When did we become so desperate that, as writers, we would take a job for no pay? To further rant on my perusal of craigslist postings, are people really that clueless to believe a professional writer or editor would take a job with the promise of pay from possible royalties?
These postings only illustrate how little people understand about the business of publishing. If traditional publishing is the route these people intend to go, less than 5 percent of manuscripts submitted ever get published. And, of those that do, many never realise royalties, and only receive an advance and nothing more.
So many of these postings are for ghost writers to write their memoirs or autobiographies. Unless you already have an established platform, are a celebrity, or somehow well-known, what "hook" do you think will interest a publisher in your story? And, if I'm going to devote weeks or months to writing a manuscript, I want to know my time and effort is worth more than a promise of "possible" payment. The last I checked, my mortgage company does not accept "promises to pay" while I submit a manuscript for publication.
Now, if your goal is self-publishing, some will charge you for the privilege to see your name in print. Does the ghost writer get in line, waiting for payment that may never come? We have all heard stories of "overnight" success, where an unknown writer is "discovered" by his first self-published work and signed to an outrageously funded contract by Big Name Publisher. But, they too are few and far between.
The computer age and the advent of electronical publishing has been a blessing and a curse. The blessings are many: books no longer have to be printed in large print runs, books can be distributed electronically, less printing costs should translate to higher profits and higher advances to the authors. The curse: everyone with a computer and a story thinks they can be the next Truman Capote, Stephen King, or Stephanie Meyer.
Writing a book, or making it a career, is hard work, thus the reason professional writers freelance. Helping a fledgling author to realise their dream is fulfilling and satsifying. But, as a professional, my time is worth something. Why do I want to use my valuable time ghost writing your book for no money, when I can be writing my own? If I don't attract a publisher with my own work, I can move on and write something else, but it is my time and my work. And it is what I love to do, knowing that it can, and has, paid off for me.
So, please, do not insult us. We write for the love of it, but we also write for the monetary remuneration. If we want to be rich, we would be in another line of work, but we do want our work appreciated -- you certainly wouldn't hire a plumber or advertising agency and expect them to "hope" to get paid. Expect to pay for writing services, just as you would any other service.