Dealing with the unreasonable
With blood pressure soaring and temper fraying, I'm using this little forum to vent my frustrations. It's my blog and I'll whine if I want to.
Today's rant focuses on the unreasonable expectations of people who want to hire freelance writers and editors. Hey, I know budgets are tight, but that doesn't mean we write or edit for free. People who write/edit for free are called volunteers. Following are some solicitations I came across this morning. Egad.
Each of these--trust me, I didn't have to look hard to find them--expects a great deal of work and skill. But let's break 'em down.
And people wonder why I'm cranky.
Coming out this week is my newest romance novel, Ulfbehrt's Legacy. The novel falls within the categories of #contemporary romance, #new adult romance, and #military romance. Here's the book summary:
Fleeing horrific abuse and an uncaring legal system in the USA, Zoe lands in Norway to study archeology, specifically pre-Viking civilization. With the nightclub where she worked closed down and her apartment building condemned, she needs a new job and a new place to live.
Her roommate and fellow student Tabetha comes to the rescue and invites her to move in with her family. Zoe’s grateful for the offer and the warm welcome Tabetha’s family extends to her, even though Tabetha’s oldest brother discomfits her.
Wounded in battle against eco-terrorists who attempted to wrest control of an oil platform, elite sailor Lars moves back in with his family while he recuperates. Upon seeing his sister’s roommate, he discovers that his father’s “pow” theory of love isn’t just a cute story: Zoe stirs his blood like nothing else.
Zoe’s not looking for a relationship, but Lars’ gentle persistence shows her that she can trust him. However, an enemy wants to make Lars suffer by harming what will hurt him most, and one of Zoe’s abusers wants her back. She saved herself once, she’ll have to do it again.
As with most of my books, this contains mature content not suitable for readers under 18 years old.
The school of hard knocks never quits teaching. For the past couple of weeks, I alienated several potential clients by sending proposals for service at what I consider fair fees. I explained how fees are broken down to a potential client today, who (I hope) now understands the value of a good writer.
Let's say that "Joe" wants to earn $25 per hour for content generation and can produce 500 words of good content per hour. (Good content means well-written content that needs little or nothing in the way of editing or revision.) That works out to $0.05 per word.
Now let's say Client X wants Joe to write a 100-page book for $25. Estimating an average of 250 words per standard manuscript page, that's a total of 25,000 words. If Joe can produce 500 words of good content per hour, then writing the book will take 50 hours, not including any time spent on conducting research or editing the content once written. That works out to an hourly rate of $0.50, which is both insulting and offensive to expect.
I'm fighting the good fight to educate people that good writing takes time, effort, and skill that there's value the writer's time, effort, and skill; but, I fear that I can't win the battle, much less the war.
A dot on the map
In responding to a solicitation for a content writer, I needed a hyperlink to my Amazon author page. Instead of going straight to Amazon and doing a search on my pseudonym, I just entered "Holly Bargo" in the Google search field and...voilà! There I...er...Holly Bargo was. Multiple entries. More than one page of entries. Most entries referenced Russian Lullaby, which is apparently the little book that put me on "the map."
It's pretty exciting being a dot on the map.
I hope to increase my cartographic real estate soon, with the release of two new books: Ulfbehrt's Legacy and Russian Gold. The first is undergoing editing. Fellow author Rowanna Green has already read it and delivered her candid review, for which I am grateful. Ain't nothing right on the first try, you know. There are overused terms to seek and eliminate and sensory details to add. I don't want my readers to bog down in every little detail related to the five senses, but I can readily admit that such detail is spare in my writing. I do like to leave a something to my readers' imaginations.
Fellow Wittenberg Alumnae Sharon has also offered herself as a victim...er...beta reader. She, too, offers different insights that are just as valuable. She hasn't quite finished plowing her way through the book, but what she has already done has been helpful. I hope for more of the same over the next few days.
Former coworker Kelley also offered to join the effort as a beta reader. I'm hoping for some interesting insights from her, too. Every reader brings a different perspective, different expertise, to the task.
Of course, while beta readers generously contribute their time and insight, I go over the content again and again. It's an opportunity to catch errors, rewrite poorly written sentences, etc. I know what I meant, but the fingers on the keyboard don't always follow through. Just between you and me, I think I've shocked my readers a little. Perhaps they didn't quite realize just how dirty my mind is.
This is what I do when I'm not perusing submissions to Red Sun Magazine, editing for Acadia, working on a freelance project, or chasing down a paying gig.
Yep, I'm always looking for project work. Many proposals go out; a few responses come back. Most of the responses, as seen from previous posts, don't go far because, if I'm going to write for free or darned near free, then I'll write for myself.