Freelance Writing at Minimum Wage (or less)

ghostwriterI can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to write a 75-100 page ebook in less than a week. Usually the fee for such a gargantuan task is anywhere from $50-$250. I do suppose it can be done (for $250, NOT $50), but how good is it going to be?

Where are people selling these books, or should I say to whom are they selling these books? Of all the ebooks that I have ghostwritten, I can only find TWO actually being sold on the Internet. And I’ve written upwards of 50 of them. Mind you, I’ve only written one that was over 100 pages, and she paid me well for the book. That book is actually sold on the Internet (I can’t say what it is…confidentiality and all that).

I charge $10-$25 per page for a ghostwritten book. So, if a client wants a 100 page manuscript, I get paid a minimum of $1000. Check out Elance and Guru (where freelancers get jobs), and you won’t find a job going for that price.

So, my question is this – what is wrong with clients out there? Do they honestly expect me to work for $1 an hour?

Sadly, the answer is yes. And sadly, we are all doing it, working for below minimum wage just to pay our bills and stay in business. As long as we continue to work at this pace and wage, clients will continue to take advantage of freelance writers. Shall I call for a strike? Oh, how I wish I could, and how I wish all freelance writers would take up the challenge and refuse to write for such meager wages!

Not going to happen.

About Karen Y. Hamilton

Walt Whitman says about his autobiography, Specimen Days “…At any rate I obey my happy hour’s command, which seems curiously imperative. May-be, if don’t do anything else, I shall send out the most wayward, spontaneous, fragmentary book ever printed.” This is what I feel at this juncture of my life, the need to gather together memories of my ancestors as well as my own memories into some semblance of order. Because all of those fragments, all of the fragments that make up any life, become stories. I am the mother of three sons, who affectionately (I hope!) call me 'gypsy mom' because I tend to wander around a bit soaking in the universe's wonders. I am currently working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University. I have published essays with Heritage Press, Florida Living, and the St. Pauls Review. I am currently working on a book of poems about the Florida Everglades pioneers and a memoir about grief and the bonds of friendship. I live in my hometown, Jupiter, Florida and work as a freelance writer and curriculum specialist.
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One Response to Freelance Writing at Minimum Wage (or less)

  1. wobsy says:

    As I’m sure you are aware, you’re describing the fundamental rule of economics: supply and demand. As long as there are more people wanting to write than there are people willing to employ writers, the price will go down. Someone should find a solution to this problem (or was that Karl Marx?)

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