Writing For Free Issue Goes Viral

Should writers write for free, for exposure, or for fun? Or maybe all three? Everybody has an opinion, sometimes heated.

An argument about getting paid for online work erupted recently, when a respected journalist blogged about an Atlantic Wire editor who asked to repost a long article online for free.

What’s unbelievable is that just a few years ago, the Atlantic magazine offered him $21,000 per article for original reporting, and now they’re offering him nothing in exchange for “exposure.”

Here’s the scoop from Reuters blogger Felix Salmon:

“The exchange has particular added poignancy because it’s not so many years since [Read more…]

Is Free Content in Exchange for "Exposure" Over?

I have a theory I need you to confirm. I’m thinking that the days of giving away free content are waning.

I’m talking about when a website or media person wants to repurpose a blog post or asks you for free content in exchange for “exposure” rather than cash. As a result, you’re supposed to get more traffic and prestige.

If you’re not sure what I mean, here’s a website that asks for free recipes, and here’s a website that gets bloggers to post content for free.

I’m not saying it’s wrong. It seems to make sense to provide free content when:

  • You already published the blog post and a website wants to recirculate it
  • You want to be published outside your blog to grow your platform
  • You perceive the site to be prestigious.

(Where it’s not so cool, however, is when someone [Read more…]

Should HuffPo Pay For Writing That's Basically Self-Promotion?

In the wake of The Huffington Post‘s $315 million sale to AOL, two arts writing groups will no longer provide free content for The Huffington Post website until they are paid.

Fat chance, snorted Ariana Huffington. According to a news article on thewrap.com, Huffington “dismissed the notion that all bloggers should be paid, given the wide platform HuffPo gives them. She argued that blogging on the Huffington Post is equivalent to going on Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart or the Today show to promote their ideas. And, she said, there are plenty of people willing to take their place if they do.”

Sound familiar? It’s the same argument food writers get about why they should not be paid (or paid almost nothing) to write guest posts and web content. It’s all about the exposure, dahhhlings. Doesn’t everyone know that? (See this recent post from colleague Sarah Henry on that topic.)

Steam came out of my ears as I read Huffington’s assertions. But I was also curious. Is the HuffPo food section all about self-promotion? I headed over to  find out.

Here’s what I found: Bloggers write short posts and link to their blog sites or promote their books. Authors write [Read more…]

Bloggers Fire Back on Working for Free

Remember this guy from the movie "Network?"
Remember this guy from the movie "Network?"

Three food bloggers are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it any more.

I’m speaking of the idea put forth to them, in our social media-crazy world, they should be honored to work for nothing in exchange for exposure. (I’ve covered this subject before, from Putting the Free in Freelance to Links are the New Currency.)

In their responses, two writers use humor to get their point across, and one goes for it directly:

1. Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites made his point gently in a letter to a tire company, suggesting he [Read more…]

Putting the "Free" in Freelance

empty_pockets-450x343Earlier this year I began working with a sophisticated home cook and sometime cooking teacher who wanted to start a blog, write for publication, and later on, write a cookbook. That wasn’t the order, but I told her it would work best that way.

She launched the food blog, and it’s coming along beautifully. For clips, we brainstormed a few story ideas for newspapers, which would produce results much faster  than magazines. She pitched several weeklies in the state, with two responses. It wasn’t pretty. Here is the first, from the paper’s editor:

“All the articles are volunteered.  We have no budget for freelance, or for anything else that matter. Everybody does it here for love. Still, we recognize that many freelancers who query us are hoping–and needing–to sell their articles.  If that is the situation with you, of course we will understand your not being able to place it with us. If on the other hand, you are in a position to donate the piece, it would be our pleasure to run it.” [Read more…]