Monday, July 14, 2014

Why Writers Rolleth In Moolah


    Things are looking bad for authors right now.

    According to this Bookseller article, unless you’re J.K. Rowling or Neil Gaiman, chances are that your authoring superheroics are increasingly reliant on some other kind of heroics for their poorly rewarded parasitic existence.

    If you’re merely a writer presumably things are much, much worse.

    Here’s an example of how worthless writers are currently deemed to be.

    Coming up is a job post from a freelance site popular amongst writers.  It’s not the first one like this that I’ve seen, nor I suspect will it be the last.

    The post itself ran to a single wodge of impenetrable text that ate my 1650 x 1050 monitor whole.

    So here’s the gist:

    “We require a 12,000 to 15,000 article on mindfulness meditation, plus a brief 500 word summary — and we’re willing to pay $25 tops.”

    Ready for the maths?

    Okay, but first, a little rule-bending.

    Let’s dispense with these notions of ‘article’ and ‘subject  matter’, and toss into the hat any need for research, structure, grammar, punctuation — and all those other skills writers provide.

    Let’s just make this a MECHANICAL EXERCISE — an opportunity for typing out the word CHEESE the required number of times.  For $25.

    I make the average word count here 13,500 — plus 500 —  which makes for a nice round 14,000.

    According to most of the reliable searches I’ve made since breakfast, the average typing speed is forty words per minute.

    But, hey — aren’t professional writers supposed to be experts at this kind of thing?

    Let’s say the writer who shows up to do this work can hit SIXTY.

    Ha!  That’ll show ‘em!

    Maths time again.

    14,000 words (all CHEESE) at sixty words per minute should see this task sorted in 233 minutes.

    With no time wasted for coffee breaks, tea breaks or pee breaks, this makes approximately four hours.

    Under normal circumstances (normal, at least, for writing out the word CHEESE 14,000 times)  the rate of pay for this job post comes in at 25 ÷ 4 = $6.25 per hour.

    But wait!

    The freelancing site demands 8% for the privilege of placing opportunities like this before writers in the first place.

    So, maths again.

    6.25 x 0.92 = $5.75 per hour.

    I’m no expert with dollars, hailing as I do from the isle the Americans foolishly turned their backs on when they declared independence, so let me convert this figure to Sterling.

    More maths.  Huh — what kind of writing site is this?

    5.75 x 0.584365 = £3.36 per hour.

    For CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE (and so on) at sixty words per minute till a roulade of meaningless Chaumes rolls through the 14,000 barrier.

    All mechanical keyboard hacking.  No thought, no skill, no breaks.

    I don’t know about you, but this gets me very hot under the collar indeed.

    Even if we take the minimum wage into account, we’re still talking a derisory sum when we figure in the factor of yanno the actual fucking writing.

    The only solution is for writers to stop offering discounts, especially for the benefit of any industry that demands they write “for the love of it”.

    Remember: computer generated garbage and trained chimpanzees aside, no words ever get written without there being a writer of some kind to write them.

    As things stand, the worth of writers (and therefore of words) is being wilfully devalued.

    Mayhap it is time for writers to smite evil.




2 comments:

Journey McGuire said...

At least you took something really depressing and made me laugh at the fact that ima be a poor bitch the rest of my life. High five ;)

Whirlochre said...

We poor bitches gotta stick together.

Would high five you back for joining me in rising above the depression but a dog just bit off my thumb, so High Four;)