Re: Offshore writers and editors & web services

Subject: Re: Offshore writers and editors & web services
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2003 09:38:02 -0800 (PST)

"Michele Davis" <> wrote in message news:218499 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-

> Here is my frustration. I value good writing, as has been discussed,
> others (companies, managers, etc) don't---and the competition is stiff
> as well as obnoxiously undercut. I've been asked to edit for $1/page. I
> can't live on that type of money.
> I feel the whole problem has nothing to do with the lack of quality. I
> feel that people just want whatever is cheap. I did a bid for a 12 page
> revamp of a website, all new content (sales & hard hitting marketing
> copy), new graphics, a business card, a tri-fold brochure, and two
> liability legal contracts. I bid, reasonably, I thought, ~$4000. The
> company liked my stuff, liked my attitude, but I was just too expensive.
> They went with someone who was agreeing to do all that work for $865!
> $865? I couldn't feed myself lunch and pay for the electric bill on that
> kind of money. I can hardly wait to see what the site looks like when
> it's done.

If people are willing to do your job for 1/4th what you need to make, then
consider the fact that maybe what you do, isn't going to be profitable enough
for you.

I loved tech writing, but there is quite simply no way to make decent money in
tech writing and as far as I can see, there never will be. The profession
simply has way too many low-end slugs willing to work for peanuts. Couple that
with the fact that most companies see tech writing as a annoyance at best, they
simply won't pay money for writers.

I get pinged twice a month or so to do contract tech writing work. I send over
a rate sheet and some information about my company. 90% of the time I never
hear from them again. In 1999 when I was still new in the security industry,
this infuriated me. How dare they not recognize the quality of my work! Then I
realized, that there just isn't any work out there for that kind of rate.
Doesn't matter if I can travel through time, cure cancer, and stop spam with my
nose hairs - I am simply not going to earn the rate I want no matter how great
I am.

As such, I quit doing tech writing and moved into other work that DID earn me
the rates I wanted. When people ask me to do tech writing work now, its really
simple - either they pay me what I can earn installing IDSs and firewalls, or
they go elsewhere. My time isn't worth $19.50 per hour. This is why its very
beneficial to expand your skills outside of tech writing. You don't have to
become pigeonholed into a specific category of work. You can do other things.

Markets change. If you are having problems getting work, don't bark at the
process, look at the environment. Yeah, it sucks that people in India are
getting work while US people don't. Ask yourself why this is happening. Its not
the Indian's fault. Its endemic market forces at work.

As such, either you accept what the market offers or you move elsewhere. I
don't like this situation any more than you. But that's life. You work your ass
off for 60 years and then get to live in a trailer and scream about Jesus to
the television. Or something like that.

Oh hell, don't listen to me. I'm just a big worthless tub of lard.


Andrew Plato

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