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Monday, June 3, 2013

Hot topic: writer pay

Since I was laid off a few weeks ago, I've been searching the net for freelancing opportunities. This investigation has taken me to the dark side of writing for pay on the net. 

Content drives the Internet, yet writers, the producers of content, don't get no respect from certain sectors, as Rodney Dangerfield would say. And I mean none.

I've listened to webinars where gurus promised zillions from their self-publishing and marketing schemes. They say, "If you can't write, outsource. There are plenty of writers who will write your book fast and cheap." One guy even said, "Any monkey can edit a book." Oh really. 

A whole slew of net-based content development factories have arisen that pay writers mere pennies per word. You'd have to write night and day just to tread water, and still there are few financial guarantees. 

A couple of years ago there was a notorious case of a well-known novelist who paid unknowns to write his books for peanuts and a cloak of invisibility.

Why would any writer subject him/herself to such treatment?

Lately a friend has been talking a lot about how low self-worth can make you accept any old kind of treatment. I understand how desperation can lead to bad decision making, but maybe my friend is right, too. Maybe like Mika Brzezinski would say, we writers don't understand our value, and that's why we make such bad bargains with our talent.

Let's learn from writers like Amanda Hocking who took their writing destinies into their own hands. Despite all the rejections by publishers, she kept writing, and then she self-published her work. Now she has an agent and a great publishing contract with St. Martin's Press! She must have known her worth as a writer to keep going like that.

Writing stars, any and all deals should be open for negotiation. If they aren't, run! The most powerful word in your negotiating vocabulary is "no." The most powerful mindset in this age of digital publishing is "I can do it myself!" 

Donna Marie

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