You write for money, of course. But who gets the money? All too often, it isn’t the writer – the writer tries for free.
Write for money, and watch out for scammers…
Chuck Wendig reports:
Hull is, to repeat, proud that they do not pay writers. HuffPo is owned by AOL who is actually Verizon. Not small companies. The audio link notes from Hull that they are a profitable business.
And yet, they do not pay the writers.
And yet, they are proud not to pay the writers.
Because it isn’t “authentic.” To pay writers.
Sad, right? Of course, it’s nothing new. Media companies have always treated writers with contempt, but rarely so blatantly. “Schmucks with Underwoods”… Jack Warner’s immortal words would read as “schmucks with MacBooks” (or PCs) today.
BTW, “schmuck” is defined as “one who is stupid or foolish”.
Are YOU a schmuck?
You’re reading this, so of course you aren’t… you’re a sensible writer. But if you’ve been writing for more than a year or two it’s 100% guaranteed that you’ve been conned, by people who are extraordinarily good at conning writers — viz, Mr Hull, above.
Don’t write for “exposure” until you have something to expose
You can learn a lot from celebrities. Mr Ten-Million-Dollars-Per-Movie doesn’t show up on the Night Show or the evening news unless he’s peddling his latest movie.
Writers however, gleefully write for the HuffPo, or a random blog — and their own blogs — for “exposure”. All too often, these writers have nothing to expose. They’re not selling (marketing) anything at all.
PLEASE… (yes, I’m yelling…) Only write for exposure when you have a reason. Write that reason down. Set a goal for the piece. And if it turns out that “free” isn’t meeting your marketing goals, STOP IT. Stop doing it.
I won’t get into a political argument and say that all writing for free is wrong. I don’t care what writers do… And I don’t care about the scammers either.
Scammers will always be with us. You’ll get scammed. You’ll learn that particular lesson, and you’ll move on.
A word to the wise: major corporations are NOT your friend. I once had a huge publishing house try to copyright one of my books under its name — until I gleefully struck that nonsense out of the contract.
I got a snigger out of it, but I get chills when I think of all the writers who believe that just because a publisher is a multinational, billion-dollar company, “they’ll do the right thing.” Huh — they have a battalion of lawyers on retainer, helping them to squeeze every last advantage from a contract. Poor writers, lured to their doom…
Authors are easily conned by publishers stealing copyrights. Too easily. If you doubt my words, check the copyright info on the next book/ ebook you read. You’ll often find books published by traditional publishers with the publisher holding the copyright, rather than the author. Scams are everywhere, if you know where and how to look. (That said, sometimes the book copyrighting thing isn’t a scam. A publisher’s copyright can be legit, if the publisher bought the book outright. You’ll find popular series are often copyrighted by a publisher, for example. The publisher came up with the idea for the series, and hired authors, under a “work done for hire” agreement.)
OK, enough of a digression. 🙂
I’m focused on my own goals, and you need to be, too. Writers can write for free for the likes of the HuffPo or similar, anytime they want. At times, it may make sense to do so. However, if you can’t clearly articulate WHY it makes sense for YOU, don’t do it. You’re just enabling scammers… and you’re being a schmuck.
Who’s getting paid?
Hull has Kristen Lamb steamed too:
AOL/Huffington reportedly brings in $2.3 billion a year and Huffington’s entire business plan rests on profiting off unpaid workers. This means no benefits, no healthcare and no…PAY. Again, if any other business did this? People would lose their ever-loving minds.
But they don’t.
Well, it’s only writers and they should feel honored to be able to share their work outside of their grandmother’s basement.
Kristen is boycotting the HuffPo: “I will no longer link EVER to Huffington.” (Read her article, it’s wonderful.)
Me? I’m not boycotting anyone — I save my energy for writing. I’m getting older, and I’ve been fighting the “schmucks with Underwoods” thing for going on (yikes!) 40 years. Scammers have been conning writers for centuries, literally. It’s nothing new. They’ll keep doing it, as long as writers keep falling for their nonsense.
Don’t be a schmuck. Know what you’re doing, and grow a spine.
If you’re writing for money, keep your eye on the money. Make this your motto: my words, my money.
If it’s worth publishing, it’s worth paying for
Believe it. Live it.
It’s not easy. You need self-belief, and self-respect. You will always have a choice, and the devil tempts you. Wow, they want to publish ME…. Whenever someone waves this carrot at you, there’s just a simple response required: how much are you offering?
If they offer you something other than money (snigger, exposure) I give you permission to tell them to eff the hell off. And yes, in those precise words. 🙂
Write on, and be careful out there.
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