Excuse the rant, but: unless it’s a favor for friends/allies or a publication I genuinely adore (or a guest column of some kind), I will not work for free. I am an internationally published writer with PLENTY of credentials who has been doing this for almost a decade. Would you ask a plumber to fix your drain pro bono, or a painter to simply give away his canvases? No? Then don’t expect the same from me.
It’s like booking a gig. If you want people to come out and have a good time, you book a decent band, offer them a guarantee, and give them some free drinks to keep them happy - they’ll put on a great performance, you’ll clean up at the bar, everyone wins. If you just want to fill in room space, book a shitty local band, have them play for free (and sell tickets, “for exposure”) and then act all puzzled when no one comes.
This is not to belittle or denigrate bloggers or journos who work for free, or to demonize non-paying publications, at all. Working for free and providing quality material are not mutually exclusive concepts - I’ve been doing both for years, and so many many, many others. Doing something for the pure love of it is a beautiful thing. Being compensated for hours of hard work and years of dues-paying is also a beautiful thing.
This is simply something I wanted to say.