The internet has opened up new markets all over the world. You can, for example, hire someone who will work for a couple dollars a day to write content for you.
It’s True, You Can Hire Writers for Basically Nothing
You can! A quick search of freelancing sites will reveal plenty of writers desperately competing for a chance to work for one or two cents per word. Or less! Offering a contract that pays five or ten cents a word will drive stiff competition your way. Certainly, you’ll have no trouble finding plenty of content for that price.
Sadly, predators like Heather A. here are incredibly common features of most freelancing sites. The really sad thing is that this project has twenty-three quotes!
This in spite of the fact that her description doesn’t cover rewrites, edits, or changes. This means you could easily end up making half as much per word or less when everything is said and done! Yikes! I’d say, from my experience as a writer, that if a good writer took the time to write this book well, they would make somewhere between three and nine dollars an hour when all’s said and done.
The really sad part, though, is that there are twenty-three bidders on this project. Now, let’s compare this rate of, at most $.04 / word to the standard rates in Writer’s Market 2016: The low end rate reported by ghostwriters is $0.50/word, or $5000 per project. You’ll note that this suggests the low end projects are somewhere in the realm of 10,000 words, not 65,000 words.
So a fair price for Heather’s book would be about $30-35,000. She thinks one thirtieth of that sounds fair. Still, the point we’re trying to make is made, in that it’s abundantly clear that you can find writers willing to write for almost nothing.
So why would you pay more?
I’m so glad you asked.
There’s a certain sort of person who works for a quarter, or a fifth, or a thirtieth of what the average person doing their job works for: Someone who isn’t very good at it. We’re going to circle around to this, but at the end of the day, someone who’s writing for five or ten dollars an hour is either terrible at it, or doesn’t know what they should be charging for their time.
It’s easy to get caught up in the competition between writers, both against each other here in the States, and versus those who work out of places like Pakistan or India, however, you’re still competing with your competitors for attention, search rankings, and prestige.
You know what’s going to happen if your top competitor’s paying to create well-researched, clean, informative, professional content, while you’re churning out the equivalent of middle school essays with the best in 2013’s SEO practices clumsily shoehorned in?
The same thing that happens any time one business totally outclasses another.
The whole point of hiring a writer for your website’s copy, your blog, and your marketing materials is not just to raise awareness of your business, but to make you look good.
Maybe paying someone a fair amount of money to make you look good doesn’t seem like a good investment to you, but it’s definitely a better investment than paying someone a little money to make you look awful!
Hiring someone who isn’t going to do a good job is the equivalent of shouting, “Hey, everyone! Look at me!” And then doing a big flip right onto your face.
It’s going to take awhile to live that one down.
Paying a skilled laborer a rate that won’t let them feed their families is an unethical thing to do. It takes a lot of work to be a good writer. I can usually turn out a pretty excellent article in a very short amount of time. I type better than sixty words per minute, and I can generally plot out what I’m going to say at least that quickly. This means I can pop out a decent rough draft of a thousand word article in half an hour, give or take.
But you’re not just paying for that. You’re paying for the thousands of hours I’ve put into getting that fast. The hours I’ve put over learning the right way to say certain things. Writing isn’t just lining up words, it’s using words to predict and control how people react to information.
Due to the diversity of the field and the complexity of potential audiences, there’s really no upper limit on how good a writer a person can be. But we need to feed ourselves.
At the end of the day, trying to underbid for a skilled service that is designed to amplify the public face of your business is just a really terrible idea! If you want professional work, you pay professional rates. It’s true when you’re looking for a plumber, or a roofer, or a caterer, and it’s true for writers.
You should pay competitive professional rates for a writer because it just makes more sense to do that.