Friday, 3 February 2017
QWERTY & THE FILTHY LUCRE
I subscribe to Writing Magazine because I like its features, advice on how to write and where to pitch articles and ideas, and its practical guidance on the 'business' of being a freelance scribe.
In this month's issue, there is a particularly interesting article - "What's Your Writing Worth?" - that considers the payments to writers by various media outlets and it got me thinking about my own experiences as an aspiring writing.....of a certain age.
Now, I am fortunate in that I do not rely on freelance writing to earn a living. As it says on the header of this blog, I write for fun and fees. I write stuff on this blog for fun but also to build a showcase of the kinds of things that interest me and to display my writing style, whatever that might be. But I also write for fees and I often think the word 'freelance' should be 'feelance' especially whenever - and it happens fairly often - an editor likes my work, wants to publish it but offers no fee - "Sorry, mate, no budget."
I understand business and budgets. I was in retail management for nearly forty years. I get it. If there's no money in the pot, there's no money in the pot. But I do object to people wanting to take me for a ride. If I write something and somebody likes it enough to want to use it, then agree a payment. That's fair. In the early days of my freelance efforts, I did quite a bit of writing for nothing because I wanted to build a decent CV. As time moved on, I began to attract some interest from newspapers and magazines and I have been paid as much as £750 for a feature on shopping all the way to £25 for an article on junk mail.
The feature in writing magazine is interesting in many ways but one of the most interesting parts is the range of payments recorded by the National Union of Journalists for 1,000-word articles in a variety of print media. I have not heard of some of the publications but here's a flavour from 2015/16 surveys:
Bass Guitar Monthly: £167
Cat World: £30
FT Business: £750
Good Housekeeping: £666
The Humanist: £550
Radio Times: £500
One of the writing commissions in my diary this year is for 1,300-words and the fee is £50. Go figure. At least it's not £0!!
Any writers lucky enough to succeed with major newspaper and magazine titles can haul in a pretty penny and certainly, by accounts, celebrities writing features and columns can attract eye-watering sums of money. I suppose, from my point of view, it is fairly pointless to develop envy towards the big earners but I will not give any more of my writing away free of charge. If I put in the effort and someone likes what I've written enough to commission the piece, let's talk the filthy lucre.
Writing ambitions? A regular 'at large' column full of humour and wisdom (whizz dumb!) on life and its foibles, and occasional work drawing on my knowledge of retail management, the ins and outs, ups and downs of shops, shoppers and shopping. This blog in recent times has featured book and music reviews that, hopefully, have helped authors and performers along the way. I like doing that kind of work.
I love to write. And, for me, that's the most important part of hitting the keyboard. If anyone else likes what I write, lets exchange QWERTY for KERCHING.