Sunday, June 26, 2011

Warning to Aspiring Writers: Don't allow people to take advantage of your talents!

I need to write about this now because it has been festering in my brain for months. I belong to a group called Book Exchange in Multiply. For so many times, I've been seeing a post repeatedly sent by a particular member who's looking for writers but she is offering such low rates that they are really, really insulting.

Earlier tonight, I once again received an email notification where the person has posted a new ad: "Looking for Medical Article Writers". As someone who has written articles for Health Today magazine, I know how hard it is to come up with credible writeups that would really be helpful to readers. One needs to interview valid resource persons and do extensive research to ensure that the information given are correct.

So I was really annoyed when I read her offer:

Qualification: Must have a medical background for easy understanding.
Rate: $1/500 words
Word Count - 1,000
Workload: Daily

This means that if you write at least 4 medical articles a day, you can earn as much as 420 pesos a day. I will prioritize applicants with medical background but if you're not, you can still apply as long as you testify that you can write medical articles. 

On her main page, she also wrote: "Though this is a rewarding part time job, I do not encourage everyone to apply out of dire need. This is not just a simple writing task. Every article we do is being posted to websites worldwide hence, a keen eye for "quality" is much needed. Patience and persistence in research is also required not to forget being creative.

If you want to venture in this job, you should accept the fact that you will loose patent to your originally written article the moment you submit it to the client."

Rewarding? Not a simple task? And lots of other requirements for the "very attractive" compensation of just one dollar per 500 words??? My goodness! That translates to just around P43.00! And for newbie writers, I doubt if they could come up with quality written work in an hour or less. But for the sake of argument, say you can finish a 500 or 1000 word article in an hour after much research and creativity. Are you willing to be paid P86.00 for that?!
This time around, I couldn't help myself. For the record, I don't know this person (she hasn't been indicating her real name in all her posts, just the pen name Pinaywebified) and this is not a personal attack. I am just criticizing her way of recruiting and paying people to write for her.

So I posted this reply under her post which I've been actually wanting to do for a long time:
"With all due respect, your rates are TOO LOW. Churning out words is not easy and it is insulting that you are only willing to pay that much for a 500 word article -- unless you don't expect good quality writeups.

Here in the Philippines, good articles go for P1.00 per word already. What you're offering people is P420 for four 1000-word articles?! My goodness, that is taking way too much advantage of people's time and efforts!

I know what I am talking about because I am a published magazine and newspaper writer and people in the publishing industry here don't take advantage of writers that way. Even students who submit articles to newspapers are paid fairly."

My point is, clients who give these kinds of offers and "writers" who allow themselves to be used this way are DEGRADING the profession. It sends out the message that "It's okay to abuse us. Use our talents, remove our bylines and copyrights, and pay us peanuts."

Darn it!
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