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Freelance Writing Question: How to I evaluate a writing job offer?

Is this a reasonable response to a query?

Question: I received the following response to a query:

"Unfortunately, we don't have much money right now and I can only pay about $10 per article. Is this something you'd be interested in doing?  I would give writers credit to you, but we would want ALL EXCLUSIVE rights to the material. Let me know what you think.  Thanks for your time."

I'm thinking about doing it for the clips, because I don't have any (yet). But
I don't think they should get ALL EXCLUSIVE rights for $10 per article, and mentioned in the query that I am willing to give one-time electronic rights only. RT 

Answer:  Hi RT, this sort of offer drives me crazy; $10 for exclusive rights (And "all exclusive" is not exactly a professional sounding approach; in fact the whole response sounds unprofessional to me which makes me suspect.) is just awful.

On the other hand, $10 is better than nothing... not by much, but it is pay, if you actually get it. One-time electric rights would certainly be more reasonable, and you can make the offer, but my hunch is they will say no if they say anything at all. If you decide to do this, by all means send them only one article - if you get paid and want to do more work for them, fine, but don't be surprised if your article drops into a black hole.

You say you don't have any clips yet. Are you sure? Check out No Clips? No Problem! You may be surprised.

Consider doing some corporate writing to get your feet wet. Peter Bowerman's book is an excellent place to start. Talk to your local small newspaper. They often are looking for writers. The pay will be about the same, but you know they are legit and you'll have clips you can count on.

Respect your own time and effort and the world will respect you back.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, Freelance Writer and Ghostwriter

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If you have a question you'd like to see here, send an email to me at: anne@aboutfreelancewriting.com. Please, put Q&A in the subject line so it won't get lost. I don't promise to answer every question, but I'll consider it. Know too, that when you send a question, and I do decide to publish it, I reserve the right to edit for clarity, etc.



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