Dear writers of Tumblr, commissioners of Tumblr, anybody who does writing for money, anybody who wants to do writing for money, anybody who has considered paying somebody to write for them -
A few days ago, I received a request for a commission. It was a fairly normal one, as far as mine go, but as we proceeded, it got more and more exciting. Yesterday night, I sent to him an estimate of price. He estimates price based on pages - I said that, going by 500 words a page, 5 pages would be $25 CDN.
His response was concerned, surprised and very nearly outraged. He didn’t say ‘How dare you’, he didn’t say ‘You’re a thief’’ - nothing like that. But he did say that that was very high for somebody with ‘no short stories in his gallery’.
Anybody who follows me well knows several things. All my work is on AO3 and FF, and I’m not shy about that (it’s said publicly on my DA and my commission form). I’ve been writing for years. And I do not, ever, post work I’m hoping to publish on a public forum.
I charge 10$ for 1000 words. Not only is this standard for this particular, hardly-regulated industry, it’s well below minimum wage. Ten dollars, for something that’ll take me between three days and a week to write. This man who was trying to commission me wanted that same amount for $4.
I said no.
Writers of Tumblr, know what your work is worth. There is a problem, a significant, far-reaching problem of us being undercharged, undervalued, treated like our work means nothing and is worth nothing. Don’t let anybody sell you on that. We all need work, and we all need money, but this is wrong and this is unfair.
So what do we do? We say no. We say ‘this is what we charge’ and we don’t cave. Maybe they’ll say fine, and go find somebody else who charges less, but eventually, there will be nobody who charges less. $10 per 1000 is our standard. That’s our minimum wage. Let’s stick to that. Let’s be absolutely, iron-clad clear that we will not accept less. And over time, let’s make it more.
Commissioners and clients of Tumblr. If you are part of the problem, fix it. If you’re not willing to shell out that money for writing, then write it yourself. Admit that what we do is important. Admit that what we do is worth paying for. And to those of you who do - to those of you who are respectful, and who don’t whine and complain about our prices - thank you, from the bottoms of our hearts.