On free-lance, then and now

By   Holly Miller 0 min read

On reading Geoffrey Household’s 1939 classic thriller Rogue Male, I was intrigued to see the word free-lance hyphenated and it got us thinking about the original derivation of the term that is the very basis of the whitefox business model. Opinion is divided as to when the word or words were first used. But the general consensus seems to be the early 19th century, possibly within Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe referencing the mercenary fighters of their day.

It’s difficult to imagine a less mercenary crew than the freelancers serving 21st century publishing. I like the nod towards freewill, though. That makes sense and is as relevant now as ever. And I guess we are guilty within our office of using the term “guns for hire”, without meaning it literally obviously.

We do believe that professionals with the skills required to make a difference should be paid what they are worth. The choice of weapons may have changed, but the value of a freelancer hasn’t.