Part of freelancing is endless rounds of applying for work and submitting proposals. Many companies figure they can get the best of all worlds by hiring professionals in niche professions who are great writers and will work for peanuts. The screenshot at right is captured from one such online application.
As you see, the prospective client wants a real pro in the medical field: a medical doctor, registered dietician, nutritionist, etc. Of course, not all subject matter experts are skilled writers, which the client wants, too. As a matter of fact, not all skilled writers write everything well. For instance, I've written email and website copy, but it's not what I'd consider my forte. I prefer blog posts and articles.
The requirement for a prospective freelance writer to upload (or link to) a writign sample (or three) comes with the territory. If you won't write for an unpaid trial (something I generally advise writers not to do), then the writer must have a portfolio of writing samples that demonstrates the writer's skill. I prefer to link to my portfolio or to specific work rather than upload a PDF.
Then, of course, we come to the kicker: the rate of pay. Compensation for writers runs the gamut of insulting to generous. This particular opportunity trends toward insult. As I have before, I'll break it down for you.
For a 1,000-word article, the average writer can expect to spend three hours and 20 minutes drafting, self-editing, revising, and polishing the article. That doesn't include any time spent on research. For $20, the writer earns $6.06 per hour or $0.02 per word, which is low for fiction, never mind nonfiction that requires research. Add the value of profesional subject matter expertise on top of that and you go from insulting to truly offensive.
To earn $1,000 (or more) per week, the writer would have to produce 50 articles weekly (each 1,000 words minimum). That's insane. Unreasonable. Ridiculous. Insert your preferred adjective here.
Needless to say, I did not complete the application.
I continue to fight the good fight. In a Facebook group set up to bring clients and freelance writers together, I responded to a post soliciting freelance writers. The gig requirements were such that no writer could possibly accomplish the desired output without using artificial intelligence to generate the content which would be lackluster at best. I pointed that out, and the original poster asked if I had a problem with that. Obviously, I replied, and just as obviously the prospective client considered writers and their work of little to no value.
This is one reason I consistently advise authors who self-publish their books to hire professional editors. If writers, especially self-published writers, wish to be taken seriously, then they must take their work seriously and product the best quality possible. This mean investing in their work. This mean using professional editors.
I put my money where my mouth is. Even though I freelance as a professional editor, I hire a professional editor to edit my manuscripts. As a writer, I am too close to the story to see the flaws. I can't see the forest for the trees. The same goes for every author. The author knows what's supposed to be there and doesn't see what's not.
Don't sell yourself or your content short. If you want to hire a professional writer, then be prepared to pay that writer a professional's wage. If you want to produce professional quality content, then hire an editor and be prepared to pay that professional a commensurate wage.
Writing is a solitary endeavor, but producing great quality content takes a team.
Every word counts.
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