Makin' money!

Last night, I couldn't wait for it to be morning. I just bought french vanilla coffee creamer - and I was wishing it was morning so I could have it.

When I got up today, I realized that it really is the best part of waking up. Coffee and writing to start the morning really are a great set-up for a wonderful day...

I checked my email and found a note from a girl who had found my freelance writing website, and she asked if I could give her some pointers. She said she writes regularly for a content site which I abhor - and she wanted to know where else she could go to make money.

I told her to try content sites that actually pay their writers instead of treating them like they're working in a mental sweatshop. I didn't use those words, but that's what some of these content factories do - and they're preying on new writers who are working for $3.00 an hour. $3.00 an hour! That makes me beyond angry for a few reasons:

a) It's not a fair hourly wage

b) New writers who actually have good writing skills are learning there's no value in what we do

c) If writers with good writing skills are writing for these junk sites for those prices, why would any client want to use my services, which are FAR more expensive than $3.00 an hour?

d) The whole principle of that site is devaluing what we do because clients are led to believe it doesn't take anything to whip up a batch of content. (While I can write content really quickly, as I'm sure many of us can, it's not for the client to know - all s/he needs to know is that I've given them the best content they've ever read, not how long it took... I don't need to know that the pasta I ordered at a restaurant for $26 last night was already made and all the cooks had to do was heat it, because if I did, I might gripe that it cost $26 - and it's the same principle with writing.)

Talented writers, if you are earnestly trying to make money, don't let people capitalize off your skills. It's one thing to sell inexpensive content when you're first starting out, and you can take less than what you think you're worth - but once you're established (and by established, I mean have a few things published and some solid testimonials) don't continue devaluing writing.

I'm not saying you should charge $500/page for content, but I am saying that you should base your prices on what you feel your writing is worth.

Consider the following factors:

Your experience
The reasons you're writing (is it to earn a living? Do you have another job?)
Fair market value*
*I know there is no industry standard for what we do, but if there were, it wouldn't be $1.20 per 100 words. That is so far beyond ridiculous - even if it only takes you an hour to crank out 1000 words, you're making $10 an hour - and I'd rather hoard my writing skills on my hard drive.

I know this sounds harsh and mean, but it's very important that new writers realize that their talent is worth something... not everyone can write - and if they could, they wouldn't be buying web content.

This is meant to help people, not criticize anyone, so please don't take it that way. I decided that my goal is to make sure new writers can find solid guidance so they don't get discouraged and quit before they have the opportunity to discover their potential.

As a side note, I just took a class about leaving the Army. They told us that the biggest challenge we soon-to-be Vets have is communicating with civilians; they said civilians often think we communicate too forcefully and too bluntly - so that's my excuse for this post. :)