Pay Writers What They’re Worth

There’s a lot of exploitation in my industry. There are many individuals and businesses that want to pay writers what amounts to essentially minimum wage (or less). They think $42 for a 1,000-word piece is reasonable (it’s not). Do you know how long it takes to physically write 1,000 words? Hours. Plural. And that’s just the writing, not the researching or editing that makes the piece readable.

Compounding the exploitation problem, there are writers willing to take on that low-paying work. I don’t blame them because I know what it’s like to feel desperate, but unfortunately, the plethora of freelance content writers willing to work for almost nothing means writing is devalued. Individuals and businesses think it’s OK to keep paying these obscenely low rates (again, it’s not). The whole thing aggravates me to no end.

oakland content writer
Writers should earn more than mere pennies. Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Look, I know these days newspapers and magazines are operating on shoe-string budgets because revenues have nosedived. For them, I have more compassion and understanding because they’re struggling to keep the lights on. (But for the record, even small, local newspapers pay more than $0.04/word, which is what $42 for 1,000 words amounts to.)

No, it’s the businesses that aren’t reliant on ad dollars that anger me. The ones that want me to help them boost their search engine optimization (SEO) so they can continue to rank highly on search engines and bring in customers or clients. The ones that have plenty of money but think so little of my services that they want to get the cheapest price possible.

For perspective, did you know the average house sitter charges $30 to $55 per night? And yes, some people have pet CPR training and other things to justify a higher price, but they didn’t go to school for house sitting. There is no “house sitting degree” or International Association of House Sitters, but a house sitter can make more money for their services than a writer. That’s messed up.

writer for therapists
Some house sitters make more than writers do. Photo by Autri Taheri on Unsplash

I went to school for four years to learn how to be a journalist. I’ve spent the last 16 years honing my skills and applying what I learned not only to journalism writing but also to working as a freelance content writer for small businesses. I studied writing extensively to be able to ghostwrite for therapists and mental health professionals. I pay attention to things like diction and grammar choices so I can mimic the voice of my clients. Don’t I deserve to be paid accordingly?

That’s a rhetorical question because of course I deserve to be paid what I’m worth. But not only me — every person like me. If someone has taken the time and energy to educate themselves, both formally and informally, they should be compensated. If you want to pay someone minimum wage, hire a high school student, not someone with a degree.

If you’re interested in working together, get in touch. I’d be happy to chat.

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