"The market is always right."
- Jim Flowers
I was honored to speak at the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference at Hollins University in Virginia, organized by Dan Smith, editor of the Valley Business FRONT. I was part of the concluding panel discussion on How will writers make money in the future?
For the most part, that final discussion lamented the contracting length of pieces for which a market exists, and the contracting price-per-word the market will pay, falling from $3 per word to 10 cents per word, according to Keith Ferrell.
Whether it is startup of a fresh competitor, or a scientific breakthrough, or wild fluctuations in the price of crude oil, the message from the marketplace must be heeded. Stubborn persistence in the face of overwhelming evidence that change is required is one of the most common business mistakes. And it can easily be fatal...
Flaws can doom a business, and do serious damage to unsuspecting and innocent bystanders, such as employees, suppliers, clients, and (let's not forget) shareholders.
- Jim Flowers, The market is always right.
My mother was a PL/1 programmer. “I could make PL/1 sing and dance,” she said. About a computer language for mainframes and stand-alone computers, she added, “No one’s interested anymore. Especially people who are paying.”
As the founder of a digital media company of which one enterprise has a Web 2.0 business model that synthesizes business news (writing) and public relations (PR, marketing, and advertising), I’m one of the “people who are paying.” (More about that Web 2.0 business model here and here.)
While the creation of a foundation is in my business plan, I cannot subsidize the art of writing. I need the writing to produce business results. I need it to be "right" with the market.
The Ghost Speaks, a series on ghostblogging from Entrepreneur, quotes Brad Porteus, chief marketing officer for elance: "The difference between good and great writing can make a tremendous impact on someone's business."
Yes. That's the basis of our business model.
But we seek writers who aren't ghostbloggers. We want writers who want their own words in their own voices with their own names and bylines - who can heed the message of the marketplace.
Our Web 2.0 business model rewards writers - now content creators because we need links and images or videos to accompany words - with a byline, a bio, a link to their sites, and base pay and bonuses based on traffic.
That means that the more the market values the writer's writing, the more the writer gets paid.
Is the market morally right? Nope. But does it determine the product it wants and how much it will pay for it? Yep.
How will writers make money in the future? The market will decide.
Photo credit: Dan Smith