Monthly Archives: October 2010

A lot of content, a little pay

One of the things that distinguishes writing from other skills is
that, in a literate society, everyone can do it — to some extent. As
a result, when people are looking for a way to make a bit of money,
they are fair game for companies who are willing to pay a little for a
little — to encourage people to think they can earn a better living
as writers by paying very low rates — and supplying that prose to
companies who are willing to settle for less-than-professional content
as long as they can fill their sites.

For example, I recently got a PR release about the financing of a
company called Textbroker, which calls itself a “leading Internet
platform for unique on-demand content.” In other words, if you need
content for your site they’ll supply it.

Their payment strategy is interesting. They rate their writers on a
scale ranging from “legible” to “professional quality.” Legible gets
.7 cents/word. If you’re really good, you can get as much as 5 cents a
word — or $25 per 500 words.

This may seem like a lot, especially if you’re a fiction writer who
has sold 2,000 words stories for $50. But if you’re writing for a
living, churning out 500 words for a top rate of $25 isn’t going to go
very far in paying your rent. That means in order to make, say, at
least, say, $500/week, you’d have to write about 10,000 words, which
is — well, a lot of words.

If you’re absolutely desperate for work — and I know a lot of people
are — I’m not going to say, don’t do it. But if you want to make a
decent living as a writer, I’d at least keep looking for alternatives.

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Freelancer’s hearing at NYC City Hall postponed

FYI — the hearing at NYC's City Hall on?????How Can Government Help Freelancers Recover Unpaid Wages???? that I announced earlier has been postponed, according to the Freelancer's Union.

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Sports Media Exchange

I was googling around, looking for relevant links for this blog, and noticed that several articles from the ESPN site had bylines from people who belongs to the Sports Media Exchange. According to its blog, the Sports Media Exchange is a clearinghouse for sports-related media assignments.??

There is little or no information on their Web site — it's basically a Blogspot blog which includes a link at which you can register as a sportswriter. (There is an email address on the page where you can write for further info, however.) I had to go elsewhere to find out anything: According to an article printed last year on Poynter Online, the SMEX acts as a go-between for sports media and freelance sports reporters. If you're a writer who had a background (or even an interest in) sports, it may be worth checking out.

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Being human — to your clients

When I do a search for articles about freelancing that I can recommend, I find many — no, most — of them are so basic as to be useless. This is mainly because many Web content farms feature a lot of articles written about freelancing by freelancers looking to fill their daily quotas.

However, despite the rather cutesy name of this article, and the pink frilly design of the site (both of which usually get my back hairs up), this article offers a very useful and probably effective strategy for keeping clients: humanize yourself to them. And it makes sense — it's a lot easier for a client to drop you if you're simply a name on an email rather than somebody with whom you discuss a bit of personal background before getting on to business. Of course, you don't want to overdo it — you performing a paid service, after all, not helping a relative — but it makes a lot of sense.

CurrentMom: How Your Clients Are Like Kidnappers

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Are you a freelancer in NYC?

I received an email from the Freelancers Union asking for NYC freelancers to attend a public hearing on client nonpayment. According to the email, "…they need to see us and hear our stories??and understand how devastating it is when a client walks off with a project, leaving us high and dry…??We need to pack the room??to send a clear message to City and State leaders: pass the Deadbeat Client Bill and stop deadbeat companies in their tracks."??

(They also may be giving out t-shirts…)

The hearing is on Tuesday, October 19th, at 9 a.m. at City Hall, 250 Broadway. A form to RSVP is here.

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Demand Media hiring freelancers

Demand Media has a notice on their front page that they're looking for freelancers. I have no idea how much they pay or how they are to work for, but if you're curious, you may want to look into it.

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