Dawn Gay /
Dawn Gay / My blog

I won’t get out of bed for £10

November 4, 2011

I have enjoyed a freelance career now for what seems an eternity and have always been lucky that I have had a steady stream of work and fabulous contacts. It’s been a while since I have dipped my pen into the freelance content market and have been looking for new, fresh contacts to add to my portfolio.

This is by no means to oust my much-valued clients that are my bread and butter, but more  to get ‘out there’ a bit and test the market and find out what’s new. Maybe I have been lounging on my laurels, but I get a sense that things have changed since I last did the networking exercise. I certainly have had a wake up call this week.

I’d been doing some research into blogging as I very much enjoy writing this personal blog. I sent off a covering email to an agency or two who use regular bloggers.  Well, one did kindly reply to my email, which I am grateful for, but only to inform me that my pretty average word rate is a dozen times the going rate of their existing writer.

Now, I’m no mathematician, but I worked out that for a 500 word blog, they are paying a writer just £10!  I had to keep looking back at my calculator to check the decimal places were correct and even had to run through it with Mum, who is a retired ‘special needs’ teacher. Sadly, on this one occasion my sums were right. Well, I’m not an idle person, but if I’m ever desperate for work I might just opt for earning ten pounds less and go for a ride on Rokke instead or even paint my toenails.

Last week I had some extra time so I penned two short sample features for a potential client’s application exercise. I spent some time reviewing their publication, sussing out the tone of voice, style and readership and got to work on my short pieces. I pitched them carefully as there didn’t seem to be a set-in-stone editorial style to any of the examples, so went in somewhere midway. In fact, I was quietly confident that I do a good job as many of the sentences over-used the passive voice and imperative. If I sent copy like this to one of my favourite, meticulous editors they would send it straight back.

So I got down to work and wrote simple, straightforward pieces and at one point even went through again to dumb them down, thinking I was coming across a little too pompous and flowery. I confidently emailed them off.

Wake up call number two. The response was while the editor had ‘enjoyed’ my pieces, they had received many other exceptional pieces. A nicely worded and polite response but I didn’t even make an interview for a bit of freelance work. Why send a backpacker to The Ritz?

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