Writers: Refuse substandard pay and substandard respect

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Go to any forum, social media or networking site, or writer blog and you’ll find the battle of what writers should get paid raging on and on. An interview with a most successful writer/ghost writer/publisher, Claudia Suzanne, turned up dead -on advice: Don’t settle for substandard pay.

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“Bow to your fears, and you will be made afraid.”

Don’t tolerate sub-standard treatment. Claudia holds that we teach people how to treat us, and Dr. Phil (for what it’s worth) agrees. Consider what Claudia’s years of experience and lucrative business have taught her. Claudia’s business, by the bye, is in a nice neighborhood – the six figure avenue.

” Thousands of writers, editors, and journalists have lost their jobs in the past four to six years; probably tens of thousands. They’re scrambling and vying with each other — answering ads and selling themselves cheap. They create their own “lack” mentality by holding themselves cheap.” (emphasis by mkp) 

Claudia says writers are professionals – like chiropractors, lawyers, electricians. If trained and experienced, they are in a position to earn and warrant respect and good pay. Not everyone can write. Look around you, if you don’t believe me. Read what’s out there. Read the stuff that gets paid $1 per hundred words.

Professionals hold to standards

Professionals go out and find business. They market themselves in a professional way. That doesn’t mean posting sarcastic, begging, or plain obscene crap on social media sites. It means promoting a reputation and appearance of professional excellence.

People who answer ads, says Claudia, have an employee mentality.

“They are looking to be hired; they are competing for a job; they are accepting their place in the cattle-call to serve in the chorus. They do not offer professional services to potential clients who can afford and will appreciate  their expertise. They position themselves as clerks and thus attract that level of respect and compensation.”   

If you want to be a pro – then don’t do that. Develop superior skills. Take time and put forth effort to do the work and acquire those skills. Claudia tells her ghostwriting students that professionals charge for their expertise, not their time, not the number of words they write or edit.

“Professionals are not displaced employees; they are independent contractors, the ultimate small business people who make up a greater percentage of the gross national product than do major corporations. It is a question of positioning, a matter of authority. ” 

Spme writers work cheap, some customers pay poorly

Claudia, my mentor and friend, believes there will always be people willing to work cheap, and thus lower the standard of the industry (indeed, any industry).  And there will always be people who, wanting a Rolls Royce for $1,000, try to con someone out of their deceased cousin’s old vehicle, or, wanting work done for almost free, might try to con you into sweating bullets for pennies. Claudia summed it up.

“(Take specific steps) “… to elevate yourself out of that league. Begin as you mean to go on, Alexander of Macedon said. Be who you would mean to be, Plato, I think, said. Hold yourself with respect and you will be held with respect. Bow to your fears, and you will be made afraid.”

 Claudia Suzanne trains ghostwriters and offers resources for authors, agents, and publishers. 

Other valuable classes and resources may be found at Women on Writing.

Leave a comment with your favorite writer resources and classes!

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  1. Online resources for writers and freelancers | ontext.com - December 16, 2009

    […] Turn down substandard pay […]