On not paying writers (again)

by Veronica on March 18, 2014

in Sending You Elsewhere, Soapbox

Around the time Evelyn was born, I began turning down PR requests left right and centre. I’m sure I burned a lot of bridges, and all I did was politely ask to be paid for my time.

Amazing how the PR requests dropped off after that.

But they didn’t stop entirely, and each time I politely ask to be paid, I am politely told in return “We don’t have a budget” or “We don’t pay for comment.”

People, you’re paying me for my time. For the time I take out of my life to write about your product. For the time I spend ignoring other things in order to focus on YOU and your product.

Now, let’s be clear – I’m not talking about the work I did for The Shake, which was unpaid, and enjoyable. This is because I KNOW The Shake didn’t have a budget to pay me. There was no one person sitting at the top of the pile making money from our work and refusing to pay.

But other publications, other companies, they’re different.

When a large multi-national company tries to tell you they don’t have a budget to pay you, you’re left laughing maniacally in the corner. Because REALLY? REALLY?


There’s money somewhere, but it sure as hell isn’t being spent on the bloggers doing actual work for you. Which is crap, frankly.

In any case, I wrote about this for Money Circle this week, and it is something which makes me a bit ranty. You wouldn’t refuse to pay your plumber, or your electrician, so why refuse to pay your writers?

money circle logo

traceyb65 March 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

I’m hearing you! my pet hate is the design competitions that are all fine print and We will own your designs whether you win or not … or the small biz setups who think $1000 is too much for a corporate ID that will last them 10 years or more (think how much you spend on your mobile phone contracts every year, dudes). anything creative seems to attract the same group of clowns who think that, because we don’t pull out a shovel or hammer, it really doesn’t cost us anything … THREE CHEERS to you for refusing to play that game. xt

debbie ann March 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm

but also I have stopped reading blogs that are all about people eating out for free or promoting any products – I don’t read blogs in order to be reading PR. I like to read about your life, not some product. I think it is sad how many blogs have turned into publicity mills. I like blogs as journals, so yes, please, don’t write for them for free!

river March 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Similar to multi-national companies laying off workers at ground level because those up in the clouds need more profits shown on their books, or something.

Beth March 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm

I know just how you feel. I’m a graphic artist and I get soooo many requests to do small jobs for nothing, or well below my going rate. I think people assume that anyone can get the software, therefore anyone can use it! I have some friends that are photographers, and they get the same thing. I’m sure it’s the same sort of logic applied to writing – anyone can use a pen, or Word….. but that certainly doesn’t make them able to put together a cohesive piece of text for a specific purpose. Stick to your guns, I say!

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