What TO Do Wednesday: The Rant About Writing For Free

ImageGenerally, I’m a live and let live kind of writer, grasshopper. What works for me may not necessarily work for you, and vice versa. So do what works for you and we’ll all join hands and sing “Kumbaya.”

But once in a while, I feel the need to take a stand on a specific writing topic (and drag you along with me). And today, that topic is “writing for free.”

I am NOT talking about providing a piece of writing for a fundraising project. This kind of free writing comes from the heart, and how can you go wrong when a kindness is given in the name of charity?

I’m also not talking about writing that’s connected to marketing. Say, a post for a blog wherein you hope to sell books or drive a little traffic to your blog. You can’t expect people to pay you for your own promotion, grasshopper.

But whenever I see magazines or anthologies or ezines or newsletters–publications that will make money from your writing–with this statement: “We do not pay for submissions, but the writer will own all rights to his work”…OH MY WORD.

This is the point where I yell, “What difference will it make if I own all rights??? Once it’s published, it’s almost impossible to sell!”

Occasionally, very occasionally, I will run across a publication that will accept reprints. But most publications demand unpublished stories, poems, essays, or articles.

I understand their specifications. Editors want something fresh, something sparkly for their readers. Who wants to pay for something that’s been around the block a few times (so to speak)?

Okay, then. That’s about it. Let’s get back to working and singing.

Except…maybe this one time. This one time I’ll ask you. Do what works for us all. Walk on by those non-payment publications, and the (writing) world will be a better (paying) place.