Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An Open Letter To Craigslist Posters ...

Dear Those Who Post Openings For Writers On Craigslist:

My name is Beth Kujawski. I am a freelance writer. I have extensive writing experience as well as extensive editing experience. I've worked at the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago magazine. I've edited The Last Lecture, an international bestseller with more than four million copies in print in this country alone.

I am the kind of writer you want writing for your web site (or magazine or whatever project you're working on that requires words).

Unfortunately, I do not work for free (or for next to nothing). I think it's great that you're trying to start a business, but I'm trying to pay a mortgage.

Here's a bit of insight for you: You get what you pay for. If you don't require your writers to have any writing experience, there's a good chance that you'll be shoveling a lot of crap onto your shiny new pages, which won't make for a very auspicious launch, now, will it?

Just as you wouldn't want to build a foundation with mud, I'd wager that you don't want to create a web site (or magazine or whatever project you're working on that requires words) with whatever people are willing to write for you for free (or for a whopping one or two cents a word).

Just because most people can string together a noun and a verb and a preposition or two doesn't mean that writing isn't a commodity.

It's quite the chicken-and-egg conundrum, isn't it? You're hopeful that you'll be able to start paying your writers once your site (or magazine or whatever project you're working on that requires words) is launched and once your site (or magazine or whatever project you're working on that requires words) starts receiving steady traffic (or subscriptions) which you can then convert into ad revenue but how do you expect to attract all those eyeballs with content that may not be up to snuff?

I wish you well as you ramp up your endeavor. Please let me know when you're able to pay writers a reasonable rate.

Thank you,

Beth Kujawski

6 Comments:

Blogger Star Lawrence said...

Amen to that! And what happened to capitalizing a business--you know, having the money to pay the expenses before you do it? It's a cliche by now--but the electric co is being paid, the rent, and so on. Just not the people providing the essence of it.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Matthew M. F. Miller said...

Word.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'll put a check for $0.50 in the mail, Matt.

: o )

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fifty cents for one word! Now we can get that Lexus!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Fifty cents a word looks a lot better when you write a 1,000-word piece for $500.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

It is amazing that these people expect writers to write for free. Granted, I write my blog for free, but that's for myself. Everyone else had best pay up....

No one asks lawyers to work for free....

3:43 PM  

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