Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Awful authoring arithmetic.
What's a word worth in 2015?

When authors think about income they are usually concerned with the dollars or percentages earned from writing complete books.

But when they are in the mode of being writers, not specifically authors, the math shifts to money per word, not per book.

I frequently freelanced for magazines and newspapers back in the early 1970s.

I generally got ten or fifteen cents a word. I knew of publications that paid writers as little as a penny or a nickel a word, and heard that some mags, such as Playboy, paid a buck a word.

I recently decided to get back into freelance writing and editing, both for fun and for money.

I paid to join to get leads on possible gigs.

It's "a secure, online marketplace where individuals and businesses can safely and easily outsource their jobs to a large talent pool of freelancers worldwide. As a freelancer on, we will provide you with the resources necessary to showcase your talents, allowing you to connect with thousands of business owners in need of your services. is a smarter and easier way to grow your business and connect with clients looking to hire someone with your skillset. We will match you with recommended projects, connect you with clients, and help you every step of the way so you can get the best results. We also balance the quote to job post ratio, so that your chances of being hired are very high.

We have three different 6 month subscription packages for you to choose from. Each package gives you a monthly allotment of credits to use towards sending quotes."
Each day I receive about three offers. Some I'm not qualified for. Some are filled before I can respond. Most pay so little that they seem like slave labor.

The posting up at the top is typical. Rikki wants someone to write about 40,000 words for less than $500. Not only is that pathetic "chump change," (maybe a penny per word) but Rikki wants the book completed in no more than five days.

I suppose that the limited time and money may work for a beginning, desperate writer with time to kill. But the deal does not appeal to me and I'll probably cancel my Outsource membership.

Many of the job offers on Outsource are from people who want to masquerade as authors and sell ebooks they are unqualified to write. 

Offers on Outsource are a symptom of a sad trend advanced by other websites like

Various writing and artistic projects that were once worth hundreds of dollars are priced at five bucks each -- about the same as a couple of slices of pizza and a soda.

Talent and experience are valuable.

Artists and writers should not sell their work for next to nothing. They should not compete with other artists and writers as if illustrations and books were interchangeable commodities like tons of ore or barrels of oil.

In related depravity, I've been getting emails from This company is a ghostwriting service that provides termpapers for lazy, inept, corrupt students--and wants to run ads on this blog. Students pay $19.95 per page for custom papers. You can imagine how little the actual writers get paid.


Pizza/Pepsi photo from Thanks.

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