Working for free

This is what I do. It’s by choice. Often I feel as if I’ve got a tiger by the tail and I can’t let go. That’s when I harbour thoughts of giving up/slowing down/having a holiday. I like being Bookwitch, and I suspect that when my grasp on the tiger’s tail wavers, that I might stop being quite so Bookwitchy.

Authors don’t expect to write/work for free, but sometimes it ends up like that anyway, or very nearly. And then they are invited to events, with no payment for their effort or the time invested in travelling. ‘It will be good publicity.’ Annoying, but part of life for many writers.

I’m just amazed that this has now moved on to me. I too am requested to do stuff for organisations, for free. Because it’s useful to them (they don’t actually put it like that, but I can see that someone salaried in their office would get material for free and with very little effort), and I can ‘gain visibility.’

Maybe they believe that I also sit at a desk all day long, being paid for my efforts. In which case it should be easy enough for me to share my work with them.

I Bookwitch because it’s fun. If it wasn’t, I could have endless time available for actually reading more books, and socialising with friends (might not have any left), baking bread and, well, stuff. I have no wish to add to my workload by blogging for others, for free. Not when they are large companies, who could actually afford to pay for the few hours they’d like to hire my services for.

Where did all this using people because it’s convenient come from? Why do they think I should be grateful? I recently asked how much someone would pay for the work, and got a sniffy email back. What’s more, the request/suggestion originally sent out was so wooly and longwinded and half incomprehensible that I didn’t really want to read all of it. Nor was it totally clear what they were doing, after I’d done so anyway.

If companies do employ someone to sort out the company blog, say, they would do better to get someone who can write. That way they could do their own work, and not approach others with poorly written requests. But it does make sense to pocket the money while doing none of the work.

I might just get myself a high visibility vest. Should do the trick.

12 responses to “Working for free

  1. seana2014s

    It’s funny about blogging. The more popular you get the more people want to use you in some way. I mean, you could take it as a compliment, but on the other hand, why should you?

  2. You too, Seana? Yes, it is a sort of compliment: ‘you are now so good that we are happy to abuse your generosity and stupidity.’ I mean, if they’d asked me seven years ago, I’d have been flattered, and possibly even willing. At least once.

  3. That’s really outrageous! Authors get this whole “it will be good publicity” line too. As someone said, you could die of exposure…

  4. Not if you wear your high visibility vest!

  5. This is what you get for hanging out with authors. Now you too can be exploited. Resist!

  6. I more typically get people wanting to write for my blog for free. But there is always some little qualifier, usually involving some sort of product placement. I used to very politely respond, but as this sometimes led to an argument, I usually just ignore them now.

  7. The delete button is a useful tool. After a while you don’t even feel bad-mannered for using it.

  8. I think for me it’s helped to realize that it’s not personal from their end either. Usually it’s quite a random fishing expedition.

  9. “It will be good publicity” appears to mean you are the main course in their sandwich and by involving you they fully expect to benefit from your promotional networks and goodwill.

  10. And then there are those of us who prefer invisibility…

  11. Can’t see you, Lee!

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