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    Most freelance book critics are making less than minimum wage.

    Dan Sheehan

    June 20, 2024, 4:53pm

    FSP Book Critics working group

    Since September 2023, the book criticism working group of the Freelance Solidarity Project (a union of digital media workers, organizing to raise labor standards across the industry) has been collecting data on freelance rates. Its findings, published earlier this month, are pretty damn bleak.

    Essentially, most book critics without staff jobs are making far less than minimum wage.

    The working group asked dozens of writers and freelance book critics to share what they’ve been paid for book criticism, as well as the length of time each project took them, and out of the 91 reports received, 26 writers reported being paid less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for their work.

    In response, FSP has launched a social media campaign to share the findings, raise awareness about poor pay for freelance critics, and advocate for a base rate of $1.00 a word.

    At the beginning of May, FSP (which is part of the National Writers Union) also published a damning report on the wave of retaliation Western media workers have received for for speaking up against or critically covering Israel’s war on Gaza. 

    Kudos to everyone involved in this group for all of their vital work.



    Illustrations by Colleen Tighe

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