One of the job sites/freelance platforms to which I subscribe sent me an alert for a gig that sounds right up my alley: freelance fiction prose writer (forbidden romance, new adult romance) with an estimated salary of $1,250 to $1,300 per month. Whoo hoo! That sounds like decent money and a lot of fun.

Then I read the details.

If hired, the writer is obligated to complete 10 chapters at 1,200 to 1,500 words each per week. That’s 12,000 to 15,000 words drafted, self-edited, revised, and polished each week.

Yep, once again, I’ll get into the numbers.

The average writer takes approximately three hours and 20 minutes to draft, self-edit, revise, and polish 1,000 words of content. Let’s pretend I’m better than average and can produce 1,000 words of good content in a mere three hours. Fifteen thousand words a week will take 45 hours to complete.

Now here’s the kicker: the company will pay $15 per chapter.

So, to work 45 hours per week to produce the minimum required 10 chapters in that week, I’d receive the princely wage of $150. In order to earn that estimated salary of $1,250 per month, I’d have to produce 125,000 words of content in that month. To produce 125,000 words in a month, I’d have to generate 31,250 words each week (assuming a 4-week month). That’s more than twice the amount of content required per week, meaning I’d have to work nearly 100 hours per week to earn that estimated salary.

The company hiring desperately hungry writers for poverty wages is Above Story Limited. Another company offering equally terrible terms is Dibbly. Companies like this make money hand over fist while the writers writing for them are burning their candles at both ends.

Before applying to any such opportunity, it behooves the prospective applicant to run through the numbers and decide whether the terms are reasonable. I do not consider the terms of this particular gig reasonable. I’m better off writing for free and publishing the book myself.

Publishing is a business, and the writers who produce work-for-hire treat it is as a business, then the bad actors taking advantage of writers will be quickly revealed.

Know your value and don’t fall for these exploitive schemes.