What I’m reading: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
What’s on the iPod: Fell by Scott Blasey
Yesterday was a day of new beginnings. Okay, they were small beginnings, but I managed to get some stuff lined up that will make March rock financially. Amen. I’m doing better this month, but the checks aren’t arriving fast enough. Isn’t that always the way?
I have yet to get to my article assignment. Though I have a few weeks to go, I like to have things squared away sooner on the new assignments. Gives editors time to ponder and make changes without racing to beat the deadline. Or gives them time to ignore it until the deadline and then race to make changes, which is the usual experience.
Had to deal with a banking issue. I never like hearing the words “Your account is past due” especially when it’s a business credit card. Worse, I’d paid it. But the bank, which will remain nameless, has managed to foul up the “easy” automated payment system to the point where I thought I was paying the correct bill, but was paying an account with no balance. Super. How did that happen when I chose the correct account? Beats me, but no one’s hearing that I was careful and that the problem may not have been on my side. From now on, they get checks. I’m done trying to work out the problems with their “easy” system.
Thanks to Yolander Prinzel for sending over this link about the sale of The Huffington Post to AOL for a cool $315 million as reported by the National Writers Union. Mind you, the NWU is calling for an organized revolt of sorts against such places and practices.
My question: Why now? Why not when these places were already grossly underpaying its writers, if they were paying them at all? It’s been years that content farms have been throwing crumbs at their writing masses, placating them with false accolades about how “valued” and “journalistic” they are. Where were the strong reactions from associations then?
There seems to be a reactive response from associations and the influential crowd in our profession that doesn’t sit well with me. First, how can you organize – or unionize – freelancers? Second, how effective will said organizing be if there are still writers out there willing to work for nothing or next to it? Not that the NWU doesn’t do its best to alleviate the issues by raising awareness, but I would much rather see a more unified attempt at educating writers as to their value.
If you’re a writer who has written for Huffington Post and you’re wondering where your share of the $315M is, consider this your alarm clock. Time to wake up and realize your writing has market value. I’ve been preaching it, as have untold numbers of professional writers. Selling your work for peanuts or giving it away is just stupid.
News flash: You aren’t simply a writer. You are a business owner. As such, you need to take care of that business. That includes setting your rates in line with your overall financial picture. What you earn pays your bills, your insurance, your retirement, your taxes, and if your lucky and have some left over, your savings account. To undervalue your business’s value is to undermine your career.
Writers, what do you think of the news?