Writers have it rough. If you don’t believe me then you’ve never buckled down and attempted to be a freelance writer in this day and age.
I’ve had many people come up to me and tell me that they would love for me to write many things for them. Cover letters, obituaries, business profiles and biographies, and, yes, dating profiles.
Everyone knows that I write all kinds of pieces for many magazines and blogs and newspapers. People know I do this, well, when I feel like it but on occasion someone will come up to me and ask me to write something like a Kickstarter project or something similar.
Granted, I don’t have a page on the web that says what I do when Kickstarter people approach me. I should, but I don’t. I look at cases like Kickstarter and otherwise and charge based on the amount of writing and editing I’d need to do. I always charge something up front because, well, no way am I doing that hard work for free. No way!
I also do this because it quickly weeds out the bullshit and the trolls from the serious people and the people who actually have a stable foundation and not just some flimsy idea.
I had one potential client however, that I feel like I have to tell people about. The client was to be Project Starfish until I asked for upfront payment for my writing services.
The request came in via twitter. I agreed to look at the project they had in mind and make a decision. I asked about payment on twitter and they said I would be paid after I did what they wanted me to do.
This made my eyebrows rise. I could almost guarantee that the owner had never hired a writer before so began asking him to see the project. If it was small, I was going to get it in writing that I would, indeed, be paid afterword’s, just in case I needed to take him to court. I was still going to try and ask for upfront payment anyway, because, people think writers are a dime a dozen and will gladly work for free. Most will, but they wouldn’t get the quality they want, most likely.
I told him, “let me see the project.” he sent me this YouTube video. I watched it all then wrote the below Email to him in reply and a final proposal.
After listening to this very long proposal, I cannot work on a Kickstarter page of this size without some sort of upfront payment. If you cannot offer me any up front writing payment for this massive project, then I am not interested in working with you. >
Was that too harsh? Possibly, but I take my work very seriously. I strive to be the best I can be when I am working on a project. The CEO challenged me, however, so I bit back.
After replying with an Email that simply said, don’t worry about it we can take care of it, he typed another reply. This one was a bit terser.
Sorry had to clarify this.
Have you done a successful Kickstarter event. I thought you did. How much money was the goal? How much did you achieve?
I would invest if you were able to meet criteria. Else, I would not like your assistance.
I would invest it with someone who has been able to bring in $20,000. We plan to raise $50,000. >
really buddy? Did he even look at my portfolio on the web? I didn’t think so. Still, he reached out to me first. I didn’t hold back.
I am so sorry for not getting back to you, but I would like to remind you that writing, and editing, is a service. Much like painting, sculpting, or other forms of services. You reached out to me to do a service. I charge for whatever services I provide up front because I would have delivered what you asked me to do. After that, I would have no hand in the success and or failure of Kickstarter projects.
I have none to show you but I have been hired by bloggers and the like to do copywriting. The reason I ask for payment before I start is because, I still would have done hard work regardless if the project was a failure or a success. I would have done my part and I believe that all the hard work I do and would have done deserves payment now and later, especially when I am working on projects where pay is not guaranteed. >
His last reply to me just confused me beyond, well, confusion!
> That’s the reason we are partnering with people who either win big or lose with us.
That way writers give their best. And do their whatever best to win.
If I were looking for a writer for the Kickstarter pitch, there are thousands on fiverr.com
It’s a question of making a $50 or a $2,000
But I understand what you mean. But it doesn’t help us succeed. We are driven by results, not effort. >
Time and time writers are constantly taken advantage of and I am posting this just to inform the public and, also, to tell my fellow writers to be strong and resilient when asking for payment. If they think that crafting catchy sentences is so easy people don’t want to pay then tell them, straight up, to either pay you or do it themselves. You should say it in a much nicer tone though.
I wonder how many others have worked with Project Starfish? I don’t know but it just goes to show that you can’t trust anybody, even in the blindness space.