Why You Should Do a Kick-Ass Job — Even When You’re Being Paid a Penny a Word
“I accepted this assignment at a low rate thinking I could whip it out in an hour or so. Is it okay if I just quote from other articles instead of interviewing sources?”
No. No. No, no, no!
No matter how much you’re being paid, if you accept an assignment, your editor — rightly — expects your very best.
Your job is to only accept gigs where you know it will be worth your time to do your best work. So if taking on a low-paying assignment means you’re tempted to cut corners, then you shouldn’t do articles at that rate.
And lest you think there’s nothing in it for you, keep in mind that the editor at an el-cheapo publication may one day be the editor of your dream magazine.
Case in point: Years ago I wrote articles for a printing industry trade magazine that offered pretty low rates. I put my all into the articles, but eventually moved on as I increased my minimum rate.
A few years later, the editor I had worked with approached me via e-mail: He was now the owner of a publishing company that printed books for journalists. He had enjoyed working with me at the trade magazine and was wondering if I had any ideas for a book.
It just so happened that Diana and I had been shopping around The Renegade Writer. I sent the editor our proposal and the rest is history.
Biggest thing that ever happened in my career — and it was because I did my best work for a magazine even though it wasn’t top-of-the-line.
When you turn in an assignment, your reputation as a writer is at stake. Will you rush through the article to make a few quick bucks — or do a kick-ass job that you and your editor will be proud of?
Stick figure by Louise LeRoy. Thanks, Louise!