The last few days, I’ve seen a few too many ads posted online looking for writers where the client wants to pay something in other than legal tender. Being rather passionate about what I do and feeling a bit crusty today besides, I decided to share a few thoughts with you on this matter.
Here’s a few examples of the “offers” I’ve been recently where employers are offering writers the chance to write for :
- The Joy of Seeing Your Name in Print
- Good Karma
Now, I can use good karma as much as the next person, but as far as payment is concerned, that doesn’t really cut it. When the day comes that I can buy groceries or pay my bills in “karma” or by showing someone my name in print, we can talk. Until then, I am a professional writer and I deserve to be paid for what I do. And if I want “exposure,” I’ll give Hugh Hefner a call…
I appreciate that a business owner must keep an eye on outgoing expenses and that not all clients have deep pockets. The excuse that you have a startup and can’t afford to pay doesn’t fly with me. If you can plan for and find funding for other expenses involved in running a biz, then either you budget for writers or you do the work yourself until you can afford to hire someone.
I am not into suffering for my art. I work hard and I deserve to be paid like anyone else who works and offers a service. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be flexible and I won’t try to work within a client’s budget. I can and I do.
Now, there is always more than one side to a story and I have to wonder if writers are not contributing to this problem, too. Are some of us so desperate to get our names “out there” that we are willing to give our work away? To my mind, an employer wouldn’t be offering these kinds of terms if on some level they didn’t think it was OK.
Being a good writer is both a skill and an art. If writers want to be treated like skilled professionals with a valuable service to offer, then we need to start seeing ourselves in that way first. Then it will be much easier to say “No” to someone who wants us to give our talents away.