Thursday, July 27, 2006

Don't Die of "Exposure"

Some of my favorite writing blogs have been featuring a lot of chatter about writers taking on assignments that don't pay. I have become quite passionate about the idea of writing for free recently, due in part to the fact that I've had some successes with my writing from paying markets and know that my work deserves compensation. And to be quite frank "exposure" isn't going to pay my bills! So I urge you, if you are serious about making a career (or even a fun hobby) out of freelance writing, DON'T write for free. Here are some common issues surrounding this whole writers debate:

**"I want to be published" -- I say, you need to put value on your time and energy. If you're spending time writing and researching copy for free, that's time you could have spent researching and writing a query to a paying market.

**A sure way you know you need to be paid for your writing is if the publication or website/e-zine accepts advertising. If a publication is pulling in ad dollars, they should be paying their writers!

**Are there ever exceptions to this rule? Sure, all rules are made to be broken. I've been a volunteer writer for a non-profit organization that I'm passionate about for about two years. BUT this is not a publication that is trying to "come up" on the backs of hard-working writers. Donating your talents to a cause is a great way to donate to something you believe in.

I have written a couple of articles for free when I was just starting out. But I recently withdrew an article that I submitted to a very popular travel site because they only pay in "exposure." Shortly after withdrawing the article I got a well-paying writing assignment from an editor who wanted two articles! I think the universe gave me a gift for standing up for my writing!

So to restate an often used quote - "Writers die of exposure" -- so will your business if you write for free!

My favorite writing blogs (mentioned up top):

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