Taking the Piss, part 1 in a hopefully not continous trend

I hit a freelance site today looking for work to see if I can make a couple of quid thinking I’d pitch for a few jobs and see what came up. I pitched for 4 or 5 jobs but found myself trolling some that were basically taking the piss themselves.

One that I found particularly outrageous was an individual offering £1472 (oddly specific amount) for 1607 pages (again, oddly specific) of 500 words. I did the math quite quickly and sent him a message hoping to be a reality check and he actually had the nerve to respond. Here’s the conversation:

ME: 500 words a page for 1607 pages = 803500 words, that’s roughly the word count of 20 novels and you want to pay just 1.4k for it? I’ll pass on this one because it’s a silly low price for a massive job.

Him: How much would you charge out of interest?

Seriously? I just told him he’s asking for someone to write the equivalent of 20 novels worth of material for less than one months below average salary. Now rewind to November or, as many writers call it “NaNoWriMo” where prospective novelists attempt to write their 40,000+ word novel in 30 days. There are online groups, help and support. It’s hard work but I’ve been told alot of fun for ambitious writers of all ages and potentially very rewarding, numerous NaNoWriMo novels have gone on to be published. Now I don’t doubt the work required here would be much more simplistic than 20 actual novels but that kind of word count doesn’t come easily.  I was a bit surprised he responded but decided to do him the honour of setting him straight.

ME: It’s not a case of how much I’d charge, it’s a case of 803500 words of original, researched, well written material would take a years worth of full time work to complete (minimum) and I can’t afford to pay my bills on 1.4k PA. Anybody who agrees to do this job for such a small amount of money will let you down less than halfway through when they realise the amount of work they’ve signed on for.

My advice would be to seriously consider exactly how much writing you need, how many people are going to read 1607 pages and possibly adjust your price / expectations.

Best of luck, how much would I charge for a full year? About 25k.

Jim

I was trying to be constructive, offer some advice, see if he would come to realise that his offer was pretty unrealistic. Alas no, he responded:

Him: Hi. Just to let you know that the content is simple to write and requires nil research. It is a case of re-writing/re-phrasing/re-wording the sentences and paragraphs as to stop the pages from being penalised by Googles algorithms.

Why would you bother to let me know this, I’ve already said I’d want more than ten times what you’re offering to undertake this mammoth task of writing for little financial incentive but he did. I replied one last time

ME: So it’s more a write a limited number of articles; then spin the content to get past search filters. That’s fine.

Out of interest did you know that the word count you’re asking for (1607 pages x 500 words per page = 803500 words) is roughly the same word count as one and a half copies of Tolstoy’s War and Peace (one of the longest books ever written)? So even if it was a case of simply writing, re-phrasing and re-wording articles, it’d still take 8-12 months of full time work to complete.

I’m a mid-level copywriter and I’d charge anywhere from £10-£60 for a 500 word article depending on a variety of factors and you’re offering less than £1 per 500 word page. Being honest you will not get good quality writers for the price you’re offering.

Regards,

Jim

Funnily enough I didn’t pitch for this role but was so amazed at the outrageous price being offered for so much work I felt like sharing.

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