Monday, 14 May 2012


edit on the go
edit on the go (Photo credit: fensterbme)
By: Gus Johnson
Twitter: @guswrite

If you make your living as a writer, you are going to object to writers not being paid for their articles.  Luiza Sauma, deputy editor of 'Ideas Tap' highlighted the practice recently in an article. It is also very refreshing to see that 'Ideas Tap' always pay writers for their work. For once people involved in a project, practising what they preach -- and, for the noble cause of writing, too.

ALL other publications should jump on their band waggon. Pay your writers for the hard work they do; and their expenses caused in doing it.

This writer also believes that writers of all ilk should be paid in some form for their work. For one thing, it is their living; and for another, without their contribution, the publications they give work freely to, would not exist.  Editors must therefore be more understanding.

Rather than not getting paid at all, it is reasonable to think that writers new to the business would accept a very minimum of even £30 by way of remuneration.  Perhaps vouchers of sorts, even. You know, clothing vouchers, tickets to shows, or meals at restaurants. That sort of thing. But being paid nothing at all? Surely that cannot be right.

Of course, articles submitted for student magazines, charitable publications and the like may be excluded from mandatory monetary payments, vouchers and the like; so long as it is agreeable with the writer. It is reasonable to think however, that this is as far as that non-payment for writing malarkey goes.

Presently there is a well known games company advertising for writers. It prides itself that it pays writers, 'dependent on writing quality and editing needs, £3.50 for writing 250 to 500 word articles' describing their games. Yes, three and a half quid! For this £3.50 they send you instructions to, 'please read the attached editorial guidelines before replying.' Disgraceful, wouldn't you say? Of course it is; as well as morally wrong.  Furthermore, one is required to take a writing test in order to qualify for that derisory sum of money.

After you have familiarised yourself with the games in question, draft and redrafted to your final cut, even the fastest writers stand to earn less than Less than a £00.01per hour.  Yes. Less than a penny, for a whole hour of work. Does this mean that there is a new law precluding adult writers from earning the minimum wage industry rate, of £6.08 per hour?  Now there's a thought! Especially, when  it takes writers to write this figure on the Direct Gov website -- albeit, technical writers, perhaps. Journalists, they are, nonetheless.

Successful businesses will always depend on advertising to sell their wares. New businesses must advertise in order to become known, as well as to sell.  What this means is that businesses need to advertise in publications, just as editors need writers, in order to shift said publications.  This has always been the case.  It is trite law therefore,  that new, old, or any publication, does not have money in its pot to pay for their soup; so to speak -- their writers.

If that is the case, then a publication should not exist, because the editor is not worth a pickle.  And, if s/he is not worth their salt, then writers are in the stew. The writing game is a melting pot of businesses inside of business -- companies large and small, new and old, selling advertising spaces to editors; allowing writers to tell stories around and about them.

If the editor has a mind to, and the readers are up for it, a fixed price is also charged for the publication.  It stands to reason then, that there is enough money in each publication pot -- else, should be, for all concerned.  If that is not the case, then the writer is being let down.  And, just as it is wrong for a writer to let an editor down over word count and publication date(s) -- it is wrong for an editor to take a writer's work without paying for it.

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