Monday, November 16, 2020

Writers should unite against Writers United

I recently stumbled on a Facebook group for Writers United (not to be confused with Writers Unite!) I initially thought that the group was one of dozens offering advice to writers, and it does offer some undistinguished words of encouragement to unproductive writers. But its main purpose seems to be to funnel hopeful writers to an affiliated website called 

Writers United is a company that hires freelance writers worldwide at ridiculously low rates, probably less than what could be earned by returning empty soda bottles to retrieve their deposits for a nickel apiece.

The company expects to pay about two or three cents per word

Writers United is part of a sad current trend to devalue the worth of writers and their work, made worse by such websites as where literary whores will produce a 'book' for five or ten bucks. 

[below] Ads online abound from people seeking writers at absurdly low prices.

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 may shift to money per word, not per book.

I was last an active freelance magazine writer 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. The most I got was half a buck per word, from Esquire.

If I was writing ads or brochures, I could get a buck or two or more per 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.

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.

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 received about three offers. Some I'm not qualified for. Some were filled before I could respond. Most pay so little that they seem like slave labor.

The posting up above 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 canceled 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.

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 gotten emails from This company is a ghostwriting service that provides term papers for lazy, inept, corrupt students—and wanted 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.

No thanks!

Pizza/Pepsi photo from Thanks.

No comments:

Post a Comment