Why is it so hard to “make it” as a writer these days? It could have something to do with the magical combination that everyone thinks they are a writer, everything’s free on the Internet, and the complete lack of any sense of quality control.
Taken together these factors go a long way towards explaining the state of professional writing these days.
We have millions of bloggers, most working for nothing or very, very close to that. Then you have most online magazines and papers who pay nothing for the content they take from blogs. Content farms like ThirdAge.com or the Huffington Post judiciously select the cream of the crop, while thousands of bloggers feel honored to have the opportunity to give away their content for free, in hopes of popularity, some type of notoriety, or more sales of products advertised on their blogs.
In short, American businesses are making a KILLING on the backs of “free” content while most writers make NOTHING or very close to that.
Here’s a great example. Crest has a new “Pro Health” ad campaign directed at older Americans. They contacted me for some free article placement. I responded by requesting some small payment for their Internet advertising. They say they don’t pay! Let me get this straight. CREST refuses to pay some small amount for their online advertising campaign, which you know has a budget of millions?
That, in summary, is how Crest and other gigantic magazines, news organizations, and multinational corporations make out while freelance writers lose all in this zero sum game.
And I thought writers were supposed to be smart…