When you do freelance writing it always pays to keep an eye on the markets. You no sooner get your feet under the table with one magazine than the editor moves on. The new broom who comes in wants sparkling new talent and you’re not sparkly enough. So in reality as a freelance you’re always looking for new work.
Anyway I’d drifted into other fields for a while but as some of them finished, I thought I’d better get into freelancing again. I expected to find things had changed. Certainly there is more web-based work; it seems to be the biggest market. There are even people out there who’ll pay you to write their blog for them. Mind you, at $15 per 1000 words, it barely puts your amateur status at risk.
One phrase I saw far too often was ‘we are an enthusiastic young company so we will not be able to pay you at lot (or even ‘not be able to pay you’) until the company grows.’
Still there were three things I pretty soon picked up on.
At one time breaking into the US market was something I aspired to. American jobs paid well. Well, looking at the rates on offer, I’d say that the US market is pretty well saturated unless you’re really specialist. Freelance rates were never brilliant, but they’re worse than I remember them.
The next thing that struck me was looking at the UK market. Working my way methodically through Google, it was notable just how many sites were offering work to graduates. If you’ve got a good degree, especially Masters or better, then there’s a good living out there for you, writing essays for students at university who feel that the whole ‘work’ thing is something they can dispense with.
Still I wasn’t really aware how low the job could get until I came across two jobs offered. One was re-writing title descriptions on adult websites. The other was at https://www.odesk.com/o/jobs/job/_~01705867a41d490031/
Someone needs 6 Amazon Reviews written and submitted from different accounts. For this they’re willing to pay the princely sum of $10.
I don’t know whether to feel sorry for someone who hasn’t got enough friends willing to write glowing reviews of their book for free, or to feel annoyed that this person is so cheapskate they assume you’ll be happy to dump your principles for $10.
So at the end of the process I was left feeling that perhaps I should have kept up with the piano when I was younger. Playing Honky Tonk in a bordello is starting to look like a step up from freelance writing.