22 April, 2010

The market value of what we do?!

I just found the Australian Society of Authors' minimum rates and conditions web-page. It sheds monetary light of some of what we've been doing this year. For example:

Public appearances (of which we've done a few):

For up to an hour - $300
For up to three hours - $485 (which, presumably could be doubled when we jointly run a 3 hour Japan evening?)
I won't mention travel expenses, meal allowances etc.

The other day I mentioned to my sister that I was working on Saturday. She immediately wondered what I meant (presumably thinking Occupational Therapy). When I clarified and said I was speaking at a ladies group, she just said, "Oh."

Generally we (and most everyone else) undervalue what we do on home assignment, I think! It looks like we sit around doing not much during the week and then just a little speaking engagement here and there at nights or on the weekend. This doesn't include preparation time or networking, communicating and organising time on the internet and email.

The other day I was checking email on our laptop in my sister-in-law's dining room and read one work-related one out to my husband. My non-Christian sister-in-law was intrigued. After nearly ten years, she actually asked about what we do when we're in Australia. I'm thinking it looks like we're on holidays most of the time to them!

It is probably a good thing for churches and other groups that we don't charge like professional speakers - those rates might be a bit too steep!

Then to look at the value of freelance writing:

$211 per hour or for a piece under 1000 words - $860 and $0.86 per word after that!!

Wow - and to think I was chuffed to be paid $32 the other day for a 250 word piece that took quite a lot more than an hour to write and edit!! Most often in small Christian magazines the best you can hope for is an under-30-word blurb about you at the end of your article and maybe a free copy of the magazine.

Praise God for many sacrificial givers who provide for us regardless of our service to them.
Praise God for people who've never been to Japan, yet spend their time freely praying for the Japanese.
Praise God for his many provisions that allow us to give of our time to these ministries without thought of money for time payment.


Ken Rolph said...

The ASA rates are pretty much a wish list. Writers are cheap. They'll work for whatever scraps are thrown their way. An Australian publisher once said that writers are the only flexible unit in the process of book production. Which means that everone else needs to get paid before they'll touch the job.

Footprints Australia said...

The highest rate I have ever been paid as a writer is 55c word in a national women's magazine. For a 300 word piece, that was $165 ... most of my writing work is as a volunteer (running Footprints magazine) these days, though I do produce four regular community newsletters in my "day job" at $26 an hour ... does that count???!