Saturday, March 9, 2013



Book sales are down all over.   Publishers like Harlequin and some self-published authors are reducing prices in attempt to make up the difference in volume.  I read a recent blog entry from freelance journalist, Nate Thayer, wherein in he relates how he was approached by a certain newsmagazine, wanting him to re-write or summarize an article he had written into a certain word count.   You can read the exchange between the editor and the writer here.

After going  back and forth a few times regarding specifics, the editor disclosed that unfortunately she was not able to pay him for his work, but he would get 'exposure'.   Nate Thayer responded as follows:

I am a professional journalist who has made my living by writing for 25 years and am not in the habit of giving my services for free to for profit media outlets so they can make money by using my work and efforts by removing my ability to pay my bills and feed my children. I know several people who write for the Atlantic who of course get paid. I appreciate your interest, but, while I respect the Atlantic, and have several friends who write for it, I have bills to pay and cannot expect to do so by giving my work away for free to a for profit company so they can make money off of my efforts. 1200 words by the end of the week would be fine, and I can assure you it would be well received, but not for free. Frankly, I will refrain from being insulted and am perplexed how one can expect to try to retain quality professional services without compensating for them. Let me know if you have perhaps misspoken.

The editor had not misspoken.

What do you think of this?   Is it tilting at windmills for writers to expect to be paid?

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