Writers, here’s the plan: We’ll screw you.
November 7, 2013 • Glenn Murray
Today, I read a rant about writers and readers by Jane Gilmore, editor of The King’s Tribune. And now I’m pissed.
“…every outlet is struggling to cover costs. No one is deliberately devaluing the writers who are our bread and butter.”
Then she tells writers:
“Don’t promise an article and deliver it late, full of typos and factual errors. Don’t reword something that has been written by 15 other people, add no original ideas and then charge full rates for it.”
In one breath, she tells writers:
“You’re not entitled to get paid, you have to be worth paying.”
Yet in the next, she says:
“Ten or more years of free content online has inculcated everyone with the idea that good writing is a valueless service. It’s not. But paying writers what they are worth is not going to happen until that ingrained attitude changes.”
I know that what she’s explicitly saying is writers can’t expect to get paid for crap, writing for free is a bad idea, and good writing costs money. And I’m 100% with her, there.
It’s her overarching position I’m opposed to. Here’s how I read it:
Writers, “it’s on you”. We’re not going to pay you what you’re worth, until readers pay US what WE’RE worth. So here’s the plan. You keep writing original, thought-provoking articles, as fast as we need them, with no typos or factual errors. I know it’s tough to type while you’re taking the bus to your third job, but them’s the breaks. Oh, and make sure they’re exclusive to us. And for that, we’ll pay you a nominal fee. That way, YOU can cover OUR costs. Because unlike you, we DO deserve to be paid, even when other publishers are offering the same stuff for free. OK? Think of it as an investment in your future.
Jane, why is it up to writers to work cheap so you can cover costs? What about THEIR costs?
They could equally ask why don’t you wear the risk? In fact, that’s probably a much fairer request, given that most publishers have more resources at their disposal than the average freelance writer.
So why pass the buck? If they’re really your bread and butter, why aren’t you investing in them? Like any other business has to. Invest in better content, and show readers YOU’RE worth paying.