Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Paid Writer Gets Paid

J.K. Rowling doesn't struggle with getting paid
The greatest enemy to freelance writers is freelance writers (and possibly sharks). A writer's favourite past time is to complain about atrocious pay rates, but cheap publishers and sites get away with it because of the writers who do back flips over non-professional rates like five or ten cents per word. Writers sink their careers to the depth of the ocean with their thousand pounds of self-doubt weights and not throwing them off to take the risk of swimming to the luxury yachts of well-paying magazines and corporate work. Even if a writer puts some value on their work and time with demands of better rates, they need to protect themselves from bad situations by tattooing "if it sounds too good to be true than it probably is" right into their brain. It wouldn't hurt to have a daily chant of "don't be a sucker" too.

If a still to be launched site promoting itself as Huffington Post meets TMZ with a sprinkling of O Magazine stomps its way into the market and hires over 250 writers with promises of decent pay then a writer must approach cautiously and look for red flags. Warning signs like the supposed millionaire owner of various media companies not having any kind of digital footprints, the site constantly postponing its start date along with a deal they don't pay until articles are published, a site of such ambition not getting any kind of attention from news sites, a Twitter account of over 10 thousand followers with 98% who seem to be bought, and interactions that show a general disdain for the writer. 

A writer needs work and the promise of being paid for six plus articles a day on pop culture and news is rather appetizing, but writing for free for weeks is going to leave one hungry. The writer of the unproven site should write one or two articles, and then when emails don't get a response and payment doesn't come, then it is best to paddle to new islands. Then she can be far away from the storm of writers suddenly revealing that after two months not only have they not been paid but they're now owed over two thousand dollars. 

This is the glaring problem of writers. Yes, the website in this scenario is the big bad and they're a bunch of crooks. If you don't have any past relationship with a publisher and they have no proven track record, then a writer sure doesn't write them 50 articles before seeing a single cent. If a writer wants to make a decent living then the best strategy is to not work for free. This means not committing hours to a site of no reputation promising the moon and a side of fries.

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