I’m realistic enough to know that this blog receives about the same number of visits as Ian Brady, but for those of you who might be contemplating a career in freelance journalism, here’s a tip – DON’T WRITE FOR NOWT!

Whilst rates for articles in the print media stagnate or even drop, there’s an increasing tendency of the editors of many websites to offer payment based only on the number of hits your article receives (if any) – this effectively means you let them have a thousand words and several hours of your time and skill and receive what are never less than paltry returns months – maybe even years – after you’ve written your piece, based on the amount of traffic its generated and the honesty of the website owners in letting you know (cos there’s no way you’ll ever be able to find out for yourself).

Here’s an example of what I mean:

The editor of the website Travel Intelligence wanted me to write a blog over the winter based on my forthcoming travels. Once it had all been agreed back came a message saying they wouldn’t be able to pay altho I would receive royalties based on the amount of traffic my work generated.

I wrote back:

Hi Isabel,

At the risk of sounding like a money grabbing git I think I’ll pass on it for now. I’ve made a decision not to work in future without receiving direct payment, as much on principle as anything else since it seems to be turning into a common feature of writing for websites these days.

I appreciate that I may make a little money in the long term but I would have to get a massive number of hits on my stuff to receive anything like the payment such an article/s would normally expect to receive in the print media, and to be honest I really don’t have the time to work for what will probably be very little.

It’s a peculiar aspect of web journalism isn’t it? I can’t think of any other profession that would operate on the same basis – it’s a bit like telling a plumber “I can’t pay you for the job but I’ll let you have royalties based on the number of showers I have”!!

Best wishes

Alf

I really don’t understand where these people are coming from in expecting experienced and professional writers to work on this basis. Sure, if you’re making a start in the business its a chance to get your work published but even then why work for next to nothing?

Your writing would have to be something very, very special to get noticed out there in the infinite universe of the interweb and it’s highly unlikely to generate much more work for you, and even less so any real income.

I’m probably swimming against the current but bollocks to the lot of them, I ain’t working for free and from now in every time I’m asked the bugger who did the questioning will be getting a two word response.

 

 

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