Free Advice Friday: This Job Not That Job

I spent this week stewing about not being able to head to Ontario. It’s my own fault. I said yes to too many projects and didn’t turn down appointments when I should have. So I have to wait a few more weeks to get the hell out of here and get a much-needed break.

Meantime, it’s business as usual. In fact, it seems the crazy job postings are increasing in frequency. Remember that lousy job posting last Friday that Sharon Hurley Hall alerted us to? I mentioned then that there was competition for the worst job that week.

Here’s the other one. Thanks to Cathy Miller who’d sent this a while ago. Even if you’re lousy at math, you’ll quickly realize how awful this one is, too. The paragraph breaks are mine — this person just did a brain dump (a red flag, given the nature of the “job” offered).

Hi there. My work in publishing keeps me firmly on the business and marketing side of the industry. Unless an opportunity shows up that is too good to ignore. I have my own books. Many of them are collaborations published under a pen name. I would like to continue coaching, publishing, and writing… I just don’t have time. That’s why I need your help.

I’m looking for someone who can write full-length pieces (60,000 to 90,000 words) as a ghostwriter for a new pen name. My other work is all in commercial fiction, so I have several concepts and storylines already developed (with more on the way). As things progress, I will give you more freedom to write your own ideas. As a publisher, my focus is on quality, consistency, and speed.

The ideal person can write anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 words per week. The expectation is draft-level work. Whatever you would feel comfortable submitting to an agent. My editors will do the rest. Please give details about previous fiction projects (preferably fantasy), and anything else you would like me to know. You must have experience writing fantasy to be selected. I pay $40 per 1,000 words to start (with achievement bonuses and raises built-in).

This is right for you if you want steady work, fair pay, and access to a veteran marketer that can teach you strategies for your own books. If that sounds like you, I can’t wait to get started.

Wow. This one is just loaded with bad-smelling things, isn’t it? Let’s start at the beginning:

Hi there.

Seriously? You’re approaching freelance writers and that’s the best salutation you can come up with?

My work in publishing keeps me firmly on the business and marketing side of the industry.

Oh, I see a carrot dangling…. this person thinks the humble-brag of being too busy in “publishing” to write isn’t an obvious attempt to imply a “connection” we should make. Only problem is this: if you’re in publishing, how is it you don’t already know some writers who could do this for you?

Unless an opportunity shows up that is too good to ignore.

Unless you don’t know how to write a sentence that is clearly not an intentional fragment….

I have my own books.

Congratulations? I have my own books, too. Plenty of shelves of books. Let me guess; you know bigly words too, right?

Many of them are collaborations published under a pen name. I would like to continue coaching, publishing, and writing… I just don’t have time.

Oh, the humble-bragging continues….

I’m looking for someone who can write full-length pieces (60,000 to 90,000 words) as a ghostwriter for a new pen name. My other work is all in commercial fiction, so I have several concepts and storylines already developed (with more on the way).

Did anyone else notice that this was more about the job poster than about the job?

As things progress, I will give you more freedom to write your own ideas. As a publisher, my focus is on quality, consistency, and speed.

Oh, dear. Those words. Whenever you combine quality and consistency with speed, the waters muddy considerably.

The ideal person can write anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 words per week.

So basically it will be like months and months of NaNoWriMo?

The expectation is draft-level work. Whatever you would feel comfortable submitting to an agent. My editors will do the rest.

“My” editors? Why aren’t “my” editors writing the books for you?

Please give details about previous fiction projects (preferably fantasy), and anything else you would like me to know. You must have experience writing fantasy to be selected.

I think the fantasy writing began at “Hi there” don’t you?

I pay $40 per 1,000 words to start (with achievement bonuses and raises built-in).

Oh, goody! We can work our asses off for the promise of $400 a week! Yippee! I can quit my other clients now! And there are “achievement bonuses” and “raises” “built-in”. Stop right now! I’m all verklempt! And please, hyphenate properly. You’re pretending to be a publisher, remember?

This is right for you if you want steady work, fair pay, and access to a veteran marketer that can teach you strategies for your own books.

See what happened right there? Someone just promised you “fair pay” and coupled it with teaching you “strategies for your own books” that you won’t have time to learn thanks to the breakneck schedule. “Veteran” marketer needs to try a little harder, for those of us who know what fair pay is aren’t buying it.

So, let’s leave this job behind and turn to one that pays a little more. In fact, we can use that previous job as the subject of our query to:

Writer’s Digest

(There are a number of sections one could write for, but I chose the one most open to new writers.)

Inkwell: 800-900–word lead story ranging in style and tone, but often taking the form of an opinion-based piece, weaving a narrative and drawing out tips for readers. Also featuring short pieces of 300–600 words (how-tos, trends, humor, insight on news that will still be relevant when our next issue hits stores, weird and intriguing tidbits about the writing world). Traditional queries are accepted for Inkwell, but on-spec submissions are preferred. Pays 30-50 cents a word on acceptance for first world rights for one-time print use and perpetual electronic use. Pays 25% of original purchase price per use for any materials purchase in anything other than electronic format. Give contributor copies.

Okay, not earth-shattering rates, but so much better than killing yourself for $400 a week. Hell, just an 800-word piece nets you $240 if you assume 30 cents per word.

Writers, what lousy job offers have you seen lately?

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Comments

  • Cathy Miller June 23, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Don’t know why I didn’t leap on this one. I could retire. 😉

    Reply
    • lwidmer June 23, 2017 at 10:37 am

      LOL I’d like to see you try, Cathy. 😉

      Reply
  • Paula Hendrickson June 23, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Fantasy writing is right – and I’m not talking about a genre!

    Reply
    • lwidmer June 23, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      LOL Good point, Paula. 😉

      Reply
  • Devon Ellington June 23, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Oy! You know what? I write my own fantasy novels, under pen names, and get paid more than that, so no, thank you.

    This morning, I turned down a job that was a hybrid fiction/serial/scriptwriting job. They wanted to pay me $10/1000 words for work-for-hire, no royalties, with 7-10 500-1000 word “episodes” per tale.

    I don’t think so. First of all, my for-hire/no royalty rate is higher than my royalty rate. Second, the work requires a lot of craft, which means rewriting and tightening. Third, the rate is ridiculous even if it wasn’t for-hire. Third, take a look at WGA rates for an idea on scriptwriting.

    No, thank you. Back to other markets.

    I am so sick of these people.

    Reply
    • lwidmer June 23, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      I love when you show up, Devon. It’s always a wake-up call to anyone considering these ridiculous job postings. And I’m addicted to your attitude. 🙂

      $10? For 1,00 words? And they could still hear themselves over the laughter? For no one hears that and believes it to be anything but a joke.

      Reply
      • Mary Schneider June 23, 2017 at 2:10 pm

        Dude… Even *I* wouldn’t do 1,000 words for $10, and the $400/week would almost tempt me IF I thought I could maintain the pace. I couldn’t. Don’t know too many who could, to be honest.

        For those of us used to working minimum wage jobs, and who think in terms of $10/hour salary, $400/week would *almost* cover expenses… but I didn’t sell my soul to corporate America and I won’t sell it to this pseudo-publisher, either. It’d be trading one grind for another. :-p

        Reply
        • lwidmer June 23, 2017 at 2:57 pm

          Mary, this: “I didn’t sell my soul to corporate America and I won’t sell it to this pseudo-publisher, either.”

          AMEN.

          And another reason you wouldn’t take this — it doesn’t pay when you realize you have to take taxes out of it, too.

          Reply
  • Sharon Hurley Hall June 26, 2017 at 6:16 am

    Man, that’s just as bad as the one I sent you, Lori – sheesh!

    Reply
    • lwidmer June 28, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Amazing, isn’t it? And once again, you and Cathy are twins. 🙂 I think the offers are pretty much in the same ballpark.

      Reply