Freelance Writer Moment: LOL Your Ad

Ads for freelance writers online run the gamut from sensible, detailed, professional offers to absurd, badly-written one-liners. Sometimes, an ad is a little bit of both.

One ad I ran across today sought “one lucky professional blogger to write 2 to 3 feature articles a week, of 600 to 1000 words.” Said articles were to be “well-researched pieces” “including interviews where applicable.” The “chosen writer,” meanwhile, “will have a proven track record as a well-written blogger or published author, who loves the process of investigative journalism and research. We need someone with the time to dedicate to these articles, and with the discipline to submit them on time every week.”

…The grand total payment for these articles? $30 each.

Which is ludicrous to the point of insulting for 600-1000 words on any topic, let alone “well-researched pieces” that include interviews “where applicable.” But here’s the loltaining part:

“CURRENT PAY IS $30 per article, so we are obviously not a cheap content-farm paying $10-$15 but if you’re looking for a premium $100 an article gig, please DO NOT write to me to insult me.”


1. The average content farm pays $10-$15 per 300-500 words. Ergo, $30 for 600-1000 words is exactly on par with “cheap content-farm” pay rates.

2. For a “well-researched” 600-1000 word blog post possibly involving interviews, $100 isn’t a “premium.” It’s not even “respectable.” It’s $0.10 to $0.16 per word, a rate no well-written, published, disciplined writer with a “proven track record” will ever need to take. The only way they’re going to get that kind of writer at that kind of money is to find someone who loves the work far more than they need to get paid to do it.

3. And these people know it, or this ad wouldn’t be so defensive about not writing to them to explain something they obviously already know but won’t admit – because there are writers who don’t know, and/or won’t bother to calculate, that that rate is crap.

4. BONUS: the response instructions ask the writer to write his or her own bio. For no pay, I’m sure. LOL FURTHER.

Dear People Looking to Hire a Freelance Writer: If you’re going to offer insulting pay for the work you need done, at least have the grace not to let on that you know the pay rate is insulting.

(Note: professionals who take gigs like this sometimes do it knowing the pay is crap, but merely because they enjoy the work so much. I have one of these clients myself; I write at a rate of $0.25 per word for them, solely because I enjoy it and I get free ARCs out of the deal. But I only have *one* of these clients, and I don’t count on their checks to pay any of my bills.)


About Verity Reynolds

Verity Reynolds is the author of NANTAIS, an autistic space opera that never uses the word "autism." Buy her a coffee:
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5 Responses to Freelance Writer Moment: LOL Your Ad

  1. I can top that one. Try a Craig’s List ad looking for “education” writers:

    “…Our Researchers produce top-notch articles centering around education and the multitude of issues facing college students, from the strategies of test taking to the nuances of chemical engineering. After digging through data and teasing out the most important facts, our Writers frame everything into a compelling narrative and craft a readable, informative, and punchy article that makes readers feel well-versed in whatever topic they’re reading about…”

    For ten whopping bucks an hour.

    With my background in psychology/critical theory, I especially enjoyed the “makes readers feel” passive-aggressive communication assigning responsibility of client’s “feelings” to slave labor, which of course is qualified to write about everything from how to cheat on corporate 1% tests to chemical engineering. But we’ll capitalize your job title. Woo-woo.

  2. Dani Alexis says:

    I love the choice of “makes readers feel well-versed.” As opposed to, one assumes, actually making readers well-versed.

    I’d joke about how one can’t expect substance for $10 an hour, but even if these folks don’t, they obviously expect polished marketing/sales/reader manipulation for that price. Which is a different kind of substance than, say, chemical engineering know-how, but it’s an equally substantive skill set. Oi.

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