Tired of hearing about how writers are not getting paid? I imagine the writers needing to eat from that income aren’t. I had a quick unsubscribe of 19 readers within 30 minutes of releasing last Friday’s newsletter. Some people do not want to hear that writing on the cheap is not a good thing, because it’s all they know how to do.
People, listen. When pricing is the only factor, you will likely not have a long term relationship with someone. That means editor or reader. When people want to buy you cheap, that’s their driving force. There is no LIKE in the factor.
Don’t make cheap a habit or that becomes your brand.
Here are comments from readers that showed they understood the severity of this issue:
“I agree wholeheartedly that as writers we need to support one another’s efforts by not selling ourselves short. Every minute I spend writing is a minute I spend away from my family, and I need to make it count toward my family’s financial support.”
“If more writers ignored these requests (**from editor for free writing), those markets would either have to find the funding to pay writers properly or realize that if they can’t, then maybe they need to look closer at how well they run their businesses.”
“When you give away your work – or go for the easier low pay ones – you subconsciously tell yourself that you are not good enough to get paid. Worse, getting into the poor or non-paying markets offers a false sense of success. The result of all of this is that you don’t have any reason to improve your skills, which would get you into better paying markets.”
“So, I was feeling a little under the weather, and gave my doctor a call. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind seeing me for free, since it wouldn’t really take much time and he was just fitting me in last minute anyway. Can you believe he turned me down? Claimed he’d spent eight years in school, worked his ass off as an intern, was still paying off med school bills, yada yada yada. Well, I’ve got options. I go down to the corner drugstore and ask my buddy the manager to give me some free meds. And he starts this whole rant about costs and staffing and insurance and he wouldn’t give them to me. I figure, what the hell, I’ll just suck it up and get to work. I call up one of my authors and tell him he’s booked for a signing, and I promised twenty copies at author’s price to the group. Told him I won’t be paying him royalties on those. I mean, I can’t work for nothing, right?”
“Thank you for this! I’ve turned down fabulous projects because of ridiculously low pay and said no to fabulous money because of ridiculous contract clauses. I would never treat anyone that poorly. It’s up to each of us to do the right thing and say no. We’re saying no for ourselves and for all writers. When we all say no, the low pay and egregious contract clauses would disappear overnight.”
“Good smackdown, Hope. I’m with you. If you give your work away, that’s what your work is worth. In a race to the bottom, everyone drowns.”
“I was reading an online article from The Guardian this morning on the widening gap between top earners in our industry and the rest of us (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/15/earnings-soar-for-uks-bestselling-authors-as-wealth-gap-widens-in-books-industry). It was interesting, but much more interesting were the comments, which appear to have been from readers rather than writers. Not only do they not care, but they also think writers are in the wrong in complaining about how much (or rather, how little) they get paid. Definitely an issue for us to resolve in private rather than in public, Philip Pullman’s recent action notwithstanding.”
(NOTE: Regarding that last comment, in case you didn’t know, Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass, stepped down as patron from the Oxford Literary Festival because they were not paying writers to make appearances. Good man.)
A festival organizer asked an acquaintance of mine for names as presenters. She gave them mine. But without me saying anything, she told me she understood my stance about being compensated, and she’d let me have that conversation with them. Like I was the exception, but I’ll take that reputation all day long.
Wouldn’t you like to be known as a decent writer who expects payment for their services, or rather someone who gives it away and can be easily had for free?