Shop H.E. Bates Online
ID
c117
Title
"The Rate for the Job."
Genre
Essay
Page Count
3
Word Count
1900
Publisher
Author
Publication Year
1944
Document Types
Full-text Online
Autobiographical
Topics
Literary Life

Addressing the topic of "work for hire," Bates recollects applying to be a public relations writer for an engineering firm when he was seventeen or eighteen and then his immensely successful work for the Air Ministry as "Flying Officer X," making special mention that "the fact that I had written books which sold a quarter of a million copies did not give me financial privileges over and above the men who fought in the air and were paid like me on the basis of rank and not on a commission basis of how many bombs they dropped or how many aircraft they shot down." He notes that since that time "the tendency for organisations of all kinds to seek publicity has become both desperate and pathetic. No longer is a job or a service considered honour enough in itself. It must have publicity." He predicts opportunities for writers, but urges that they avoid becoming regular staff, "fixed down by [a] thousand and one hideous lilliputian pin-prick regulations" and instead that he should maintain their independence regarding "the time, the place and the speed at which he works," and above all, the rate of pay. Lastly, he finds nothing degrading about organizational writing, "on the contrary it seems to me to offer happier and fuller reward than writing reviews of other peoples' books at two guineas a time for periodicals which are all too often petty and pernicious hot-beds of malice," an interesting comment on Bates early dependence on income from book reviewing. Bates's work on behalf of organizations is organized under "document type" in the Companion. The Author (Autumn 1944, 55:2, pp. 19-21). Reprinted in Author! Author! A Selection from The Author (London: Faber, 1984).


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