What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor, indexer, and proofreader. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Is This How Bad It's Getting?

Here's an email exchange I've had over the last few days with a fellow freelancer. I think now I've heard just about everything. You have to read all the way to the bottom for the punchline.

*****

----- Original Message -----
From:
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2009 9:00 PM
Subject: request

Hi, Bob, I wonder if it would be possible in the future for you to pay me 10 percent of any indexing jobs I send your way. I am paying more and more fees to people who refer work to me; that's why I ask? Would you be comfortable with that? Many thanks,

*****

From: Bob Land

Hi.

In the circles I travel in, I've never been asked to pay referral fees, nor do I ever ask for fees to be paid to me. I've referred a lot of work to typesetters/book designers, mostly, but to a few editors and writers, too, and they've referred a lot of work to me. And I think we've all just figured that what goes around will eventually come around. Referral fees have never come up.

Having said that, if you wanted to talk to me up front and ask me my indexing page rate (for a standard 6x9, one-column job, that would be $3.50), then turn around and tell the client that my rate is $3.85, I'd bill at $3.85 and send you the difference, which would be the 10 percent you are seeking. Of course, we run the risk of losing on the business because of a slightly higher rate, but that's just the risk involved.

I guess what I'm saying is, if you can sell my services at a 10 percent mark-up, I'm happy to pay you the difference. However, if anyone bothers to find me on the Internet, they'll see my rate sheet there and wonder why they are paying more than my standard rate, and then it falls back on us to explain why.

Bottom line: the idea of referral fees coming out of my basic pay rate isn't one that I'm wild about, but if we can charge it back to the client, I have no problem paying the difference to you as a finder's fee.

Thanks for asking.

Bob

*****

Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 9:10 PM
Subject: Re: request

I understand 100 percent. I'll keep your idea in mind about the markup.

People who sub out to me mark up routinely and have for many years. Now, several publishers I get referrals from are asking for 10 percent and they're coming out of my normal rates.

THANKS.

*****

From: Bob Land

PUBLISHERS??? I have absolutely no response to that that I can repeat in polite company.

*****

Folks, I have publishers hook me up with authors probably 6-12 times per year for indexes. Many publishers just leave it up to authors to generate their own indexes, and the smarter authors, as I've mentioned before, stick to what they know: their area of expertise. They ask the publishers for referrals to indexers, and that's one way authors find indexers.

I cannot even imagine what my response would be to a publisher who asked for a referral fee for sending an author my way. That a publisher -- a publisher, for god's sake -- would ask for a referral fee from a freelancer? I think that falls somewhere in Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate under extortion. Or kickbacks? Help me out here, class. I am at a total loss for words . . . words that I would print on my blog, anyway.

2 comments:

moi said...

Well now. Doesn't this just give me all kinds of ideas. Like, the next time a friend asks, "Say, Moi? Do these blue jeans make my ass look fat?" I'm just gonna zip my lips until they cough up a couple of greenbacks.

(You did eventually tell this forkin' fork to go fork himself, right?)

czar said...

Moi: You have seen the entirety of the exchange. Per essentially agrees with me . . . that it shouldn't be coming off the laborer's basic rate. If you have a bunch of individuals doing this to each other, isn't the net result the same as not doing it at all? What astounds me is that companies are doing this. And if any of 'em tried it with me, I'd make sure I had their federal tax ID number first and I'd file a 1099 on their corporate ass so they'd have to pay income tax on what they extorted from me.