I spent two hours online Sunday night chasing after freelance gigs. That's not unusual. I typically spend two to four hours daily doing that. Competition is fierce and my proposals are but drops in an ocean of claims for better, faster, and cheaper. But what really lowers my spirits are buyers who want to hire skill and expertise for nothing.
Here's the buyer request. Pay attention to the delivery time (7 days) and the budget ($20).
Here's my proposal, which is based on a maximum length of 7,500 words:
Instead of silently dismissing my proposal, which is what happens to most proposals, the buyer responded:
I just couldn't ignore the insult and replied:
To which the buyer responded with her somewhat incoherent reply:
I can't be the only one who finds that answer insulting. But because the freelance platform requires that I respond to every message promptly or have my vendor rating downgraded, I moderated my answer to her and wished her well:
How many of you, dear readers, would work for, say, 10 or 12 hours at a maximum rate of $2.50 per hour? That's how long I estimate it would take me to crank out 7,500 words of original content, edit it thoroughly, and then format the document for upload to a digital publishing platform.
I've ranted on this topic before: if writing has value, then so does the writer's time and skill used to produce the content written. I stick by my guns in that this buyer doesn't value the effort and skill necessary to generate good content. If she finds a writer who will work for such paltry wages, then I guarantee that the content produced will be of inferior quality. She might sell a few copies, but certainly not enough to recoup her minimal investment of $20 or $25.
And I've said this before, too: If I want to write for free (or damned near for free), then I'll write my own stuff, publish it myself, and keep the royalties earned.