by Aidana WillowRaven
Personally, I can see both sides on this subject, and have been on the receiving end of an author or publisher wanting my services, but for an exorbitant amount less than my regular fees. It's stressful, it's aggravating, but I try to understand that people can't always afford what they want, especially in relation to their book ... their baby ... so I can see why they try to get a lesser rate, but is it fair?
After all, I bargain shop. I buy used books, I buy clothes at thrift stores, I rummage the bargain bins. But would I walk up to the counter and haggle over a price? Not unless the product was damaged in some way, but still of use, would I feel justified in doing so.
On my freelance blog, today, I shared a YouTube video I saw on Google+ this morning that exemplifies this growing trend of authors/publishers (really this could relate to so many other professions), wanting high quality service, but don't feel they should have to pay for it. Naturally, it got me to thinking how I could share the metaphors on that video, here.
Is it fair to go on Twitter or Facebook, seeking professional editing, or artistic services, but only offer compensation way below livable standards? Is it right to ask anybody, in any profession, just because they are a small company or a freelancer, to work for less?
I see this all the time as Art Director for 4RV, too. People expect us to accept their manuscript, do all the editing, art, and prep to publish it, market and promote their book, then complain that their royalty isn't high enough or that the cost of buying personal copies at wholesale (for those that wish to sell at a show, or something), is too high, or that they didn't get enough free copies with their contract, while feeling totally OK with the fact that he company is footing all the bills. They don't even want to edit thoroughly or help promote on behalf of their own books!
To make it even more of an injustice, the requester wants high quality. They like your work! It grabbed their attention over all the other work they examined. But wait, they want that level of work and expertise for half or a third of what you charge, even though you already charge eight times less than the accepted standard due to a tough economy and growing competition with people who will work for ridiculously low rates.
What are we doing to our own industries if we agree? But if we don't agree, how do we feed our kids? Pay our rent?
I am sharing the video again, here. It really puts things in perspective, but it's also funny. Maybe if you're one of those people who have performed a shake down on an artist or editor, and relied on their desperation to make a living weighing more than their getting paid their worth, then maybe putting it in a different light will help you curb that tendency.
Art Director & VP of Operations