And the Sourpuss Award Goes to…

| May 14, 2009 | 10 Comments

I’ve been challenging myself to find articles everywhere. Whether I’m in the grocery store, walking around the lake or spending family time, everything and everyone is a potential article or blog post.

Imagine my surprise when unsolicited material for this blog landed in my lap. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve gotta share this one with you guys. I wanted to call this post the Sourpuss of the Week Award, but I realize that I am fortunate enough not to run into that many sourpusses. So, right now, this person has the dubious distinction of having the first ever No Job for Mom Sourpuss Award!

Enough introduction, here’s the email I received Wednesday (names have been changed to protect the sour):

Subject: Demand Studios
Felicia, $15 for a story is not good pay, not even if you can knock it out in an hour. If you can do it in 15 minutes, maybe. Standard rates for national audiences used to be (and are for some of us) $1 a word. What are you worth? Surely more than that. This kind of payment is what is driving prices down for professional writers. Please. If you want to write for free that is your business, but it hurts those of us who depend on this sort of thing for our livelihood.

(Person’s Name)

My response:

Good Day (Person’s Name),

Thank you for your rather spirited email. I’m sure its in response to one of my articles or my blog.

Barbara, I’m happy that you refuse to write for $15. However, a newbie with little or no confidence looks at earning $15 an article as a nice way to get their feet wet.

When I first started, I was very happy to earn $15 for an article. Of course now, I earn a higher pay, but I can’t forget where I came from. You’re absolutely right that it is my “business” as you very eloquently put it, if I wish to write for $15, just as you are not obligated to write for $15. But I know of too many freelance writers that got their feet wet at $15 (and less) and have graduated from there. Unfortunately, not everyone has the confidence to command a higher rate when they first start.

As a matter of fact, I take on very little “write for upfront pay” work and choose to earn residual income. While it’s not something that everyone is willing to do, I find it works for me, just like writing for upfront pay seems to work well for you.

I thank you again for your email. That’s what I appreciate about writing online, there are always options. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

By the way, I am a full-time freelance writer. I do depend on my writing for my livelihood.

Have a blessed day.


Felicia A. Williams

You would think that would be the end of it, but no… Here’s her response to my response:

Even when I was a newbie I got paid $50 an article for neighborhood shoppers. I just don’t buy it, Felicia. And I wish you’d stop.

Ok, I’m guilty. I couldn’t let that go unanswered:NJFM Sourpuss Award

Good for you. I’m glad that you were able to start off with such a nice paying gig. We are all not (person’s name).

I’m earning money to feed my family my way and I’m sure you’re taking care of your family the way you can. If I choose to write for Demand Studios, its my choice. Writing individual emails to me and the whole crew of people writing for Demand Studios will not stop me or the rest of the folks from writing for them.

Just to clarify things, as I mentioned in my previous email, the majority (96%) of my income comes from residual writing. As I am a grown woman well over the age of 18, I get to choose where I write and how I spend my time.

Have a pleasant day.

Felicia A. Williams

Just as I decided that any further emails from this person will be deleted, she sent this last and final email:

the $50 per article was in 1978; I had no experience, just a degree. You can do better, Felicia. Now I’m through trying to get you to treat yourself as a professional. Anyone who writes for $15 a story is a hobbyist at best. And you are hurting the rest of us. Enjoy your day, too.

This woman appears to be having a difficult time securing writing assignments at the rate she believes she’s worth. Rather than spending time on her freelance writing career, she prefers to clutter my inbox with blame. It’s my firm belief that if my freelance writing career isn’t going the way I’d like it to go, I need to have a talk with the person in the mirror, not select someone in cyberspace to blame for my inability to earn money. The time she wasted bantering back and forth with me she should have spent looking for work.

It takes all kinds!

Tags: , ,

Category: Demand Studios, Earning Money, Freelance, Legitimate, Motivation, Opportunities, Residual Income, Writing

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (10)

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  1. Lee says:

    “This woman appears to be having a difficult time securing writing assignments at the rate she believes she’s worth.”

    Nailed it.

    Thanks for such an entertaining post!

  2. Krista says:

    I love this post! So funny – I cannot wrap my head around someone telling you that they “Wish you would stop” that is the silliest thing I ever heard.

    Writing for residual earnings is one of the best kept secrets because the “real” writers out there just don’t want to put in the time.

    I remember my husband sort of snickering at me when I first started because, really, earning ten cents a day is nothing to brag about (but I bragged anyway) but now that I am making quite a bit more my husband has sat up and taken notice. He will regularly ask “How much money did you make today?”

    I think residual income is a like a gift. I wake up every morning excited to see what the previous days earnings are. It is fun and a way to become self employed (eventually) so why not do it?

  3. I feel for ya. I’ve gotten emails like that one, too. Saying that she’s trying to better you is like saying, “No offense.” People who start with that usually are trying to cover their tracks for being downright rude.

  4. Shannon says:

    In my humble opinion, Felicia, your ‘sourpuss’ correspondent has coping issues with the vastly different world of freelance writing in the Digital Age. 1978?!? That old-school thinking just doesn’t apply now.

    I know someone who writes occasionally for major publications (print media) for upwards of $150 per article, but she also writes for sites on the Internet that pay residual income … and she certainly doesn’t turn up her nose at the latter. As a matter of fact, she often complains about the slowness of getting paid when she writes for print magazines and newspapers.

    I wrote several articles for an NYC newspaper last spring and, in June, they folded … so I didn’t get paid at all! That never happens with Suite 101 or eHow. Personally, I’d much rather get a few bucks per month, per article, and let those articles continue to produce unlimited income over time.

  5. Wendy says:

    Hey, just thought I’d chime in here…I really think DS and others have figured out how much writers like to work and get paid. If you are established, it’s true that you command more (I was established, sort of, once) but you **still**come up with assignments, track down assignments, write, invoice, wait, wait, wait, get paid (maybe). DS, I just pick 10 assignments, write, get paid, do it again…it is so simple. I find the editors 90% easy to deal with. Whatever. I think, again, these places understand working writers better than we think they do. I like to write. I like to get paid.

    Also, when I did have a print magazine, I thought of the idea of paying “revenue share” but couldn’t quite wrap my brain around how to make it work…I think it is a brilliant idea. So many writers don’t understand the concept of how publishers earn money…

    I hope this isn’t a rant.

    I love this blog : )

    Thanks, Felicia!

    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Another day, another… =-.

  6. Lisa R says:

    Isn’t that funny- If her writing is so valuable, then why is she giving it away in repeated emails to you? The world is changing and the value of words is changing. While writing is becoming an easier field to break into, not everyone is cut out to be a $50/article writer. That’s OK, there’s room for everyone. I’m not sure the woman realizes what you mean by residual income. My Suite101 articles bring in over $60 a year, forever. I think that’s pretty decent.
    .-= Lisa R´s last blog ..The Sparkling Martins =-.

  7. jen brister says:

    Wow! That’s insane that someone would spend their time berating you about your pay. Obviously, she does not have anything better to do with her time.

  8. Felicia says:

    Thanks guys.

    Sites like Demand Studio, eHow and the others have their place. I grew to appreciate them after spending in excess of 6 months chasing down a $520 payment for a magazine article I did. After threatening them with a letter from an attorney friend of mine, I finally got paid.

    I’ve never had to threaten any of my online writing sources. I like to write, I don’t like having to chase down my money. If it’s not broke, there’s no reason to fix it.

    After that experience, I decided that online writing was the way for me to concentrate my efforts. Sometimes I get paid a lot, and sometimes I get paid less, either way I get paid. I don’t submit query letters and I don’t undergo stress when it comes to writing. If one of the Demand Studios editors requests something that is off the wall, I delete the article and place it elsewhere.

    I’ve spent many years in the 9-5 work world doing it their way. When Ms. Sourpuss decides to pay me for the work that I do, then I’ll care what she thinks of my professionalism. In the meanwhile, I’m a happy “hobbyist”. 😀

  9. Catherine says:

    What I really like about your blog is that it has helped me make peace with writing for sites like ehow. Sure, in an ideal world we’d all be getting a $1 a word but at the same time, I like the steady little bit of residual income that pays my small bills. Those high paying markets are labor intensive in their own way and writing for sites like Demand Studios helps keep grocery money in people’s pockets in the meantime.

  10. Sher says:

    Hi Felicia,
    This is a great post! And it seems you really hit the nail on the head. This lady needs to get on with her own process and leave you to yours!

    Everyone of us is different and has varying degrees of talents and abilities, and we have the choice to use these talents and abilities in a way that works for us. Each person’s situation is different, and what works for one will not necessarily work for another. Thank goodness for our differences–it sure makes the world a more interesting place to live!

    I enjoy your blog–there’s always new and helpful information when I visit! I’m very happy you do what do…and that you’re helping others, like me! Keep up the great work!

    Have a great day,
    Sher :0)

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