So much is being written about the sad state of freelance writers today. Be it a writer’s blog or a social networking site, and it’s there. Each has its own approach and the visitors’ comments are also varied – but the gist is the same. Two points are always there, and these set me thinking:
1. Clients pay freelance writers ridiculously low rates, often as low as $ 1 per article. And there are writers who actually write at these rates … even when this measly amount is withheld with some excuse or the other. On a blog someone also wrote, “clients use underhand ways to keep writers at their beck and call”.
My question here is – who is responsible for this state of affairs? If you ask me, it’s the writers themselves. People are paying this amount because writers are willing to write for this amount. Set your price and refuse to go for less. No one is going to force you to write for $ 1 an article if you don’t want to. People need things written, more now than ever before… because of the wide use of the internet and need for fresh content every day. If they can get writers who are willing to write for less, then why should they pay more? But if writers refuse to go below their rates, people will be forced to hire at higher rates.
There’s another point I’d like to make here – you are paid what you are worth. I strongly believe that if your work is really good, then there’s no way that you won’t be paid what you’re worth. So, instead of complaining, freelance writers should be concentrating on the quality of their work and set their own price.
2. Much of the blame is being placed on “Asian writers” or “some guy in India who doesn’t know how to string words together”.
Ok, suppose for one moment that it is “these guys” who are responsible for the low rates. But are they forcing other writers to lower their rates as well? If they can’t “string words together”, or as someone else put it, “don’t even know what correct grammar or idiom is”, then why are they being hired? Again suppose that their English is not good enough, then isn’t the $ 1 dollar their worth? You go out and show what stringing of words or correct grammar is, and you’ll be paid your worth. Why complain?
As for the issue of “native speakers” and “non-native speakers”, to me it makes no sense. Command over a language has nothing to do with nationality. There are many non-speakers whose English is much better than those of “natives”
My belief is that it’s not right to blame anyone for anything. It’s an open market. Anyone can go out there and sell their services. Just like in any other kind of market, there are all sorts of sellers and all kinds of buyers. If you want your services to be sold at a good price – produce good services and show the world what you can do. Once buyers see what you have to offer, there’s no way you won’t be paid what you’re worth.