Freelance writing rates and pay are the topic of today’s “Your Turn.”
I’m of the old school
At the end of each month, several writing forums feature threads where each writer discloses how much they made during the last month. They disclose their rates, their earnings and how it compares to the month before. I do see the usefulness of these discussions as they give an idea of what writers earn and can also serve as inspiration for beginners. I’m sort of old school though. I was raised to believe it’s impolite to discuss money, salary and how much one has in the bank. Besides feeling that it’s none of anyone’s business what I earn, I feel that everyone has different circumstances and different clients.
I also don’t advertise my rates on my blog or anywhere on the web. This hasn’t ever been a problem for me, but I know some writers who feel it’s necessary. I don’t do it because sometimes clients feel if it’s in writing there’s no room for negotiation. Different projects require different rates and I like to adjust accordingly. Plus, I don’t want the world discussing how much I make. You wouldn’t believe how many people come to this blog from searches such as “How much does Deb Ng make.” Also, I feel that the subject of rates leads to very heated discussions and debates about what’s right, what’s wrong and what everyone should charge. If we all stopped talking about money, most of the petty bickering in the freelance writing community would stop.
Yes, you read right. In a post about rates I said we should stop talking about rates.
Does talk of rates leads to unpleasantness?
I don’t mean we shouldn’t talk about fair pay or how to calculate a good rate, as these discussions are very important. However, I think all of this “I charge this much and if you don’t you’re ruining writing for the rest of us” is kind of silly. Rates are subjective. The cost of living in Princeton, NJ is a lot different from the cost of living in a PopulationOneFifty, Oklahoma. The hours we all work, the types of writing we do, and the reasons we write are all different. We pay different rents, mortgages and have different utility bills. I think it’s fine to discuss rates, how to set rates, and how to ensure ends justify the means, but I’m not one to say, “All writers should earn XXX amount of money.” When we start listing specific amounts it gets a little tricky.
By all means, talk about pay. Discuss fair treatment. However, it’s none of my business what you earn.
So what are you thinking. Should writers disclose their rates? Should we talk about how much money we earn? Am I too old school and old fashioned?
Does getting too specific in regard to pay lead to too many arguments?