“Those who write for others must get paid for their work.” ~ Pete Hamill
– prolific journalist, author quoted in The Writer Mag December 2011
Isn’t it amazing that a writer as esteemed as Pete Hamill had to make that statement? And, that it needs to be broadcast to every print and digital media outlet in existence, most especially the proliferation of new e-journals and digital publications that have appeared on the Web. Electronic publishing is changing the face of publishing, true, but it’s also hurting many writers because more and more of these publications want you to write for free.
I can’t tell you how often a publications has wanted to compensate me with “exposure” to their audience. I’ve had so-called editors tell me (and I quote from a recent conversation: “it is a privilege to have your writing appear in our digital magazine. The exposure to our audience will undoubtedly pay you back for your time.”
(Is the steam rising from the top of your head? Flames were shooting from mine when I heard that).
I am a writer, my words are my bread and butter! The time I take to plan and target an assignment for a specific publication; to interview, research, arrange, and fact check; and to revise to specification is time I deserve to be paid in greenbacks. Writing is mentally challenging work that I just happen to enjoy immensely, but it doesn’t mean I want to freelance for free.
BUT (isn’t there always a “but”)…. when might writing for free be a step in the right direction for you?
READ MORE about when you might make sense to write for free (well, almost for free)...