Wednesday, October 28, 2015

You can't pay your rent with "but it's great exposure!"

I've had a major epiphany today! I read and shared a post written by Wil Wheaton yesterday.  It was all about how well known large websites expect their writers to work for free. In Wil Wheaton's case it was Huffington Post. Huffington Post was purchased by AOL a few years ago for $315 million and is now supposedly valued at a staggering $1 Billion dollars. Huffington Post contacted the popular Star Trek actor to ask him about publishing an article he wrote on his own blog a while ago. He was interested and asked how much do you pay your contributors? He was shocked by the reply “Unfortunately, we’re unable to financially compensate our bloggers at this time. Most bloggers find value in the unique platform and reach our site provides, but we completely understand if that makes blogging with us impossible.” Remember, I just mentioned how much that company is worth! All my friends that are professional writers were quick to share this article. And I've seen this topic come up many times before online. This article is gaining steam because it was Wil Wheaton that wrote it. He has a very popular blog and 2.92 million followers on twitter. I'm not sure why Huffington Post even thought he needed more exposure?

I learned a few years ago that most major genre publications pay their freelance writers about $75 a page. I'm not sure if that's true, but it was posted publicly on a popular horror movie forum a few years ago because people assumed that magazine writers were making more than that. Wil Wheaton figured out that his article was worth about $210 at the standard going rate. That doesn't seem like much does it? Not for a company like Huffington Post. So why has the industry standard become not to pay writers what they are worth? I'm sure this practice has put many professional writers out of a job by now. Unless you are Stephen King or Anne Rice are you expected to write for free these days? And if so, what has this done to the world of magazines and literature in general? The Internet has improved the way we receive information but it's also changed the information that we do receive on a daily basis. We all know and understand that you can't believe anything you read online anymore. That half the posts on Facebook or other social media are fake articles that are poorly written but sensational in order to gather more views. This is why I prefer to read personal blogs, magazine articles, or websites that I know and trust instead of the garbage that's often passed off as real articles on certain Facebook pages.

A few years ago I wrote a ton of articles for free also. I was new to writing online and was flattered that someone even wanted to post my work. I have no idea if the site I wrote for makes any money and the owner was a genuine genre fan who was always nice to me. I was happy to give my work away for free and did so willingly and never expected anything in return. I just wanted to share my love of Horror Movies to a larger audience. Also, plenty of writers give their content away for free in the hopes that it will lead to something bigger or a paying job at a magazine.  Of course that rarely happens. Now that I am a little older and wiser I realize that I was making a huge mistake! I was basically telling the universe that my work has no value. I always did a ton of research on my articles and would spend countless hours watching every movie I could get my hands on in order to have the proper background required to write about the horror genre. Any good writer would do the same! I basically spent all my free time either writing or watching movies. I figured it was my hobby anyway. Why not share my work with the world? Don't get me wrong. I think writing and publishing YOUR OWN BLOG is a great idea. Sharing your personal opinions on your own blog is worth the time and effort. Giving your work away for free to a larger site for just more exposure is a terrible idea! 

Here is why I think it's a bad idea. I completely believe in the Universal Law of Attraction. Some of you might also know the Universal Law of Attraction as "The Secret".  The basic premise is that whatever you focus on and wish for will come to you. So be careful what you wish for! If you are a positive person and wish for good things for yourself and others it will happen in reality. And the reverse is also true. If you think of negative thoughts constantly, worry, or battle anxiety you will also make that happen in reality. Worry is actually wishing for what you don't want. By publishing your work for free you are broadcasting to the universe that I don't need money for my work. Good exposure on a large website will not pay the rent! If you give it away willingly all the time the universe will think that's what you wanted all along. The same is true for any artistic talent. Be it writing, dressmaking, painting, drawing, or music. If you give it away for free to someone else who will make money on it then you are telling the universe that your gift is worthless. So stop giving away all your power! 

Here are a few things that you can do that send a positive message to the universe. Write and publish your own blog. Believe me the right people will find and appreciate all your hard work. They will value your talent and so will the universe. You don't need a larger audience. You just need the right one. Trade your talent or skill with friends. I quite often do trades with friends that have skills that I don't possess. It doesn't always have to be solely money based. We both gain something of value in the trade. And last but not least, ask for compensation. You'll never gain anything if you don't actually ask for it! Write it down if you need to. Keeping a journal is a fantastic way to keep your hopes and dreams positive. The written word has power. The universe will listen and respond!


  1. This is a great article! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! More and more sites do expect you to do things for free like it is a favour and maybe if more people refuse to do that we can change things! But of course, having your own blog is different, and wonderful!

  2. It goes beyond just websites. Everyone seems to expect work for free. My day job even asked us sales associates (that make next to nothing) to come in and work for free in order to clean the store! I told them if I'm going to volunteer my time it should be at a homeless shelter or walking the dogs at the pound. Why would I volunteer time to a company that makes good money? Why is that acceptable?

  3. I did that latest Man Crates post just especially for the exposure, but I didn't even get that. No post on their FB page or link to my blog post or anything. So yeah, I feel a little stupid for falling for it, especially when I've risked alienating my regular readers cause I've pushed advertising down their throats. :(

  4. Read the Will Wheaton article too and I agree with him (and you). People would never ask an acoounrant or mechanic to work for free. So why are we asking artists?