Freelance round-up: This month in writing

Pledge for decent pay

If you have a quick look around many freelance jobs sites these days, you may wonder how freelance writers survive financially, or you may just stand and enjoy the sensation of ripping out your own hair, so boggling are some of the rates offered. £10 for 500 words? When do I start?

US freelancer Carol Tice has had similar experiences and is now asking freelance writers to sign her petition/pledge and agree not to work for less than $50 for any piece of work. Carol says: “Maybe the number of clients for these mills could be decreased if we raised public awareness of the situation. That would grow the pool of better-paying markets for freelancers to approach on their own and lessen the profiteering mill owners are currently able to do off writers' labor.”

Carol also provides a list of seven reasons why she won’t work for low rates, which she compiled following a moment of weakness in which she considered taking a low-paying freelance job.

What does your email address say about you?

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about...Are you giving off a professional air? Do you have enough Twitter followers? Does your hair look OK? Well, as hard as you try, you might still be giving off the wrong impression about yourself just through your email address.

Times columnist Caitlin Moran describes what assumptions she makes about people based on what comes after the @. Yahoo and Hotmail users are seen as particularly naff, she says: “As the hip, free email services of the Millennium, finding people still with Yahoo and Hotmail in 2009 is a bit like meeting someone wearing combat trousers who’s really into All Saints.” Ouch.

I can rest assured that with my Gmail account, I am pretty cool and clients are imagining me firing off emails mid bunny hop on my skateboard...but what are people thinking about you?

What copywriters can learn from bank robbers

According to a blogger over at Creative Review, copywriters could learn a thing or two from an unlikely source – notes written by bank robbers.

Why? Apparently because they’re brief, to the point and have a very clear call to action.

Go read now.

Christine Buckley takes over as Journalist editor

Members of the NUJ have this month voted for Christine Buckley to become the next editor of the Journalist, the NUJ’s magazine. Christine Buckley started her career on local papers before moving to work on UK national titles. Until recently she was the industrial editor on the Times.

Commenting on her plans for the Journalist magazine on the journalism.co.uk, Christine said: "The NUJ is a strong, campaigning union and its communications need to reflect that, showcasing the union's work across all sectors not just the traditionally organised ones of newspapers and broadcast. We also need to reflect what is important in freelance journalism, publishing, magazines and public relations.

"There is a lot that could be done with the Journalist. Budgetry constraints have cut its publication down to six issues a year which is not great. It may be that resources just don't allow that to change at the moment. But the magazine should certainly be improved.

"It needs a redesign; it needs to include more voices from across the union at national and local level; it needs to tell members about campaigns they can become involved in. It needs to offer analysis of the big media issues that affect us all. And very importantly it needs to be online as a complimentary presence to the union's website and news service."

Sarah Wray

Freelance Alliance Profile  l  Website

 

27th November 2009

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