month is over, the pay rate will
increase to an amount worthy of the term high-paying. If you feel that you
can put your greed aside for a moment, and would like to submit a resume
and/or a writing sample, my team and I will surely look it over.
If not, the best of luck to you."

Well, there you have it. My greed has gotten the better of me.

Writers Wanted: We Pay in Shoes, Exposure and Even the Satisfaction of Doing God's Work

Until I started regularly browsing websites in search of more writing work, I did not really know how many scams are out there to trap writers into writing for nothing. As a service to my fellow scribes, I will start publishing the most outrageous “want ad” postings on my blog as I find them. Some of them would be funny if it wasn’t so sad that people actually apply. Each week, I will name a winner. Their prize? The priceless compensation of exposure, which is what most of them want to provide professional writers (and, oh, yes, I will only pay the writers said compensation when my blog makes me millions. Afterall, shouldn't they want to finance MY dreams?)
· One ad on a jobsite last week advertised for an editor to help a budding author polish a manuscript. She wrote that the editing fees wouldn’t make anyone rich, but she guaranteed that the fees would help buy them a new pair of shoes. Just two days later, the posting was removed because she had an overwhelming 123 applicants for the job. Let’s just hope the shoes are designer.
· From a job site meant for high-paying gigs only: “Wanted: freelance writers for new blog site. This site will be going online in mid-August and will feature reviews of movies, music, TV shows and books. In order to cover a generous portion of the marketplace, we are hiring several writers for each of those four categories. The position will initially be unpaid for the first month and salaries will be determined based upon readership and other factors.”
· Also from the same high paying job site: “Hi, I need some writers who can rewrite the existing articles, the concept should be the same but I need the lines to be change so that it can pass copyscape test, I can pay $1 per article, I have near about 200 so there is a good opportunity.”
· “Christian publisher looking for (previously unpublished) inspirational short stories (400-1700 words) from individuals who have undergone a religious awakening and consider themselves born-again Christians.
Compensation: Doing God's Work”
· AND THE WINNER THIS WEEK IS: “A national business magazine is currently seeking freelance writers and interviewers to conduct phone interviews with executives of large companies and then write an article on the executive. $200-$300 per article plus commission on the ads sold in story.” This one sounds pretty good, right? Ah, but the catch is the “commission” part. This ad does not tell writers that in order to get to the paying profile, they must call a list of 50-100 prospects to find out which ones will provide a list of their vendors. Once prospects are qualified for a profile by their willingness to help sell ads, writers must then call them back, do the interview, obtain a list of their vendors, call the vendors to get their fax numbers and provide all that info to ad reps. The editor told me there is potential to make $4,000 off one profile, based on ads sold, most profiles, after what I would consider a huge amount of work (calling 50-100 prospects?) generate less than $1,200 for the writer. This new business model was developed not so the company could save money on in-house researchers, but only because they were concerned about what freelancers were doing in their downtime and they wanted to provide us with more opportunity. Gee, thanks.