Monday, February 22, 2016

Do What You Want, Do What You Wanna'

If you're on Facebook you've probably already seen the posts about HuffPo bragging about not paying their authors. Not just stating they don't, but smugly saying it makes them proud not to.  Rather than repeat a lot of what's been online about it, I'll point you to two people who've already said it.

Wil Weaton
and Chuck Wendig (lots of language warning)

Two people who don't really need me linking to their blogs since they get plenty of hits already, but they each said it their own individual way, and thoroughly got the point across.

I'm going less drastic and saying to carefully weigh whether you give your work away for free. I've participated in challenges/publications for charities, and I have zero regrets about that. I'd do it again. I've also been published in a magazine that pays royalties, without having seen a dime, because the royalty share didn't hit the minimum. It happens.

What you should do is decide what works for you. However, if you're going to write for exposure, I recommend not doing it for a bunch of creeps who gloat about raking in money off the sweaty backs of their desperate writers. Quick, name a HuffPo writer! Can't? How much exposure are they getting then? Cracked pays their writers AND gets them exposure. Maybe head that way instead. Or one of a billion other places that pays their writers.

Try to bear in mind that if your work is good enough to be picked up by someone, it's good enough to be paid for. At the same time, there are a lot of magazines out there trying to get a foothold in the market, many of which start out as non-paying markets with the hope of getting enough sales to be able to start paying their writers. If you want to take a chance on a new magazine that needs that boost, perhaps because you love the idea of the magazine, you know someone involved with it, or you've read a copy and enjoyed it, go for it. Don't let someone talk you out of it with a blanket statement.

If you have a business plan that involves writing for exposure in order to reach the point where you can write for pay, I would recommend that you at least TRY submitting your work to a paying market (or several) first. You never know if your work is good enough to be paid for until you submit to qualifying paying markets. Though, again, if you want to submit to non-paying markets for different reasons, don't feel like you'll be a pariah for having done so. We fellow writers will not turn our backs on you when we find out you're writing for free. Despite editors like theirs, the writing community isn't like that. Usually.

Having said that, if you agree that writers should at least have the option of being paid for their work instead of being used like monkeys on typewriters for the likes of HuffPo, maybe stop submitting to them. And stop clicking on those HuffPo articles to read. It wouldn't hurt to show them that talking up bad business ethics can have a negative impact.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you heard of this already? Do you submit to non-paying markets? What has your experience been?

May you find your Muse.

Magazine, clker.com, David
Monkey, clker.com, OCAL



28 comments:

  1. Not on Facebook so I missed the debate.
    I've been paid and not paid and I think it depends on the venue for one's work. For charity, no problem. I already have novels that generate royalties, so some free work here and there doesn't bother me.

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    1. It probably does make a difference, at least in some cases, if you're already getting royalties from another publication. But I think doing it for a charity you want to support is a good idea, regardless.

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  2. I missed this on Facebook. I've never submitted to HuffPo, but I would think they would pay all their authors and would have the means. There are actually a lot of online zines (ezines) that don't pay. Years ago, when I was desperate to publish my flash fiction, I did submit to many of them and was published by a few that didn't pay. I was fine with it because I mostly wanted my name out there and publications under my belt. But HuffPo should be one of those paying for the things they publish.

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    1. They definitely should. They certainly bring in the money, but they're pocketing it instead of paying their writers.

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  3. I heard something about the Huff controversy, but not that they were huffing about it themselves. I'd much rather get paid for my writing, but if I had been submitting and not getting anything out of it I can see doing some writing for mere exposure. I think it's better that someone sees the fruits on my labor than have it lie dormant and unread on my computer or in a notebook somewhere.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I agree with that. Writing for exposure to get your name out there is a good idea, as long as you're doing so in the same genre/market you're hoping to get paid in eventually. Writing for HuffPo when you want to be noticed in the fantasy genre probably isn't going to get you anywhere.

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  4. I haven't even heard about that Huff thing. I've never given my work away but I know lots of writers who have for a promotion. Sometimes it works out for them and sometimes not.

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    1. I've done a couple fun charity projects, and they were worth it. I've also inadvertently given it away for free when a paying market failed to pay me. :x

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  5. If they weren't so damn smug about it I could've just let it go. But come on.

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    1. Right, that's what got me. Don't brag about it and encourage others to do the same. Pricks.

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  6. The way I see it: I understand not having the revenue to pay writers, but if you're a big enough name that my mother, neighbors, and veterinarian have all heard of you, you can probably afford it and not miss it. Choosing not to is rude and selfish. Bragging about it takes it to another level that I don't have a polite word for.

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    1. Exactly. They can afford it. They choose not to. And they're smug about it. So I had to share.

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  7. If I am submitting for the exposure, then I am getting paid ... by the exposure. Doing it as you suggested for a struggling ezine that is barely making it is one thing. But Huff is just an exploiter of dreamers. And bragging about it? That is just dysfunctional. I think it is always wrong to work for a bully and a user. If nothing else it is reinforcing a negative behavior pattern.

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    1. Writing for exposure is good when you need the exposure, and when the place you're writing for actually gives you solid exposure. But yeah, HuffPo turned me completely off. I have no interest in reading their articles anymore, either.

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  8. I missed this completely. I had no idea. And now I take Huffington Post even less seriously than I already did before. Like you said, how many HuffPo writers can you name? I can't name a single one. We'd gladly give our writing away for free if it meant good exposure or was for a good cause, but not to d-bags like that.

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    1. Nope, I wouldn't bother trying to get exposure through them at all. On the other hand, I can name a couple Cracked articles. Oh, wait, Cracked pays their writers, too.

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  9. I always believed my writing was worth being paid for. My first pay check was for submitting poetry to a local magazine. There were two or three poems I did submit for free to another newspaper but that was for some exposure as well as the fact that the editor in charge was a poet laurette who I knew wouldn't just let anything be published. So when some of my few submissions got published I felt like a million bucks despite not making a penny. Since then I pretty much stick to paid markets and now make my money full time as a freelance writer. That HuffPo business is so offensive and since I hardly use FB anymore I'm just heating about it now.

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    1. It's extremely offensive. I hope word gets around enough that they start losing their writers when they realize HuffPo is purposely taking advantage of them.

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  10. Hey Shannon,

    I realise how much you've been eagerly waiting for a comment from me, yes me, shy and humble me! So here goes...

    I never saw that on Farcebook. In my case, no matter the article, my bag of crap writing is out there for free, what with me being just a smug amateur.

    Take care, Shannon.

    Gary

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    1. Man, smug amateurs are such an issue. ;)

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  11. Hi Shannon - I've seen the argument around - and have to say I think it's disgraceful. I agree with you ... abandon that platform or reading it ...

    I'd like to be paid to write, I'd be happy to write for charity and do now, getting exposure is good - but when I decide to write for some reward then I'd do it gladly - without the huffandpuff of self exposure.

    Cheers to one and all - let's make writing a valuable commodity - Hilary

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    1. Yes! Writing IS a valuable commodity. Now to get everyone else to catch on.

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  12. amen sista! thanks for spreading the word with this news-worthy post - and all the links for PAYING gigs! writers should be paid for their mental stimulation!

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    1. We certainly put enough time and effort into it!

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  13. You wrote this so well! Thanks for giving voice to authors' thoughts. We give away a lot of work for good causes, but we shouldn't give it away to line some hot shot's pockets and have them rub it in our faces. Gah!

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    1. Nope. And it's insulting for him to act this way about it.

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  14. I don't know, I don't think I'll ever send anything that says they never plan on paying their writers. HuffPo really sucks anyway. Like, I'll read the articles sometimes, but do I know those authors? Do I search them? No, I don't. So what exposure are they talking about?

    Someone told me to never sell your stuff for just exposure. To value my work more than that. I can see maybe a charity book, but I doubt anyone would would come to me for something like that at this point in my career haha

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    1. Exactly. How much exposure is being earned? I imagine they get a harsh lesson later on when they try to move forward depending upon their "exposure." And it's too bad.

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