Last week, I mentioned a new trend of blogs/online news sites that offer payment and no bio link, or just a bio link instead of payment, in exchange for writing an article. I launched into a mini-rant as to how disrespectful this is by the site. I’ve asked for names of such sites from readers, and the main names cropping up are The Penny Hoarder and The Write Life.
But a similar theme kept cropping up in the emails I received. That of reading and writing groups and sites taking advantage of writers . . . asking them to appear for free, write for free, using the age-old offer of exposure, or the over-used excuse of being non-profit. But then the group offers no promotion, no advertising, no effort to spread the word about the article, the appearance, or the writer’s contribution. In other words, no exposure. They not only don’t pay, but they don’t provide the exposure, either.
Writers cannibalizing writers.
Writers . . . if you are going to be true to your profession, please consider the following:
1) Ask for compensation or tangible reward for your work. For every instance you give in and write for free, you are costing hundreds of other writers the opportunity to earn a living by making their journey that much harder.
2) If you want to use another writer’s work, offer to compensate them. Practice what you preach. Or simply, Do Unto Others . . . you know the rest.
3) Buy books to support authors. Don’t take free books unless you are a reviewer, and even then, post the dang review unless the book is so bad you don’t care to. In that case, let the author know. Some may not like it, but others will want to know what you found lacking in the story. But don’t take a free book for any reason without offering payment in terms of a review.
4) If you only buy books at discounts, help compensate the author for the loss by posting a review on Amazon. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a professional reviewer. Your opinion matters to that author’s career.
5) If your group asks a writer to appear, by all means offer compensation. Or offer to purchase a minimum number of books. Ask attendees to pay a fee if your budget doesn’t have a purse. Don’t take advantage of the writer.
6) If your group asks a writer to appear, ADVERTISE IT. That is assuming you want a lot of attendees. If this is a private appearance, limited to members, then it’s even more important to find some way to compensate the writer because you are denying them the exposure gained from a larger crowd.
We cannot afford to be our own worst enemy.
BIO – C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters and author of The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mysteries. www.chopeclark.com