“My mom and I have been traveling for her book tour. My mom is Pam Anderson, she is a food writer and cookbook author and has a new book out called Perfect One-Dish Dinners. I do most of her publicity and travel with her and in each city we’ve been meeting up with our blogging friends along the way.
“You might not be surprised to know that a lot of what we talked about was how bloggers aren’t getting paid anything near what they should be (if at all). The ladies were really fed up and frustrated. We all want to make a career out of this, but the money just isn’t there. We’re tired of e-mails asking for us to promote products for free or create content and photos for a measly $50.
Bloggers don’t know what to charge
“Part of the problem is that many people don’t know what they should be asking for. I think people don’t ask because they aren’t informed and there is no standard. We thought, what if we set up an event for about 50 influential (not necessarily big) food bloggers, along with people who know the food business and know what a fair price should be. We thought we could come up with some standards to unite around, i.e. how much we get paid for writing, recipe development, photographs (sliding scale based on traffic) and how much we get paid to go on trips. …So we thought we could actually even draft something and sign it… in essence, starting a Food Bloggers Union.
“I have not yet (!) read your book, so you may in fact address some or all of these things. I am good at planning events and bringing people together, so if I can get people together to form this union and facilitate the kind of change we would all like to see, I would like to do that. But I realize that all might not agree with us and perhaps it’s not a good idea. And I think we need to get some good counsel before we start stirring the proverbial pot. But no doubt there is strength in numbers and unifying. And in educating people about what they are worth.
“I would love your thoughts. What do you think of creating a Food Bloggers Union?”
Legalities of Assigning Pricing
First of all, I was impressed that Maggy Keet (one of the bloggers on Anderson’s blog, Three Many Cooks), was sympathetic to the plight of fellow food bloggers and was trying to help. She made the good point that many people don’t know what to charge for their work.
But here’s the thing: starting an organization to set prices is considered price fixing, and probably illegal. That’s why you won’t see any posts from me about what to charge as a food writer. I give some ranges in Will Write for Food, and I interview people about pay, but that’s about it.
So how to get around this situation? Join an organization like The International Association for Culinary Professionals, which has a member directory. You can call up anyone you like in that directory, and ask what they charge — in a polite way, of course. Just don’t write it down for others to see.
Anyone else have any good ideas for Maggie?