Since this is another light week, I’m going on another rant directly related to some project offers I received.
The first concerns a potential client who wanted to hire a writer for his biography. We went back and forth and even scheduled a teleconference. He didn’t bother to call. He didn’t bother to let me know that he’d hired someone else whose quoted fee was less than mine until I contacted him to ask if I’d misunderstood the call time and date. His budget was $600. I told him that his budget covered a document up to 12,000 words, including editing, revising, and formatting. I think that’s pretty generous, considering that merely writing the rough draft would take at least 24 hours of work.
He contacted me yesterday. Aha, I thought, your el-cheapo freelancer didn’t work out. Sure enough, my hunch was right. He asked me to write a 24,000-word book for the reduced price of $300, because he already wasted half his budget on the other contractor. Um…no. His failure to hire the right contractor the first time does not mean that I have to work for him substantially less than minimum wage. I sincerely doubt he’d work for those rates; why should I?
Today I responded to an RFP to write a story, about 15,000 words. The potential client responded that his budget was $150. I told him my fee for that project would be $750. He replied back: “Ok, thanks for replying back. Well quite honestly I know that on Upwork the fee for writing is usually around .02 cents per word, this is why usually a 15,000 word book would be about $200. Anyway, I have got your point, I will keep in mind your offer.”
My response: “The Upwork fee is NOT the going rate for writing; that fee is the percentage commission that comes off the fee paid to the vendor. Like Fiverr, Upwork takes a 20% commission off vendor earnings. Think of it this way, a 15,000-word book will take approximately 30 hours to draft. That doesn’t include time and skill needed for research, editing, revising, or formatting. I certainly won’t put in 30 hours of work for only $200, which would then be reduced by the platform commission to only $160. Would you?”
Yes, I got a little testy.
Here’s another one today for a similar project. The potential client began with, “How much do you take? Because my budget is quite low at first.” Then she added: “[F]or 40 pages, $40; that’s my final offer. I will give you, after publishing, a minimum of $60, depending on the sales.” Wow. Just…wow. And not in a good way. First, there’s no way to predict sales. Second, offering me $0.60 per hour is just insulting. Again, I doubt she’d work for that hourly rate.
(By the way, I edited her responses because they were misspelled and just very poorly written.)
I wish there were a way to persuade other freelancers to stop devaluing the profession. Perhaps if we put a higher value on what we do, then buyers would, too.
So, I told my husband yesterday that I would henceforth concentrate on RFPs for editing. People who hire editors appear to be more reasonable about compensation. If I’m going to write for slave wages, then I’ll write what I want for myself. To that effect, I should be wrapping up Russian Gold soon and need some beta readers.