Can anyone out there tell me what it means to be a “freelance” writer?
Apparently, when most people hear or read the word “freelance,” they think it means “free.”
I look for freelance jobs on websites and craigslist. It never ceases to amaze me what people think a writer’s time is worth. One posting actually wanted to pay half a cent a word!! Most postings, even for intern positions, are for no compensation. I didn’t know my time and expertise meant nothing, even in this economy.
If you are looking to write your autobiography, a biography, novel, or screenplay, and want a co-writer or ghost writer, be prepared to compensate them. And by compensate, a writer does not want credit, or a commission, once the work is accepted. Credits don't pay the bills.
Every manuscript submitted to an agent or publisher is not guaranteed to be accepted. You are asking a writer to sacrifice hours of productive time, which could be spent on their own works, for no money, and no expectation of money. Writing, as a profession, is still looked upon by many as a hobby, something not worthy of remuneration.
I wonder how many people in the legal profession would be willing to spend ten to thirty hours, working for someone, with no expectation of payment. How many public relations firms would take on a client, without a contract and specified compensation? Yet, a professional writer is treated as one step above slave labour.
So, when you are looking for a writer, expect to pay them for their work.