For those who freelance:
I urge you to value your skills,
There are many out there who either don't know how much an artist costs or do know and are trying to take advantage of you. I don't believe ignorance is an excuse anymore since the advent of Google. These people need to experience the market at work. If at all possible, do not lend your skills to them, and if you cross someone who thinks its OK to hire an artist for $30 to produce a book cover, or logo, or game project for their million dollar company/idea, I think it's it imperative to let these people know (in a polite manner) that this is not acceptable.
Quality people rise to the top like a batch of cream. It just so happens that these people are willing to pay well for creative talent. Do not settle to work for people who do not value you. They can't do the work themselves which is why they are trying to hire and artist to do it for them.
And for those who are starting a project:
Yes, it's possible that, with the right talent, you can produce a million dollar Idea. But this is your burden to bear. Do not debit the talent you so desperately need to produce the project. If you think your idea is so hot, then put a mock-up together and go get a bank loan or find an investor. Chances are, if you can't convince these people your idea is good, then there's no way you're going to be able to sell the idea to the public when the time comes.
In basic terms, don't place the debt of your project on an artist you don't know. It's your project; you are responsible for the debt. I see too many posts for projects where people are promising their future artist a cut of the profits.
If Penguin Books offered me a contract like that, I'd probably take it, but if Joe Schmoe off the street gave me the same offer, no thanks. I don't know you.
Pay your talent well and you will have a great project in the end. Expect quality because that's what you're paying for. Value your artist because you don't have the skills to do the work yourself.
Thanks for reading; I hope this helps people out there.