Writing below minimum wage

An e-mail from a much more successful freelance writer friend (who wanted to remain unnamed), in reference to an article she wrote for a respected NYC magazine:


Counting my time on Friday, Sat and Sun, plus editing time today, this article cost:

25 hours
eight AA batteries
11 subway rides
2 $10 cab rides (partially due to my overzealousness in getting to too many games)

It will earn between $100 and $150.

Minus the $48 in expenses, even if I get $150, that’s $4.08 an hour. I made more than that driving a fucking Fuji Film cart at the airplane convention when I was 15. There has to be a better way.

And the check didn’t come in the mail for another two months after this e-mail.

But then, what else are we to do? Not all of us can be managing editor of the New Yorker by our mid-20s.

Meanwhile, my most promising writing gig now is the one that involves no pay (woo hoooo contributing editor!).  To think there were generations before us for whom writing work was a fairly steady and reliable paying gig. What an interesting time to be alive, but at least some journos out there are still doing the important stuff, even if people aren’t paying attention.

Related: Newstand sales of magazines drop 12 percent (AP)

One response to “Writing below minimum wage

  1. Congrats on your promotion?

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