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Stop selling your time for $10!

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by LadyHoldem, Oct 28, 2006.

  1. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #141
    Certainly not. :) Just takes a little bit of effort to query sometimes. It can be harder at first, b/c most large clients don't pay same day, but if you get a good client pool built and a steady stream of work, once the checks start rolling in, they don't have to stop. :)
    SEMrush
    In all honesty, I need to work harder on getting writing gigs. I've been so focused on PR stuff and my own sites that I haven't taken on freelance writing in a little while now. And with 1-4 month lead times, I better get on it, or I'm going to be hurting during the beginning of the Challenge. :)
     
    jhmattern, Nov 9, 2006 IP
    SEMrush
  2. DeniseJ

    DeniseJ Live, Laugh, Love

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    #142
    :) Yes, but remember -- it doesn't matter who gets to the goal and who doesn't. All that matters is that we have a support group of like minded individuals we will all grow and learn with together as the months progress :p
     
    DeniseJ, Nov 9, 2006 IP
  3. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #143
    lol I know. But it hasn't even started yet and I feel lazy about it. ;) I just want to make sure I get off on a good start (or at least a decent one), so I don't lose the excitement factor for the rest of the year. :)
     
    jhmattern, Nov 9, 2006 IP
  4. DeniseJ

    DeniseJ Live, Laugh, Love

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    #144
    I understand :) If I get the time later today, I'm going to start going through all the market listings you posted (a few of them I'd heard of, but others I hadn't and they looked interesting) and see about querying a few of them.
     
    DeniseJ, Nov 9, 2006 IP
  5. ILoveWriting

    ILoveWriting Guest

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    #145
    I have been reading through this topic in stunned dismay, to see that people who consider themselves professional writers are willing to work for...peanuts. And to see one writer state that they can "whip out an article in one day" (in which world? Not mine where I do interviews, research, and often spend weeks on creating a cover article for a trade magazine).

    I've been a professional writer for six years now, and have published extensively in the magazine market (not the best-paying one, but it pays some). Editors in most trade magazines will pay between $450 and $1000 for a 1500 to 1900 word article.

    I believe that anyone who pays $20 to a writer is taking serious advantage of them. Please, realize that if you write well, you deserve to be paid better. Honestly, truly, you do.
     
    ILoveWriting, Nov 10, 2006 IP
    LadyHoldem and DeniseJ like this.
  6. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #146
    I agree with you saying that $20 is taking advantage of the writer in most cases.

    I disagree regarding the "whipping an article out in a day" thing. I write an article in my niche in 30-60 minutes and get paid hundreds of dollars for it. That's because I'm an expert in my field, and can write from experience (which is what my clients are paying me for in the first place - that knowledge), rather than having to spend much time on research or interviews to get information. That's true of a lot of writers. You don't have to spend a lot of time on something for it to be quality work... it depends on the type of publication (where in the example you mentioned, print trade publications are probably significantly different than most online ones). It also depends on the writer's background, and the type of article contracted - an interview will certainly take longer than a how-to in your specialty for example.

    Jenn
     
    jhmattern, Nov 10, 2006 IP
  7. LadyHoldem

    LadyHoldem Well-Known Member

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    #147
    I started this thread as a rant, I was pissed off and I felt like sharing ;) ... now that the thread I was referencing has had some time to die down a bit, so that I'm not actually throwing stones.. The originator, the person looking for writers was offering up 3 bucks for (might have been 2, but I'm fairly sure it was three) per article, and people were fighting over the work in that thread..

    I am SO! Glad that I started this thread however, I'm generally not one to start a 'rant' thread .. but this thread has actually opened my own eyes, in so many areas!

    Needless to say I was inspired by a few of the posts here.. for everyone else likely motivated, here are some interesting articles I found on writing for trade magazines, I'm sleepy so I'm printing some to take to bed and read over.. but at 1st glance, they appeared to be the spam free articles available on the first few pages of google :)

    http://www.writing-world.com/tech/realestate.shtml

    http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos089.htm

    http://www.jmbcommunications.com/trade.html

    http://www.ciao.co.uk/Writers_Advice_on_Writing_for_magazines__Review_5248405

    http://www.rbs0.com/tw.htm

    I am considered to be on the high end as far as online gambling writers.. at slightly under $100 per article (depending on length, research, and detail involved).

    There are definately less expensive writers, so I put a lot into my work, and because of that, most of my customers come by way of referal or reference.

    But until i read this.. I THOUGHT I WAS EXPENSIVE!

    I can however generally get one article 'done' in a day, the next day i take a fresh new look at it, edit it, polish it etc.. but a good long article, I can usually finish in a day, however, I am sure that is partly because I know the basics, I know right where to go for info, and where to quickly make sure my facts are still current... etc..

    At any rate.. I've given greenies here n there, but what the heck are greenies ;) lol.. okie, i like em :p .. but .. I want to actually say..


    Thank You All!

    Cathy
     
    LadyHoldem, Nov 10, 2006 IP
  8. 30k Challenge

    30k Challenge Peon

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    #148
    I'm sure he was talking about starting their own blogs. While it is generally passed around and accepted that it's hard to make money with a blog it has been proven incorrect time and time again. Most people simply approach it the wrong way.
     
    30k Challenge, Nov 11, 2006 IP
  9. gr8liverpoolfan

    gr8liverpoolfan Notable Member

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    #149
    Blogging helps many pure freelance writers to turn into webmasters. They learn the intricacies of SEO and Internet Marketing when they blog. Developing a site and maintaining it can be draining, but quite entertaining.
     
    gr8liverpoolfan, Nov 11, 2006 IP
  10. 30k Challenge

    30k Challenge Peon

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    #150
    It can be but it doesn't have to be. I have seen first hand someone making only a couple of short posts per day grow their income into the hundreds or thousands of dollars per day in very short time.

    Cheers.
     
    30k Challenge, Nov 11, 2006 IP
  11. ILoveWriting

    ILoveWriting Guest

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    #151
    Hi, I wanted to clarify that I realize that if a writer has extensive expertise in a subject, then they can certainly create an article on that topic in several hours. I wasn't critiquing that type of writing.

    What I have a problem with is folks who go online to job boards, and request "50 articles on a topic to be designated, for $250". In my mind, unless the writer is willing to work for very little, it would seem to almost encourage either copy and paste work (and yes, this happens frequently, I am told, in response to requests like this); or fast rewrites of other's information.

    I am a medical writer, and so most of my experience (but not all) in article writing is offline. For these magazines, they do request interviews with known experts in the field. I did own an online women's health site years ago, it was rising in popularity, and I did write dozens of my own articles based on my knowledge and years of experience as an RN. But I always backed my articles up with interviews with medical doctors or scientists.

    Example: last week, a magazine gave me the topic of new advances in computerized prosthetics (a look at the "bionic man", is it becoming true). I conducted 12 interviews with research scientists, prosthetics doctors, and others, including a firefighter who uses a computerized leg (and learned some amazing facts; did you know that they are already implanting NERVES into prosthetics, with experimental research, that will let people "feel" and move prosthetics? Luke Skywalker's arm is really not that far off in the future).

    I simply couldn't write this type of feature article in a day. But I do respect writers who write for a different audience. I love each of the articles posted on your website, have read several; you have an excellent writing style. And trust me, I'm picky! I've fired plenty of poor writers in my own career...

    I took the plunge of going freelance at the end of this past summer. It's scary for me, which is why I came to this forum. It's also a bit lonely (I don't know any other writers near where I live). And I want you to know that I very much admire your setting up a wonderful place to vent, rant, and share joys.

    I do apologize; I wasn't critiquing anyone's skills or choices, other than my own personal rant: I do believe that many (but not all!) writers are willing to be underpaid. I did it myself, when I first started out, simply because I had no confidence in myself. I'm female; I'm over 40, and several years ago thought that the words "starving" and "writer" went together. I've learned differently, and so suppose I came on a bit strong in my post.

    Best wishes,
    Sheri
     
    ILoveWriting, Nov 11, 2006 IP
  12. fathom

    fathom Well-Known Member

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    #152
    As with any profession there are different calibers of "professionals needed"... and the reverse of your suggested argument "no client should paid UNLESS they can afford to paid $450 and $1000 for a 1500 to 1900 word article."

    That's a great argument in theory but in practice - you suggestion makes it sound as if all clients are rolling is cash and if they're not - don't look for writers PERIOD.... and there are SO MANY such opportunities out there that no professional writer needs stoop to pathetic slave labor.

    I learned a while ago that a professional writer has a preferred rate, and they will obviously accept rates higher than their preferred rate, but in practice - when the writing opportunies dry up - they will take what they can get to pay the bills... sounds not too much different than any other profession... including all those clients out there... that when business "is tight" your services are guaranteed to be a first "cut" as a non-necessity.

    You should open up a referral service on all your available opportunities since there are so many to go around. I'm dismayed that extremely well-off professional writers" don't do more for their less fortunate peers. Why not offer up all that semi-lucrative work you are rolling in and take a couple of hundred dollars off the top for each assignment and improving your time management on writing and research, and roi.

    In my profession I didn't accept clients UNLESS they were willing to pay a minimum of $40K/year but that doesn't mean that SEOs working for $30K-$100 are not needed and in that... those charging less are considered "unprofessional" just by the fact that they don't charge my rates.

    Which:

    ... you basically did say they MUST BE unprofessional... correct?

    In practice, you get what you paid for... that is understood... but I acquired $5/page writers that are of your suggested caliber "just to get them" without excepting the risk of getting a self-proclaimed professional that's a dud.

    Also, "taking what you can get"... implies "no alot of work going on"... in the past I've hired writers that over extended themselves... got "too many gigs" and then just to fulfill on my $1000 - I got crap... thus I changed my processes for finding "top professionals"... and that occurs in every profession.

    Lastly - I don't want professional writers... I want professionals that can write... this group don't need to waste "DAYS" researching a topic... they already know it.
     
    fathom, Nov 11, 2006 IP
  13. internetauthor

    internetauthor Peon

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    #153
    Funny you should mention helping our fellow writers. A group of us here on DP are doing exactly that. Check out this thread for details.

    There are many styles of writers and many styles of articles. I write smaller articles, generally for webmasters and am about to embark on several new projects including e-books and some attempted feature stories. I prefer to write about topics I know well, but have spent time researching topics in the past. Different assignments call for different techniques. By the same token, different websites call for different writers :)

    Rebecca

    P.S. ILoveWriting - where are you from in Texas? I'm a Houston girl. :)
     
    internetauthor, Nov 11, 2006 IP
  14. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #154
    The problem isn't that they shouldn't look for writers period. The problem is that far too many webmasters are out there offering pathetic rates, but with extremely high demands ranging from "must be a native english speaker" to "must have extensive experience in the field" to demanding "top quality work" from "professional writers". If they can only afford amateurs or outsourcing to another country, then that's fine... but demanding professional work when you're not willing to pay for it is ludacris. It's like saying "I'm only willing to pay Walmart rates, but I expect you to provide me with a rolex quality watch."

    Several of us are already doing this, as Rebecca said, by providing writers with leads to help them break into new markets daily, and putting our own writing careers on display publicly for them all through next year to be able to learn from both our successes and our mistakes. As a matter of fact, I'd already discussed that just a few posts back in this thread. So while your comments were directed to one person, don't make the assumption that she's not doing anything, when you obviously can't know that for a fact. You know what they say about assuming. The fact that she's even bringing attention to a very common issue in the writing field is doing more than most are doing to help lesser paid writers out, because she's letter them know there are other options out there.

    Are there different levels of "professionals"? Yes... of course there are. But any "professional" writer taking $5 / page might be a great writer, but they're obviously not the best businessperson as a "professional" when they're seriously undercutting their rates versus what they could, and should be earning. Standard rates for professionals are set from industry groups, surveys, and more. Not by what one niche group in an industry thinks writers are worth. And a true "professional" understands the business behind writing as well as the craft of it.

    You're right on this. Many of us get paid the most because we're an expert in our field, and hired to cover it in trade publications. My expertise is marketing/PR. When a client hires me, they're essentially hiring me as a consultant to provide them with information in my area of expertise, that just happens to be in written form. That's why in my case, it takes very little time per article when I'm writing in my niche. But as Sheri demonstrated here, there are in fact cases where professionals take "days" to write an article still... such as in her case as a medical writer, where her work often involves interviewing as part of the research, b/c it's expected by the client. Sometimes research can't be avoided... although I do agree I'd never hire a general content writer to write about anything other than "writing" for that exact reason of wanting someone who actually knows what they're talking about without having to regurgitate researched information they simply find on the Web.

    Jenn
     
    jhmattern, Nov 11, 2006 IP
  15. ILoveWriting

    ILoveWriting Guest

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    #155
    Rebecca,
    Hi, I'm from outside Fort Worth. It's wonderful to know another Texan! I actually live in a lovely rural (as in cows and fields next door) area. I've been to Houston twice, both times in the summer, and honestly, felt like I was in a sauna. But I'll bet it's wonderful in the fall and winter, when temperatures cool down a bit.

    Okay, I would like to respond to a previous post by someone else, who said:

    Also, "taking what you can get"... implies "no alot of work going on"... in the past I've hired writers that over extended themselves... got "too many gigs" and then just to fulfill on my $1000 - I got crap... thus I changed my processes for finding "top professionals"... and that occurs in every profession.

    Lastly - I don't want professional writers... I want professionals that can write... this group don't need to waste "DAYS" researching a topic... they already know it."


    I don't know who you dealt with, but they weren't a professional if they sent in "crap". The magazine editors I work with won't accept it and they don't pay for it. If I ever sent in "crap", it would be sent right back, and they would find someone else to do it. End of story.

    A "top professional" delivers quality work to clients, and if they are too busy to fulfill an assignment and do a good job, they turn it down. I turn down assignments all the time when I'm too busy to give them the time and attention they deserve, and suspect that many others here have as well (and in fact, am considering outsourcing these once I get to know folks here better. If I refer to someone, they have to be excellent).

    I also realized that we've been talking about apples and oranges a bit here. You're describing a short topical article that doesn't require interviews with experts. For this, a "one day" write will work fine, and I did plenty of these earlier in my career. But most magazines want real, live quotes from real, live people, for the human interest. Open any print mag, and you'll see tons of quotes, whether from a well-known doctor on the latest weight loss breakthrough, to quotes from families who have survived catastrophe, and come out on the other side stronger than before. This type of article DOES take days, even weeks (I usually plan on two weeks before a research scientist from M.I.T., or the head of a medical department at Stanford, will get back to me, since you have to first go through media relations, and then find a time that will work in their busy schedules).

    THIS type of article takes time, and no one, even the best writer, could do them in one day. Example: I did a series of articles for an online site about new medical technology breakthroughs being discovered by Eli Lilly and other major pharmaceutical and lab companies. I HAD to talk to their R & D department, to the docs working on the breakthrough. That took days to line up. I then had to write the article with the quotes, then get "quote approval", which took another day.

    I do agree that some articles can be written in hours. But others take a bit more time and research. The medical technology articles paid .45 a word, and I earned every penny, because of the background research and time spent.

    I really am not criticizing anyone's choices in outsourcing writing. I realize now that I was discussing "writing for large corporations and national magazines", which is a bit different than writing for a small or privately owned business. You are absolutely right: many entrepreneurs have limited funds for any marketing, much less writing, since they are pouring their capital into their business in the early stages. And folks like that are what makes our country (and others around the globe) great.

    And it makes sense in this situation to carefully evaluate what you can pay, and who is the best possible writer within your budget.
    That's smart business sense, as you shared. I wasn't criticizing this choice. I was criticizing those who have unrealistic expectations of what quality writing costs (a pet peeve of mine, in case this isn't coming out clearly :) ), especially those who have a decent budget to spend, and expecting Porsche writing at Kia rates (no offense to Kia owners here).


    True story: I have a friend who has quite a bit of money, who I did writing for, for several years. But he decided to outsource to an online job board, to see if he could get his writing done "really cheaply". He went through seven different writers, and thousands of dollars, before coming to me, and saying (a bit sheepishly), "Can you fix what these folks did? It's terrible, and not converting at all for me." He found out that he actually saved money in the long run, by going to an experienced writer with a proven track record.

    Does this mean that all writers who work on job boards aren't good? Of course not. Many are excellent, and I have known some new writers who were...brilliant. Their clients got a true bargain. But this is the rare find, and those writers often start raising their rates, as their workload jumps (and if they're really good, and they market themselves at all, it will, it will).

    So, I didn't mean to criticize at all the budget choices people here make. And I want to encourage anyone starting out - I suspect that folks that come to boards like this are interested in learning and improving, and would be among the "quickly improving" mentioned above.

    Sheri
     
    ILoveWriting, Nov 11, 2006 IP
  16. fathom

    fathom Well-Known Member

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    #156
    heehee...

    1. That depends on what they write about.

    2. People tell stories all the time about their kids, pets, stupid moving or driving experiences, etc. Repeated over & over again for family & friend gatherings, parties and never get paid a dime... a person tells these so many times that at 60 words/minute they can breeze through these earning $40/hour... since there is absolutely no research and the writer is the single most experienced person (on their own story)...

    I've seen $1/word writers that are good and $0.001/word writers that are absolutely superb beyond belief... which do you think will get the lucrative work? This isn't to say any writer is good or bad - just that I don't want writers writing only because it's a gig.

    Rates may indeed be a "standard" but quality, style, diversity of lifelong experiences, drive, and passion... are not.
     
    fathom, Nov 11, 2006 IP
  17. carlschm

    carlschm Peon

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    #157
    If you band as many people together to charge a higher price, there'll always be people coming in to undercut you on the net. And even if you could enforce a higher price somehow, more people would become writers for the higher rates while less webmasters would advertise for writers because they're more expensive. And also there'd be more people fighting for the same work, so you'd end up spending even more time selling yourself.
     
    carlschm, Nov 14, 2006 IP
  18. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #158
    But as we've repeatedly mentioned here writers don't have to only work on the net. ;) And there are more than enough people already paying much more than $10/hr for writers, even in online markets. So it's not an issue of banding together to try to "enforce" a higher price. It's an issue of teaching writers that there's a heck of a lot more out there than just the low-paying (in most cases) webmaster marketplace.
     
    jhmattern, Nov 14, 2006 IP
  19. DeniseJ

    DeniseJ Live, Laugh, Love

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    #159
    Exactly, Jenn.

    The purpose of what we're attempting to do isn't to "change" the existing marketplace. Rather, we want to educate writers that there are decent-paying opportunities out there. Beginning writers enter into the field believing they have to accept pennies (or LESS than pennies per word) in order to make a living writing. Well, that isn't the case and personally, if I can open one or two writer's eyes to that fact I'm a happy camper.
     
    DeniseJ, Nov 14, 2006 IP
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  20. wordscientist

    wordscientist Peon

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    #160
    I've kept up with this thread on and off...so please forgive me if this has already been answered, but where exactly are these high-paying writing gigs?

    I set my rate low and people still think it's too high.

    I send queries to magazines. Definitely not as many as I'd like to send out; my time doesn't allow for a lot of unpaid query and research work.

    I look frequently for full-time staff work at Detroit-area ad agencies and other businesses. They want qualifications I don't have, such as a degree in Journalism and 5+ years of on-the-job experience.

    I do regular Google searches for sites that look they even remotely be in need of writers and send them queries.

    I am disappointed in myself for not finding decent writing work. I've been seeking a steady writing job for the last five months. I'm truly afraid that I will have to dismiss my goal of a career in writing and settle for being a person who enjoys writing as a hobby.

    Okay, now...how'd this turn into an oh-woe-is-me post? LOL

    Sorry for the negatively, but I am frustrated.
     
    wordscientist, Nov 14, 2006 IP