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NUJ denounces Quill Content for paying freelance fee of £5 for 150 words

2 July 2014

The NUJ has denounced a freelance fee offered by Quill Content, global content creators, of £5 for 150 words for an arts and entertainments app.

Sandra MacKenzie, senior editorial manager of Quill, said she needed writers who are "passionate about art, music, theatre, food and drink" to turn information about events into a "personable, chatty description that really sells the event". She said she wanted freelance writers to produce 10-15 pieces a week at £5 for 150 words, the equivalent of 3.3 per word.

John Toner, NUJ freelance organiser, said:

"This is an insult to professional writers to be told that they are expected to provide sparkling copy to sell events at such a pitiful rate. Quill Content's rates are exploitative and a disgrace. How can writers earn enough to live if this is what organisations believe their work is worth. It is always a good idea to check the NUJ's Rate for the Job and Freelance Fees guide when negotiating a fee."

In response to the NUJ's statement, Ed Bussey, founder and CEO of Quill, said:

"Quill brings together an unparalleled global network of writers and content producers, from journalists and bloggers to highly experienced industry experts and professionals. We do not work to a set ratecard and our pricing is determined on a client-by-client basis. We are proud to facilitate a very broad spectrum of work that can range from short pieces on mainstream topics to lengthy and complex white papers. All this work is costed accordingly.

"No writer within the Quill network is obliged to take on work offered but we are continually overwhelmed by the uptake on commissions across a range of rates. Above all, we are trying to build a financially sustainable model for producing digital content, responding to the real needs of brands online, at a price point that is both fair and viable for all concerned. We firmly believe that producing great content requires the best writing and editing to engage readers, and we are seeking to build a model that can sustain this in the new and vastly changed media landscape."

John Toner replied:

"The fee of £5 for 150 words is neither fair nor viable for a freelance trying to earn a living."

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Tags: , freelance, fees, rate for the job, Quill Content