If you’re being asked to write—anything—for free, I just hope the person asking is your mother or your kid (or the person who shares your bed). Because if the asker doesn’t fit into one of these categories, he or she is no different from someone in a dental chair saying to the dentist: “Oh, and I just want to confirm that you’re not going to charge for this crown, right? I’ll show it to everyone; it’ll give you great exposure.”
Tim Kreider has published an exceptional essay in the New York Times that tells why it’s wrong to write for nothing: Slaves of the Internet, Unite!
You owe it to yourself (and to every writer who ever hopes to make a living writing) to read this article.
Just realized the irony of my plea (on a blog) that writers not write for free. Many of you who will read this also write a blog. And none of us is getting paid to do it. I guess the difference is this: no one asked me to write for free; I came up with the idea myself! Fine and fuzzy lines everywhere we turn.
Getting “known” is an unpredictable monster, I assume. But I do recall Dan Ariely (and others) discussing the psychology of getting something for “free”. The soundbite-version: If we give something away for free, we’re telling the recipient that it’s (at least, nigh-on) without value. If that hold true for giving out our books for free, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.
Thanks, Daniel, for posting.
Reblogged this on Burning the Root and commented:
You deserve to get paid for your words! This is a must read.
Thanks for passing this along, Iona.
Thanks for sharing this dynamite article, Naomi. Have had editorials and short stories published on-line for “free”. Veteran writers argue that it helps develop your portfolio; experience but that hasn’t happened with on-line sites.
Thanks for your comment CapeCreator!
Thanks to those who have shared your experiences. So important that we talk about this issue. Just imagine if not one writer said yes to writing for free. People would stop thinking it appropriate to ask for free work.
Reblogged this on Nomi Isak, Writing Coach and commented:
Reblogging this, just because it’s so important . . .