Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Are You Kiddin’ Me?

I just received an e-mail from the publisher of a newsletter whose title will remain anonymous (to protect the guilty). Once again, I am being asked to work for free. This makes me crazy! Here is what happened.

I e-mailed them to ask if they could use my services as a writer and to send me an editorial calendar. In response, they told me, and I quote:

“In order to be featured in one of our newsletters, please begin submitting articles to our site. You can do this by signing up for a free account.”

Riiiiiight. So, let me get this straight. I spend time researching and writing an article on a topic you may not accept, then I can expect to be paid for my services if and only if you decide you would like to publish it in one of your newsletters? I…do not…think…so.

Let’s give the newbies among us a quick lesson. This is the cardinal rule of working as a freelance writer. Are you ready?


That’s it. It’s pretty easy and pretty obvious, but some companies seem to think the sheer joy of seeing your name in print will make you want to give your time away. The fact is the publication that asks a writer to submit an article on spec is not worth the paper it is printed on or the space it is taking up on my computer monitor. If you need some clips, donate your valuable time to your local newspaper or to your favorite charity. This way you will get a few clips that illustrate your writing skills. Even then, you should be able to earn a couple of bucks for helping them sell their newspapers or earn revenue for their cause.

How do you feel about writing on spec?

When you read this, I will be visiting The Mouse and all of his friends in Florida. I promise to think of all of you slaving away at your keyboards while I am eating ice cream shaped like Mickey’s head.

I look forward to reading your responses when I return.



Pattie said...

I hate writing on spec. I felt like my time was totally wasted as they turned me down flat.

Kate Powers said...

We went to visit Micky in late May when we learned of my husband's upcoming deployment to Iraq.

We had a great time and learned so much about traveling with young children, seniors and other families.

It was a great way to start the summer!

I hope your trip was wonderful!